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Lotus Exige

Broadcast dates : 11th December 2005
17th December 2005


Like its open-roofed sibling the Elise, the Lotus Exige uses a Toyota four-cylinder motor similar to that fitted to the RunX RSi.

That means a claimed 141 kiloWatts, and Lotus worked on the engine management to tailor power delivery specifically to the Exige.

The engineís mounted mid-ships behind the driver, but ahead of the rear axle, and theoretically this gives a car ideal handling characteristics Ė as the heaviest components, the engine and occupants Ė are situated between the two axle lines.

The Exige uses a very lightweight GRP, or glass reinforced plastic body, mounted on an aluminum monocoque chassis.

Short of going to a full carbon-fibre chassis, which is prohibitively expensive, this combination remains state-of-the-art racing technology.

The Exige-specific front splitter and the carbon rear-wing are the keys to the high down-force, as is the clean solid roofline which provides a clean air passage to the rear wing.

However, down-force also means drag, and although the Exige tops 235 km/h, itís slightly slower on top speed than the Elise.

A Lotus, any Lotus, is all about performance. There simply isnít any other reason to own one. And at just under R500 000, itís also on the expensive side.

Clint found he had to adapt his driving style to the Lotus. With the weight concentrated in the middle of the car, there is little indication of when it will make the transition from under to over-steer, and vice versa.

In exploring the limits, lightening-quick reactions are needed to gather it all up. 
In other words, lots of anticipation and forward planning are needed. But this is the archetypal amateur racing car, ideal for those fun days or lunch hours at the track.

Lotus Exige
  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol, 1 796 cc
  • Power: 141 kW @ 7 800 rpm
  • Torque: 181 Nm @ 6 800
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h : 5,2 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 237 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 10,8 litres/100 km (estimated) 
  • Price: R499 000

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