Published on October 28th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Grip grip grip with fire in its belly, Lotus Exige S 350 test drive
This is a brand new Exige from Lotus which was launched just earlier this year. Describing this new Sport 350 version of the Lotus Exige to a lay person starts with its figures: power, torque and its 274km/h top speed capability. But for the car enthusiast the 0-100km/h time of a scorching 3.9 seconds is the impressive figure they want to know as it puts this British made car in supercar territory. But there is another very important fact to impress and this is its GRIP ability. Yes, this Lotus is super grippy and our drive review will explain.
Before GRIP, lets start with its looks. It is just great to look at, but every design feature has its purpose in handling and speed. The nose it low with large headlamps on its side. Its side profile is like the Elise, larger and wider is its arches.
Replacing the previous car’s glass tailgate, the newly designed lightweight, strong and stiff, rear louvered tailgate not only helps lower the Exige’s centre of gravity, but also aids engine bay cooling – a feature first introduced on the Lotus Esprit Turbo in 1980.
The Lotus Exige Sport 350’s aerodynamic styling produces 42 kg of down force at 160km/h with the very unique rear wing and flat underside both contributing to its phenomenal aerodynamic performance and finely balanced handling.
Lower yourself into the Exige’s sporty and firm leather seats and you know you’re in a proper sports car. You sit low and still with my 5’ 6” height I had good view out front and side. The high doors sills and waistline and low windscreen header rail lend a feel of hewn-from-rock solidity to the cocoon-like cabin, which serves to make the excellent driving position.
When you get behind the wheel of this Exige you immediately feel at one with the car. The meter cluster is simple and informative and air condition vents are well positioned. The billet made gear knob invites and my palm grabs it ready to deploy some hard hitting action.
The weight balance is perfect thanks to the aluminium tub, and the balance gives optimum traction from all the wheels. The engine is responsive from ignition or even from 3-digit speeds, so at whatever speed you’re driving the performance is just responsive, wet or dry. In addition, the soundtrack emitted by the exhaust system is entertaining and it invites to work the engine even more.
There is a flood of torque, with the peak of 400Nm being delivered at 4,500rpm. Even below 2,500rpm the engine is sending a wave of information to your palms begging to be driven. Yes, you can drive it like a compact hatch in traffic and have little else going on, but its acceleration when requested is rapid and scary if you are not ready as the engine revolution rushes to the redline like a hyperactive civet cat. There is a deep-throated sound, more like what you hear from a 1,000cc superbike from Suzuki or Kawaski.
Now comes the best part. GRIP. What we mentioned in the first paragraph! This Exige just GRIPS GRIPS and GRIPS with turn-in being very crisp and very confident, and there is a reassuring feeling of the car being very planted on the road making the average driver a winner and the good driver, over confident.
Without any doubt, Lotus has a true winner with this Exige Sport 350 with very impressive power-to-weight ratio, a lot of style in its design, exhaust notes that inspire even Ferrari drivers and GRIP…..lots of GRIP. Just get past the notion that all things fast and enjoyable needs to be German or Italian and this humble Lotus will leave most of the competition behind as it races from rest to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
Lotus Exige Sport 350 Specifications
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Max power: 345bhp @ 7000rpm
Max torque: 400Nm @ 4500rpm
Top Speed: 274 km/h
0-100 km/h: 3.9 secs
Selling Price: RM445,777 – RM453,777.00