Top Gear drives the Lotus Exige S
The Clermont-Ferrand GP circuit was famous for its gut-wrenching corners. Can the new Lotus Exige S take the strain?
Posted: 20 Jun 2012
Weirdly, the gearchange doesn't have quite the same connection. It could be because this particular 'box is so new, but each shift requires a deliberate movement to get the lever into the right place, especially as you shift across the gate. If you rush, it gets a bit crunchy. And what of the stability control system? Some might wonder what place it has on any Lotus, let alone the most hardcore product in the range. But it's a legal requirement these days. So rather than view it as a clumsy afterthought, the engineers treated it as a fundamental part of the set-up - something to work with the car, not against it. But it's always more of a background aid, subtly adjusting torque flow - backing off if it detects a little understeer - or gently braking an inside wheel to coax the front end through a corner. The throttle sharpens and traction control relaxes as you go through the three modes (Tour, Sport and Race), or you can disengage everything except the emergency brake assist. The steps between the settings could be more noticeable, though Sport and Race are marked by an increasingly racy exhaust note - though you can turn up the volume while in Tour by pressing a button on the steering column.