Meet The Lotus Exige Cup 380: The Most Hardcore Road-Legal Exige Ever

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0-60 mph in the Exige Cup 380 takes 3.4 seconds. Only 60 examples will be built, but no word on US availability yet.

Lotus is obsessed with continuously shedding weight off its spritely sports cars. Not long ago, the British manufacturer presented the Evora 410 Sport bound for the US, a lighter, faster and sharper variant of the excellent Evora. Now the exhilarating Exige has been given the same diet regime – and the result is spectacular. Meet the Lotus Exige Cup 380: the fastest and most hardcore road-legal Exige ever built, a moniker that previously belonged to the Exige Sport 380.

The Cup 380 is a more track-focused Exige with an extensive use of carbon fiber components that make it look like a race car, but this beast is road-legal. "Developing the Cup 380 has allowed us to indulge our motorsport ambitions on a car that can be used and enjoyed every single day. This is an Exige that's not just unbeatable point-to-point but also capable of winning highly competitive races," said Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. "The biggest surprise for many is that it's fully road legal – a considerable achievement considering the car's performance capabilities. Unlike some rivals' cars, this is something that really can drive to a track, set the fastest lap a and take the win, before heading home. It's supremely usable, yet outrageously fast.

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Revised bodywork elements fitted for the first time to a road-going Exige, such as a race diffuser and a ferocious front splitter, have increased the downforce, enabling the car to generate up to 200 kg – that's 43 percent more than the Exige Sport 380. Front louvers equalize the pressure differential within the wheel arches, increasing downforce at high speed and under hard braking, and cut-out sections behind the rear wheels work with aero blades located on both sides of the race diffuser. Lotus is so obsessed with making the Exige Cup 380 as aerodynamic as possible, the windshield wiper has been moved to a vertical position to avoid disrupting air-flow.

Harnessing this increased downforce are wider 285/30 ZR18 rear which provide increased mechanical grip, allowing the Exige Cup 380 to corner harder and faster. Given that Lotus cars typically handle like go karts, that's no mean feat. Among the Exige Cup 380's comprehensive application of carbon fiber components include a new front splitter, front access panel, bargeboards, roof, diffuser surround, new larger aperture air-intake side pods, a new one-piece tailgate and a motorsport-derived rear wing. The result is a dry weight of 1,057 kg. For comparison, the Sport 380 weighs 1,110 kg, while the track-only Exige Race 380 weighs just 998 kg.

Fitted with the same 3.5-liter supercharged V6 engine as the Exige Race 380, 0-60 mph in the Exige Cup 380 takes 3.4 seconds, and it will go on to reach a top speed of 175 mph. Only 60 examples will be produced, with prices starting at 83,000 GBP (around $106,000). No word on US availability yet, sadly.

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