The Lotus Exige S – Three Months Later

Post by Mark

I’ve had my Lotus Exige now for nearly three months and during this time I had a bunch of things done to the car in terms of upgrades and improvements. This post is mostly for people trying to google info on the Lotus, so if you’re not into cars in general, just skip this post. Before I get into the specifics of what I’ve done to the car, I do want to highlight one aspect of owning a Lotus that I wasn’t expecting, the amazing community.

The Lotus Community
The Lotus community has been pretty great so far, from the local dealership to online forums and even the main Lotus factory. Everyone is just so friendly and helpful. Like I’ve already mentioned in my previous posts on the car, the local dealer Alghanim has been incredible, I’ve got the brand manager whom I whatsapp whenever I need anything and is now more like a friend then a brand manager, I also have the same Lotus technician I deal with every time I’m at the garage whom I’m on a first name basis, so the whole experience feels very personalized. I’m also in contact with the only other Exige owner in Kuwait at the moment and we’re planning to meet up soon for a photoshoot. I want to see what he’s done to the car and show him what I’ve done. There is another Exige arriving any day now and its going to a guy who’s connected to my circle of friends as well and then there is another Exige arriving by the end of summer that will belong to a close friend. So we’re going to have a pretty great little Exige community popping up here in Kuwait soon.

But its not only in Kuwait where I’ve been having a great experience with Lotus people. When I first got the car I contacted Lotus in the UK regarding some questions I had with the AC, a guy called Tony who is their ‘Technical & Training’ guy responded to me within a few hours. When I emailed him some feedback regarding the AC system, he forwarded my email to their electrical and HVAC department so they could check it out. They actually care about their customers and since we are a small community take all feedback into consideration. A couple of days ago I had another question which I emailed him and again within a few hours he got back to me. Someone at the Lotus factory is replying to my emails in a few hours, I mean I don’t reply that fast to people who email my blog, it’s really impressive how personal the whole experience feels.

The people in the forums are also amazing. Since I got the car I’ve been an active user in The Lotus Forums and I’ve been trying to contribute to the community as much as I can [eg 1, 2, 3 and 4]. Since there are only a few hundred Exige (V6) owners around the world, there really isn’t much documentation and reviews online on various accessories and upgrades you can perform on the car. So whatever I’ve been doing, I’ve been documenting and sharing with the community.

The Upgrades
So like I mentioned at the start of this post, I went through a first round of different upgrades for the car, below is a list of what I’ve done so far.

Sound System
The first thing I did as soon as I got the car was upgrade the sound system. The car had four cheap-ass speakers and a very basic single-DIN car stereo that didn’t even have bluetooth. So I decided to upgrade the car with the following setup:

Alpine CDE-HD149BT Receiver
Alpine KTP-445A Amp
Focal 100AC Access Series Speakers (Front)
Focal 130AC Access Series Speakers (Rear)

The whole setup looks stock with the amp also hidden in the dashboard so you wouldn’t really be able to tell I changed anything. But sound wise its a huge improvement over the stock sound system and it didn’t really cost me much for basically what is top of the line stuff.

Carbon Fiber Covers for the Engine Bay
This was strictly a cosmetic and practicality upgrade. You can see the Lotus engine through the glass boot and since we have a lot of dust in Kuwait, I have to clean the engine bay every so often so that it looks presentable under the glass. I kept having trouble dusting one of the large plastic covers in the engine bay because it had a rough texture. So I ordered a pair of glossy carbon fiber covers from Komo-tec in Germany, and now the engine is sandwiched between two shiny carbon fiber pieces. If you want to see how the engine bay looked like before, click [Here]

2Bular Exhaust System
This was the biggest upgrade I did to the car, I swapped out the stock exhaust for one by 2Bular. There are three popular exhaust brands for the Lotus, 2Bular, Komo-tec and Larini, all three cost the same so in the end it came down to aesthetics and sound signature. 2Bular won on both those counts for me. The 2Bular exhausts are hand built by a guy called Jim Valentine in Aberdeen and he just does Lotus exhausts and nothing else. It took around a month from when I placed an order, had him build it and then get it shipped and delivered to my door here in Kuwait. Last year he had a backlog of orders and so was taking months to deliver the exhausts to customers which is why I was grateful it just took a month in my case. I had the exhaust installed at a local garage called Gemballa and I’m currently in the processes of breaking it in. It sounds really angry so far, but like the stock exhaust its also valved which means I can have it quiet when I want it quiet, and loud when I want it loud.

