Reduced weight, higher performance, and honed aerodynamics.
Lotus has yet again one-upped itself with the Exige. The quick, nimble, and focused Exige Sport 350 is no longer the top-dog in the model lineup. That distinction now belongs to the Lotus Exige Sport 380 – a lightweight aerodynamic masterpiece with even more power than before.
“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 supercar for real roads,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc. ”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.”
The new Lotus Exige Sport 380 is essentially the pinnacle of the sports car in road-legal form. Every little aspect has been revised by engineers to shave off weight, aerodynamics were honed to generate more downforce and optimize cooling, and the engine was tweaked to generate even better performance. All of that comes with a driver-centric, connected experience that only a Lotus can deliver.
Cutting weight on an already lightweight sports car isn’t exactly easy to do, but engineers were able to get the overall dry weight down to a mere 2,350 lbs. (2,425 lbs. curb). To achieve this, many parts on the Lotus Exige Sport 380 were replaced with hand-made carbon fiber components such as the front access panel, front splitter, rear wing spoiler, rear diffuser surround, and more. The rear window was also replaced with a polycarbonate unit while carbon racing seats, a lithium-ion battery, ultralight forged wheels, and two-piece brake discs cut 58 lbs. Even the light clusters at the rear were revised to save another 0.67 lbs.
Part of the weight-saving package on the Lotus Exige Sport 380 was a tuned aerodynamics program. Engineers used advanced CFD modelling to create a package that optimized both cooling and downforce characteristics without affecting drag. The new kit from front to rear leads to a 60-percent gain in downforce compared to the Exige 350 Sport without a change in drag. At top speed, the Lotus Exige Sport 380 generates 380.6 lbs. of downforce, helping it to stick to the track.
Propulsion comes in the form of a tuned 3.5-liter supercharged V-6 engine in the Lotus Exige Sport 380. A new supercharger pulley, fuel pump, software tune, and lightweight titanium exhaust system helps push output to 375 horsepower at 6,700 RPM and 302 lb-ft. at 5,000 RPM. That’s good enough to send the sports car to 60 mph from rest in 3.5 seconds and to a top speed of 178 mph.
Customers will have the ability to shift through gears with a choice of the standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic. The former boasts a new oil cooler and an open-gate design while the latter is operated by two forged aluminum paddles behind the steering wheel. Drivers can also switch through various settings in the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) system for different levels of traction control, throttle response, and more.
Precision is a key characteristic of the Lotus Exige Sport 380. Much of that comes thanks to the low overall weight and the chassis. Here, the hardcore model uses staggered forged wheels shod in sticky 215/45 ZR17 front 265/35 ZR18 Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires. Behind the black- or silver-finished wheels sit AP Racing forged, four-piston brake calipers and grooved two-piece discs for improved stopping power.
Inside, the Lotus Exige Sport 380 features carbon fiber sport seats with a choice of Alcantara, leather, or tartan upholstery and contrast stitching. Outside, five different colors
Of course, customers that want to take things up a notch with the already insane Lotus Exige Sport 380 can do so thanks to a number of factory upgrade packages. A Track Pack tacks on adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars, the Carbon Exterior Pack includes a new roof and tailgate, an Exterior Accent pack adds on some motorsport-oriented graphics, and an Interior Color Pack gives some character to the cabin with new colored additions.
The new Lotus Exige Sport 380 will be available as a roadster in standard form or optionally as a coupe for £67,900.
Lotus Exige Sport 380 Specifications
Displacement: 3.5 liters
Number of Cylinders: V-6
Maximum Horsepower: 375 / 380 PS / 280 kW at 6,700 RPM
Maximum Torque: 302 lb-ft. / 410 Nm at 5,000 RPM
Acceleration 0-60 mph: 3.5 seconds
Acceleration 0-62 mph: 3.7 seconds
Top Speed: 178 (manual) / 170 mph (automatic)
Lotus Exige Sport 380 Gallery