It wasn't with the exhaust and it might have been 2500 - 3k as I had a few other things installed I forgot about. It wasn't 4 - 5 hours to install, it was more. The guys doing the install are good guys but they are learning how to play with a Lotus mostly from me.
Initially it went in without the new cables, they didn't have time that day for them. For me I didn't notice much of a difference with the new cables once they were installed, a slight diff but not huge. I got them because I was worried about the stock ones breaking and the car is 11 yrs old.
I would for sure do it again. I drove an Exige before my car and I wasn't impressed with its stick and the stick in my car sucked. I never liked it, it was a bit sloppy and overall wasn't fun at all, it was just there almost as an afterthought on the car.
For me the shifter is fun and thats why I bought this car, I sit at a light and flick it through the gears which I never did with the stock, it makes the car better for me.
I recommend you try one somehow if your not sure. There is another member here zoombyu and I tried his Exige, he did the washer mod I think, it was not bad I was surprised but when he tried my car he said mine was much better but he only drove it a bit. I might meet up with him soon and perhaps he can offer his feedback as well.
I'd be curious to hear what other guys think. I've read some other reviews and they are generally positive.