Hardcore Exige Returns

Lotus’s stripped-out racecar for the road features Toyota power and revised aerodynamics.

Two years after the original car was discontinued, Lotus has launched the second generation Exige, Stitt bitted as a racecar for the road, it is now powered by the 189bhp 1.8litre VVTL-i Toyota engine as used in the Elise 111 R (p132).

Hethel has fitted its own engine management system offering bespoke calibrations for the camshaft profile, lift and timing, It's hooked up to a six-speed gearbox, which has a Lotus-designed linkage. Top speed is a claimed 147mph while the 0-62mph sprint is said to take 5.2 seconds.

To keep the Exige glued to the Tarmac, Lotus has gone to great lengths with the car's aerodynamic make-up. According to the company's own figures, at 100 mph the Exige creates 41.2kg of downforce, split 47 per cent (19.3kg) front and 53 per cent (21.9kg) rear.  These figures are achieved with a completely flat underside, a rear diffuser, a deep front sptitter (mounted just 108mm from the ground) and a fixed rear wing at an 11.5 degree angle. Extra cooling ducts for the brakes and optional oil coolers have been designed in.

Lotus engineers worked with Yokohama to develop a custom tyre with a soft compound for the Exige, It also rides on stiffer springs and dampers, while the wheel design Min front, 17in rear) is unique to the car.

Although this new model has servo-assist and ABS fitted to the braking system, Lotus is at pains to say the ABS wiR not intervene early, 'taking over from the skill of the driver', Luxury options include an air-con system, carpets and electric windows. The performance pack includes sports seats, oil coolers and a race harness beam. The basic price is L29,995.