RE: Lotus Exige Sport 380: Review

RE: Lotus Exige Sport 380: Review

Sunday 4th December 2016

Lotus Exige Sport 380: Review

Lotus claims it's a 'supercar killer' but can the whole less is more thing work in this context?



Another new Lotus? You betcha. The Exige Sport 380 joins the acclaimed Sport 350 to push the Exige range further into giant-killing territory. At £67,900, the 380 costs a weighty £11,000 more than the 350. But, for this, you get an even lighter car that's even faster around Hethel and, on the road, uses its 380hp to run 0-62mph in a suitably scant 3.7 seconds. It'll do 178mph instead of 170mph, a speed at which the upgraded aero kit is generating 140kg of downforce, rather than 88kg. "Most cars generate lift," says boss Jean-Marc Gales, beaming.

A proper Exige range-topper, then, and one that once again exemplifies Lotus's current focus on the stuff Chapman used to sweat on. Dry weight of the Sport 380 is down further, to 1,066kg or 1,100kg with fluids. How? Gales grins and clicks on a slide in his gloriously detailed PowerPoint presentation. "At the rear, we have two big round lights instead of four: this saves 300g, despite the 'Lotus' logo being bigger." The geek overload is just getting started.

That stonking great rear wing and diffuser? They are carbon fibre and thus save 1.2kg. Wheels are now ultra-light forged rims and grooved AP Racing brakes from the 3-Eleven are now standard, saving 2.5kg a corner. The rear window is polycarbonate, saving 0.9kg, carbon fibre seats save 6kg, and a lithium ion battery is standard, which saves an impressive 10.3kg.


Save, save, save!
The lovely carbon fibre front splitter and aero-honed access panel save 1.5kg, and there are various other weight reductions, adding up to a 30.2kg weight reduction over standard. But Lotus has also added stuff, to improve performance: 3kg of barge boards, a 4.2kg transmission oil cooler that reflects this car's greater track orientation, and an 8kg heavier 48-litre fuel tank that reflects the fact so many owners can't resist using their Lotus daily. Overall, then, it's 15kg lighter than the Sport 350.

Gales hasn't finished though. The Sport 380 gets the exhaust from the Evora Sport 410 ("it's much bassier") and you can have it in optional titanium, saving a further 10kg. And there are optional carbon fibre sill covers, 50 per cent thinner and 0.8kg lighter. They increase the door aperture by 10mm and have been reprofiled, making it easier to get in and out, promises Gales. Every little helps. Same with torque, which has increased by 7lb ft to 302lb ft. Critically the curve is wider too, the peak not coming until 5,000rpm where the Sport 350 has given its best at 4,000rpm. And peak power comes in a tad earlier too, now at 6,700rpm rather than 7,000rpm. How? That exhaust, a bigger fuel pump, tweaked calibration and a supercharger pressure increase courtesy of a new pulley.

For £11k, that all doesn't seem such bad value, but Gales still hasn't finished. As part of an apparent range-wide shift the existing Pirellis are replaced by Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, "probably the best tyre you can get". They're 265/35R18s on the rear and, significantly, 215/45R17s on the front - 10mm wider than before to "completely tune out understeer". Michelin even spent a few days over at Hethel working with Lotus to perfect the tuning. Speaking of which, the Sport 380 offers a £3,200-option of Nitron two-way adjustable dampers with tweakable Eibach anti-roll bars. There are 10 clicks of rebound and compression adjustment, says Gales, who describes Nitron as "a great company".


Spend, spend, spend!
Take it in one of five base colours - silver, dark grey, white, black or blue, but don't fret if you don't like the red colour pack. It's optional and, as it's hand-painted, actually rather cool up close. Gales finishes up. "You won't find a faster car for below £100,000," he says, before sending me out on a damp, dewy, autumnal Hethel track for 45 minutes' exploration.

