buying an exige s1 please help!

hi all, im about to purchase and exige s1 for myself as i have fallen in love with the car, and i have a few questions that i hope anyone can help me with before i buy. my main concern is that i live in central london and the exige will be my only car. i dont intend on driving it everyday and i will be taking out of the city to get the most fun out of it but on a few occasions i will need it to get around town. ive heard that s1 exiges are sometimes bad in traffic as they can over heat and the engine becomes very bumpy when driven at slow speeds. i reckon i could cope with a the car hopping along the road a bit but is it bad for the engine to be driven a slow speeds and constantly stopping and starting? the car im looking to buy has the 190 upgrade, does that make it worse for town driving? would be thankful anyones help. cheers.


much as i really really hate to discourage anyone from having their S1 exige… the one mode of running that i think it hates is traffic jam type stuff…

I don’t think it would do very well in that environment and i get pretty twitchy in my car when i get stuck in traffic and the fan comes on… which it does pretty quickly when you are in a jam…

thankfully, its a rare thing where i roam… maybe someone else has more practical experience ?

thanks for the reply. im quite traffic tolerant due lots of experience living in london. but when u say ‘it wouldnt do very well in that environment,’ would there be any bad affects to the car? is it bad news when the fan comes on? bearing in mind im expecting to take it out and get stuck in traffic as infrequently as possible.

With a remote stat fitted that should aleivate most of the overheating troubles IMHO.

Technically they should be fine but do overheat pretty quick! You can get a fan controller here: which will help too, I have my emerald ECU set to 90C so the fan kicks in before it gets too hot at all IYSWIM.

I get a lot of traffic around me, but not quite in the league of london! The other thing you’ll find is that you will also get loads of heat soak into the cabin and so boil like an… er… egg…

I think there’s a couple of Exiges in London so will have to see what they say

A couple of years ago, I fitted the motorsport engine cover to improve cooling. Made a huge difference. The engine never overheats, and the fan seems to be surplus to requirement. Even stuck in a jam on a blistering summer’s day in Monaco, the coolant temp didn’t go above about 95 degrees.
Only downside is rear visibility. It’s so bad, I’ve removed the rear view mirror.

They are a bit of a nightmare to drive around London to br honest. The VHPD is flat and lumpy at low rpm and the heat cycling is a major cause of HGF. If you really want an S1 then a remote stat is a must but otherwise have you looked at the S2?

yeah have looked at the s2 but its too expensive and personally i dont think it looks nearly as good as the s1. please pardon my ignorance but what is HGF? i have test driven a couple of S1s now and twice got stuck in traffic. both times the car seemed fine maybe a little lumpy at times but nothing to put me off purchase. thanks for all the advive so far, if anyone else can give me anymore imput from driving in city conditions would be very grateful.

HGF = Head gasket failure. The Rover K suffers this inherently but there are ways to reduce the chance of it happening. Like a remote stat and steel dowels to locate the head as oppossed to the standard nylon ones.

And making sure the liner tops have the proper protrusion.
Mine were not. Corrected on the rebuild of course.

I live in Brizzle and the traffic is pretty bad, but haven’t had a problem yet with the car around town. Before I ever drove an Exige from what i had read I was expecting it to be a right dog around town, but now I have one and use it daily it isn’t nowhere near as bad as some people make out. Only problem as Rox says is that it kangaroos a bit but is not a major problem.
190 spec cars are supposed to be alot better than 177 cars which I thought mine was, until yesterday when I had a nice E-mail from Chris Brown at Lotus conforming that it had been upgraded at the factory.


others above have added/clarified what i was getting at but being mid engine (with a lump that was supposed to go into fwd) it needs airflow from a moving car to get proper cooling… having the temperature rise to the point of the fan cutting in on a regular basis would increase the threat of HGF and preignition and other heat related ailments… like melting wires looms and such like. I ain’t going to say any of this is bound to happen but it must be more likely… imho…

Also, in standard or 190 trim it doesn’t like idle speed driving and youd have to slip the clutch a lot more with all start/stop moving in traffic etc… this would bring on early replacement needs…

But, of course, i’m not absolutely clear about how much of this you would actually be exposed to and therefore you might be okay or might decide to say well the upside outweighs the downside so �^%kit… i’m having one anyway… its difficult to say really… so 'the choice is yoors…"

thanks moles1 thats just what i wanted to hear. saw my potential exige today and now im even more keen to buy! hoping to be the proud owner by the end of next week. still would be glad to hear anyone elses advice on the car especially if they live in a busy city.

