Mk2 Exige at Melbourne Motor Show

Pics of car at Melbourne Motor Show HERE

This car has the “touring pack” options fitted.

This was unveiled shortly after the Geneva Motor Show unveiling but I have been a bit slack.

I test drove a Mk2 Exige on the weekend and for what it’s worth these are my impressions of it. Keep in mind that I don’t currently own an Elise or Exige but have driven them before although it was a while back when I last drove the Mk1 Exige. I’m not a reviewer so I’ll just go though each component of the car and what my thoughts are on it.

Suspension: Too soft. The Mk1 suspension was much better. I was told that there will be sport suspension available for the Mk2 Exige. Got to be better than what’s on there as standard.

Steering: Felt pretty much the same.

Brakes: Superb braking. I liked this much better than the Mk1. However, not having been on a racetrack myself, I am not qualified to comment on whether the Mk1 brakes will be better suited to the track once they are warmed up. The power assisted brakes in the Mk2, however, brought the car to a standstill very quickly with no ABS kicking in. The travel in the brake pedal was much greater than in the Mk1 so this could be a bit of a concern for toe-healing.

Rear Vision: The side mirrors are great but the rear vision through the grill just lets you know if a car is there or not and there’s not much more you can tell. I can’t remember what the Mk1 rear vision was like but I can’t imagine it being much better.

Engine: Well, I can see myself being seriously flamed, but here goes. The idle is like a normal, well behaved engine. It doesn’t cough and splutter like the Mk1 engine. I must say that I kind of liked the way the Rover engine idles but the Toyota engine is a lot smoother. I couldn’t really tell if there was more torque but you could accelerate in the Mk2 from about 2000 revs so it would be great to drive in traffic. And for the racetrack, well when you take the revs above the 6.5k mark (or thereabouts) you definitely feel the kick of the high lift cam coming in. It’s not like the kick of a turbo though, but it is noticeable. Also, it’s quite easy to keep the engine above that rev range so you have all that extra power on tap. I do see where Lotus are coming from with this because it’s like having 2 cars in one. A nice sports car for the road, and a jekyl & hyde change to a more serious car for the racetrack or the fun twisty parts of the country roads. The engine was much quieter than the Mk1 but this was because the car I drove had the touring pack which included the sound deadening. I must say that this alone make the car easier to live with as a daily driver. I could have a normal conversation with another person or listen to the radio.

Cabin: The most important thing to notice is that it doesn’t get hot inside the cabin. The grill allows the engine to vent exceptionally well. In any case, if it does happen to get hot, the aircon actually works quite well!!! What a concept! Now before you start to complain about the extra weight, that might be true for the UK but in hotter climates it is a must for everyday use. I won’t go into aesthetics of the interior - that’s a personal issue.

Overall Impressions: After driving the car, I do see where Lotus is heading and I agree with what they have come up with. My only major gripe is the suspension. When going through this exercise it is difficult to know how far to go and I think that Lotus have gone too far the other way with the suspension. Hopefully the sports suspension option will fix this problem. I found the Mk2 much easier to become comfortable in than the Mk1 and I found myself taking this car much closer to the “edge” than the Mk1. I could go hell for leather around the turns and feel it start to slide. The feedback was so good that it was easy to control and keep the car at the limit of its capability. I didn’t get that same reassurance with the Mk1. I couldn’t tell where the limit was and was too afraid to approach that limit for fear of losing it (and at $AU6,000 for insurance I wasn’t game enough to try).

Conclusion: For something that I can comfortably drive everyday and take to the track, the Mk2 Exige with the better suspension is definitely the go. For something that I can take to the track and occasionally use on the road, you can take your pick between the Mk1 & Mk2.


Excellent report - it kinda sums up 100% exactly what i felt when i drove the 111R - when i get a drive of the S2exige i’m probably expecting just what you have said on all counts.

BTW I like your pics - that’s the first time we’ve been able to see exactly how the rear wing is attached.

Ooo, a first drive of the S2! Thanks for sharing.

I wouldn’t worry about being flamed here, it’s not that kind of forum (well not the punters, businesses have been know to let loose at each other!).

I understand with the brakes that not even the Lotus development drivers knew the ABS was working. They had to check the system the first time they drove it. You’re also not the first to complain about heel’n’toe, it sounds like the same problem as with the 111R.

