Combining a weight of 1176kg with a 258kW/400Nm supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine – sourced from the Lotus Evora and replacing the former 163kW/215Nm supercharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit – the Lotus Exige S claims 0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds via its six-speed manual transmission.
With a top speed of 274km/h, the only cars to come close the Lotus Exige S for similar money are the BMW M3 Pure Edition at $125,000 (dearer and slower), the Audi S4 at $119,900 (cheaper just but a full second slower), the Audi TT RS Plus at $139,400 (just off the pace at 4.1 seconds but far more expensive) and the BMW Z4 sDrive35is at $120,000 – the latter being nearer the mark with its 4.8-second dash coming from its 250kW/450Nm twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder powerplant.
With Lotus less focused on straight-line sprint figures and more on going through corners, the Exige S comes with an adjustable Dynamic Performance Management (DPM)
system that allows drivers to switch between three driving modes: Touring, Sport and DPM off. An additional Race Pack option is available, adding a fourth ‘Race’ mode to the system as well as launch control, more circuit biased suspension settings and an exhaust bypass valve override switch.
Lotus claims the new engine delivers fuel economy of 10.1 litres per 100km on the combined cycle and 236 grams of CO2
Four-piston AP Racing calipers up front clamp down on 350mm ventilated and cross-drilled discs, while at the rear 332mm discs do their part in working with the standard four-channel anti-lock brake system and electronic brakeforce distribution. Standard gloss black wheels measuring 17-inch front and 18-inch rear sit over the stoppers and are wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres.
Inside, the two-seater features a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshift knob, cloth-trimmed sports seats, aluminium passenger footrest, air conditioning, and a four-speaker stereo with USB connectivity. Leather trim, heated seats, iPod connectivity and cruise control are all available options while Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming are left out altogether.
Remote central locking, an alarm, driver and passenger airbags and electronic stability control with traction control are also included as standard equipment on the Lotus Exige S, as is an electronically controlled locking rear differential, corner brake control, which redistributes brakeforce during cornering to ensure braking when cornering doesn’t shift the car off line, and drag torque control, which eliminates torque-induced lock-ups during quick down shifts by automatically matching engine revs with road speeds.
The $119,990 Lotus Exige S sits between the Lotus Elise S and Lotus Evora 2+2 at $79,990 and $123,990, respectively, and is available now at a $15,000 price premium over the previous 2011-specification Exige S.