The new Lotus Exige Sport 380 is a bona fide supercar-killer that, for £67,900, outpoints many supercars costing several times more than that, claims Lotus.
The new high-performance Exige Sport 380 is an evolution of the acclaimed Sport 350. Power is pushed up to 375hp, weight is further reduced and Lotus has made it even more distinctive-looking – justifying Group Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales’ claim that “we’ve saved something special for our last new car of 2016”.
Describing the weight reduction as “nothing short of drastic”, the kerbweight of the Exige Sport 380 is now down to 1,100kg. Lotus has taken more than 15kg of mass out of the car, by greater use of carbon fibre, an exotic new AP Racing braking system, lightweight forged alloys and even using two round rear lights instead of four (saving 300 grammes, says Gales).
The bolder-looking new Exige Sport 380 has a much bigger rear wing (made from carbon fibre and saving 1.2kg), side aero air blades, a standard carbon fibre diffuser and a much bigger front wing that includes an aero-optimised rubber lip beneath it.
The beefed-up aero package not only makes the Exige Sport 380 look much racier, but also adds significant downforce. Flat-out, the new Lotus generates 140kg of downforce and even at 100mph, it creates 50kg of downforce. “Most cars generate lift,” says Gales, so the effect is significant.
Lotus has also managed to reduce the aero drag of the car, pushing its top speed up to 178mph. 0-60mph takes 3.5 seconds; 0-62mph takes 3.7 seconds.
The more powerful 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine has more torque as well. It now produces 302lb ft at 5,000rpm, and creates a lot more torque than the existing Sport 350 above 4,000rpm. It sounds better courtesy of an upgraded sports exhaust system.
New tyres are more able to put this power down cleanly. Lotus has switched from Pirelli to Michelin tyres and the Exige Sport 380 comes with semi-slick Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. The front tyres are wider than before to quell understeer.
And because you might want to drive it harder for longer, Lotus has also introduced a larger fuel tank. The Exige Sport 380, which is available to order now, has a 48-litre fuel tank, eight litres larger than the Sport 350.
The new high-performance Exige costs from £67,900 and is offered in roadster guise: the car pictured boasts the optional carbon fibre hard-top. An automatic model will join in the spring to complement the six-speed manual launch car that’s expected to take 95% of all sales.