A Brief Look at the Lotus Exige

Lotus Exige Picture

The History and Evolution of the Lotus Exige

Lotus has been one of the most iconic British sports car manufacturers for over 60 years, known for producing high-performance vehicles renowned for their handling and agility. One of their latest models, the Lotus Exige, is a two-seater coupe that has been in production since 2000. This mid-engine sports car has undergone several revisions and refreshes over the years, resulting in the sleek and fast machine that it is today.

First Generation 2000-2004

The first generation Lotus Exige was produced from 2000 to 2004. Essentially a roadster version of the Lotus Elise, it sported a rigid roof and, crucially, a rear wing, providing the stability and downforce a high-performance car of its caliber needed. The Exige’s engine was a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 177 horsepower and allowing the car to go from 0-60 in 4.7 seconds.

The Exige underwent several upgrades and special edition models within the first generation’s four-year run. The Exige S in 2002 had a supercharged engine, going from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds. The Exige 240R released in 2004 had a 1.8-liter engine, which produced 242 bhp, allowing it to go from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. Only 50 were produced.

Second Generation 2004-2006

The second-generation Lotus Exige was produced from 2004 to 2006. It maintained the same design and style as its previous generation, but with enhanced technological and mechanical upgrades. The Exige had a redesigned front splitter that maximized aerodynamic performance and a new spoiler that provides more downforce.

The Exige was a supercharged rocket, with a four-cylinder Toyota engine pushing an incredible 240 bhp. The Exige Cup 240 was a special edition model unveiled in 2006, with a limited 50 production units, which produced 243 bhp. It went from 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds.

Third Generation 2006-2011

The third generation of Exige was produced from 2006 to 2011 and was a marked departure from the rugged, stripped-down car’s previous iterations. The exterior and interior design became more aggressive, with the addition of more aerodynamic upgrades. This design was more streamlined, with a broader stance that gave the car even more stability when taking sharp corners on the racetrack.

The Exige was powered by a 1.8-liter Toyota engine, which delivered 257 bhp, going from 0-60 in just 3.8 seconds. The car was also equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, which was an upgrade from previous iterations and provided an even very driving experience.

The Exige 265E Cup was an experimental race car model produced in 2012, featuring a 1.8-liter engine that delivers 264 bhp. In terms of speed, this car generated a top speed of 170 mph. The Exige Cup 260 Sport, a track-only model that was produced in limited numbers, featured an upgraded 1.8-liter engine producing 257 bhp. It went from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds.

Fourth Generation 2011-2021

The fourth and current-generation of Lotus Exige is more refined than its predecessors, yet still very performance-oriented. The design drifted somewhat away from the previous generations, with a softer overall appearance. The exterior features creases, curves and is a mix of sharp angles and smooth surfaces.

The Exige is now powered by a supercharged 3.5-liter Toyota V6 engine delivering either 345 or 380 bhp, depending on the model. The high-performance sportscar also features a six-speed manual transmission. The latest Exige has also been designed for better acoustics, with more insulation and a noise-suppressing air intake.

The Exige Cup 430 has a 3.5-liter Toyota V6 that delivers 430 bhp, upgraded from its predecessor, the Exige 380, which delivered 375 bhp. Going from 0-60 in just 3.2 seconds and maxing out at 180mph, this is the fastest production Exige model.

RunBidSell Insights

The Lotus Exige is a car that embodies a combination of performance, design, and unrivaled agility. The various generations of the Exige model have all brought new upgrades, innovations, and design improvements. The current generation is perhaps the most advanced with cutting-edge technology and refinement. It’s easy to understand why the Lotus Exige has become known as the car for the track, and why it’s earned an iconic place in the hearts of sports car enthusiasts worldwide.


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