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Lotus

Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige, rear
Lotus Exige, interior

THE amazing performance of the Lotus Exige gives a huge adrenalin rush and, dynamically, everything else about the car matches that immense urge.

It's perfect as a fun car for the weekend or for a track-day enthusiast but hard to live with every day.

Like the Elise, on which it's based, few cars come close to giving the same performance for your pound.

Even the base model has 190bhp from its Toyota-sourced 1.8, which revs to over 8,000rpm and reels in the horizon like a fish on a line.

The S adds a supercharger to that, giving 220bhp from the same 1.8, and the ‘260' boosts that output to - yes, you've guessed - 260bhp and adds ultra light weight, giving 0-60 miles an hour in a supercar-bashing 4.1 seconds.

Then there the range topping 3.5 V6 for those who want the ultimate - 170mph top speed and zero to 60mph in just 3.8 seconds - and it is available as a roadster as well as a coupe.

Road-holding and handling are sublime and unbelievably quick and the ride is also reasonably comfortable in the lower order cars.

But there's no power steering so parking can be tough, the noise level - with the engine behind your ear - is hard to live with and visibility can be difficult.

There's just enough room for two inside, entry and exit are difficult, home comforts are few and far between and there is very little storage space or boot.

FAST FACTS

Price:Pay about £27,810 for an '11 11-reg S, or £22,200 for an '09 09-reg Touring

Mechanical:190bhp, 1,796cc, 4cyl petrol driving rear wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:147mph

0-62mph:5.2 seconds

Combined MPG:32

Insurance Group:46

C02 emissions:208g/km

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