BY: GRAHAM KING, Editor @ motor1.com
In case the Exige Sport 350 was not extreme enough, British manufacturer Lotus has made its top of the range sports car lighter, more powerful, and more focused. Let’s start with the engine because, as the name suggests, the Exige Sport 380 gains a significant boost in power. The Toyota-derived, 3.5-liter, supercharged V6 motor has been treated to a new supercharger pulley, fuel pump, engine management system, and exhaust, upping output to 375 horsepower (280 kilowatts or 380 metric horsepower, hence the name) and 302 pound-feet (410 Newton meters) of torque. Which is a lot in a car that tips the scales at just 2,447 pounds (1,110 kilograms). A substantial 57.9 lbs (26.3 kg) have been saved over the Sport 350 with big items like the lithium battery that weighs 22.7 lbs (10.3 kg) less, down to tiny details like the new rear facia panel that shaves 10.6 ounces (300 grams). An optional titanium exhaust, carbon fiber roof panel and and carbon fiber tailgate knock a further 22 lbs (10 kg) off the curb weight. According to Lotus, the weight savings lower the center of gravity and sharpen the handling. The aero package has been remodeled, as well, producing 309 lbs (140 kg) of downforce at the car’s 178 miles per hour (286 kilometers per hour) top speed.
The 0 to 60 mph sprint is dispatched in just 3.5 seconds (0 to 100 km/h takes 3.7 secs). A six-speed manual gearbox with a gorgeous exposed gear linkage comes as standard. A six-speed automatic with forged aluminium paddle shifters is optional. As are Nitron adjustable dampers and Eibach anti-roll bars. Lotus's Dynamic Performance Management system toggles through Sport and Race modes that quicken throttle response and slacken the traction control. The Sport 380 wears Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires in 215/45 ZR17 front and 265/35 ZR18 rear sizes Power goes through just an open differential, presumably because a limited slip diff would have added too much weight. Prices in the UK start at £67,900 ($84,000), which you can easily spend on a Porsche 718 Cayman S. There's no word on U.S. availability.