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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Lotus Exige S

Overall verdict
It’s a surprise, this Exige S, but it’s a welcome one: a fine competitor in the £50k sports car arena.


Joyous handling, performance, character


The traditionalists won't understand


What is it?

It’s a sign of the strained times at Lotus when its famous adage ‘just add lightness’ becomes ‘just add 170kg and double the size of the engine’. But that’s what’s been done to turn the Exige into the Exige S – and, so well does this new approach work, we think they may just be onto something. Yes, some people will feel uneasy at how the raw road racer appears to have become a softer, sleeker and much more expensive GT car, but they can rest easy. The latest new Lotus, despite the strife it’s been developed under, is a cracker.

So, yes, it’s heavier, but it’s still lighter than any rival. It has the same power to weight ratio as a 911 Turbo. The supercharged 3.5-litre V6 is as charismatic as the old four-pot was anodyne. And it’s been developed by the masters of ride and handling, so you don’t have to dig deep before the appeal becomes clear.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
3.5 V6 380 Sport 2dr
3.7s 242g/km 27.2 380 £68,920
The cheapest
3.5 V6 S Club Racer 2dr
4.0s 235g/km 28.0 345 £57,320
The greenest
3.5 V6 350 Sport 2dr Auto
3.8s 219g/km 30.1 350 £59,620
Continue: Driving

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