All that, along with the awkward way you have to clamber into the Exige owing to its low roof, and extraordinarily high and wide sills. But it’s not as if the Exige hasn’t heard of creature comforts, it just has no time for them.
After all, Mr Chapman did say to “add lightness”. So if you’re the sort of person who, like Lotus’ late founder, thinks everything other than a steering wheel, gearlever and control pedals is frippery, you’ll find the Exige nothing short of superlative (which those newfound pounds can’t diminish).
It’s true the new Exige might be heavier than its predecessor, but making up for the fact is 124bhp more power and, with 400Nm at its disposal, nearly twice as much torque. That means its power-to-weight ratio rises to 293bhp per tonne from 236bhp, which makes the Exige’s performance even more blinding.
Zero to 100km/h happens in 4 seconds, but what that number won’t tell you is how, like a go-kart, there’s very little inertia to the proceedings. Simply bury your right foot into the carpet (you’ll have to use your imagination, because there isn’t one) and you’ll magically find yourself carrying a speed that’ll get you in serious trouble with the police.
Then there’s its steering. Now, don’t worry if there’s an alien sensation coming through the helm, that’s just the steering feel that everyone likes to keep talking about.
Truth be told, the unassisted rack is unbearably heavy at low speeds and the car has a massive turning circle for something so small. Tight carparks and parallel parking aren’t for the faint of heart.
However, the steering does lighten up considerably as velocity builds, and then it really comes into its own. That turns driving the Exige into an almost subconscious, subliminal experience. There are near-telepathic levels of accuracy and feedback, and thanks to its relatively low weight, the Exige switches directions like a swallow.
A big part of this handling magic could be attributed to the super-sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, which keep the car resolutely stapled to the tarmac, although with a treadwear rating of just 60 (a rating of around 200 is already considered very hardcore), this could mean replacing tyres on a frighteningly regular basis.
But if you thought that sort of performance comes at a price that would make your chiropractor an extremely wealthy man, then you thought wrong. To be certain, the ride is firm, but there’s an underlying suppleness that makes most nasty road surfaces an aural, as opposed to tactile, experience.
With that sort of ride comfort, you might even be tempted to go on long drives with it by switching the driving mode knob to Tour. This tones down the exhaust note and throttle response somewhat, although it’s not something we’d advise.
Tour mode or not, the Exige is still battle-axe sharp, and while exceedingly fun, driving it for long periods can also be exceedingly tiring (possibly also due to the warm cabin). There also isn’t enough room for more than two overnight bags.
So, yes, the price of admission for that Lotus ride/handling magic is high, and not everyone will be willing to pay it. You’ll also have to live with the appalling cheapness of the interior, the Herculean effort it takes to manoeuvre the Exige at parking speeds and the fact there isn’t such a thing as dignified ingress/egress (woe betide your date if she’s wearing a short skirt).
However, if you’re that sort who prizes purity of purpose about all else, the Exige, in spite of its weight gain, remains a chorus of octane-junkie angels. We believe that Mr Chapman would most definitely approve of it.
2014 Lotus Exige S 3.5
ENGINE 3456cc, 24-valves, V6, supercharged
MAX POWER 345hp at 6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 400Nm at 4100rpm
GEARBOX 6-speed manual
0-100KM/H 4 seconds
TOP SPEED 274km/h
FUEL CONSUMPTION 9.9km/L
CO2 EMISSION 236g/km