2010 LOTUS EXIGE 240 S
WORDS BY samuel cuthbert with PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF SNAPTRACK.IT
Today’s album comes to us courtesy of Davide, the editor of the Italian automotive website www.SnapTrack.it - sure, there are probably not too many Italian-speaking subscribers here - but honestly his photography alone is worth the look. The car pictured is his own personal car, and his ownership has added 50,000km to the Exige's odometer (a substantial amount for a car of this nature) so I made sure to ask about his experiences driving the car for all this time. First though, for those unfamiliar with the car, a little recap.
A Lotus Exige is very small, very fast, and very light. It does not care about your wishes for sensible ergonomics, comfortable suspension, and luggage space. Unless you have the grace of a ballerina, you are likely to look a bit ungainly as you enter and exit the vehicle. Non-car people will mistake it for another brand, or assume you are some sort of nutter driving his race car home from a track day. Here’s the thing though – it’s absolutely brilliant, and every car enthusiast should make it a goal to drive one at some point.
It is an anomaly among its peers, with the growing dimensions of each succeeding model from other brands, along with increasing curb weights (reflecting the addition of more and more safety equipment, technology, and luxury appointments) weighing them down. Most manufacturers have fallen into this trap, trying to transition their sports cars into comfortable “all-rounders”, and there is great sense in doing so, at the very least for the shareholder-pleasing bottom lines that they create. Lotus has made some small concessions recently, adding weight where absolutely necessary to compete in certain sectors, but the Exige remains pure to the Lotus brand values of lightness and simplicity.
The Exige S was produced from 2006-2007 and ran a Toyota-sourced 1.8-liter that supercharged and intercooled, producing 220hp. What we are looking at though, is it’s replacement - the Exige S 240 with the performance pack. This ran from 2008-2011 and made a number of changes. The power saw a 20hp hike due to recalibrated engine-management system, a larger roof scoop lined up with the very front edge of the roofline, and a larger intercooler. The brakes were upgraded to the 12.1-inch AP Racing setup from the Exige Cup 240, along with a stronger clutch. Performance was rapid; a curb weight of just 935kg (2060lbs) saw
0-60mph come up in 4.0, and on to 100mph in 9.9 seconds. Reviewers gushed about the £3000 performance pack, saying:
Whether on track or on road, the improvement in performance is staggering, and in percentage terms easily worth the 9 per cent of list price that the Performance Pack costs. It makes it the car the Exige always deserved to be – as quick and invigorating round the bends as it ever was, but now properly, addictively rapid in between them. – Autocar.co.uk
I asked Davide about his time with the Lotus and I’ll leave you with his thoughts on the car. He said that piloting the Exige is always a beautiful experience, and that trying to isolate his favourite memory with the car is a futile exercise. Each drive is an experience that he savours, and he loves the reactions that his car produces in others. There is none of the resentment that a Ferrari or Lamborghini can produce on the odd occasion. Sure, enthusiasts get a bit jealous as they know what they are looking at, but to your everyday driver it just looks alien and wonderful. He recalled the many times that he has made friends with stranger just because the car makes them want to introduce themselves so they can ask a few questions.
While he acknowledges that friends with the Series 1 Elise (the roadster version of the Exige) having to deal with the occasional leaky seal letting some water in, and the odd small part needing some simple attention in the cabin due to vibration, his ownership has been essentially free of any major problems. Would he sell the Exige? Sure… maybe… for another Lotus! Although he has put a lot of time in with the Exige, Davide says that when he falls into the drivers seat, his heart still beats as fast as it did the first time he drove the car - and if that isn’t the sign of a great car, what is?
If you are still craving some more Lotus info, check out this chap who wasn't quite satisfied with the power from the factory, and set about creating what is possibly the worlds fastest Lotus.