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Lotus Exige S: The Ultimate Roadster

| 24 Jul 2013 | No Comments

The comparison between Lotus’ latest Exige S Roadster and Porsche’s Boxster is inevitable. Let’s find out which one wins the race for the title of ultimate performance.

The New Exige S – Performance on Road vs. Track

Lotus has built its new Exige S Roadster based on its most focused model, but oddly a little less hard core. Surprisingly though, the new Roadster is quite comfortable on regular roads. And what’s more, it’s now become a tad easier to exploit its full potential on the circuit. However, it traverses a lap, a fraction slower than its precursor. If you are enthusiastic about track day more than anything else in the world, we’d advise you to opt for something else! But if you aim to settle for extreme performance for day-to-day use, the new Lotus Exige S Roadster is it.

Modifications and Updates

Hopping into this car for the first time instantly gives you the same engaging and exhilarating feel as that of the Coupé; and this despite the roof chopped. One of the key reasons behind this is that this Exige S Roadster’s rigidity comes from down under, from its chassis. Hence, there’s hardly any effect with the roof chopped off. That, combined with the front splitter and even the rear spoiler eliminated, amounts to a reduction in weight by 10kg.

Moreover, Lotus has meticulously included other subtle upgrades such as tweaks to the camber and softened damper settings. Resultantly, the new Roadster retains the Coupé’s plain and unrefined thrill quotient on the road, while scoring higher on comfort and expediency.

Drive Experience

The new Lotus Exige S Roadster superbly flows over cracks and brusquely turns into bends; while the steering gently reminds you of the series of events under the tyres. Like in case of the Coupé, Lotus offers an optional race pack with this one as well. This leads to a stiffer set-up, and you will need it only if you are seriously considering track use.

The Engine, Performance and Comparisons with the Coupé’

This car is engineered with Coupé’s 345bhp 3.5l V6, which has a more pronounced presence in the soft-top model. Go from Tour mode to Sport, and the exhaust valves open up to produce V6’s characteristic rumble, experienced the best with the roof down.

The engine enables the Exige S Roadster to go from zero to 62mph merely in 4 seconds. Here, the maximum speed is restricted to 145mph as against the Coupé’s 170mph. However, the difference in acceleration is barely noticeable, and the Roadster’s cabin is more boisterous than of the latter at high speeds. Comparing lap timings, the former is slower by a full 1.6s.

The steering does feel quite heavy during parking and there’s undue wind noise on motorways; however, the softer suspension makes it a more favourable alternative compared to the Coupé.

Both the vehicles are equivalent on dynamism and cost £52,900 onwards. At this price, the new Exige S Roadster exceeds the Porsche Boxster S by £7,000. Nevertheless, the Lotus’ sports creation beats the Porsche’s on thrill; and is focused on enhancing involvement, enthusiasm and performance.

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