Soft Top
This is the last thing I got but won’t be using it till fall when the weather cools down. During the cold months I’ll be removing the hard top roof on the car and replacing it with the soft top. It will make taking off and putting on the roof a lot easier plus it rolls up and fits in the trunk, something I couldn’t do with the hard top. New at the local dealer the soft top costs KD900, but I found a used one on the German eBay for KD400 shipped to Kuwait. I decided it was too good a deal to pass and just bought it and will now store it till winter.

Whats Next?
Nothing, I think I’m done for now. I’m considering getting a small sub for the sound system, but because of the size of the car, it’s gonna be a bit of a headache to install and hide which is why I haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet. Other than that though I think I’m done with all the upgrades. I fucking love this car and I’m so glad I’ve got a friend getting one because we basically spend the whole time now sharing Exige videos and talking about the cars. It’s so much fun.

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38 comments, add your own...

  1. Raz says:

    “the engine is sandwiches between to shiny carbon fiber pieces.”

    sandwiched between two…

  2. Nasser says:

    How does it drive on the bumpy parts of Kuwaits roads? There is a lot of unpredictability when it comes to all the holes and bumps, so I am curious about that

    • Mark says:

      Well I’m using it as my daily driver so that should tell you something. The car has a great suspension that eats up all the imperfections of the road. There is just one little street near my home I don’t take with the exige due to the gigantic potholes on it but other than that haven’t had to change my driving habits at all.

  3. Brad says:

    How much did you spent on the paint protection kit from protech?

    • Mark says:

      I think 250, let me check

      • Mark says:

        ok originally i was quoted 290 but there were some parts I didn’t need protected and the price dropped down to 250. This is for the full front film not just the tip of the nose.

        • Sully says:

          Did your warranty drop after installing the exhaust and sound system?

          I really want to mod my new Mustang but worry about losing the warranty.

          • Mark says:

            nope, both don’t have any effect on the car, i am not aware of any agency that would void your warranty for an exhaust swap yet alone a sound system upgrade.

            check with your dealer just to be sure though. I just swapped out the rear exhaust box and not the manifolds.

            • Sully says:

              Alghanim Auto has told me installing any sort of mods will drop the warranty. So I’m fucked. Imagine having a V8 with restrictive pipes, locking away extra HP thanks to the EU’s emission standards.

              • Mark says:

                Who at alghanim told you that? Maybe the guy you spoke to doesn’t know anything about the subject or didn’t understand what you wanted to do. I’ve modified my FJ cruise as well with a lift kit and warranty wasn’t affected either

                • Sully says:

                  Asked the guy who gave me my car. Will ask around once-more, gonna go collect my free 1000liter fuel card thing tomorrow.

  4. Dave says:

    So which do you prefer to drive, the 280 or Lotus?

    • Mark says:

      U mean 240, they’re both very different cars, in the Datsun I’m usually smiling, in the lotus I’m usually concentrating. Very different driving experiences.

  5. Ahmad Khallaf says:

    Not really sure if the car got room for it but check “underseat subwoofer” they’re very practical when it comes to small boots and they’re right under the seats so usually gives a pretty good kick even with the smallest drivers(speaker driver for sure, not the actual human car driver).

    Did you get the Alpine receiver and amp from Kuwait or you had to ship it in?

  6. Mark says:

    Sully: Yeah ask someone else, but, if you’re planning to swap out the headers and pipes as well that might kill the warranty. If it’s just the rear box it should be fine but still double check and maybe ask some guys from the Mustang club or something.

  7. Ipsom says:

    Keep em coming!

    How many km has the car covered? The only thing missing is getting info on reliability (I know too early but still)

    • Mark says:

      I’ve done around 5000km so far. I don’t think the car has reliability issues since I haven’t read anything in the forums regarding that. Even the old cars, I mean there is very little in the car that can go wrong, its just an engine and a steering wheel basically. And the engine is literally the same engine in the Toyota Camry just with a supercharger
      Camry’s are probably one of the most reliable cars on the road.
      The only thing people abroad complain about is the AC, but for GCC specs we get a secondary AC unit which solves that problem (While turning the car into a freezer).

      I have had to go to the garage though twice so far and both times for random minor issues.

      – I couldn’t lock the car with the remote because it though the car hood was open
      – The AC would turn off when I set the blower speed to three
      – One of two fans on the radiator wasn’t working

      All three of these issues might have been from the track day and all turned out to be minor (loose wire, loose fuse etc.)

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