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RE: Lotus Exige Cup 430: Driven

RE: Lotus Exige Cup 430: Driven

Tuesday 14th November 2017

Lotus Exige Cup 430: Driven

Can an Exige really be worth £100,000? In a word, absolutely



Some - ourselves included, in fact - have been a little cynical about recent Lotus products, the frequency with which they arrive somewhat diluting the significance of each one. 10hp here, a new set of wheels there - how much difference could it actually make?

The buck stops with the Exige Cup 430. Well, it seems to. For the Exige at least. Lotus describes this as "a new car in every respect" and so great is the leap, so comprehensively overhauled is the dynamic package and so complete is the finished product that it's hard to imagine much more being possible for this car. Famous last words...

The Exige gets serious; really serious
The Exige gets serious; really serious
In terms of numbers it's an Exige that's 15 per cent more powerful than the previous flagship, 1.2 seconds faster than that car around Hethel, and with a 0-60mph time that matches a McLaren F1. As a product it's one of the most intensely desirable and wildly exciting Lotuses ever produced. Seriously.

It starts before you've even completed the embarrassing collapse into the new carbon seat. There's so much to admire on this Cup 430, from the higher rear wing to the glossy exposed carbon to the fantastic 'J-hook' AP Racing brakes (which are more effective than drilled or grooved discs). It's drenched in track focused details, elevating the Exige's look from exciting sports car to proper track renegade. Secretly we all want a car that has tow hooks and cut-off switches as standard, don't we?

There's no losing sight of that circuit focus on the road either. The Cup 430 uses three-way adjustable Nitron dampers, a first for Lotus and including both high- and low-speed compression, and the damping on a Norfolk B-road is exquisite. The kerbweight keeps the car just about lithe and fluid enough, the dampers tying down every movement flawlessly. In all honesty a degree of extra suppleness might suit for longer journeys; turns out the road set up has a good few clicks on the dampers front and rear to go (the rear rebound setting is on 14 of 24, with 1 the firmest) so some additional compliance is surely there to discover.

Airbag delete means a harness can be fitted too...
Airbag delete means a harness can be fitted too...
It's savagely fast too, this Exige, which you should expect from a car with a power to weight ratio not far off a McLaren 570S; the shock is that it's coming from a still relatively small Lotus, the juxtaposition of tiny car and big power as exciting as it is arresting. The size makes it accessible on a B-road, the visibility is good and the additional torque means you don't have to drive with the shift lights (and your underpants) ablaze.

There's a circuit for that sort of stuff, anyway. While pitched as the ultimate road and track car, the Exige Cup 430 is patently more focused than something like a GT3. Look, made it this far without mentioning the Porsche. That you have to pay for air conditioning, a stereo and sound insulation hints at that, and the road drive confirms it: the Exige is acceptable on the road, but it wants to be on circuit.

It's all about compromise, and your priorities. A GT3 will be easier on the road, the Lotus more exciting on a track. Tangibly more exciting too, even allowing for an engine that doesn't thrill quite like that flat six and a manual gearbox that, though vastly improved from the old days of Lotus, still isn't quite as crisp.

Want fast? Got it. Want involving? Got it
Want fast? Got it. Want involving? Got it
You'll know what's good about a Lotus on track: the communication, the poise, the involvement, the feel. They are of course all present in this Exige, only ramped up further and accompanied by an oh-my-god-that's-quite-quick turn of speed.

Turn in with a little too much momentum and the steering goes light in your hands; even on a greasy track you know about the understeer. Brake hard and you'll feel the millimetre the ABS gets involved, so you know where to work to next time. Jump on the throttle too abruptly and the wheels will spin; but you'll have heard and felt it, so it's not a surprise. The Exige can catch you out, but you'll know absolutely why.

The traction and stability control are motorsport inspired, never impacting on your enjoyment and giving as much freedom as you could want. You can push and push and push and the Exige keeps coming back for more, challenging and captivating its driver in equal measure. It really is a sensational track car, the combination of finely honed dynamics with mechanical toughness a deeply appealing one. And it sounds awesome, too.

