Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Tail of the Dragon
DRIVING RATING: 5 stars
Well, it should get five stars really, shouldn't it? That being the whole point of the car... But even if you're expecting it to be good, the Exige's level of ability might come as a surprise. It's not the power - plenty, but not at the level which takes your breath away - or the throttle response - good, but not exceptional. Nor is it the strong and progressive brakes; these get servo assistance for the first time, which makes initial pedal feel a bit soft and makes arching your foot for heel-and-toe gearshifts a bit tricky. That gearshift, incidentally, while accurate enough, and fairly short-throw, is nothing to write home about. No, these elements all fairly conventional, normal even.
It's the steering and the sensational chassis that make the Exige such great fun to drive. Even if the Exige had a normal car's power-assisted steering, you'd be aware that it's a keyed-to-the-tarmac sports car with tenacious grip in dry or even damp conditions. You'd feel the excellent body control, a tiny bit of roll and body settle as you turn into a corner, and a reassuring ability to soak up mid-corner bumps and ruts. And you'd also know about the ability to adjust the car's line with throttle or steering.
The non-assisted steering set-up helps you feel precisely what is going on beneath the wheels. Like most tyres, the fronts aren't particularly interested when they hit standing water but, when they aquaplane, you feel every minutiae of grip change through the steering, and then again the moment that normal service is resumed. And although the Exige's steering is the best this side of a Caterham or a kart, it doesn't kick back harshly, though it writhes gently on poor road surfaces and on sharp camber changes, but that's okay, just let the rim slip through your fingers. There's a tangible, delicate precision to it, and that's what separates the Exige from bigger, ham-fisted pseudo-sports cars. It might not be the quickest way to get from point A to point B (though, unless you're in something extremely special, it probably will be), but it's one of the most rewarding.
#somethingwickedthiswaycomes... the new Origin Noble M and the Origin 7
Zenos E10S for Sale! www.zenosforsale.com
There are some very shady dealers in the Lotus business.
2005 Lotus Elise, 1993 MR2, 1995 MR2, 125cc Shifter Kart, Toniq (in build), 2018 Origin 7 (waiting), 2018 Origin Noble M (waiting)