Lotus, the masters of weight reduction, have unveiled the new Exige Cup 380 – a stripped-out track-biased, but road legal, special edition.
Limited to just 60 examples worldwide, the Exige Cup 380 weighs just 1,057kg. That’s 62kg lighter than the standard Exige! Some pretty radical changes have been made to make that weight loss possible, mainly the extensive use of carbonfibre. The Exige’s roof, front splitter, front access panel, diffuser, side pods, tailgate and rear wing have all been replaced with carbon fibre alternatives. You also get a titanium exhaust.
Lotus have also deployed some less sophisticated methods such as removing the carpet from the boot and leaving out the tailgate gas struts. Some interior components have been lightened, too. As impressive as that weight reduction is, it doesn’t come close to that of the Cup 380’s mental big brother, the Race 380, which is another 59kg lighter. However, it is solely designed for track use and isn’t road legal.
In terms of the engine, it’s unchanged from other 380 models. The 3.5-litre supercharged V6 produces 375bhp and 302lb ft of torque. That gives the Exige Cup 380 a power-to-weight ratio of 355bhp per tonne, a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 175mph – not bad at all.
The power-to weight ratio and speed aren’t the only improvements – downforce has been massively increased. Upgrades to the aerodynamics include a new front splitter and rear wing that provide 200kg of downforce, 43 per cent more than the Sport 380. The Cup 380 also has 20mm wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres than the Sport 380.
Lotus claim that despite all of the track-inspired alterations, the Exige Cup 380 is genuinely usable on a day-to-day basis. Only a very lucky few will get to find this out for themselves, though. Like I said, only 60 will be made, it’ll cost £83,000 and is only available as a coupe.
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