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Original MSRP: $65,690 - $74,995
MPG: 20 City / 26 Hwy
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2009 Lotus Exige Performance

This performance review was written when the 2009 Lotus Exige was new.

Reviewers appreciate the Exige's high-performance engine and wonderful handling dynamics.

  • "Get it out of traffic and down a twisty road, or into its natural track habitat, and it is really unbelievably good. The motor is good for 60 in under four seconds and a hundred in just ten, and it makes fairly wonderful sounds while doing it all the way to 150 or so." -- Jalopnik

Acceleration and Power

Auto critics love the '09 Exige's powerful mid-mounted, supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. While the S generates 218-horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 156 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm, the S 240 produces 240-horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 170 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm. Both are equipped with a six-speed close ration manual transmission. Lotus reports at 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of 4.1 seconds with the S and 4.0 seconds with the S 240. The Exige can reach a top speed of 150 mph.

Though the EPA has yet to rate the '09 Exige's fuel efficiency, its figures should closely resemble that of the previous model year. In 2008, it achieved a city/highway fuel economy of 20/26 mpg -- which is really surprising given what this machine can do.

  • "If you blow into someone's face while he's yawning, he'll wake up for sure. Lotus did exactly that to the Exige, pushing 7.3 psi of supercharged air into the four. The resulting 220-hp Exige S makes 80 percent of its peak torque from just over 2000 rpm. It will still rev to 8500 rpm, and it retains enough of its intoxicating midrange power surge to make you want to keep the revs up." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Not only does it scoot the 2,077-pound hand-laid composite fiberglass bodied Lotus to highway speeds nearly as quick as an F430, but it makes such an adrenaline inducing exhaust note that it'll stand the follicles on the tops of your arms at attention as your skin tingles with goose bumps." -- Automobile.com
  • "With the assistance of the manual transmission's overdriven 5th and 6th gears, the 1.8 returns a respectable 25-mpg combined fuel economy rating." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Test drivers find the '09 Exige handles marvelously, though they also note that not all drivers will find its stiff suspension comfortable for everyday use. In addition to its standard performance technology, Lotus offers options to satisfy the most aggressive of drivers -- including a Limited slip Differential.

  • "The car rotates freely and predictably around a vertical axis drawn through your right shoulder, exactly as you knew cars would back when you drove your third-grade desk. Like the seven-year-old you, the Exige doesn't acknowledge understeer or oversteer." -- Jalopnik
  • "Handling is the whole point of this car; everything else falls into a supporting role. For confirmation, go to any track-day weekend where everyone gets together and rents the road course for a day and you will see Exiges and Elises galore." - AutoWeek
  • "Straight-ahead power means little if you can't turn the thing, and this is where the Exige S earns its accolade (which we just now awarded) as the world's Most Accessible Supercar." -- Edmunds
  • "The steering -- and the comically small steering wheel -- that seems so nervous on the road is perfect on the track: light, quick and laser accurate." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "If you add the optional track pack to an Exige, an Amish horse-drawn carriage builder would complain about the ride quality." -- Automobile Magazine
Review Last Updated: 2/10/10

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