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Minimalism is the operative word behind the Lotus Exige, a dedicated sports car that will appeal to extreme enthusiasts (and probably few others). The edgy Exige is compact and built purely for ultra-high-performance driving.
Unlike other supercars, the Lotus Exige isn't powered by a massive fire-breathing V8, V10 or V12. A high-revving four-cylinder engine is all that's needed to provide extraordinary performance. This is because of the vehicle's lightweight construction. There are few amenities and little sound dampening. Weight-adding safety features are kept to the absolute minimum. As a result, the Exige makes little sense as a daily driver. But as a performance car where Lotus' mantra of "simplificate, then add lightness" is in full effect, the Exige is simply one of the quickest, most dynamic and exciting cars on the road.
Used Lotus Exige Models
An earlier Exige (based on the first-generation Elise) was never officially imported, so the Exige arrived in the North American market for 2006. In that first year, only the standard model was available. This featured the same 189-hp version of the Toyota-sourced inline-4 engine found in the Elise, and all the other track-ready handling upgrades found on the current Exige. The supercharged Exige S debuted a year later, with 220 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque.
For 2008, the base model was dropped while an even higher-performance version, the S240, debuted. It included bigger brakes and a larger roof-mounted air scoop than the S. That year also saw a new instrument display with a trip computer fitted to both Exige trims. For 2009, the Exige received a handful of aerodynamic enhancements that included a slightly restyled front end and a larger, low-drag rear wing. Also, upgraded Ohlins dampers were added to the optional Track Pack. That year also saw the introduction of the Exige S260, with its more powerful 257-hp engine, even bigger brakes and an even larger roof-mounted scoop.
The S260 was dropped from the lineup for the 2010 model year, but was reintroduced for 2011. That year also saw the debut of the S260 Sport model, as well as a Roger Becker special edition, honoring the recently retired head of Lotus vehicle engineering.