The Emira will feature two technologies the Exige has always done without, right up to the end. The first is power steering.
At 1218kg on our scales (against 1138kg claimed), the Exige Sport 390’s kerb weight is already at the limit of what Lotus considers possible with an unassisted rack, and the Emira, with its luxurious accoutrements, will simply be too heavy to go without what will thankfully be electrohydraulic assistance. The new-generation car will also feature a limited-slip differential, which Lotus has always shunned in the Elise and Exige because it can corrupt initial steering response on the way into corners.
That’s all to come, though, and for now, this last-of-line Exige handles very much true to type. The things that stand out include the absolute precision with which it can be placed on the road via the small steering wheel rim, and the unity with which the front axle bites and the rear axle follows when this aluminium chassis is poured into bends. With a steady steering ratio and that distinctive heft in the action, this isn’t a ‘flickable’ car in the manner of the Alpine A110, and it demands deliberate inputs, but when you calm yourself and find some rhythm, the Exige is supremely composed yet agile and gives you world-class feedback. What’s remarkable is the lack of steering corruption on poorer roads.
Yes, there are times when a firm hand on the wheel is required, but these are limited to when the road is so threadbare that you can actually see the moment coming and prepare for it. Mostly, there are precious few drawbacks to having unassisted steering and limited suspension travel.