Performance Cars

Lotus Exige Cup 430 is most extreme Exige ever... for now

Did Lotus forget that it must occasionally build new cars?

Lotus

Once upon a time, Lotus used to build some amazing sports cars. It still does, on occasion. Currently, though, the British automaker spends most of its time creating slightly-different special editions of its three current models. And hey, what do you know, now there's another one.

The Lotus Exige Cup 430 is, according to Lotus, the "most extreme" Exige ever. Looking at the specs, Lotus is right -- the thing is blisteringly quick.

One day, there'll be a whole new Lotus model. Maybe. Hopefully.

Lotus

Its 3.5-liter V6 features a new supercharger and intercooler, pushing its output up to 430 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to a six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive. It's the same motor featured in the GT430, which was referred to as the "fastest Lotus ever," a phrase that will certainly last for at least a month or two more.

Thanks to a low curb weight of 2,328 pounds, it'll hit 60 mph in a scant 3.2 seconds, which is plenty quick. It packs 55 more horsepower than the Exige Cup 380 model that used to be the most extreme Exige ever. Lotus is a creature of habit, that much is certain.

The engine is only half the story. Lotus also threw a whole load of carbon fiber at the Exige Cup 430, with lightweight parts including the front splitter, front clamshell, roof, air intake pods, tailgate and wing. Extensive use of aerodynamic add-ons produces about 485 pounds of downforce. There's also a new set of Nitron three-way adjustable dampers and Eibach adjustable sway bars. Four-piston AP Racing brake calipers help bring everything to a stop, and quickly.

I do have to give the automaker credit for pushing so many of these special-edition vehicles out, each of which happens to be just a bit more powerful than the last. At a tax-included starting price of £99,800 ($130,840, directly converted), it's an expensive proposition, but considering some cars feature specs like this at a much higher starting price, it's actually sort of a bargain.