The Beginnings of the Lotus Car – Brand Story
For the past seventeen years, Lotus has referred to by the name Exige, as the Lotus car is essentially a coupe version of the famous superlight Lotus Elise roadster, which is a completely street-legal vehicle that has the appearance of a race car. It all began in 1996 when the first Lotus Elise came on the market, and just four years later came the Lotus Exige burst its way onto the scene with a 1.8- liter Rover engine. The new Lotus Exige had 177 horsepower with a mid-mounted engine powering the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission. The car could reach speeds up to 219 km/h with a 4.9s 0-100 km/h sprint acceleration. These numbers are very impressive even by today’s standards.
Series 2 Lotus Elise was produced in 2000, while the next generation of Lotus Exige had to wait until 2004. In the second release, the car was powered by a 1.8-liter Toyota supercharged four-cylinder engine, and since then, it has had numerous updates and revisions over the years. The first version was dubbed the Lotus Exige S and had 218 horsepower with speeds topping out at 238 km/h and a 4.1s 0-100 sprint, and its first update came in 2008.
The Lotus Exige S 240 boasted 240 horsepower and was in production until 2011, as well as the more powerful Lotus Exige S 260 which made its debut in 2009. The Lotus Exige 265E was the final evolution of the Series 2 models, and it was designed to run on E85 fuel, or 85% ethanol. The 265E Lotus Exige had 264 horsepower and could run a standing sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 3.88 seconds, topping out at 254 km/h.
Series 3 Lotus Exige made its debut in Frankfurt, Germany in 2011 as a standalone vehicle powered by a larger engine that was also used in the Lotus Evora. For the first time, Lotus Exige weighed more than a ton, coming in at 1,176 kg kerb and 1,080 dry. That was mainly due to the larger frame and the 3.5- liter supercharged Dual VVTL-i DOHC V6 engine by Toyota. The horsepower rating also improved as the V6 provided 345bhp with 400 Nm of torque. The Lotus Exige S V6 has a top speed of nearly 274 km/h, with a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4-seconds flat, so we can say that despite the increased weight, this Lotus car maintained its level of performance almost entirely. Proof of its performance can be found in the racing version of the Lotus Exige. In 2013, the V6 Cup, and V6 Cup R vehicles were unveiled, followed by the Lotus Exige 360 Cup in 2015, which was limited to just 50 and had a power upgrade up to 355 HP.
When considering trim and vehicle luxuries, the Lotus Exige can be stripped down to its Lotus car parts to find leather seats and a leather steering wheel as its main luxury features. The primary focus of this car is still on the driving experience, so the Lotus Exige S V6 features front and rear ventilated discs, a six-speed manual transmission only, and Eibach coil springs for both the front and rear fully independent suspension. The lack of any conveniences is by design as it focuses the driver on the ultimate driving pleasure. Although the Lotus Series 3 Exige is the heaviest model yet, it still follows through on Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s philosophy of achieving great speed through a light frame.
In late November of 2016, Lotus announced its next step forward in the evolution of the Exige, calling it the Lotus Exige Sport 380. The dry weight was reduced to 1,066kg while the horsepower was increased to 375 HP, giving it the blisteringly fast performance and the purest driving experience to date. The Exige Sport 380 can sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds to reach a top speed of 286.5 km/h, numbers that blow away the supercar competition. And it all happens with the same Lotus parts that it has always had, with just a few upgrades.
Lotus Exige is the ultimate driving machine for those who seek unparalleled performance for a relatively affordable price.