You want to invest in a fast car to run on the track. The design of the Lotus attracts your curiosity, but you need to know how much does a Lotus Exige cost?
It is hard to know which performance cars represent the best value with many well-made makes and models. Should you choose a Maserati, Lamborghini, Lotus, or Alpha Romero? While the Lotus attracts your attention because of its reputation and design, you worry about whether a luxury performance coupe is a good investment. Then there is the consideration of driving it on the road as well. Is it street legal? How expensive will it be to get it repaired?
The Lotus Exige is a high-performance 2-door sports coupe made by a British auto manufacturer. The Exige has been in production since 2000 and was retired in 2021. Recent year models range from $70,000 - $80,000 depending on mileage and condition.
Before you fork over your hard-earned cash just to find out you have wasted it, you need to take some time to do your research. While plenty of performance cars are out there to choose from, the Lotus Exige has minimal production. This car is no longer in production only means that the value will increase over the years. But if you can’t drive your new toy anywhere, what good is it?
Experts agree that the Lotus has had an excellent reputation for building an ultra-fine performance racer. But now that the car is no longer on the market, we wanted to know more about the Exige. So we’ve scoured the opinions of the manufacturer and racing enthusiasts alike to answer your Exige-related questions.
How Much Does a Lotus Exige Cost?
The cost of an Exige will depend on many factors, including age and condition (just like any collectible car). The good news is that Lotus has a solid following among racing enthusiasts, but because the production of these vehicles is limited, most of the owners who have them are not that inclined to sell them.
Over the last twenty-plus years that the Exige has been in production, Lotus was constantly upgrading and tweaking it, but the company produced the car in basically three versions; Series 1 (2000-2001), Series 2 (2004 - 2011), and Series 3 (2012 - 2021). The model is the bigger version of the Lotus Elise, built with a hardcore top, stiffer suspension, and wider wheelbase. But the Exige proved so popular that it developed over time into a complete line of its own, replacing the small four-cylinder with a roaring supercharged V6 (Series 3) and going through introductions of several different models.
An original Lotus Exige (2000 - 2001) has a Toyota 1.8L I4, which purported a 179 hp on an engineered Toyota motor. Lotus made only 604 units in 2000 - 2001, none of which were for the US market. There are few of these models left (less than 100), and most are collecting dust in collectors' garages. If you are serious about purchasing one of these original beauties, expect to pay 50 - 70 thousand dollars or more if you can pry the keys from the present owner's hands.
The Series 2 of Exige went through many tweaks to lighten its weight and improve performance. The Toyota I4 remained (the same engine in the American Toyota Celica). Still, in 2005 with the Exige 240R, the company turbocharged the engine, upgraded the suspension, and modified the body fins to become even lighter and improve aerodynamics. (The production run was limited to 50 units the first year). The response of enthusiasts was overwhelmingly positive. The Exige began beating its much more expensive counterparts on the track, and racing owners couldn’t get enough of this lightweight, low-maintenance, fast car.
The Series 2 continued production in limited runs from 2004 until 2011. There were 20 plus versions of the Series 2, each getting tweaked for a specific application. For the US market, there were 3,330 Exiges made from 2005 to 2011. The average cost is around $54,000.
The final run of the Series 3 was by far its most popular in that Lotus announced after ten years that it was phasing out production. The company dropped a 3.5L supercharged V6 into the car in 2011, making it heavier. While the bigger engine did wonders to improve the horsepower, it also made the vehicle harder to corner (particularly in early versions).
The series 3 models were the most sought-after once Lotus declared that it was stopping production. Be prepared to pay more for this car - (a 2021 model will go for 144,000 - 200,000 easily).
Is The Lotus Exige Legal to Drive in the US?
The short answer is no. The Lotus company decided that it was too much of a hassle to redesign the car to pass stringent US safety standards. Even though the car had limited quantities with the American market in mind (left hand-mounted steering), it was deemed too fragile for use on the road. (The real reason is that the car will not support side-curtain airbags).
If you try to make it road legal or get pulled over while cruising along in an Exige, the car will be confiscated and demolished.
Can I Drive a Lotus Exige on the Track in the US?
This time the answer is, yes, you can. However, you cannot drive it to and from the track. It must be hauled to the race and transported back to the garage each time.
What Should I Look for in Purchasing a Used Exige?
The good news is that the Lotus Exige seems to hold its residual value pretty well, and the car has become a collector's item in recent years. Here are some things to look for if you decide to shop the market for a Lotus Exige.
Age of the Vehicle - Check the Odometer
You need to check the miles on the car because more miles mean a more significant potential for problems. High-performance cars are under more strain in that they push the limits. Mileage is no indication of how well a car’s internal condition is or how hard the present owner drove on the track, but it can provide an essential guide toward seeking more information.
The Lotus Exige Series 1 has a somewhat dubious reputation for being unreliable, but later models (Series 2 and 3) are significantly better. The most popular Exige is the most recent model (2020 - 2022). The future value of any Lotus will improve as the car becomes more valuable in the future.
The body of a Lotus Exige holds up pretty well, but then again, track performance can wear on the body of a racecar. Inspect the body for signs of epoxy or repair, and be sure to check for any damage. (Race Cars love to slam into walls or other barriers).
Tires, Suspension Components
The tires are one of the items that get the most wear on a racetrack. In addition, because the forces are extreme (particularly when going around curves), inspect the suspension systems for any leakage or signs of defective parts.
Number of Owners
The number of times a car has changed hands can indicate that the car has issues. (Why do people want to get rid of it).
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding