The 2008 Lotus Exige takes the popular Elise to another level, stripping the minimalist car down to its most basic performance-oriented essentials. The result is a nimble road and track weapon that can easily trounce cars with two, three, and even four times the power.
As if the 218-horsepower Exige S was not enough, Lotus has added two even more aggressive models for 2008--one in power, the other in options. They are the Exige S 240 and a limited-production Exige Club Racer. All Exige cars have an epoxy-bonded aluminum chassis and feature a mid-mounted, supercharged, Toyota-sourced 1.8L I4 with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing, which drives the rear wheels through a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission and a single-plate dry clutch.
In the Exige S, the unit develops 218 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, with 156 lb-ft of torque coming on at 5,000 rpm. This is good enough to get the car to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, with a top speed of 150. The Exige S 240 employs an even bigger blower, which produces 240 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 170 lb-ft at 5,500. The added power gets the car to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds.
The Club Racer is basically an Exige S in special CR Blue with contrasting black striping and bodywork, and fitted with upgraded brakes and suspension, premium stereo, and other interior goodies from the options bin.
Suspension across the range is fully independent, with gas dampers, coaxial coil springs, and a front sway bar. Four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS are standard. The cars ride on matte black alloy wheels, and each uses sticky 16-inch front and 17-inch rear Yokohama tires.
Visually, the Exige certainly looks the business, with all manner of deep intakes, scoops, vents, splitters, and spoilers employed to keep the car hunkered down at high speeds and cool enough to maintain them.
The interior is fairly barebones, as the Exige is far from a luxury car. Black cloth sport seats are standard, as is air conditioning, a leather-trimmed Momo steering wheel, tailgate release, and an Alpine four-speaker CD stereo.
Option packages for the Exige S and S 240 include a Touring Package, which adds full leather seat and door trim, an upgraded stereo with iPod connectivity, extra sound deadening, and full carpets. A Track Package includes adjustable suspension, while standalone options are a limited-slip differential, various exclusive paints, and a protective exterior film called Starshield. No optional equipment is available for the Club Racer.
Ultimate track toy; razor-sharp handling and balance; lightweight; rarity; new, more powerful versions; decent fuel economy.
Lotus adds two new models to its Exige lineup for 2008. Bolstering the solid performance of the supercharged 218-horsepower Exige S is the new 240-horsepower Exige S 240, as well as a limited-production Exige S Club Racer, with just 20 units slated for U.S. delivery. The S240 starts at $64,890, while the exclusive Club Racer slots in at $67,995.
New additions to all Exige cars include a revised instrument cluster with added vehicle information, a softer dashboard, and an alarm with engine immobilizer. New color options have been added as well.
As a street-legal, race-worthy car that will get you nearly 30 mpg if you treat it right, the 2008 Lotus Exige is in a league of its own. Lightweight, powerful, agile, and extremely quick, the Exige allows for blistering driving in nearly any condition. The addition of the even more powerful S 240 only ups the ante in the track-toy game, while the Club Racer goes all in.
Vehicle Price: 61,925.00
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