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Lotus Exige S (2008)
A drive of the Lotus Exige S with Performance Pack inspires any number of superlatives, but one perhaps sums this stunning little car up best: uncompromising.
Access and egress is downright difficult, rear vision is non-existent and the ride around town is harsh and uncomfortable.
An everyday commuter it is not.
But seek out your favourite deserted road - the more sinuous and smoother the better - or race track and the Exige S is in its element.
A track-focused sports car it is indeed.
With its 1.8-litre Toyota-sourced four-cylinder engine supercharged, the Exige S is handily equipped for power.
But by offering an optional $11,000 Performance Pack, Lotus has upped the ante, raising peak power output from 163 kW to 179 kW.
This hike in power, together with a boost in torque from 215 Nm to 230 Nm at 5500 rpm, helps rocket the PP Exige S from 0100 km/h in 4.16 seconds.
All this comes not at the expense of reassurance. The pack also includes uprated cross-drilled and vented discs with AP Racing four piston calipers as well as variable slip adjustable traction control.
They say that racing improves the breed, and in this regard, the Exige S PP benefits from receiving launch control developed in the UK Exige GT3 program.
It works like this: the amount of revs needed for an optimum standing start can be dialed in on the steering column, then all a driver needs to do is floor the throttle and instantaneously release the clutch.
A clutch damper cushions the severity of the clutch/transmission engagement to minimise stresses on the drive train.
The launch control also minimises wheelspin until 10 km/h, after which the traction control takes over.
The system is not meant for road use - for obvious reasons.
The five-speed manual gearbox, with its click-click rifle bolt action, responds better to a calculated touch, rather than being hustled.
Also new in the current Exige S are instruments with improved functionality, alarm/immobiliser with single integrated function key and revised choice of colours.
Our test car came dressed to thrill in Isotype Green.
Performance, handling, charisma
Poor rear vision, price
||Exige S Performance Pack
||Sports Over $80,000
|Price when new
|Current price range
$ - $
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||1.8-litre supercharged 4-cyl
||179 kW @ 8000 rpm
||230 Nm @ 5500 rpm
|Acceleration to 100 km/h
||4.2 sec (claimed)
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.