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What it is
Lotus Exige S – 2007 Preview: Add an aerodynamic body kit and a roof panel to the Lotus Elise, one of the greatest sports cars on the planet, and you create a Lotus Exige. Add a supercharged and intercooled 1.8-liter engine to the Exige, and you create a Lotus Exige S, which is new for 2007. Lotus says that a limited number of supercharged Exige S models will be on sale this year, wearing a starting price tag of $56,990.
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Why it matters
The Lotus Exige is already a terrific sports car, but now it’s even better, with a power-to-weight ratio well under 1:10 to produce blistering acceleration, handling, and braking capabilities.
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What’s under the hood
A supercharged, Toyota-supplied 1.8-liter four-cylinder inflates horsepower from 190 to 220 and torque gets a bump from 133 to 165 with 80 percent of it peaking at 2,100 rpm. Weight is just 2,077 pounds, and the Exige S rockets to 60 in 4.1 seconds on the way to a top speed of 148 mph all while averaging 25 mpg, according to Lotus. Brembo brake calipers, cross-drilled brake rotors, Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs, and Yokohama Advan A048 tires supply capable performance. An optional Track Pack includes adjustable shocks, sway bars, and a harness mounting bar behind the front seats. Other options include a limited slip differential and traction control.
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What it looks like
Producing 100 lbs. of downforce at 100 mph, the body kit worn by the Lotus Exige S gets a body color rear wing, front air splitter, and side air intakes. The S is also identified by a single oval exhaust outlet and a revised roof scoop that feeds cool air to the mid-mounted engine’s intercooler. Matte black forged aluminum wheels, 16-inch front and 17-inch rear, are tucked into the composite fiberglass body. A wide variety of standard, metallic, and lifestyle paint colors are available.
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Cramped quarters with few luxuries greet the two people riding in the Lotus Exige S. Black cloth sport seats with Probax anatomical padding have trouble accommodating larger people, and can be trimmed in optional leather. Standard equipment includes a leather Momo steering wheel, an Alpine four-speaker stereo with in-dash CD player, air conditioning, carpeted floor mats, and aluminum trim. Order the package with leather, and you’ll also get power windows, full carpeting, upgraded audio, and additional insulation.
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What Lotus says
“The Lotus Exige S is the most incredible car,” says Mike Kimberly, CEO of Group Lotus Plc. “Its performance (is) unbelievable, almost mind-boggling.” Lotus also thinks the Exige S represents an incredible value in the supercar realm.
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What we think
Flamboyant and fun, elemental and efficient, there are few cars on the market built strictly to address the joy of driving. The Lotus Exige S is one of those rare, purpose-built automobiles that make getting behind the wheel a thrill rather than a chore. We need more cars like this.
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry and Lotus
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