2008 Lotus Exige

2008 Lotus Exige Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Lotus Exige was new.

The Exige offers rocket-like speed on straight-aways and even better handling through curves, making it a bona fide racecar for performance junkies and earning it a place near the top of its class. The 2008 Exige is a perfect car for anyone who values true sports performance over luxury.

8.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 9.2
Interior: 5.0
Safety: N/A
Reliability: N/A

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent handling and best-in-class slalom time
  • Superb steering feedback and brake pedal feel
  • Stunning racecar looks that are sure to turn heads
  • Poor interior fit and finish
  • Very difficult entry and exit
  • Stiff, choppy ride on pavement and around town
  • Spartan cockpit offers few amenities
  • Notchy manual transmission takes practice to master

2008 Lotus Exige Overview

The Exige is a star performer on the track, unsurpassed in its speed, handling, and racy looks. The 220-horsepower S model replaced the previous 190-horsepower Exige in 2007. "Certainly the Exige S isn't for everyone, but for the true enthusiast who reveres performance-oriented driving dynamics...this is as undefiled a road car that money can buy," writes Automobile.com.

There's no doubt that the Exige is a winner for its race-inspired performance, but it falls short in several other key areas. Sore spots include poor fit and finish, a stiff ride, and a Spartan interior with very little utility or even room to breathe -- making the Exige almost impossible to use as a daily driver. Competitors -- including the Ferrari F430, Porsche Cayman and Chevrolet Corvette -- may provide more comfort, but they probably can't match the awe-inspiring performance of the Lotus. In addition, the Exige's exclusive, cult-like status could also allow it to enjoy high resale value.

The 2008 Exige is only available as an S trim and features a supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission.

  • "If you're not interested in track time, the Exige S is all wrong for you. Maybe you should try a 911. Or a Lucerne." -- Car and Driver
  • "For those who find it a challenge to slip into a conventional sedan, don't even consider the Exige S. You're going to spend too much time driving over to your chiropractor. But if you don't mind the challenge getting in-and-out, the harsh ride and ear-splitting engine roar, Lotus's little offering is an impressive package." -- The Car Connection
  • "Sure enough, if you look at the Exige or the Elise as you would any other car, DVD player or can opener, you could be appalled. But when you get your Lotus out on that perfect road and start turning the wheel, all is forgiven." -- AutoWeek
  • "[T]he best street-legal production track car you can buy." -- Road and Track
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