David Zenlea has pretty much nailed the Exige with his impressions, however, he forgot to mention the looks you get on the road. I couldn't go anywhere without turning heads over the weekend. People would pull up next to the Lotus on the highway and stare for miles. Sometimes I couldn't even tell if there was a car full of gawkers next to me since visibility is rather dismal. In situations like that, it's good to have 257 hp on tap to motivate the svelte 2020 lb car. Forward visibility is pretty good and the thrust is excellent. Just mash the gas and you're able to move to a clear section of road in no time.
The only vehicle that I could even begin to compare the Exige to is the Caterham Superlight R400 we sampled around this time last year. The Caterham is even smaller, much lighter, and only needs 210 hp. Both cars are about as minimal as you'll find, though the Lotus has some advanced features like airbags and a radio, and really belongs on a track.
Any vehicle from Lotus or Caterham will get you tons of attention and almost nobody will understand why you tolerate the sometimes painful ingress/egress, lack of anything resembling luxury, and inherent rawness of either car. Until you've driven one, you can't really understand what the big deal is.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor