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Lotus Exige Cup 380 is a track beast for the road

Only 60 will be built, so if you want one, I suggest hustling.


When Lotus unveiled the Exige Sport 380 late in 2016, it was the quickest Exige ever built. But that title didn't last long.

Lotus has one-upped itself with the new Exige Cup 380. It's meant to be a bit more track-focused than the Sport 380, while still being capable of driving you to and from said track. It certainly looks the part of a race car -- I guess I take back my earlier comment about the Sport 380 being the most garish Exige ever.

Under the hood, the Cup 380 uses the same motor as the Sport 380 -- a supercharged, 3.5-liter V6 putting out 375 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque. Mated to its beautiful exposed six-speed manual transmission, it'll hit 60mph in 3.4 seconds, 0.1 seconds quicker than the Sport 380. It'll run all the way up to 175 mph, given enough room.

I'm not usually one for garish sports cars, but this looks properly angry.


There's also a variable traction control function that lets drivers dial in how much wheel slip they want in a turn. It can be switched to several settings from 1 percent to 12 percent, and for the true skidders in our midst, the traction control can also be fully defeated.

When Lotus wants to make a car quicker, it may add some power, but it also focuses on removing weight. That's the case here, with its 2,330-pound curb weight coming from liberal use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials.

While weight has been removed, some has been added by way of additional aerodynamic enhancements. New louvers, fender cutouts and a massive rear wing help deliver a total downforce of 440 pounds, some 43 percent more downforce than the Exige Sport 380. Even the windshield wiper's resting position has been changed to improve airflow.

Inside, you'll find a whole bunch of exposed carbon fiber. The race seats are made of the lightweight composite, as are the doorsills and optional door panels and trim pieces. A steel roll bar is standard, as are front and rear tow hooks. The interior is finished in Alcantara suede, although leather or plaid can be optioned at no additional charge.

Only 60 examples of the Exige Cup 380 will be built, and none of them will be coming to the US. If you want to pick one up, expect to spend about £83,000, or $106,456 in Freedom Bucks.