thanks for the honest responses roxteddy. at least if i definitely do buy im going in with my eyes open. im hoping to keep being stuck in traffic to a minium as have learnt to avoid the main hotspots but london is very unpredictable at times. so from what ive heard the car should be able to cope aslong as trundling along at 2 mph is not a regular occurance and some modifications to keep the engine cooler should seriously considered.

cheers ollie

you will love drivin this car if you buy it… just be prepared want to go job hunting outside sunny Lundun…

OK so I live in London and have an Exige - surely I am not the only one?? I live in SW London and can share some experiences with you. You should know however that I don’t try and use the Exige as my only car. I love having an Exige but there are some considerations for keeping it this far outside its natural habitat (sounds like a wild animal don’t it!!) The other guys have covered the mechanical things, so here are some more ownership experiences things:

Cabin Heat Soak As soon as the weather gets a bit better this will probably be the thing you notice most about driving in traffic. You will get HOT! Hard to look cool with your hair plastered to your head and wiping sweat out yer eyes Good for weight loss tho’
Visibility Let’s face it rear-visbility is not a strong point of te Exige. You quickly compensate and learn to use the side mirrors but this is not a city car, you really have to concentrate. Worst are big unstructured junctions like Hammersmith or Marble Arch - just clench yer buttocks and go!! Oh and it is very hard to see if you have picked up a ‘police escort’ if you know what i mean
Parking Rear visibility and poor turning circle make the Exige difficult to park. NCP car-parks in town require careful negotiation because of ramps - I find ramps to be far more of an issue than speed humps.
Attention You will get a lot of attention - I rarely drive through the West End but the record for the number of Photos taken of me driving across Parliament Sq is 4!! See if you can beat it Sometimes the attention is nice, sometimes I find I am just not in the mood.
Practicality You can carry a bit of luggage but you will not want to put yer Tesco shop in the back (it gets very warm and wet if it rains)! If you have a passenger they usually end up with something on their lap…oooerrr I cary a few dustbin liners in case I need to put something in the back.
It simply does not like the city simple as that the only parallel I can think of is when I take the girlfriend to a motorsport event and although she puts up with it she is giving me ‘what the fxxx have you bought me here for’ vibes . Tracks, and b-road blasts are what this car is made for, treat it to frequent treatments of both of the above and it will tolerate a bit of city driving.

Rox is right, the car will get under yer skin and you will start thinking about moving somewhere with better roads!! It is not my intention to try and put you off, but do it with your eyes open and try and make sure that at least every other time you get in, it is getting up early to get out of town and find some b-roads, or to get to a trackday.

Good luck with your decision,…let us know how it pans out.

Spot on Rox & Benja

I live in SW London as well and have done a few hours crawling around the Wimbledon area today. The Kangarooing is not as bad as some non exige owners make out but you do have to slip the clutch a little and you have to give it a bit more revs than a normal car which means you look like you are showing off at traffic lights etc .

In the winter (like today) - the heat is not a problem at all - in fact I had my heaters on all day but come the summer it could get a bit sticky especially if you are in a suit or something. I have done 2 Le Mans trips in it as well in some seriously hot conditions / traffic jams and I haven’t had an overheating problem, I have air con as well but have never used it really.

However Benja beat me to it - I think the “worse” bit abot stop start traffic is the attention, you get seriously paranoid after a while with everyone looking at you, kids shouting etc - it is fun for bit but it does bug you sometimes.

The ideal situation IMHO is to have 2 cars but really up to you. It is such a brilliant car, you will forgive all the above for the silly grin you be wearing evry time you get in it .

Benja, your boot shouldn’t be getting wet when it rains. If you’ve got a leak, you should be able to fix it easily. There are a couple of common problems with the drainage channel that runs around the edge of the engine cover:

  1. Check the rubber pipe that runs down from the hole at the bottom of the drainage channel. Make sure it’s not blocked, and that it’s properly attached. I had to use some silicon sealant on mine to make it water tight.

  2. In the drainage channel, on the right hand side of the car, about a quarter of the way up, you will find two holes about 2 inches apart. They should have black plastic plugs in them. These plugs are not at all water proof. Stick a bit of silicon sealant under them and your boot should be pretty water tight.

The boot liner mat thingy is very absorbent, and it can soak up a few kilos of water Not good for a lightweight car

Thanks Brendan I will check that out. Just put the car away under its cover so it will be a job for next w/e.

I think there fine for everyday use. Ive been in loads of traffic jams, i didn’t have any problems. Im not sure if the engine temp is that much different on mine because of the supercharger but it stays at around 92 in jams. The burble on the engine i think is even worse on the supercharged car but you get use to driving in slow traffic and stopping it gonig like a kangeroo. I dont use it everyday now as ive got a works van but when i did i thought people just over reacted how hard they are to keep at low speeds/traffic.