Lotus Exige hits 20th Birthday

In the year 2000, I had just finished my GCSEs and two of my favourite cars were made by Lotus. The Esprit Sport 300 was the poster on my wall but the original Lotus Elise was the car that I might one day be able to own (I’ve owned three to date). It’s styling was soft, flowing and to some, ‘cute’. Then Lotus revealed the Sport Elise and the cute styling was gone. The car that would evolve in to the Exige was like a mini Le Mans race car and it had some serious presence. It still does today.

Gone were the soft, edges and flowing lines. Replaced with deep splitters, wider haunches and big wing on the back. The Exige was like nothing we had ever seen from Lotus and I loved it. I wanted one so much. Sadly modern prices mean they’ve gone way above their original retail price and I doubt I’ll own one anytime soon. Still, it’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the first Exige and to celebrate Lotus have launched a limited edition version of the current Exige. The Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary.

The newest Exige has grown in size and output but crucially shares the Elise on steroids look of the original. It’s wider, longer and more aggressive than anything else in the current Lotus stable. Despite being with us since 2012, it still looks superb!

This anniversary special comes with upgraded exterior features commemorating the first Exige. These are the body-coloured roof, side air intake pods and rear wing, plus the black ‘shark fin’ stone chip protector ahead of the rear wheel. The nostalgia is carried over to the interior, where there’s a choice of different coloured Alcantara trims, and each seat is decorated with panelled stitching which echoes that of the original car. 

Also part of the new car’s customer appeal is the unique ‘20th Anniversary’ black silhouette logo featuring a striking profile image of the Series 1. It’s visible on the front wings above the side repeaters and on the rear bumper. Inside it’s embroidered on the seat backs and embossed on the car’s dashboard ‘build plaque’. A distinctive ‘20’ logo on the rear wing end-plates adds the finishing touch to this highly desirable design.

The Lotus Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary is available in one of three bespoke exterior colours all taken from the Exige Series 1, namely Chrome Orange, Laser Blue and Calypso Red. In addition, customers can select Saffron Yellow – a colour reminiscent of the original Norfolk Mustard Yellow – Motorsport Black or Arctic Silver.

The car’s list of standard equipment includes Nitron three-way adjustable dampers. These have variable bump and re-bound settings that enable the driver to personalise the suspension to suit driving style and environment, for example, on the road or a race track. The front splitter, front access panel and rear tailgate are all made from carbon fibre.

A number of features which are optional extras on the Exige are fitted as standard on the 20th Anniversary car. These include DAB digital radio with Bluetooth, cruise control, ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels and an Alcantara steering wheel. Remaining options include carbon fibre sill trim, lightweight lithium-ion battery and titanium lightweight exhaust.

The price of the Lotus Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary is £79,900 (€83,613 + local taxes), which represents £5,412 worth of extras over the standard Sport 410. Lotus say the first cars will be with customers in selected international markets later this year.

What was your favourite car growing up? Let us know in the comments and look out for our review of the Lotus Exige Sport 410 coming soon.