Blimey. So there is more to it than just a 350 with 30hp extra. It certainly looks yet more potent and track special. What's more, it looks like a genuinely high-quality machine. The paint finish is beautiful and deep. Panels even and robust. The interior has a lush, low-sheen look, it smells leathery and nice, and even the click of the doors now oozes substance. See it in the flesh and you really shouldn't question the list price; the Sport 380 carries it.

Gales is right. The exhaust is much burblier and rortier at low revs. This is a car proud of its harmonious six-cylinder sound, which will come as sweet music to those moaning about Porsche going to just four for its 718 range. As ever, you sit low, on hard seats, and heave on heavy steering at slow speeds. You don't often get purposefulness like this for £67K. You've never before got a 1min 26.5sec Hethel lap time for it either: that's down from 1min 29sec for the Sport 350, thanks chiefly to the better front-end bite. Once there's some heat in, you can properly drive the 380 harder into corners, get the rear end rotating you in, confidence buoyed by the extra clarity of steering feel and feedback. It's staggeringly pure and detailed, and you'll take a 380 on track for lap after lap just to experience this mesmerising steering.


Faster, better, more
The additional confidence from the improved aero creeps up on you. It was only with laps that I realised I'd never quite driven Hethel so quickly, with so much high-speed assurance. The faster I went, the more I felt it respond, the less fear I had that I might be black-balled. And the extra grunt of the engine was helping too. The additional vibrancy at higher revs is readily felt, making it easy to raise the heart rate by taking on the patchwork wet'n'dry early dawn Hethel surface. And brakes? Just stamp on them and use them hard was the advice of dynamics legend Gavan Kershaw; the rock-solid feel and cleverly-tuned ABS ensured instructions were obeyed. It's no wonder Lotus had to fit that new gearbox oil cooler - because the car suits track driving so well.

Air-con is still optional on the Sport 380. The car for the road had it. And I needed it to cool off. This one also had the optional noise insulation pack and, for added luxobarge effect, cruise control via good ol' Vauxhall Omega column stalks. The purr out of Hethel onto the A11 was deliberately underplayed, to prove the Sport 380 hasn't turned into some track-only monster. Lotus's famously accomplished damping quickly emerges, breathing with but not floating over all surfaces, letting you unclamp teeth gritted in readiness for harshness over the bumps. The sound kit takes the clatter out the aluminium chassis and, while it's omnipresent, the mechanical engine noise is rich and enhanced here by that tuneful new exhaust - particularly over 5,000rpm where it really does wail. Pretty much from the off, the slice of extra torque seemed to make it easier to keep on the boil.


Clear vision
The clarity of the front end is gorgeous, steering weight and tightness ultra-special and probably beyond anything else for the money. With the additional confidence and ability engineered into the chassis, plus all that extra front-end bite, the Sport 380 becomes even more of a thoroughbred. This is a supremely well-sorted machine.

Oh, sure, the pedals remain cramped. It's only on the road you'll appreciate the click-clack precision of the gearshift, given it's a bit soggy when rushed on track. It will understeer at low speed if you're lazy with your circuit lines and, in daily use, there's more grey background noise than in an equivalent Porsche. That's all because it's a Lotus - one that's been tailored, sweated over and improved yet more over the 350 it's based upon.

The Sport 380 was a surprise arrival. But it's easy to see why it earns its place. Even at £67K, it justifies it. Lotus likes the line 'supercar killer'. Cute, but there's something more preferable. This is, simply, one of the fastest and most rewarding driver's cars this side of £100K. Be in no doubt, the Exige Sport 380 earns its place in the range, and should earn your attention.


LOTUS EXIGE SPORT 380
Engine
: 3,456cc, V6, supercharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive (6-speed auto optional)
Power (hp): 380@6,700rpm
Torque (lb ft): 302@5,000rpm
0-62mph: 3.7sec
Top speed: 178mph
Weight: 1,100kg*
MPG: 28.0
CO2: 235g/km
Price: £67,900 (basic OTR for manual car)
*Unladen weight, full tank of fuel and all fluids, no driver

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

big_rob_sydney

Original Poster:

2,096 posts

127 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
"You won't find a faster car for below £100,000,"

Good as this car is, I think someone has been drinking the cool aid...

http://www.evo.co.uk/news/15706/ultima-evolution-u...

