2007 Lotus Exige Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2007 Lotus Exige Coupe

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Lotus Exige Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 220 hp @ 8000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2007 Lotus Exige

  • By most measures, the 2007 Lotus Exige is a miserable little car. But Lotus didn't build it to be a grocery-getter. As a weekend track-day weapon, the Exige is unsurpassed.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Ultra-lightweight chassis, uninhibited steering, racetrack-oriented design, low volume ensures rarity, relatively high fuel economy.

  • Cons

    Spartan interior, difficult entry and exit, poor outward visibility, peaky power delivery, ride quality more Formula One than grand touring, limited dealer network.

  • What's New for 2007

    The supercharged Exige S joins the lineup. Compared to the standard Exige, the S offers 30 more horsepower (now 220) and an extra 27 pound-feet of torque (now 165), while delivering 0-60 runs around the 4-second mark. In addition, the track-only Lotus Sport Exige Cup will again be available in limited numbers, and for '07, it gets slightly more power -- 252 hp versus 243 hp last year.

Full 2007 Lotus Exige Review

What's New for 2007

The supercharged Exige S joins the lineup. Compared to the standard Exige, the S offers 30 more horsepower (now 220) and an extra 27 pound-feet of torque (now 165), while delivering 0-60 runs around the 4-second mark. In addition, the track-only Lotus Sport Exige Cup will again be available in limited numbers, and for '07, it gets slightly more power -- 252 hp versus 243 hp last year.


For such a congested, dreary and drizzly place, England comes up with some pretty amazing sports cars. Last year, one of its most dramatic products, the Lotus Exige, arrived on American shores. A hardtop coupe version of the company's Elise roadster, the 2007 Lotus Exige is easily the most focused performance car on sale in the U.S. Lightness is its key ingredient, as this rear-drive, mid-engine two-seater weighs in at just over 2,000 pounds -- about 850 less than a Porsche Cayman. As such, the Exige is capable of sub-5-second 0-60-mph times despite the fact that its power source is a maniacally revving, 1.8-liter Toyota engine rated for all of 190 hp. The car's aluminum chassis is capable of handling much more, though, so Lotus engineers bolted on a supercharger for 2007, creating the 220-hp Lotus Exige S. Not only is the S quicker in a straight line, it's faster through the slalom.

Ordinarily, we wouldn't even bring up slalom speeds when writing to prospective car buyers, but the 2007 Lotus Exige S is quite literally the fastest production car our road test editors have ever run through the 600-foot cone course. It's here that the Exige's body modifications over the Elise, including its fixed roof panel, sculpted engine cover, front air splitter and rear wing, make a difference, providing an extra 90 pounds of downforce that glues the car to the pavement at high speeds. This gets to the heart of what the Exige, in regular or S form, is all about: This coupe was built for no other purpose than to carve up corners, whether on a racetrack or a favorite back road. Unencumbered by the safety equipment and luxury amenities of most cars, the featherweight Exige responds immediately to driver inputs and does so with minimal lean or roll. And with no power steering assist or extraneous seat padding buffering the feedback, the interface between car and driver couldn't be more direct.

For the miniscule percentage of buyers unimpressed by the capabilities of the street-legal Exige, Lotus sells a much costlier track-only version known as the Lotus Sport Exige Cup in very limited numbers. Fitted with a roll cage and six-point harness, this special Exige drops another 200 pounds by shedding the passenger seat and all interior carpeting and trim. At the same time, it gains an extra 32 hp over the Exige S, which skims a couple 10ths off its 0-60 time. There's also a dry-sump oil system to ensure consistent lubrication during high cornering loads. Running gear on the Lotus Sport Exige Cup includes racing slick tires and an adjustable suspension.

Considering the Exige's performance potential, the price of admission for the street version is relatively modest. But this is not a mass-market car. The side effects of its focused performance, including a very stiff ride and minimal storage and feature content, make it a pretty miserable car for daily use. Most buyers in this market will be happier with the Cayman or a BMW M Coupe. Wisely, Lotus doesn't plan on importing more than about 200-300 Exiges. And for the eventual handful of owners, the street-legal racecar experience won't get any better than this.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2007 Lotus Exige is a two-seat, rear-wheel-drive, midengine coupe, and buyers can choose either the normally aspirated base Exige or the supercharged Exige S version. There's also the extremely limited-production Lotus Sport Exige Cup model, which is certified for track use only.

