What is it?
The boundaries between the original Lotus Exige and the Lotus Elise it was developed from were blurred by the fact they were fundamentally the same car, sharing basic layout and four-cylinder engines.
The Exige was always the hardcore, track-day-ready version though, coming with a fixed rather than fabric roof and increasingly potent states of tune in keeping with its enthusiast focus. Then the arrival of the supercharged V6 engine from the Evora S in 2012 brought about a very different Exige S, one far more potent and rapid than any that had gone before.
Roadster, automatic and race-ready Cup versions built by Lotus Motorsport have followed, but with this new Sport 350 Lotus has brought the pace of the most extreme variants into its standard Exige. And it's done it in a very Lotus way - primarily by removing weight.
Every single component has been scrutinised for its purpose, weight and cost. If it wasn't needed it was simply dumped - the near-useless sun visors have been removed for a saving of nearly a kilo, while the distinctive louvred rear deck is 3kg lighter than the glass item it replaces. More than 100 parts were either removed or revised, and a further opportunity to save weight was offered by optional forged wheels and lightweight brake discs.
If all this minimalism is too much, you can put a few luxuries - and kilos - back in. Everything from a radio to carpets are on the options list, air-con is too, although it'll add 7.5kg to the kerbweight. But, even fully optioned up, the Exige remains a single-minded, focused car.
An Audi TT or Porsche Cayman will give you the pose value and creature comforts for the daily grind and Sunday drives alike, the Exige is a car for the track with just enough to make it viable on the road too.