What is it?
It’s a Lotus first drive with a difference. Unusually for a car from Hethel, the story here isn't about performance tweaks, the addition of yet more lightness or keener handling.
No, the big news behind the 2010 model-year Exige is that it emits less carbon dioxide and uses less fuel than before.
Lotus Exige S emissions for the 2010 year are now 199g/km, down from the 2009 car’s 216g/km, which significantly changes the first-year rate of road tax. True, it makes far less difference thereafter, but a sub-200g/km output may stay important as tax rates change, plus it's a four per cent reduction for benefit-in-kind taxpayers. In short, it's worth having.
What’s it like?
To drive? Mostly as it was. The reduction in consumption come from changes to engine management and a slight alteration of the aerodynamics. You might have noticed those: the big new rear wing and the front splitter?
I'm not convinced they do anything for the aesthetics, but they make the same downforce as before while causing less turbulence. The lateral slats on the front wing air intakes better direct cooling air, while there's a larger air intake for the supercharged 218bhp engine's intercooler too.