Lotus has unveiled the company's latest lightweight creation, the Exige Cup 380, a lightened, street-legal track-toy that aims to smoke all manner of Italian exotica both on the road and the track. While not meant for mass production — although no Lotus ever is — the Exige Cup 380's production allows Lotus to dive deep into its motorsport heritage while maintaining a modicum of comfort for its passengers on country roads.
Based on the already remarkable Exige Sport 380, the Exige Cup 380 has been thoroughly modified to produce a harder, more focused car. As you'd expect from Lotus, the Exige's weight is staggeringly low. Weighing in at just 2,330 pounds, the Exige Cup 380 weighs just 250 pounds more than the last-generation Lotus Elise and 2,118 pounds less than a Dodge Challenger Hellcat.
The decrease in weight comes from a significant diet and the addition of a ton of hand-laid carbon-fiber pieces, including the front splitter, front access panel, barge boards, roof, diffuser surround, side intake pods, one-piece tailgate, rear wing, race seats, door sills, door panels, HVAC controls, and face-level vents.
There's no interior carpets and Lotus even removed the gas struts that keep the rear hatch open. An optional titanium exhaust further reduces the car's weight by another 22 pounds. Almost everything that could've been done to reduce weight has been. If Lotus could put the driver on a diet, it likely would.
As for performance, the Exige Cup 380 clips 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, and tops out at 175 mph. This speedy performance comes from the car's 3.5-liter supercharged V-6 lifted from the Exige Race 380 and is tuned to produce 375 hp and 302 lb-ft of torque.
The engine is coupled to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission, and now features Lotus' open-gate manual gearbox design. Yet, speed isn't this car's biggest strength, handling is.
The Exige Cup 380 gets sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires as standard. Additionally, the Exige Cup 380 comes with Nitron two-way adjustable dampers, a set of Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, and ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels to help reduce unsprung weight.
That weight reduction, including the diet above, also helps the car corner faster and get up to speed quicker. The Exige Cup 380 also receives a new aerodynamic package that increases the car's downforce by 43 percent, totaling an extra 441 pounds of extra push.
All of this culminates in a one-minute, 26-second lap around the company's Hethel Test track, which makes it the quickest street-legal Lotus ever to be tested there.
Inside, the Exige Cup 380 features the aforementioned carbon-fiber racing seats finished in Alcantara, with either leather or tartan inserts as a no-cost option. The Exige Cup 380's instrument panels have also been optimized with new graphics that make the information displayed easier to read at race pace.
Only 60 Exige Cup 380s will be produced, and before you ask, no, it's not legal in the U.S. Those able to purchase the Exige Cup 380 will have a few options, although they're unlike most options in new cars. Buyers can spec their car with an FIA-compliant roll cage, full race harness, electrical cut-off, race steering wheel, and fire extinguisher controls. For those that need weight savings at all costs, the airbags can also be deleted.
Pricing starts at $106,399 dollars in the U.K., while in Germany, the Exige Cup 380 starts at $117,990 based on current exchange rates.