No, really, it is that good
No, really, it is that good
So there you have it: a Lotus with almost all the delicacy of an Elise, supercar performance and the circuit aptitude of a genuine motorsport product. That has to be worth £100,000, doesn't it? Or a bit more once you've added air-con and a radio back in. To many it may look like a far cheaper car; to those who appreciate what a Cup Lotus is all about, however, this Exige more than delivers on the hype, excitement and, yes, the list price it brings. When Cayman GT4s are still available for the same money, the Exige looks all the more attractive. A track-focused Lotus road car comes with very high expectations; that this Cup 430 comfortably exceeds them should tell you just how sublime it really is.

Inspired? Buy a Lotus Exige here


LOTUS EXIGE CUP 430

Engine: 3,456cc V6, supercharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 436@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 325@4,000-6,800rpm
0-62mph: 3.3secs
Top speed: 180mph
Weight: 1,093kg (unladen)
MPG: N/A
CO2: 242g/km
Price: £99,800

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

blasos

Original Poster:

205 posts

87 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Noble made this car 13 years ago.

M400:
3.0 V6 Twin Turbo
425 bhp
1060 kg

And 40 grand cheaper.

suffolk009

3,393 posts

90 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
It looks absolutely brilliant. I'd love to own one

Sadly it's a struggle to get the beans together to buy a bottom of the range 350. One day....

kambites

53,085 posts

146 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
blasos said:
Noble made this car 13 years ago.

M400:
3.0 V6 Twin Turbo
425 bhp
1060 kg

And 40 grand cheaper.
£60k in 2000 is ~£85000 in today's money, so certainly cheaper but not massively so. Also as much as I love the Noble, it didn't have full type approval even then, let alone now.

joshleb

649 posts

69 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Certainly designed with intent, look at it!

If I was in the market for a 100k second car/third car... maybe.

Shame I'm struggling for even a first car at the moment!

Penguinracer

774 posts

131 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
It will be interesting to compare this to the new TVR.
Different characters & but potentially a similar result.
Advertisement

Joeguard1990

804 posts

51 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
blasos said:
Noble made this car 13 years ago.

M400:
3.0 V6 Twin Turbo
425 bhp
1060 kg

And 40 grand cheaper.
Behave, you could say that about any car on the road today!

Pick one at random. Guarantee there's a car from the 90s era or 00's that has the same power and same number of doors...

Take into account inflation and tax and it wouldn't be far off anyway so your point is invalid.



cib24

571 posts

78 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
I think it's great but it would be nice if with all of the option boxes ticked it maxed out at £100,000 rather than £100,000 being the starting price.

Either way, several people will just lease them for 2 years anyway rather than try to buy them outright brand new.

WCZ

4,881 posts

119 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Joeguard1990 said:
Behave, you could say that about any car on the road today!

Pick one at random. Guarantee there's a car from the 90s era or 00's that has the same power and same number of doors...

Take into account inflation and tax and it wouldn't be far off anyway so your point is invalid.
yeah but this was directly in the sector of the cup 430
other comparable cars can't be talked about in the same way, the m5/m3 of today h ave much less power than they did then

Onehp

312 posts

208 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Joeguard1990 said:
blasos said:
Noble made this car 13 years ago.

M400:
3.0 V6 Twin Turbo
425 bhp
1060 kg

And 40 grand cheaper.
Behave, you could say that about any car on the road today!

Pick one at random. Guarantee there's a car from the 90s era or 00's that has the same power and same number of doors...

Take into account inflation and tax and it wouldn't be far off anyway so your point is invalid.
It's not so surprising that it was made before. What is, is that this kind of car is STILL made today (and wíth type approval on top of that). Driver forcussed cars are getting more diluted with the every passing day...

Onehp

312 posts

208 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Does it have an LSD like the latest Evora GT430(?) ?

Does the regular 350 sport see any improvements? Should be plenty for road use only...

