From £52,9009

Hethel goes back to basics with its Lotus Exige, which makes for a capable track day machine, but one less refined than its direct rivals on the road

The Exige perhaps now more than ever feels like the sort of car Lotus ought to be making.

After several turbulent years for the Norfolk-based company, this raw and focused model feels like a brutal counterpunch, or the instinctive lunge of a wounded animal. The Exige range is an engineer’s car, seemingly conceived for the purest of intents: to go fast and to entertain wildly while doing it. And it complements the rest of the Lotus range superbly, with the thrill-seeking Lotus Elise propping up the range and the GT-flavoured Lotus Evora topping it.

Superbly poised in a supple Lotus way

There are three flavours of Exige: the Sport 350, the Sport 380 and the Race 380. If you think these Exiges are simply a more focussed Elise, then you will need to think again, as the each one uses the same Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6 fettled at Hethel and found in the Lotus Evora. The main differences between the two are that all three Exiges produce less bhp than the entry-level Evora and utilise a Harrop supercharger rather than the Edelbrock version found in its bigger sibling.

Lotus Exige S V6 2012-2016 First drives