Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
There’s no sensible reason for buying an Exige, be it an ‘entry-level’ Sport 350 or the track-focused Cup 430. The Sport 350, for example, is more expensive than an equivalent Alpine A110S or Porsche Cayman T, and it can’t match either car for refinement, practicality or equipment.
At the other end of the scale is the bonkers quick Cup 430, whose price-tag puts it in the company of cars that include the five-star Porsche GT3. Next to cars like that, the Cup 430’s six-figure price tag is very hard to swallow, especially when you consider that the bones of the car are nearly two decades old.
However, the Exige is not a car you buy with your sensible hat on. You buy one for the way it drives and makes you feel – it is an ownership experience that you have to enter into with your eyes wide open, knowing that it has limited luggage space, a stripped-out interior, and no infotainment system to speak of. Indeed, those who buy an Exige for the right reason will find themselves with one of the most invigorating and involving sports cars for the money.
Of course, when it comes to running costs, we would expect the cost of consumables, such as tyres and brakes, to be fairly high, especially if you plan on venturing onto a track. And while you’ll probably manage close to 30mpg at a cruise, if you plan on exercising your right foot (and why wouldn’t you?) you can expect those numbers to drop into the teens.
Happily, the Exige 430 Cup has quite strong residual values, depreciating at a slower rate than a number of premium sports cars from well established manufacturers, including the current 992 911 Turbo, Mercedes-AMG GT-R and Audi R8 RWD. Of course, rivals produced in limited numbers, such as Porsche’s GT3, will hold their value even better, but then there is the added problem of getting your order in before the car goes out of production. That’s a problem you won’t have with a Lotus.
The Exige comes with an alarm and immobiliser as standard, while on the safety side, you get driver and passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control. And that’s it. If you want automatic emergency braking, you better start honing your reaction times instead.
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