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
It's not always so hectic. The engine's right behind your head, but unlike the smaller outgoing 1.8-litre, this one settles into an easy-going cruise. And it's torquey, with sixth handling everything up from 40mph. You can see it in the mirror, which itself is far more useful than the one in the old Exige, thanks to the advent of that rear screen. As we circle Paris, on the Périphérique, we're caught in a swarm of hatchbacks - some of which disappear for minutes in the enormous rear three-quarter blind spot - but at least the newfound rear visibility makes it easier to see them coming. The ride is obviously firm, but the slightly longer wheelbase and more cultured damping seem to take the edge off it. If the last one felt like lying directly on bed slats, this one's more like a posh futon... though it could do with more back padding. Even the new Alpine stereo has a surprising clarity. Small things, but they combine to make a journey in this Exige a touch less masochistic than before.