Hethel, England- The essence of the new Lotus Exige is that of a racing car. Even compared with the Elise, this bewinged coupe is a hard-core driving experience-and we mean that in a good way.What's curious is that from the same set of basic components-190-hp, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder Toyota engine; click-clack-shifting six-speed manual gearbox; extruded aluminum chassis; plastic body-Lotus has created a pair of cars sufficiently different in character that the coupe version can be regarded as a genuinely separate model. A quicker, more extreme, yet separate model.
In many ways, Lotus's recently announced decision to bring the Exige to the States is a brave one. As a convertible, the Elise can count on the residual glow of the golden years of British roadsters, with the added edge of being fantastic to drive. The Exige has only the latter. So, while Lotus moves 2000-plus Elises per year in America, it expects to sell only 200 to 300 Exiges.
Those 200 to 300 enthusiasts will be getting an out-and-out driver's car. Where the Elise evokes delicacy, intimacy, and fluid motion, the Exige is a much more physical machine. It's not brutish or raw or clumsy but more alert and instantly responsive, more aggressive in its steering and ride.... Read full article