Since 1952, Lotus has carved a respectable niche in the sports car market with its brilliantly engineered lightweight cars that can be driven on and off the track. Unlike its competitors whose core revolves around the grunt lurking underneath the hood, Lotus took a different design and engineering direction by making their cars more lightweight, gifted with precise handling and control that motoring purists adore.
This British sports car tradition is embodied by the high- powered, highly evolved, and ferociously fast, Lotus Exige Sport 380, touted as the most aggressive iteration yet for the Exige model line-up.
Lotus is taking the fight straight to six-figure super cars, with this new, top-of-the-range model that carries over the lessons learned during the development of the acclaimed Exige Sport 350. Rather than relying excessively on electronics, or allow sterile interfaces to dull the experience, the extreme Exige Sport 380 offers a pure, undiluted drive that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
It is unrivalled in its class: faster, sharper, and more direct than adversaries, the Exige Sport 380 is definitely not for the timid. With a dry weight of just 1,066 kg with lightweight options, and boasting a potent power-to-weight ratio of 352 hp per ton, the new, pure-bred Lotus has been conceived to out perform and out maneuver so-called super cars. The new Exige is blisteringly fast off the line, dispatching 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 178 mph. From the intricately engineered exposed-gear-change linkage, to the swathes of carbon-fiber components and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires as standard, every inch of the Exige has been carefully cultivated. Firmly defined as a Lotus for the enthusiast, the car can be seen as an expression of intense engineering – challenging accomplished drivers to extract the car’s true potential.
Weight-saving measures in a high-performance Lotus go without saying, so the company made heavy use of visible weave carbon fiber on the front splitter, front access panel, rear diffuser, and rear wing, with six-lb weight savings. A polycarbonate rear window is used in place of glass, saving another two lbs in weight. The lightweight forged wheels, grooved disc brakes, lithium ion battery, and carbon race seats all combine for an additional 58 lbs of weight savings.
High on the coolness factor is Lotus’s open-gate shifter design for its manual transmission. Using lightweight but sturdy aluminum parts, the visible shifter mechanism also reduces weight. It also benefits from a new oil cooler that can keep it from getting too hot even in heavy use.
Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive officer of Group Lotus plc, commented: “We’ve saved something special for our last new car of 2016. We have built upon the foundations of the excellent Exige Sport 350 and developed a perfectly proportioned, intuitive and attainable super car for real roads. The cut in weight is nothing short of drastic and, combined with the hike in power and its enhanced agility, we’ve created something exceptional – far greater than the sum of its parts. The Exige Sport 380 is so good, that it is no longer the best in class, it’s now in a class of its own.”
A six-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel paddle shifters will be available in the spring of 2017.