Next-generation Exige gets Toyota engine and gearbox
16 September 2003

Lotus is making a big splash with its new Exige. The Norfolk company has released this sneak preview of the second generation Elise coupé spin-off.
The Exige will be the first Lotus powered by a Toyota engine – the Celica T-Sport’s 1.8-litre four-cylinder with VVTL-i variable valve timing. Out goes the old Exige’s five-speed ’box, replaced by the Celica’s six-speeder.
Peak power is 190bhp and the high-revving engine is red lined at 8350rpm. Lotus claims the new Exige will sprint to 60mph in less than 5.0sec and max out at more than 140mph, making it comfortably the fastest of the current Elise family.
Suspension tuning and tyres are biased to serious road and track use, much like the original Exige which ceased production in 2000. The mini Group C race-car styling is revived with larger air intakes, front splitter and rear spoiler.
The new Exige will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2004 and will go on sale in April for around £33,000.
Although the same Toyota engine will be used in the forthcoming American-market Elise, European-spec models will continue to use the MG Rover K-series engine for the foreseeable future.

See this week's mag for an exclusive first drive

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Mustang
    First Drive
    24 March 2018
    Sixth-generation Mustang gets a leaner face, revised suspension, improved safety equipment and a more power V8. We see how it fares on southern French roads
  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim