2009 Lotus Exige Review


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2009 Lotus Exige Overview

Those with some serious money in their pockets and a hankering for the track might want to take a look at the 2009 Lotus Exige. This two-seat coupe, basically a stripped Lotus Elise, is short on cabin doo-dads, but long on acceleration and driving excitement. Face it, folks, commuters won’t be driving this sparsely equipped auto back and forth to the office. To the track and back is another story, however, because that’s where the lightweight, supercharged ’09 Exige shines.

The 2009 Lotus Exige is delivered in a choice of two trims, the S 240 and the S 260 Sport. Each comes equipped with a Toyota-inspired 1.8-liter supercharged, DOHC, VVT inline four-cylinder (I4) engine and six-speed manual transmission. The S 240’s supercharged I4 is capable of 240 hp at 8,000 rpm and 170 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm. The S 260 puts out 257 hp at 8,000 rpm, and 174 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. The S 260 also sports a unique roof scoop that forces more than a few extra psi of air into the supercharged, intercooled I4.

Both trims exhibit excellent acceleration (0-60 in 3.9 seconds, 150 mph as a top speed) and handling characteristics, but ride quality is simply not comfortable enough to make the ’09 Exige a commuter vehicle. The 17-inch performance tires are true track-grabbers, but not designed for city streets. There is a Tour Pack, however, available with the S 240 trim that features leather-trimmed upholstery, cupholders, a limited-slip differential, and a few additions to the interior technology offerings, but this hardly mitigates the harsh, track-tuned feel of the car.

Standard appearance, comfort, and convenience features for the S 240 include 17-inch painted alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, power door locks and mirrors, sport seats, air-conditioning, alloy and leather interior trim, and a 180-watt Alpine premium audio system with a single-CD player and four speakers. The ’09 Exige S 260 adds leather-trimmed upholstery, iPod integration and MP3 capability for the audio system, a limited-slip differential, and cupholders. Besides the Tour Pack, the S 240 offers such options as Limited Paint, and, with the Track Pack, adjustable Bilstein shocks and Threaded Spring Perches.

Bare-minimum standard safety features for the ’09 Exige include four-wheel disc ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, a remote anti-theft system, a post-collision safety system, and front fog/driving lights.

The 2009 Lotus Exige is a screamer designed only for those who really enjoy testing themselves and their automobiles. Acceleration, handling, and torque all draw raves from owners of the ’08 Exige, as well as a new interior upgrade. Minor annoyances and a lack of luxury take nothing away from the pure driving thrill that owners experience with the Exige.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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