Ultima Evolution unveiled with 1020bhp
SAM SHEEHAN9 APR 2015

Performance figures of record-breaking sports car released

Ultima Sports has revealed its most powerful sports car to date: the Evolution. Producing as much as 1020bhp from a supercharged 6.8-litre V8, the lightweight Evolution is capable of racing from 0-60mph in just 2.3sec.

As staggering as that number is, it’s the car’s record breaking rolling performance that impresses most. 0-100mph takes just 4.9sec, while 150mph arrives only four seconds later. Ultima claims the Evolution will keep on accelerating hard beyond 240mph before it bounces off the limiter in sixth gear.

Power comes from a Chevrolet-sourced V8 LS with a supercharger, and is sent through a Porsche six-speed transaxle. A billet quick-shifter cable system enables fast gear changes – enough to record a rapid 9.2sec standing quarter-mile time.

Weighing 950kg, the new Ultima produces 1091bhp/ton; that’s 98bhp more than the Koenigsegg One:1 does. A major contributor to this slender weight is the Ultima’s hollow space-frame chassis and glassfibre-reinforced plastic body.

Ultima claims the space-frame provides ‘market leading rigidity,’ while the clear-gel-coated GRP body is moulded to generate high-speed downforce.

The car is sprung on TIG welded double wishbones and fully adjustable coil spring dampers. Forged lightweight one-piece alloy wheels 18 inches in diameter are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 2 rubber. Stopping power comes from AP Racing 12.7-inch curved vane vented discs with stainless steel hoses all round and adjustable brake bias.

Inside, leather and Alcantara stretches over sports seats and a dial-strewn dash. A leather-wrapped roll-cage confirms the car’s high-speed intentions, but the addition of air conditioning, an Alpine in-car entertainment system and optional satnav are welcome luxuries.

In short, the Evolution is a proper racer for the road and packs enough grunt to shame even the fastest of hypercars. Below the 1020bhp model will sit 14 other variants, all utilising power from the same V8 in different states of tune. The Evolution even comes available in both coupe and convertible form.

The entry level Evolution produces 350bhp and sells from £65,995, though Ultima will also sell it in kit form for £38,000. Buyers after a fully built 1020bhp model will need £95,995. That’s Porsche 911 GT3 money for McLaren P1-beating performance.

Edited by big_rob_sydney on Tuesday 29th November 10:31


Edited by big_rob_sydney on Tuesday 29th November 10:32

kambites

54,940 posts

154 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
A radical SR8 would destroy it too. Hardly a fair comparison, though.

Porsche911R

15,283 posts

198 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
Be a 410 CUP soon ;-)

That's the thing with Lotus, you think you are buying the best newest car and up pops another,
I know all manufacturers do it, but most give 2 to 3 years warning and you know what's coming.
IE a R, GTS, GT so you buy at the top and get to have a top of the range car for 3 years etc

Lotus kill resale and ps off buyers due to all these cars every few months and MASSIVE DISCOUNTS.
you can see it now with the Elise Cup 220 and Elise cup 250 both on sale at the same time atm !!!
And if you ordered a Cup 220 3 months ago you would be a bit pissed off.

So expect an Exige CUP 410 in 6 weeks !

Lotus have always done it, sell you a car in the show room while they have newer cars out back.

even people who bought last years Cup 360's ended up with a poorer car at top money than a new basic Sport 350 which is lighter and faster and cheaper !

