Even among enthusiasts, a “driver’s car” has a wide range of definitions.
Some of us want something that’s as close as possible to a racecar, or a road-legal racecar, even. Others prefer something like a hot hatch, which is practical and comfortable enough to be driven daily, yet retains its performance.
Another strong contender voted by several Torque contributors was the Porsche Taycan. Porsche’s first modern electric sports car is indeed stunning and a revelation to drive. It was – and is – worth waiting for.
But the model that got the most votes for this category was the Lotus Exige Sport 350.
In an age where all cars – not just sports cars – are becoming more digitalised, the Lotus Exige Sport 350 stands out for being “analogue”.
There are no fancy screens in the car. Power steering is absent along with an automatic gearbox. Instead, you get a “basic” aluminium shifter, whose mechanical linkages, by the way, are kinkily exposed.
Lawyer Sarjeet Singh declared the Lotus Exige the car “you’re least likely to fall asleep in” because of the attention it demands from you. Full commitment is required the whole time you’re behind the wheel.
This level of driver involvement is precisely what makes the Lotus Exige stand out. In here, the connection between car and driver is sacred. You give it your all and it rewards you with everything you need.
Its supercharged 3.5-litre V6 is responsive and sounds phenomenal. That 6-speed manual is a delight to use. The steering, unadulterated, actually talks to you about the road conditions. Modern all-electric setups are nowhere as intimate.
Does it carve corners? In a manner of speaking, yes, for it makes them disappear. Behind the wheel of the Lotus Exige, you feel like you can conquer any stretch of road.
Yet the Exige’s ride quality is surprisingly pliant, considering what it can do and how absurdly low it is to the ground.
Perhaps this is not the most ideal car for going to work, not to mention grocery runs. If you haven’t been working out and practicing yoga, driving it and getting out afterwards is going to be a problem.
But really, no other car deserves the “Best Driver’s Car” honour more than the Exige. Congratulations, Lotus.