Lotus Exige Cup 380

Should have seen it coming really. It's been more than a month since Lotus last gave us a new car in the Elise Sprint, so here's the latest: the Exige Cup 380. Wonder what May will bring...

We're joking, don't worry. More Lotuses sounds like more good news, particularly given how richly talented the most recent models have been. Indeed it only sounds like bad news if you're a buyer, content that you have the best variant only to find it superseded a few months later. See the Exige Sport 350, for example.

Wonder what it'll do at the 'ring?
Wonder what it'll do at the 'ring?
This new car is the Exige Cup 380, said by Hethel to be "the perfect balance between fully type approved road car and genuine race car to deliver ultimate track-and-back street-legal Lotus." Quite a claim.

To that end the aero has been heavily overhauled for this Exige, with power untouched from the Sport 380. Entirely new body parts - see the front louvres, the cut-outs between the rear wheels and the aero blades either side of the diffuser - have contributed to a 43 per cent improvement in top speed downforce, now 200kg.

Carbon is used extensively, as you might have expected, with the front splitter, rear wing, side skirts, side scoops, roof and boot lid made of it. With the optional titanium exhaust fitted as well, Lotus claims a dry weight of 1,057kg for the Cup 380.

Less weight of course means improved performance, and this Exige doesn't disappoint. 0-60mph takes 3.4 seconds (62mph takes another couple of tenths), while the Hethel lap time is 1min 26sec - half a second faster than the Sport 380, and three seconds in front of a Sport 350. Contributing to this in conjunction with the aero upgrades are wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, now 285 section at the back (215s remain on the front).

As is the Cup tradition, the car's dynamic set up is finely tweakable by the driver. Standard equipment includes two-way adjustable Nitron dampers, adjustable Eibach anti-roll bars front and rear plus a new six-mode traction control in addition to the four ESP modes. The system varies the target wheel slip from one to 12 per cent according to the positioning of the dial, with the sixth position fully off. The dial is located beneath the indicator stalk, but don't worry - there's a display in the dials so you're not checking around the steering column for the TC setting.

Function before form, right?
Function before form, right?
Also included in the Cup 380 package are a steel roll cage, a front tow eye and a rear tow strap. It can be made fully race compliant in fact, with further options including harnesses, an electrical cut-off, an extinguisher, an FIA spec roll cage and a non-airbag wheel. Just in case the car wasn't serious enough!

Just 60 Exige Cup 380s will be made, offered in five colours: Essex Blue, then white, silver, grey and black. Red highlights are standard on all cars and there are some new badges and... you want to know the price, don't you? It's £83,000. A fair chunk for an Exige, but then very good value given the performance. And if you're thinking what a good comparison it might be with a new manual GT3, you're not alone...







P.H. O'meter

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Comments (58) Join the discussion on the forum

  • suffolk009 21 Apr 2017

    Lovely looking thing. But I think if I was spending my own money, then I'd be happy with the bottom of the range Exige 350 L.

    ETA: But only because I don't do track days any more.

    Edited by suffolk009 on Thursday 20th April 16:30

  • Jesus 21 Apr 2017

    Obviously got some T/C rotary knobs left over from the S2...

  • SpudLink 21 Apr 2017

    Impressive downforce figures. I would have thought that would be a bigger improvement around Hethel.

    I assume the number of cars being built includes left and right hand drive? So we can expect a lot fewer to actually appear on UK roads

  • Vee12V 21 Apr 2017

    Love the centrally positioned windscreen wiper. Amazing bit of kit, should hold it's value too considering the very limited numbers.

  • 73RS 21 Apr 2017

    Looks amazing, and must be a stunning drive. It's a lot of money for a Lotus, but what would beat it on a track for the money?

    However I think they have over done the graphics and red highlights - unnecessary and a bit '80s hot hatch.

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