Apparently the latest a/c only add 15kgs, so I won’t blame anybody for taking it. Wish I had 15kgs of good working order a/c in mine!

Your comments on feeling more confident mirror those for the S2 Elise when that came out. However, that proved to be much more understeery than the S1 Elise. I understand they solved some of this with the 111R but wonder if it’ll have removed some of the go-kartness of the Exige experience.

Shame about the suspension. At that price, the stiffer stuff had better be a no cost upgrade.


That’s not pictures of the S2 Exige… that’s an Elise…

Oh hang on… I’m sorry… yep… I can see the front spoiler is 1 millimetre deeper… my mistake.

Good review though !

I was intrigued to read this review, and congrats on your impartiality

It looks to me as if there is now a separate compartment for luggage in the back, as compared to the ‘tray’ in the S1…

I suppose if someone offered me one of these cars, I would not say no, but on balance I still prefer the looks of my S1…

On track, I think the S1 will also be in its power band, and then we will have an interesting meeting of old v new…

Probably the best DRIVER will be the fastest anyway

excellent impartial review, waiting for my test run, shame about opinion of the suspension

It looks to me as if there is now a separate compartment for luggage in the back, as compared to the ‘tray’ in the S1…

I understand that is correct. Although I can’t help thinking it looks like a silly grin every time I see it!


It looks to me as if there is now a separate compartment for luggage in the back,

Ahhh… i thought they put the glovebox in a silly place…

thanks for the review!
too bad we won’t get the exige in HK

anyway, the pix are great!
and i can see that there is enough room above the engine/under the cover to roast some lambchops or something like that on my drive home!!!

Thanks guys. Glad you liked the review. Now I have a question for the more experienced Exige owners especially those that have played around with the suspension. Will the sport suspension on the S2 Exige fix the oversteer? It’s probably caused by a combination of the weight distribution and the suspension. Could you confirm this?

On the S1 the oversteer is a bit dependant on driving style. I get lots of understeer unless I trail brake a little harder. In theory with more torque you should be able to pull the car back straight from oversteer a little easier (I assume you’re not talking about power oversteer), so given the new engine they may have set it up like that on purpose.

When were you getting it?

Although to answer your question, adjustable, rather than just harder, suspension should be able to help dialing out oversteer. So it depends what they fit and how they set it up.


When were you getting it?

Thanks IDG. Makes me think I really am getting one. I live in Australia so imagine if you earned half what you currently earn and you had to pay close to 50,000 pounds for an Exige (and not much less for an S1). It makes it a little more difficult to own. But I expect to buy one in 2 months or 2 years or 20 years in order of preference depending on how my investments pan out. Mind you if I didn’t have 2 children going to private schools I would be able to afford one now. Until then, I’ll keep dreaming and test driving.


so imagine if you earned half what you currently earn

I get the feeling the next littl’un is going to have the same effect!

Send them out to work and buy two Exiges, that’s what I say!



Oeversteer: I don’t find the Exige is particularly oversteering. In fact it has a pretty good balance between understeer and oversteer, depends on entry speed and throttle dosification.

I guess you’re talking about the “snappy” oversteer characteristics. That’s a feature inherent with mid-mounted engines and short wheelbases. Not possible to get rid of. Possible to diminish it by the use of good tyres and mastering the cars feel.

Private schools: I took mine out to a good public school for two reasons:
-couldn’t stand the “posh” attitude there
-I didn’t feel the outrageous amounts I was paying there led to any better education than a good public school
-I don’t dig into the “social status” thing

Solution: get the kids out of the private schools and anjoy an Exige


In a private school, that would be spelt “dozification”.

Whatever the f**k it means

I guess that was a poor translation from spanish.

What would be the word for “to dose” ? to give just the amount of throttle needed?

I guess that was a poor translation from spanish.

What would be the word for “to dose” ? to give just the amount of throttle needed?

Uldis, no offence intended, so hope none taken

I think the phrase you want is “to feather the throttle”.

Right, that must be it! Feathering the throttle.

None better than an englishman to tach you english.

Hold on… yes, there is something better: an Englishwoman!

Hmmm, pity Veronique doesn’t speak much…

None better than an englishman to tach you english.

If only that were true! I think you’d be better off taking lessons from a Dutchman or Swede.