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2011 Lotus Exige Review
Built for speed rather than comfort
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2011 Lotus Exige is one of the top line sport vehicles available from Lotus. The Exige has a lot of power. In fact, the Exige offers power and little of anything else, especially not comfort.
The Exige sits on an aluminum chassis, falling in line with the Lotus ideology that lightweight vehicles move faster. The aluminum body is chemically bonded, instead of welded, to keep the weight down. The aluminum chassis attaches to fiberglass and carbon fiber bodywork to keep the weight as low as possible.
Models: S240, S260
Engine: 1.8-liter, four-cylinder
A special Roger Becker Edition Lotus Exige honors the recently retired director of vehicle engineering for Lotus. The Roger Becker Edition resembles the S260 with the supercharged engine, but it also includes the Touring Package with the limited slip differential.
Standard features include forged aluminum wheels–16-inches in the front and 17-inches in the back, Lotus/AP and Brembo ventilated brakes, high-performance racing tires, Bilstein dampers, and Eibach springs.
The Track Pack includes adjustable Ohlins dampers and height-adjustable springs for increased performance. The model also features a limited slip differential. Protective film protects the paint on the vehicle. The Track Pack offers extra color options.
The interior of the vehicle meets expectations for a high-performance sport vehicle. The controls are few and not exactly user friendly. The trim is all bare metal and plastic. The driver’s seat proves comfortable however, providing a lot of back support, especially during fast accelerations. Nevertheless, few can perform the acrobatic act required to get into the driver’s seat. The high doorsills, low roofline, and small doors all confine a tight little entrance that is difficult to enter and exit. Tall drivers may find the cabin a bit cramped, especially in terms of legroom. The vehicle offers little storage space, eliminating it from the list of grocery getters.
Standard features include air-conditioning, power windows and locks, sport seats with Probax padding for supreme comfort even at top speeds, black cloth upholstery, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The audio system includes a four-speaker Alpine stereo with a CD player. The model also comes with an adjustable traction and launch control.
The Touring Package includes extra acoustic insulation to cut down on cabin noise, a cup holder, and an interior holding unit. A full carpet set warms up the interior for longer drives. Leather upholstery can be found on the seats, door panels, handbrake, and center console. iPod connectivity is also included.
Performance & Handling
Underneath the hood, the Exige holds a Yamaha/Toyota-built four-cylinder engine. The supercharged engine produces 240 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. The Sport version of the Exige offers 257 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. The displacement stands at an amazing 8.33 pounds per horsepower. The Exige can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, while the sport can run it in four seconds flat.
Although the interior of the vehicle is cold and uncomfortable, the car drives like an absolute dream. It offers razor-sharp, incredibly responsive handling. The manual steering goes a long way at top speed; the firm brake keeps you from flying off the road, and the stiff suspension keeps you alert.
The S260 contains the supercharged engine. To increase performance, several components on the outside of the vehicle opt for carbon fiber replacements: a front splitter, a rear spoiler, and a carbon fiber racing seat. The S260 has a limited slip differential and also receives everything included in the Touring and Track packages standard.
Lotus leaves the safety features on the Exige at the legal minimum in an effort to keep the vehicle’s weight down. The Exige does include front airbags, anti-lock brakes, and traction control standard. The Lotus Exige has a short stop time, keeping drivers safe as long as they stay alert.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Powerful engine
- Superior handling
You Won't Like
- Stiff suspension
- Excessive cabin noise
Built for speed rather than comfort
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