D200

514 posts

72 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Just looking up past prices of Exige’s I didn’t realize they were always quite expensive – in 2009 an Exige 260 S [with the 1.8] was 53k

100k before options does still seem very pricey though

I know not a direct competitor but the Caterham 620R nearly looks a total bargain at 46995

Nerdherder

50 posts

22 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Is the 'basic' V6 Radical RXC not 100K or thereabouts? That is where my toy money would go. For now a scale model will (would) have to suffice.

cib24

571 posts

78 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Onehp said:
Does it have an LSD like the latest Evora GT430(?) ?

Does the regular 350 sport see any improvements? Should be plenty for road use only...
I suppose if you wanted to save £50k you could buy a Sport 350, add a water injection kit and a transmission oil cooler yourself, get a remap for 450+ bhp and then simply be faster than the Exige 430? You just wouldn't have the carbon bits.

suffolk009

3,393 posts

90 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
D200 said:
Just looking up past prices of Exige’s I didn’t realize they were always quite expensive – in 2009 an Exige 260 S [with the 1.8] was 53k

100k before options does still seem very pricey though

I know not a direct competitor but the Caterham 620R nearly looks a total bargain at 46995
Lovely as Caterhams are (I've had three), I don't think I'd want to take one on a tour of European.

suffolk009

3,393 posts

90 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
cib24 said:
Onehp said:
Does it have an LSD like the latest Evora GT430(?) ?

Does the regular 350 sport see any improvements? Should be plenty for road use only...
I suppose if you wanted to save £50k you could buy a Sport 350, add a water injection kit and a transmission oil cooler yourself, get a remap for 450+ bhp and then simply be faster than the Exige 430? You just wouldn't have the carbon bits.
I don't believe there is an LSD. And whilst an engine upgrade is certainly a possibility you'd probably use a Komotec or SSC supercharger upgrade. There are then several other areas of improvement to acount for, exluding the carbony bits and bobs. For a fuller chat, see here: https://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/forum/345-v6...

I'm a little disapointed that the carbon doodads aren't optional extras. It'd be nice to have a lower price for the "basic" car and then the carbon gob-ons appearing on the option list, alonside stereo and aircon. Seems to be how most other manufacturers price it up.

craig2003

1,140 posts

131 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
The 620R starts at £50k before the on the road package is added on.
I took mine across Europe with a little less than 1000 miles on the clock, managed to get as far as Austria before heading back via the ring for a few laps. It was a week of travelling very light but what a trip and that was without a windscreen!

rare6499

158 posts

64 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Since it’s been announced all I can think of is this car! For some reason it’s captured my imagination.

The performance looks phenomenal, and everything about the car just looks so...’right’! I for one am glad Lotus are in the position to still be bringing cars out like this. A great brand.

If I had a hundred grand to spend on a fast track orientated car I would buy it no question, especially over a Porsche. Lotus is just the more interesting option to me, and the Exige has the kind of presence only a super car does (to me at least).

kambites

53,085 posts

146 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Nerdherder said:
Is the 'basic' V6 Radical RXC not 100K or thereabouts? That is where my toy money would go. For now a scale model will (would) have to suffice.
It's a wonderful thing, but the RXC sits considerably further down the "track focussed" path than the Exige.

andy_s

12,057 posts

184 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
cib24 said:
Onehp said:
Does it have an LSD like the latest Evora GT430(?) ?

Does the regular 350 sport see any improvements? Should be plenty for road use only...
I suppose if you wanted to save £50k you could buy a Sport 350, add a water injection kit and a transmission oil cooler yourself, get a remap for 450+ bhp and then simply be faster than the Exige 430? You just wouldn't have the carbon bits.
....or the heavier clutch, bigger brakes, better discs, lighter body panels, better aero, 3-way springs, titanium exhaust and a few other bits and bobs...

Edited by andy_s on Tuesday 14th November 17:21

Vee12V

713 posts

85 months

Tuesday 14th November 2017
quotequote all
Article says: "You'll know what's good about a Lotus"

The fact you can actually buy one?