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Lotus adds lightness, power and downforce to the Exige

Gnarly-looking Exige Sport 380 sheds 25kg and sprouts race aero. GT4 trade-in time?

In the last couple of years, Lotus has steadily worked through its range of light, fast cars, making them lighter and faster.

We’ve had the Exige Sport 350, the Elise Sport 250, and the Evora Sport 410. Less weight, more power. Heartland Lotus stuff. So much fun, in fact, they’re going around again.

Meet the brand new Lotus Exige Sport 380. Somehow, Norfolk’s techies have shaved 25kg out of the Exige – which was hardly plush with equipment, dropping it down to 1066kg without fuel or washer fluid, or 1100kg ready to go (if you’ve added the titanium exhaust). That’s damn light for a car with a big ol’ 3.5-litre supercharged Toyota V6 bolted between the axles, wearing wider Michelin Pilot Cup tyres.

Lashings of carbonfibre add the lightness: the Elise Cup rear wing and diffuser, plus new splitter and front panels, save 2.7kg. Slimmer seats save 6kg.

Ultra light wheels and brakes save a further 10kg, with a standard lithium-ion battery cutting out more weight. Short of filling the cabin with helium, it’s difficult to know how much lighter the Exige can get.

To this flyweight recipe, Lotus has added power. A revised supercharger pulley (for higher charge pressure), an uprated fuel pump, a recalibrated ECU and shoutier exhaust team up to add 30bhp and 7lb ft to the Exige Sport 350’s heady totals. 

The Sport 380, as a result, chucks out 375bhp, 302lb ft and will hit 62mph in 3.5 seconds. Despite generating 140kg of claimed downforce (check out those 997 RS-style front aero flics), the top speed is 178mph. Adjustable suspension is standard. Thought the Exige was a dainty little performer, did you? Forget it.

So, it’s a lot faster and lighter than a Porsche Cayman GT4 (which is sold out), and would stay with a Porsche 911 GT3 (which is sold out). Maybe the BMW M4 GTS would…wait, no that’s sold out too.

If you want your track day kicks, the Exige (not sold out, and yours for £69,700) looks like a mighty good option. It’s £11,000 more than the current Exige Sport 350, but the rest of its numbers are positively supercar-spec. 

If you like the sound of all that, stay tuned to TG.com later this week, when we’ll get the first drive of Lotus’s ultimate Exige. In November. Gulp…

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