Another day, another extreme lightweight Lotus sports car has been revealed.
Lotus is unleashing so many new hardcore variants of its lightweight sports cars that it's getting difficult to keep track. After launching the updated Elise Cup 260 last month, Lotus has revealed the new Exige Cup 430. Put simply, this is the most extreme Exige yet. A successor to the limited production Exige Cup 380, the Exige Cup 430 is powered by an updated version of the 3.5-liter V6 powertrain used in the Lotus Evora GT430 mated to a six-speed manual.
It boasts 55 more horsepower than its predecessor, delivering 430 hp at 7,000 rpm and 325 lb-ft of torque from 4000 rpm. 0-62 mph takes 3.2 seconds, making it 0.2 seconds faster than the Cup 380 before it. Unsurprisingly, the Lotus Exige Cup 380 has had a weight reduction. Lotus are experts when it comes to making its cars ludicrously light, and the Exige 380 is no different. Overall weight has been reduced by 12 kg to 1,059 kg. In its lightest configuration, the car weighs just 1,056 kg. Combined with its increased power, the Exige Cup 430's power-to-weight ratio has improved from 350-bhp per tonne in the Cup 380 to 401-bhp per tonne in the new model, while producing 220 kg of downforce.
This is combined with with a newly-designed body, which delivers "enhanced aerodynamic performance to reveal the model's true potential" according to Lotus. Harnessing all that extra power in the Exige Cup 430 is a comprehensive range of new aero elements including an ultra-lightweight front clam with unique carbon fiber ducts and wider radiator apertures, as well as a new mesh pattern to allow for a new front splitter and air curtain mechanism to reduce drag. A motorsport-derived rear wing increases downforce without impacting the car's overall drag coefficient, according to the automaker. The new design front and rear clam panels are 6.8 kg lighter than those on any other Exige.
Providing extra stopping power are forged four-piston AP Racing brake calipers and performance two-piece J-hook brake discs, which are some of the largest calipers and rotors of any Lotus road car. The system is designed to give "improved bite and debris clearance and reduce distortion and vibration and to deliver consistent pedal feel and stopping power lap after lap". The Cup 430 also includes a steel roll-over bar, new seatbelt anchorage frame and a front towing eye as standard. Lotus says the new Lotus Exige Cup 430 can lap the Hethel circuit in one minute and 24.8 seconds, making it the fastest production car to lap the circuit.
"This is the car that we have always wanted to build, and I am sure that all Lotus enthusiasts will be delighted with the end product," commented CEO Jean-Marc Gales. "As well as a significant power hike, the Cup 430 has benefited from extensive development in areas essential to Lotus' DNA, in order to ensure that the full potential of the Exige's incredible chassis can be exploited. This car has no rivals – inside or outside of its price bracket - and it's no exaggeration when we say that nothing can keep up with this Exige on the road or track." Unlike the Cup 380 which was limited to 60 models, the Cup 430 is a full production model. Prices start at 99,800 GBP ($130,967) but no word on US availability.