Archive for category Lotus

2010 Lotus Exige

According to Lotus, exige accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and from 0 to 100 mph in 9.9 seconds. It does this with a Toyota powertrain—a 240-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. The Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, according to our own testing,

2010 lotus exige 2010 lotus exige

2010 lotus exige

accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and from 0 to 100 mph in 10.8 seconds. It does this with a 518-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Light weight and utter simplicity have been the birthright of Lotus since the first one was built in 1948. A very light car with a small engine could outrun a very heavy car with a large engine. Lotus was selling its Ferrari-like Esprit in the United States in small numbers, but GM figured the name was worth something.


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So it had Lotus build the Elan, an odd little sports car, powered by a four-cylinder Isuzu engine, that Lotus tried to sell in the United States for $40,000. Unfortunately, the 1991 Elan looked a lot like the 1991 Mercury Capri, which cost about $27,000 less.

Beneath the skin, the Elise and the Exige, introduced in the first quarter of 2006, are very similar.

Category › Car Reviews

Title › 2010 Lotus Exige

They share an ultra-lightweight aluminum frame, and although a family resemblance to the Elise can be seen in the Exige’s body work, every panel is different except for the doors. The regular Exige S carries over for 2008 with 220 supercharged horses and 164 pound-feet of torque; in the S 240, that jumps by 20 horsepower and six pound-feet, thanks to a remapped engine-management computer, higher-flow injectors, and a repositioned roof-mounted air scoop. The S 240 also gets larger front disc brakes, with AP Racing four-piston calipers. The clutch has been beefed up.

2010 lotus exige

2010 lotus exige review

The downside, as with all Lotus models, is a moderately cramped interior—two adults will rub elbows. Getting into and out of the driver’s seat requires acrobatics for anyone not named Sneezy, Grumpy, or Sleepy. But once you’re in, the seat is plenty comfortable, even for long stints.

2010 lotus exige

2010 lotus exige road test

The Exige S 240 lists for $65,815, almost four grand more than the already expensive Exige S. A $1600 Touring pack gets you leather, more sound insulation, and a few more niceties. The $1650 Track pack adds adjustable anti-roll bars and adjustable Bilstein dampers. A limited-slip diff is $1790, but no one at Lotus suggests you need it unless you are a career autocrosser. Two colors—red and British racing green—are standard, with other colors adding up to $5100 to the price.

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2010 Lotus Elise

We dreamed, perhaps unrealistically, that the addition of a supercharger to the Elise’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder would be akin to dropping

2010 lotus elise 2010 lotus elise

2010 lotus elise

a small-block V-8 into the 2043-pound roadster. If you’re expecting that sort of torqued-out transformation, you’ll be a bit disappointed. But let’s say you’d just like an Elise that is less peaky and a little quicker than the naturally aspirated


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version, a car whose power curve looks like Piet Mondrian drew it.

For those unfamiliar with the standard Elise, its power delivery at 6500 rpm is akin to getting an injection of adrenaline to the heart; at that rpm the cam phasing changes, and the Elise hurtles forward violently. Supercharging the Elise smoothes out the engine’s bipolar behavior like a good dose of lithium. The Elise becomes a more docile and tractable car, a better citizen and certainly easier to live with. Boost from the supercharger totals only 5 psi, low enough that Lotus doesn’t even alter the 11.5:1 compression ratio or add an intercooler. Even at low rpm the Elise SC feels satisfyingly strong; power builds progressively, and the cam

Category › Car Reviews

Title › 2010 Lotus Elise

change is virtually undetectable. All 218 horsepower (a scant 19 more) arrive at 8000 rpm with max torque (156 pound-feet, 23 more than before) coming 1800 rpm sooner, at 5000 rpm.

Surprisingly, the SC’s 0-to-60-mph time of 4.5 seconds was a 10th slower than the naturally aspirated Elise we tested in ’04 but quicker than the 4.8-second sprint of a naturally aspirated Lotus Elise we tested last year. We’re thinking that first Elise may have been an unnaturally fleet example.

Supercharger and rearview-blocking rear spoiler aside, the Elise SC is pretty much the same as the regular Elise. It has sharp and flavorful steering, quick responses, huge grip, and it’s sometimes creaky and nearly impossible to get into with the top in place. In short, the SC retains all of its charm.

For ’08, the entire Lotus lineup gained lower-gloss interior plastics and new instruments, the Exige S lost its intercooler and two horses, and the newly named and intercooled Exige S 240 gained 20 horsepower. No major changes are planned for 2009.

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