British sports cars used to rule the world’s road courses with the likes of Jaguar, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, Triumph, and Lotus slicing through corners to give their drivers a thrill. Speed wasn’t always so essential, but handling was key.
Lotus always has prided itself in creating lightweight, crisp handling cars. But today speed and power are more important than in the formative 1950s and ‘60s, and that’s what makes the Lotus Exige S a highly sought after sports car.
The mid-engine Exige, built in Hethel, England, has been around since 2000, with the first S model appearing in 2006. Exige is now in its third iteration, or Series 3, which is what Autoart’s model portrays. A Series 2 version also is available from Autoart.
Lotus restyled Exige, which is based on the Lotus Elise chassis, in 2012 and upgraded its power plant from a modest supercharged I4 to a more powerful V6, also supercharged, but making 345 horsepower. That’s pretty potent in a car weighing barely more than 2,300 lbs. In fact, it has the same power-to-weight ratio as a Porsche 911 Turbo. Good company!
Reportedly the Exige will do 0-62 mph in about 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph. This newer model also is 10 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the Series 2, giving it better balance and road manners. Its drag coefficient is a measly 0.433. The car is made of epoxy-bonded aluminum alloy extrusions and features a lightweight steel rear sub-frame.
If you want a full-sized one, expect to pay about $70,000, but only a track version is sold in the United States.
Being British, this model is right-hand drive with a black interior and silky smooth bright yellow (leaning toward orange) finish. It captures the Exige’s sporty looks and dimensions well and features opening doors and engine bonnet so you can gawk at the Spartan interior and V6 in back.
Highlights beyond its looks are the twin projector headlights under the thin triangular headlight lenses, the sculpting where the nose stops before the doors and cockpit to form slim vents right behind the front wheels, and giant side mirrors that extend on long flat black arms.
There’s a realistic looking gas filler cap on the car’s right side, plus beautiful silver disc brakes with red Lotus calipers that are visible behind the black 5-spoke race wheels that feature the yellow and green Lotus logo at their center.
Around back you can see the mostly black V6 under the black-trimmed rear window – a Lotus label marks the engine too – or flip open the rear window hatch. The four round red taillights are well executed, plus the Lotus name across the bonnet’s rear face and down below is the single opening and facing that surrounds twin exhausts.
There’s black plastic mesh under the nose and a bit in the black side air scoops behind the doors too.
Inside, the seats and dash are black with a well-formed dash with gauges visible and a thick 3-spoke steering wheel and large gear shift knob on the floor. Hand grabs are designed into the top of the doors.
Exige exudes sportiness and Autoart’s version reflects the car’s passion for performance. This is another of Autoart’s new models made with composite body materials. Fit and finish remain top notch.
Vital Stats: Lotus Exige S
Stock No.: 75382