Group tests

Litchfield Type-25 v Caterham CSR 260 v Lotus Exige S v Radical SR3 1300 v Ariel Atom v Porsche Carrera GT v Ford GT v Ferrari Enzo v McLaren F1 - Lotus Exige: Lotus Exige S

Not blessed by huge power, but nimble and smooth through the corners, the supercharged Exige will be in with a chance

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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Specifications

LayoutMid engine, rear-wheel drive
EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1796cc, s/c
Max power218bhp @ 7800rpm
Max torque159lb ft @ 5500rpm
Weight935kg
Power/weight237bhp/ton
0-62mph4.3sec (claimed)
Max speed148mph (claimed)
Price as tested£41,740
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