Lotus Exige Series 2 Buyers Guide

Lotus Exige Series 2 Buyers Guide

The Exige is powered by a variable valve VVTL-i 1.8 litre Toyota engine also found in the Toyota Celica. The same engine is found in both the normally aspirated and supercharged versions of the pocket rocket from Lotus. It is incredibly reliable and provides all the power you need for such a lightweight car. It can be argued that the Exige has no real competitor, as it outperforms cars multiple times its value on both road and track. The car combines both ultimate performance and usability in a way that makes it truly unique. As with other Lotus cars, owners are usually extremely passionate about their cars, so expect many to be in exceptional aesthetic condition. If you do your homework on performing all the checks for the issues mentioned later in this article, it will be possible to find an exceptional Exige. Running costs are extremely low for a performance car of this kind. Annual servicing costs around £350 and will help ensure the car remains in the best mechanical condition and provide years of exhilarating and trouble free driving.

Why Buy A Lotus Exige S2?

  • Unrivaled performance both on the road and track, it will easily out corner most sportscars.
  • Raw nature of the car will ensure it always has a following amongst driving enthusiasts.
  • Replacement Lotus Exige V6 became bigger, heavier and more powerful which makes the Series 2 Exige the last in the line of truly lightweight Lotus rocket ships.
  • The styling still looks cutting edge and is unlikely to date.
  • The feedback offered to the driver is addictive and unlike any other car, past or present.
  • Residuals have been very strong for the Exige and are likely to strengthen even further over time.

Buying one

The current availability of cars span between £22,000 to £35,000 depending on age, mileage and condition. The mileage will likely be lower on these cars compared to other sportcars because many are only used at weekends or may even be stored over winter. Due to the nature of the car expect every Exige to have a slightly different specification, either more focussed for road use or track use (or a bit of both). We expect the demand for the Exige to increase dramatically over the next three years. Not-withholding, the current resale value is very stable and will likely remain so over the coming years.

Maintenance & Parts

The Lotus principle of adding speed by adding lightness is truly borne out when looking through the parts prices of the Exige compared to other cars with the same performance characteristics. The prices below are very reasonable, due to their low mass and simplicity. The main expenses on the Exige are tyres, brakes and suspension, basically the wear and tear items. Because the tyres are specialist track tyres, this is reflected in their cost. They tend to wear in 5,000 to 10,000 miles depending on driving style. Check the exhaust components for corrosion as these will also require a substantial outlay to replace.

Buyer Checkpoints

The 1.8 litre Toyota four cylinder engine is robust and has no reported issues. The 2ZZ-GE engine is equipped with twin cam VVTL-i and is also found in the Toyota Celica from the same period. Superchargers and coolers are also reliable if maintained according to the service schedule. Checking the oil level and consistency, can highlight any lack of maintenance. The cabin heater fan mechanism is relatively exposed to the elements, especially heavy rainfall, which tends to collect in it if the car is stored outside. This will lead to failure, so be sure to check the cabin heater is working correctly.
Clutch & Gearbox
Both the clutch and gearbox are durable, only misuse will cause problems. Check all changes are smooth and direct. Level and intensity of track use will determine the lifespan of these wear items on the Exige.
Suspension & Steering
Standard suspension is a high quality Bilstein gas damper and Eibach spring and front anti-roll bar setup. Track suspension was offered as an option from new and also as a retrofit from Lotus, with adjustable dampers and ride height. Steering racks wear with track use, check for any play around centre, a new rack is circa £600.
As standard the Exige is fitted with two pot AP Racing calipers at the front and single pot Brembo calipers at the rear. However, like the suspension, previous owners may have uprated the brakes so expect to see different setups when buying.
Wheels & Tyres
The standard cast alloy wheels are reportedly troublesome to balance so check for vibrations at speed coming through the steering wheel. The original spec Yokohama A048 tyres are well suited to the car and suitable for track use. However their ability is limited on wet and slippery winter roads.
Special mention of the bodywork is required for the Exige, due to one-piece front and rear clamshells, structural damage is extremely expensive to fix, as it requires a total replacement of the clamshell. The front clamshell is around £2000 before painting and fitting.
Servicing should be carried out every 9,000 miles. With track use ensure that the car has had oil and filter changes every 4,500 miles. The factory fitted alarm can drain the battery in about 2 weeks of non-driving. Therefore for occasional use you really need to keep it hooked up to a battery conditioner/charger.

Lotus Exige S2 Evolution

2004 Exige Series 2 released with normally aspirated 1.8 litre Toyota engine.
2005 Limited edition run of fifty Exige 240R produced, with a 240bhp supercharged Toyota engine, uprated suspension, bodywork, wheels and brakes.
2006 Exige S goes into production to replace normally aspirated version, with a 220bhp supercharged Toyota engine. Exige Cup & Cup 240 track versions also produced.
2007 Exige S Club Racer limited edition run of 25. Spec included Sport Pack, Touring Pack, Super Touring Pack, sports exhaust, air conditioning.
2008 Exige S uprated to 240bhp supercharged engine.
2009 Exige S 260 Cup added to the lineup.
2011 Exige Scura limited edition of 35 worldwide released. Production ceases of the Exige Series 2 models.

What the motoring press said about the Lotus Exige S2

“The Exige is one of those cars that, once you’ve seen it, you just have to drive… in terms of sheer cross-country speed, the Exige has no peer”
EVO Magazine, 2004
“The Exige is about what goes on in a corner, and what goes on in an Exige is quite a lot. You just can’t beat it for sheer exuberance.”
TopGear, 2008
“The numbers built, coupled with their desirability, mean the Exige holds its value well.”
What Car?, 2008



cylinders / capacity

4 / 1796


bhp / rpm

190 / 7800


lb ft / rpm

138 / 6800

Max Speed



0 – 60



0 – 100






Power to Weight




Length / Width / Height

3797 x 1727 x 1163

Carbon Emissions

CO2g / km


Miles Per Gallon


Wheel & Tyres

Width / Sidewall / Diameter

Front 195/50/16

Rear 225/45/17

Weight Distribution

Front : Rear

38 : 62

Track width

Front / Rear

1440 / 1453




6-speed Manual


Engine position / Driven wheels

Mid / Rear

Price New



Location & Who We Are

We are a Porsche Specialist based in rural Hertfordshire. We are located in a small village called Codicote, which is close to Knebworth, Welwyn Garden City & Stevenage. Our closest train station is Stevenage, we would happily pick you up from there to view a car. We are close to the A1M, M1 and M11 motorways. Our closest airports are Stansted and Luton if you are flying to come and view one of our cars. M R Sportscars is a trading name of Revival Sports Cars Limited, a company registered in England and Wales, registered number: 07624585 | VAT number: 264 5239 94 With regards to finance, we are a credit broker and not a lender. If requested, we can introduce you to a number of credit providers who may be able to offer you finance for your vehicle. Revival Sports Cars Limited (trading as M R Sportscars) are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

01438 412875


Codicote, Hertfordshire

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