The Lotus Exige has been described as the Elise on steroids; more aggressive, more powerful, faster. Originally launched as a more testosterone fuelled coupe version of the Elise it has gone through many different versions, limited runs, engine types and sizes, but it has remained a very fast, extremely lightweight, rear wheel drive sports car with a mid to rear mounted engine. Compared to the Elise it had bigger spoilers to anchor it more firmly to the ground; an aerodynamically designed hardtop; and a lot more power thanks to a V-6 engine, instead of the straight four cylinder engines of it's predecessors.
Launched in 2000 the Series 1 began with an 1800 cc Rover engine labelled the Very High Performance Derivative (VHPD for short) and with up to 192 brake horsepower on tap the Exige soon became a favourite with the more aggressive type of motorist who wanted to have the odd track day experience as well as having an exotic, and eye-catching, sports car.
Yet again Colin Chapman's insistence on precise steering and limpet -like roadholding was complied with; the aerodynamics were designed in order to press the car, at speed, to the ground with almost 8 times the force experienced by the Elise.
Considering the type of hard driving motorist that would yearn for a car like the Exige it is perhaps not surprising that of the limited numbers that were built before it was replaced by the Series 2 -a reputed 600 or so - very few of them remain on the road today, possibly due to the fragile nature of the fibreglass bodywork.
With engines going right up to a 3.5 litre supercharged V6, and the introduction of carbon fibre body panels and titanium exhaust pipes to reduce weight still further, later variants of the Exige have been able to take on and beat even more powerful cars on the race tracks.
It is little wonder that this car is high up on so many dream car lists!