Lotus launches 'ultimate' roadgoing Exige


Apparently no-one has time to draw a breath at Lotus. With the dust barely having been left to settle on the Exige Cup 430, the road-biased Exige Sport 410 has been announced. Naturally it takes its cue from the track-focused car, but is retuned to befit a slightly different market position. Musical chairs, I hear you mutter - well, yes, but Porsche has been engineering into the same margins for decades, and done rather well out of it. So let's swerve around the business plan for a moment and delve into the details.

What does the Sport 410 buy you? Well, as you might expect, you get 416hp (410 referring to the imperial) - delivered by a recalibrated 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine; the same one which produces 436hp in the Cup. Lotus doesn't explain the thinking behind the lower output - there's marginally less torque, too, at 310lb ft - but obviously it preserves the range-topping status of its more expensive sibling (although, interestingly, the same 3.3-second to 60mph time and 180mph top speed are claimed for the Sport). 


The new variant is fractionally heavier than the Cup car, and courtesy of an overhauled aero pack, offers slightly less in the way of downforce, too (150kg at max speed compared to 220kg for the Cup). While minimal, the alterations do serve up a slightly softer profile for the Sport - which makes sense in a model meant for driving up the high street. Also - and this is the real kicker - you can have the car in Roadster configuration, which you can't with the Cup. 

The other welcome carryover is the very trick chassis. The three-way Nitron dampers which made their debut on the track car are present and correct on the Sport, as are the Eibach adjustable anti-roll bars and the AP Racing brakes. Given the clickable flexibility already built-in to the set-up, you wouldn't think the Hethel's 'retuning' efforts have taken an inordinate amount of time - but expect the Sport to deliver a fair bit more compliance right out of the box than was evident in a car used to set Lotus's lap record. 


Inside it seems the Sport has been treated to fairly comprehensive covering of Alcantara, and you get Lotus's own carbon fibre sports seats too, plus the spectacle of the open-gate manual gearshift (like the Cup, there's no auto option for the 410). Of course, you'll be expected to go above and beyond with the option ticks: air conditioning, cruise control and a Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system are both on the 'available' list, as is a range of carbon fibre components and the titanium exhaust system that would shave another 10kg from the kerbweight. 

Expect practically any flutter on the spec sheet to send the Sport's asking price toward £100k - but the car starts at £85,600, which is a handy saving over the £99,800 Cup. If the car drives half as well as that model, it may well prove to be the pick of Hethel's ever-expanding lineup. 

 

 

 

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Comments (90) Join the discussion on the forum

  • suffolk009 03 May 2018

    Well, of course you can have the 430 with a Roadster roof if you want. It's a dealer fit item.

    Love Cackett's description of the CD/radio as "infotainment system".

    And how is the range expanding when they've just deleted the 380?

    Looks a nice spec car.

  • Thorburn 03 May 2018

    suffolk009 said:
    Well, of course you can have the 430 with a Roadster roof if you want. It's a dealer fit item.
    If its the same as the Sport 350 Roadster then presumably the Roadster deletes the rear wing and front splitter?

  • Tickle 03 May 2018

    Thorburn said:
    suffolk009 said:
    Well, of course you can have the 430 with a Roadster roof if you want. It's a dealer fit item.
    If its the same as the Sport 350 Roadster then presumably the Roadster deletes the rear wing and front splitter?
    I think the 350 sport roadster has/had the rear wing.

  • suffolk009 03 May 2018

    Tickle said:
    I think the 350 sport roadster has/had the rear wing.
    Sadly the 350 gets a weird looking wing rather than the nice curved carbon item. AFAIK the roadster has no front splitter (that might change now it gets the new front clam), and has a lower top speed.

  • Scoobysaurus 03 May 2018

    If it starts at £85k I think the Sport 350 must still be the "pick" of the range

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