Cyprus Mail
Motoring

Lotus Exige Sport 380: a ferocious supercar killer

Taking the fight straight to six-figure supercars, this new, top-of-the-range model carries over the lessons learnt in the development of the acclaimed Exige Sport 350

High-powered highly evolved, and ferociously fast, the Lotus Exige Sport 380 is the most aggressive iteration yet for the Exige model lineup.

Taking the fight straight to six-figure supercars, this new, top-of-the-range model carries over the lessons learnt in the development of the acclaimed Exige Sport 350, launched last year, but with significant revisions lowering weight, boosting power and enhancing aerodynamics.

Rather than relying excessively on electronics, the car offers “a pure, undiluted drive that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated”.

Faster, sharper, and more direct than its adversaries, the Exige Sport 380 boasts a potent power-to-weight ratio of 352 hp per tonne, and is blisteringly fast off the line, dispatching 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 178 mph.

From the exposed-gear-change linkage to the swathes of carbon-fibre components and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres as standard, the makers say that “every inch of the Exige has been carefully cultivated”.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO 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 supercar 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.”

Lotus says the Sport 380 can lay claim to the title of ‘the best sports car under £100,000’. It focuses on the three key attributes that have made the company a firm favourite with driving enthusiasts: reduced weight, higher performance and honed aerodynamics.

While employing some of the high-performance components premiered on the Exige Sport 350, Lotus returned to the Lightweight Laboratory in order to cut kilos from the kerb weight. Infused with carbon fibre from front to back, the car features hand-made, high-gloss visible weave components as standard, which deliver a significant weight saving when compared to the Exige Sport 350.

This includes the front splitter, revised front access panel, new rear wing and rear diffuser surround, which together save 2.7 kg. A lightweight, transparent polycarbonate rear window saves 0.9 kg over the glass equivalent in the Exige Sport 350. In addition, the carbon race seats (-6 kg), lithium- ion battery (-10.3 kg), ultra-lightweight forged wheels and grooved two-piece brake discs (-10 kg) combine to cut a massive 26.3 kg. A new design of rear transom panel now has two rear light clusters, rather than the four on the Exige Sport 350, with reversing and fog lights now mounted inboard, cutting weight by a further 0.3 kg.

In line with its illustrious lineage, the Exige Sport 380 employs Lotus’ lightweight extruded and bonded aluminium structure. Lotus is working continuously to engineer out the excess mass from its cars, and the company’s chassis technology remains the benchmark.

The uprated 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine generates 375 hp at 6,700 rpm and 410 Nm (302 lb/ft) of torque at 5,000 rpm. Refined from extensive testing and development, it’s a design that’s proved its mettle by powering some of Lotus’ latest supercars, including the track-focused 3-Eleven and the recently revealed Evora Sport 410.

The power boost comes from a revised supercharger pulley, which increases charge pressure, an uprated fuel pump, a recalibrated ECU and the introduction of a revised exhaust system – as used in the Evora 400 and Evora Sport 410. It also comes with an enlarged, 48-litre petrol tank – which gives it a greater range between fill-ups.

The six-speed manual gearbox uses Lotus’ acclaimed open-gate design featuring lightweight machined and cast aluminium parts. The manual gearbox has been further enhanced through the introduction of a new oil cooler, ensuring the gears operate at the optimal temperature no matter how hard they are performing.
From Spring 2017 there will also be the option of a six-speed automatic gearbox, where drivers can select gears sequentially via the forged aluminium paddles located behind the steering wheel, or rely on the gearbox’s fully automatic mode.

Lotus’ Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) provides enhanced ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings. Proportionally increasing throttle response, lowering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, it provides the driver with a finer level of control before the system intervenes. DPM also utilises an engine exhaust bypass valve at mid-to-high engine speeds, further reducing back pressure to boost throttle response and engine performance in both ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings.
Aerodynamic efficiency plays a key role: extensive CFD modelling work allowed the design team to fine tune specific areas in order to deliver a substantial overall improvement. The revised front access panel modifies the air flow exiting the car’s horizontally mounted radiators, before it travels over the car, while the carbon front spoiler and rubber lip spoiler combined with the carbon barge boards reduce pressure under the vehicle.

In addition, twin pairs of front canard wings, mounted forward of the front wheels, a carbon rear wing and air blades behind the rear wheels, all work to help raise downforce to a massive 140 kg at maximum speed – a 60 per cent gain over the Exige Sport 350, which generates 88 kg at its maximum speed.

In the cabin, there are carbon fibre sports seats, and the six-speed manual gearbox uses Lotus’ acclaimed open-gate design featuring lightweight machined and cast aluminium parts
In the cabin, there are carbon fibre sports seats, and the six-speed manual gearbox uses Lotus’ acclaimed open-gate design featuring lightweight machined and cast aluminium parts

Favouring mechanical solutions over electronic systems, including key parts such as unassisted steering, means that “the Exige Sport 380 delivers the driver an intuitive experience. The extensive use of carbon fibre on the bodywork has lowered the centre of gravity, helping contribute to the Exige’s exemplary steering feel and precision handling characteristics”.

In addition to its already impressive credentials, it’s possible to sharpen the Exige further still. Opting for the full exhaust system in titanium improves the car’s overall balance, by removing 10 kg from beyond the rear axle. For customers who frequently go to the track, the optional Track Pack provides Nitron two-way adjustable dampers and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars.

The optional Carbon Exterior Pack contains a one-piece carbon roof panel and a distinctive carbon louvered tailgate. The carbon roof panel is 2 kg heavier than the standard soft-top but this weight increase is offset by the carbon louvered tailgate which saves 2 kg.

The car’s kerb appeal is enhanced by revisions to the Exige’s design front and back. Distinctive blackened headlamp surrounds provide a more aggressive demeanour, whilst to visually accentuate the width of rear of the car, a new rear transom features two lamp clusters rather than four.

In the cabin, there are carbon fibre sports seats while a new integrated entertainment system can also be specified, including iPod® connectivity and Bluetooth® functionality, along with air conditioning.

The Lotus Exige Sport 380 is available as a roadster as standard and as a coupe as an option.

RRP is UK £67,900 or €89,900.

Related Posts

One of the finest travel luxury experiences

Melissa Hekkers

German road traffic agency says 59,000 Tesla vehicles have software glitch

Toyota unveils new bZ4X at a launch of Olympic dimensions

Press Release

Applying for a car loan for your first electric car

CM Guest Columnist

50cc moped owners need to know essentials

CM Guest Columnist

What is auto insurance bad faith?

CM Guest Columnist

2 comments

Comments are closed.