Here is another example , buy this car from Bell and colvill, it's brand new, but already old stock and outdated and more expensive and more weight than this new Sport 380 !!! but it's a brand new CUP car which is slower !!!

who is going to buy that at £68k now the new ones £67k

http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/l...



bobo

1,635 posts

211 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
oi, stop moaning .... at least its just not an LF1 ie paintjob and a plaque muggery !


otolith

35,582 posts

137 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
"Lotus have always done it" and yet their residuals remain strong. Upside of not being mass produced.
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Porsche911R

15,283 posts

198 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
otolith said:
"Lotus have always done it" and yet their residuals remain strong. Upside of not being mass produced.
the residuals are dire, you can loose £20k in 6 months, look at Evora 400 prices at £59k already !

residuals are great for the 2nd hand buyer on 3 year old cars at £25k/30k and they stay not far from that figure, new prices are scary though.

buy an Exige S now for £40k and yes residuals are great, but you have to sell these cars new 1st !

cypriot

210 posts

32 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
Porsche911R said:
Be a 410 CUP soon ;-)

That's the thing with Lotus, you think you are buying the best newest car and up pops another,
I know all manufacturers do it, but most give 2 to 3 years warning and you know what's coming.
IE a R, GTS, GT so you buy at the top and get to have a top of the range car for 3 years etc

Lotus kill resale and ps off buyers due to all these cars every few months and MASSIVE DISCOUNTS.
you can see it now with the Elise Cup 220 and Elise cup 250 both on sale at the same time atm !!!
And if you ordered a Cup 220 3 months ago you would be a bit pissed off.

So expect an Exige CUP 410 in 6 weeks !

Lotus have always done it, sell you a car in the show room while they have newer cars out back.

even people who bought last years Cup 360's ended up with a poorer car at top money than a new basic Sport 350 which is lighter and faster and cheaper !

Here is another example , buy this car from Bell and colvill, it's brand new, but already old stock and outdated and more expensive and more weight than this new Sport 380 !!! but it's a brand new CUP car which is slower !!!

who is going to buy that at £68k now the new ones £67k

http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/l...
You do realise that the cars you have mentioned above are different cars... using your theory, a GT3RS is the same as GT3. And your residual comment is completely untrue. Residuals are actually quite strong because for example, even though this new 380 has been released, it is significantly more expensive than the 350, hence it is a different proposition. Not sure why feel the need to bash lotus so much here... they have done absolutely nothing wrong, and lets celebrate the wonderful car they have created instead.

Porsche911R

15,283 posts

198 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
bobo said:
oi, stop moaning .... at least its just not an LF1 ie paintjob and a plaque muggery !

I love Lotus, they make nice cars esp now new cars are all auto and EPS.

But they ps off the buyer, warranty is VERY hard to get anything done and they discount crazy amounts.

They just need a nice model platform so you know what you are buying is current for a year or 2, better dealers who don't just give cars away and better support if and when some thing goes wrong.

Porsche911R

15,283 posts

198 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
cypriot said:
You do realise that the cars you have mentioned above are different cars... using your theory, a GT3RS is the same as GT3. And your residual comment is completely untrue. Residuals are actually quite strong because for example, even though this new 380 has been released, it is significantly more expensive than the 350, hence it is a different proposition. Not sure why feel the need to bash lotus so much here... they have done absolutely nothing wrong, and lets celebrate the wonderful car they have created instead.
!

so you order a brand new CUP 260 for £68k and you think you own the best/fastest car for at least 12 months

then they bring out a lighter Sport 380 ! which is faster ! than a current top of the range CUP car, you have not had arrive yet !

open your eyes, has nothing to do with liking or disliking the products, they just ps off buyers who think they are buying the best fastest product.

you know where you are with a Porsche brand GTS/GT3/RS etc you have no clue with Lotus, they bring out what they like a day after you have ordered the best current car !

the new Sport 380 looks a great thing, but as the "CUP" branding is the top of the line, I would expect a 410 CUP within months if not weeks. which will be 1.5 seconds a lap faster round their test track ;-)



kambites

54,940 posts

154 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
I do love the idea that a manufacturer releasing a better version of a car makes their other cars worse. It must be a thoroughly depressing world being so obsessed by cars you don't own.

I'm also faintly amused by the fact that Lotus are apparently terrible because you can buy a car for £20k below list after six months and because they give huge discounts to new buyers? confused

Edited by kambites on Tuesday 29th November 11:44

LambShank

10,334 posts

122 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
Hard to get anything done under warranty?

