Sharper, lighter, and highly desirable.
The Lotus Exige remains as one of the most enjoyable cars to drive out there, offering a degree of driving purity that is often lost on modern cars. The Exige range now welcomes a new addition, dubbed the ‘Cup 380,’ touted to be the most track-focused road-legal iteration of the Exige ever built.
Just 60 of these little rockets will be built, bearing a price tag of £83,000 each (or a touch over $140,000 in our money, accurate at time of publication). Extensive weight saving measures means the Exige Cup 380 measures in at just 1057kg, a not-inconsiderable 62kg lighter than the standard Exige (which is, by any measure, an already light car).
Power comes from the same 3.5-litre supercharged V6 that powers the Sport 380 & Race 380 variants, producing 280kW & 410Nm.
The missing 62kg comes from the removal and replacement of certain parts. The boot, for example, now does without carpeting and the lid without gas-struts to hold it up, while the cabin sees various trim pieces replaced with lighter options to reduce the Cup 380’s overall weight. Wider wheels help keep the car rooted to the ground, and we have little doubt that the Cup 380 will offer grip levels that beggar belief.
Exterior revisions have been made to improve downforce and reduce drag, with the former measured at a total of 200kg. That’s a 43% increase over the Exige Sport 380, thanks to a new front splitter, new access panel, new barge boards, and a new rear-wing. This makes the Cup 380 more track-focused than standard car and the Sport 380, though Lotus asserts that this is still a road car.
There are four selectable drive modes on offer, those bing Drive, Sport, Race, and Off. ‘Drive’ is the most benign setting, with the latter three tweaking the engine response, traction control, and exhaust to offer increasingly involving and focused experiences behind the wheel. The traction control even offers drivers further customisation, with the ability to set the degree of wheel slip to a nerdy degree of accuracy. It can also be switched off completely.
Adjustable dampers and a beefy rear anti-roll bar come as standard fitment, while braking is catered for with four-piston callipers from AP Racing. Buyers can opt for a titanium exhaust system (which provides a more raucous engine note and saves a further 10kg), while other options include the deletion of airbags or the inclusion of a roll cage, to further mould the Exige Cup 380 into a track machine.