The Lotus Exige Sport 380 has arrived. We delve into the nitty gritty specs to see exactly what the range-topping, fastest ever Exige is all about and how it differs to its predecessor.
The British-built two-seater pocket rocket is back and this time it is more aggressive than ever. Weight reduction, more power, greater levels of aerodynamic downforce and many other revisions make this the fastest Exige ever – and potentially the ugliest. Here is everything you need to know because we care.
It is called the Exige Sport 380 because…
Lotus went with the Exige Sport 380 name because it follows on from the Ecige Sport 350 and has 375hp, which is a smidge over 380PS in new money. The additional ponies come from using a revised supercharger pulley, revised exhaust system, uprated fuel pump and a recalibrated ECU, providing the 3.5-litre supercharged V6 with 302lb/ft (410Nm) of torque from 5,000rpm.
No excess fat, here
Lotus took the Exige Sport 380 back to its Lightweight Labaratory to bring the weight down. To do so, it decided to swap a lot of components with carbon fibre alternatives, including the front splitter and rear wing. Meanwhile the new carbon race seats save 6kg and the polycarbonate rear window another 0.9kg. Really, the only weight it has gained is in the form of a 48-litre fuel tank for more range. Total kerb weight is 1,110kg for the manual version and 1,121kg for the automatic.
Speed is the Exige Sport 380’s middle name
That extra power and lack of weight give the Exige Sport 380 serious firepower. 0-62mph comes and goes in 3.7 seconds, bettering the admittedly less powerful but lighter Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, while the top speed is a plentiful 178mph. Hardly surprising when the power-to-weight ratio is a whopping 352hp per tonne.
That rear spoiler may look a little Halfords catalogue-inspired, but it is actually there for good reason. Extensive CFD modelling has lead to an increase in downforce of 140kg at its top speed, a 60 per cent increase on the Exige Sport 350 and about the weight of two average adults. Yet the drag level is the same. It helps, too, that the Exige Sport 380 sits closer to the ground.
Lazy people can have an automatic
On the off chance you want to keep your hands on the wheel at all times, a six-speed automatic will be offered from spring 2017, complete with forged aluminium paddles behind the steering wheel. But really most people will stick with the more involving six-speed manual, which now has a new oil cooler and a view of all the lovely metal bits that make it work.
The Exige Sport 380 styling is, erm, interesting
Great on a track? No doubt. Likely to raise the hairs on your neck? You bet. But to look at? We have only laid eyes on it twice and it already looks dated. Admittedly, the styling is largely goverened by aerodynamics but it looks a bit, well, cheap. A single colour and carbon fibre, that’s how Lotus should have rolled. But then whatever Lotus did was never going to hold a candle to the Alfa Romeo 4C.
You will need this much pocket money
The Lotus Exige Sport 380 costs £67,900 before extras, with the roadster version as standard and a coupe yours for extra dosh. Those nose-to-tail carbon components are included, making this a cheap way to own a potential supercar killer. Best get on the blower to Lotus if interested.