The Exige S is the new Lotus offering for North America. It's essentially the existing Exige but with a supercharger that makes it the British company's fastest production car.
The mid-engined coupe is a variation of Lotus' Elise roadster, featuring air-molding components such as a split intake and huge rear spoiler. It gets its power from a 218-horsepower, 4-cylinder 1.8-liter Toyota engine with air-to-air intercooler; its mate is the same 6-speed manual overdrive transmission found on last year's Exige. Fuel economy numbers are 24 mpg city and 29 highway if you drive it gently Ã?Â¢Ã¢Â?Â¬Ã¢Â?Â? but who wants to do that? This is a car that does 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds!
Standard equipment on the Exige S includes the Lotus Sport Suspension, with monotube shocks by Bilstein, ABS, lightweight aluminum wheels, ergonomically-designed ProBax sport seats, power locks, a CD player, and air conditioning, which some buyers actually opt to eliminate to save weight. Yes, lightness is the theme with this Lotus, as it has been with every Lotus since the middle of last century. Light weight is the chief quality behind these cars' performance.
The S's body is unchanged from the Exige, but the air intake has been modified for maximum intercooler efficiency, and a single, oval exhaust pipe takes the place of the Exige's dual exhaust.
A number of options packages are available for the Exige S. There's a Touring Pack (power windows, leather/suede interior, carpeted floor mats, premium audio system with MP3 player, sound insulation, auxiliary front driving lamps, net for stowing items) and a Super Touring Pack (all of the above, plus upgraded interior with driver and passenger airbags, leather-wrapped steering wheel, gearshift knob, and handbrake handle, speakers in front fascia top panel, engine start button, cup holder, small stow space for coins or other small things, embroidery on carpeted floor mats). You can also choose the Sports Pack (Lotus Traction Control, sports seats, and steel roll-over hoop for track use) or the Super Sports Pack (above, plus lightweight black forged-alloy wheels with spokes, track suspension, adjustable anti-roll bar, double-shear rear traction-control arm brace).
For individual options, there is the Lotus Traction Control and Limited Slip Differential; this feature reduces power to maintain traction as needed (rather than basing it on braking), but is has been tuned to complement the driver's skills rather than doing it for him; it can be deactivated with touch of a button next to gear lever.
The Exige S is available in a startling 20 colors, including British Racing Green and a beautiful Autumn Gold.