2009 Lotus Exige

2009 Lotus Exige Review

Note: This review was created when the 2009 Lotus Exige was new.

The Lotus Exige is a track junkie's dream come true -- offering mind-blowing speeds and unrivaled handling dynamics. However, it rides stiff and lacks luxury, making it less fit for daily use than some of its rivals.

8.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 9.3
Interior: 5.3
Safety: N/A
Reliability: N/A

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent power and handling
  • Functional, eye-catching exterior
  • Few safety and convenience features
  • Hard to access, low slung cabin
  • Stiff suspension impedes daily use

2009 Lotus Exige Overview

The 2009 Exige is engineered for one thing only -- performance. In fact, almost every other aspect of it was designed with its performance capabilities in mind. If you can appreciate that, then you won't mind its sparse cabin, which forgoes luxury and convenience to save weight. Disappointing? Maybe. But in the end, it proves well worth it. In fact, Autobytel writes: "Flamboyant and fun, elemental and efficient, there are few cars on the market built strictly to address the joy of driving. The Lotus Exige S is one of those rare, purpose-built automobiles that make getting behind the wheel a thrill rather than a chore. We need more cars like this."

If you're in the market for a track-tuned beast of a machine, but can't stomach the Exige's hefty price tag, consider a Honda S2000 Club Racer. It's not as eye-catching as the Exige, but offers mind-blowing performance for an affordable price. Plus, it features a removable aluminum hardtop -- which offers relief on hot days at the track.

The '09 Exige is available in two trims, S and S 240. Both feature a 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine.

  • "This is a track-ready missile that shares its chassis and interior with the Elise. The Exige S, however, doesn't have a removable top, and it has different body panels and a rear wing, the latter to increase downforce. For those interested in an all-out track toy, the Exige is an excellent choice." -- Car and Driver
  • "Obviously, there are also moments of stunned amazement, because this is a truly uncompromised sports car, and extended periods of low-level irritation, occasionally verging on terror, because this is one godawful car in traffic and around town. But this compact little collection of wings, vents, spoilers, handling, oomph, and grip was built to order from the happiest days of your childhood." -- Jalopnik
  • "The Exige, however, exists for those live-fast die-hard enthusiasts who don't give a crap about cupholders, sat-nav, luggage capacity, impact harshness, HVAC, NVH, ESP, XYZ, or any other nifty electro-mechanic nuisance with an obscure acronym." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- Automobile.com
  • "Some car guys know the price of everything and the value of nothing, as car guy Oscar Wilde put it. Others value efficiency and purity at any price; size doesn't matter. The Exige--the best-handling, purest, most entertaining production sports car on the road--is for them." -- Forbes
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