2009 Lotus Exige

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$65,690 - $74,995
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Engine Engine 1.8LI-4
MPG MPG 20 City / 26 Hwy
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2009 Exige Overview

2009 Lotus Exige S 260 – Click above for high-res image gallery Over its 61-year history, Lotus Cars has spent a considerable amount of time clawing its way back from the brink of insolvency. The company's most recent bout with financial disrepair came in the early Nineties after the front-wheel-drive Elan proved a commercial failure (surprise!) and the Esprit toiled away in the shadows of newer, more powerful supercars. As hope for the historic marque's triumphant return began to fade, a group of Lotus engineers pooled their collective will to create an all-new, back-to-basics model that would revive Colin Chapman's company and give hardened enthusiasts the purist's driving tool they craved. In September of 1996, the Elise was born, and four years later, its hard-top sibling – the Exige – came on the scene. Over the last decade, we've seen a raft of super-special-limited-edition variants follow in its lightweight wake, but the ultimate version is this: the 2009 Lotus Exige S 260. Packing more power and "more lightness" than the 240 Sport we sampled last year, there's no doubt it's a telepathic terror on track, but we wanted to know if it was up to the depravity of Michigan roads, so we set our chiropractor on speed dial and headed out... %Gallery-73703% Photos copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Max Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc. But first, a quick recap of high school physics. The definition of kinetic energy is e = 1/2 * m * v2. You can rearranged that equation to v = square root ((2 * e) / m). Automotive translation? You can make a vehicle quicker by either increasing available energy (more power!) or by cutting its mass (more lightness!). With this latest Exige, Lotus engineers have clearly said: "Screw it. Let's do both." And with that, they've taken the 240 S – already one of the lightest street cars on the market – and shaved nearly 60 pounds by replacing the engine cover, rear wing, front splitter, roof and side ducts with carbon fiber pieces, and they've fitted a set of lightweight sports seats and plonked a minimalist battery in the "trunk." With the weight reduction out of the way, the engine tweakers in Hethel extracted a further 17 horsepower out of the supercharged, 1.8-liter Toyota-sourced four-cylinder engine to bring total output up to 257 horsepower and torque to a reasonably stout 174 pound-feet. While that's nothing to write home about in the two-ton luxobarges that populate the Great Lakes State, fit it to something that weighs just over 2,000 pounds while meeting the Fed's safety standards – all while returning 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway – and you've got one of the most potent performance creations available to man. Assuming you can fit inside. Lotus manages to achieve such a low mass (while meeting modern regulatory standards) by using a novel architecture built from a collection of aluminum extrusions riveted and glued together. The issue of ingress and egress …
Full Review

2009 Exige Overview

2009 Lotus Exige S 260 – Click above for high-res image gallery Over its 61-year history, Lotus Cars has spent a considerable amount of time clawing its way back from the brink of insolvency. The company's most recent bout with financial disrepair came in the early Nineties after the front-wheel-drive Elan proved a commercial failure (surprise!) and the Esprit toiled away in the shadows of newer, more powerful supercars. As hope for the historic marque's triumphant return began to fade, a group of Lotus engineers pooled their collective will to create an all-new, back-to-basics model that would revive Colin Chapman's company and give hardened enthusiasts the purist's driving tool they craved. In September of 1996, the Elise was born, and four years later, its hard-top sibling – the Exige – came on the scene. Over the last decade, we've seen a raft of super-special-limited-edition variants follow in its lightweight wake, but the ultimate version is this: the 2009 Lotus Exige S 260. Packing more power and "more lightness" than the 240 Sport we sampled last year, there's no doubt it's a telepathic terror on track, but we wanted to know if it was up to the depravity of Michigan roads, so we set our chiropractor on speed dial and headed out... %Gallery-73703% Photos copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Max Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc. But first, a quick recap of high school physics. The definition of kinetic energy is e = 1/2 * m * v2. You can rearranged that equation to v = square root ((2 * e) / m). Automotive translation? You can make a vehicle quicker by either increasing available energy (more power!) or by cutting its mass (more lightness!). With this latest Exige, Lotus engineers have clearly said: "Screw it. Let's do both." And with that, they've taken the 240 S – already one of the lightest street cars on the market – and shaved nearly 60 pounds by replacing the engine cover, rear wing, front splitter, roof and side ducts with carbon fiber pieces, and they've fitted a set of lightweight sports seats and plonked a minimalist battery in the "trunk." With the weight reduction out of the way, the engine tweakers in Hethel extracted a further 17 horsepower out of the supercharged, 1.8-liter Toyota-sourced four-cylinder engine to bring total output up to 257 horsepower and torque to a reasonably stout 174 pound-feet. While that's nothing to write home about in the two-ton luxobarges that populate the Great Lakes State, fit it to something that weighs just over 2,000 pounds while meeting the Fed's safety standards – all while returning 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway – and you've got one of the most potent performance creations available to man. Assuming you can fit inside. Lotus manages to achieve such a low mass (while meeting modern regulatory standards) by using a novel architecture built from a collection of aluminum extrusions riveted and glued together. The issue of ingress and egress …Hide Full Review