No, it's not.

GranCab

1,194 posts

79 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
It's still a 20 grand Elise underneath all the redesigns of the facelifts of the upgrades of the new engine ....

LambShank

10,334 posts

122 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
Here they come, as if on cue....

Blah blah blah

swanny71

1,731 posts

142 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
Porsche911R said:
!

so you order a brand new CUP 260 for £68k and you think you own the best/fastest car for at least 12 months

then they bring out a lighter Sport 380 ! which is faster ! than a current top of the range CUP car, you have not had arrive yet !

open your eyes, has nothing to do with liking or disliking the products, they just ps off buyers who think they are buying the best fastest product.

you know where you are with a Porsche brand GTS/GT3/RS etc you have no clue with Lotus, they bring out what they like a day after you have ordered the best current car !

the new Sport 380 looks a great thing, but as the "CUP" branding is the top of the line, I would expect a 410 CUP within months if not weeks. which will be 1.5 seconds a lap faster round their test track ;-)
On the bright side, at least you can actually buy a new top spec Lotus without blowing your OPC principle or paying 'overs' to wker speculators as in your Porsche world.



Terminator X

6,812 posts

137 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
"Added lightness", should be cloud9 for a PH'ers!

TX.

blueg33

19,820 posts

157 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
Porsche911R said:
bobo said:
oi, stop moaning .... at least its just not an LF1 ie paintjob and a plaque muggery !

I love Lotus, they make nice cars esp now new cars are all auto and EPS.

But they ps off the buyer, warranty is VERY hard to get anything done and they discount crazy amounts.

They just need a nice model platform so you know what you are buying is current for a year or 2, better dealers who don't just give cars away and better support if and when some thing goes wrong.
Warranty issues have been sorted on my car quickly and without hassle.

I think your comment on Evora 400 depreciation is ignoring the fact that the early cars were registered in Q3 2015 so are over 12 months old. You get a very similar depreciation on a 911 judging by the classified on here.

Still can't fathom why you are so anti Lotus, you always say you love them yet you always bash the cars and the company, often without knowledge or foundation.


Edited by blueg33 on Tuesday 29th November 20:26

Porsche911R

15,283 posts

198 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
Look I am only saying this as I was going to order a cup360 2 months back, and I spoke to the motorsport dept for a new car with Sport 350 redesign gear links etc. A car not even advertised or on Lotus web site.

I am a bit down with Porsche, you cannot get the GT cars and EPS and the like have made them feel more mainstream, not fun enough.

No one told me that a Sport 380 was coming. lucky escape I did not part with £68k for a CUP 360 !.

I like to buy the best car in the range and it to be current for at least 12 months if not 2 years.

Lotus you have no clue you are ordering outdated cars while new ones are coming off the production line !

But as I say, it's always been this way

bobo

1,635 posts

211 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
not true. my v6 exige was far more reliable than any porsche i have owned. and thats with track work.


that 380 offers very little over a v6s imho so not worth it (to me) but some old fart coming from a nice comfortable VAG cayman ? he might rediscover his joie de vivre in something analogue that actually talks to you with a personality ?

think is how many cayman owners actually track them?




Edited by bobo on Tuesday 29th November 12:10

LambShank

10,334 posts

122 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
Then don't buy one, move on with your life and keep worrying about 'overs', contrasting stitching, and buckets.

The angst some people have on here with regards to a Lotus they're not really interested in is baffling to say the least.

Porsche911R

15,283 posts

198 months

Tuesday 29th November 2016
quotequote all
swanny71 said:
On the bright side, at least you can actually buy a new top spec Lotus without blowing your OPC principle or paying 'overs' to wker speculators as in your Porsche world.
well you can, but don't expect it to arrive on time ;-)

many an order is very very late for buyers who wanted cars last summer and still don't have cars !

and yes by the time it does arrive. lotus have launch yet a better one so you go to pick up your new outdated Lotus, sort of takes the shine off a bit.