There is one thing – and only one thing – that Lotus would like us to point out about our acceleration figures. It records its times with one occupant on board, with a light fuel load and in optimum track conditions. At Autocar we test two up, with plenty of fuel on board and in whatever conditions we find at MIRA proving ground at the time.
Wherever possible, we look for dry weather, which we found when testing the Exige, but it was cold, and the short of it is that the Exige hit 60mph from rest in a two-way average of 4.08sec, with two people on board, and cleared the standing quarter mile in a touch under 13 seconds.
We don’t doubt Lotus’s claim that it will duck under 4.0sec one up, and with less consideration for a clutch that had to complete a full road test and take us home again.
Clutch slipping under acceleration is indeed key to a fast start. Initial traction is so strong that, despite the V6’s torque, it is possible to get bogged down at lower revs, while the engine’s output will just spin the wheels at higher ones.
But once traction is secured and the clutch fully engaged, the Exige fairly rips through its gears. Its changes are still not easy to push through at speed, such is the indifferent quality of the gearshifts, but this is a car that can go from 0-100mph in 9.6sec and from 30-70mph in just 3.7sec.