Looking every inch the road-racer in brilliant white with black magnesium wheels, we enter the Lotus Exige S. Dropping through the narrow door opening and into the hard driver’s seat, it feels tiny after the boxy Subaru saloon, an impression enhanced by the snickety gearshift, beautifully tactile unassisted steering and buzzy, small-capacity engine.
Again it takes a good lap and a half to get some heat into the tyres, but once warmed the Exige begins to work. Precise and fluid, it also feels surprisingly soft, with more body-roll than you’d expect. It doesn’t hamper progress too much, though, even through the rapid direction changes at Pif-Paf and Beckham. True to type, the Exige S is tidy, consistent and so easily placed on every apex. It isn’t powerful enough to feel truly fast, but it’s clearly efficient, delivering an easily achieved 1.22.40: a few tenths down on the bombastic Type-25’s best effort, but still one of the quicker cars we’ve ever lapped here.
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|Layout||Mid engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Engine||In-line 4-cyl, 1796cc, s/c|
|Max power||218bhp @ 7800rpm|
|Max torque||159lb ft @ 5500rpm|
|Max speed||148mph (claimed)|
|Price as tested||£41,740|