The street-legal Exiges come with a CD player and air-conditioning as standard (though the A/C can be deleted to save weight), but overall they're quite spartan. Several option packages offer a bit of customization. The Touring Pack aims to slightly improve comfort through leather seating, power windows, upgraded audio, a storage net, additional sound-deadening material and full carpeting. The Track Pack sends the Exige in the opposite direction; it comes with adjustable dampers, an adjustable front stabilizer bar, an additional rear suspension brace and interior fittings for a race-oriented harness. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels with 195/50R16 Yokohama Advan A048 tires are found up front; 17s with 225/45R17 rubber are in back. A limited-slip differential, a feature that improves acceleration and power delivery when exiting corners, is optional.

To save weight, the Lotus Sport Exige Cup is stripped of all features not essential for track use, including headlights, a passenger seat and all interior carpeting and trim. A roll cage and six-point harness are standard, as are an adjustable suspension, upgraded brakes and Yokohama slick tires. The limited-slip differential remains optional.

Powertrains and Performance

Power for the standard 2007 Lotus Exige comes from a Toyota-sourced 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. Lotus has fitted unique intake and exhaust components, as well as a reworked engine controller, to broaden the engine's power band and push peak hp to 190 at 7,800 rpm. Torque peaks at 138 lb-ft at 6,800 rpm. The Exige S adds a Roots-type supercharger supplying 7.25 psi of boost, which results in ratings of 220 hp at 8,000 rpm and 165 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm. Even bigger numbers are available in the track-only Lotus Sport Exige Cup, also supercharged, which comes in at 252 hp at 8,000 revs and 179 lb-ft of torque at 7,000. All Lotus Exiges have a six-speed manual gearbox.

For the standard Exige, Lotus claims a 0-60 time of just 4.9 seconds and a drag-limited top speed of 147 mph. We've timed an Exige S at 4.2 seconds for the 0-60 sprint, and Lotus says 3.9-second runs are possible in the Exige Cup. Fuel economy, at 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway in the standard Exige and 23/29 in the Exige S, is quite respectable.


Don't expect much more than federally mandated safety equipment on the Exige. An antilock brake system is included, but neither stability control nor side airbags are available. A traction control system is optional.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Exige's minimalist design carries into the interior. The controls are simple and there's not much room available for storage. The composite sport seats provide plenty of support, but the car's low fixed roof and wide sills make entry and exit particularly challenging for any human more than 3 feet tall. The trunk is rated at 4 cubic feet of capacity, which is enough for a few wedged-in grocery bags and not much else.

Driving Impressions

Because of its 1-ton curb weight, super-sticky tires and unassisted steering, the 2007 Lotus Exige is pretty much the most precise-handling car available at any price. No other car feels more eager to go where it's pointed and no other car speaks to its driver as clearly in the process. The Exige's body modifications over the open-top Elise do make a difference, but only at the higher speeds seen at a racetrack. On the move, the normally aspirated engine is tractable enough for low-speed work, but certainly the most grins come when the tach is past 6,000 rpm. The supercharged Exige S provides a meatier midrange but still feels best running at high rpm. Because of its sport-tuned suspension, the Exige rides quite harshly on normal pavement and won't make you happy if drafted as a commuter car. The brakes are simply phenomenal, though, and provide fade-free performance in nearly every situation.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Exige s - pure racer

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Lotus Exige S 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl S/C 6M)

My 2d season with the '07 (1st year) Exige S. This is a pure race car on or off the track and is built around acceleration, handling and braking - it is arguably the best handling car on the road. This is why a strong driver who knows the car's capabilities can win over other high end cars both American and European. It must be understood that to arrive at the final equation of this car's performance there entailed certain cons built-in. But you must maximize the car's capabilities to overcome its modest top-end when competing with other racers. And get a Valentine 1 or be prepared to get multiple tickets or -- be prepared to ditch the 5.0 as the ol' chap found out last night - not rec.

Take it to the track!

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Lotus Exige S 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl S/C 6M)

This is it. THE car I've wanted for so many years. I've had everything from a '68 Shelby GT350 to a '66 Sunbeam Tiger, even a pair of '02 Miata SEs, but this car shines above them all. The control you have is beyond anything else on the street. It's not the fastest or quickest car, but it feels like it is. It even looks fast sitting still. Everyone wants to race, talk about, touch or drive it and lots of people take pictures of it. Even kids love it. It's one of those cars that kids of all ages get to "drive" in video games, and when they see it on the street it's almost as if you're looking at a Matchbox car. It has race-car looks but you can drive it on the street... AND the track!

The most fun on four

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Lotus Exige S 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl S/C 6M)

The 2007 Lotus Exige S is very quick and handles like its on rails. The only other car I want is a Pagani Zonda. My comments: do NOT buy this car if you want luxury. There is hardly anything inside except bare aluminum. Buy a Cayman S instead. DO buy this car if you are a real enthusiast and intend to take it to the race track on the weekends. This is a race car built by a company with Formula One heritage.

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Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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