Lotus Exige Sport 380: Instant Gram

Lotus Exige Sport 380

There’s a generous smattering of carbon fibre, including on the bonnet and the roof panel

While everyone else is about noughts and ones in the great electrification race, the boys and girls over in Hethel are going in the other direction.

Enthusiasts would say the right direction… since the new Lotus Exige Sport 380 is not only the fastest Exige ever but boasts key figures, we just don’t see these days in an era of excess in both horsepower and weight. The Sport 380 tips the scales as a relative featherweight with a kerb figure of 1,100kg (1,066kg dry), which is roughly 250kg lighter than something like Porsche’s 718 Cayman S.

Some 16 years after the name first premiered comes the most aggressive Exige yet, the Sport 380 (denoting 380ps or 375bhp), which makes 3252bhp per tonne taking on high-end supercars with much bigger powerplants than its mere 3.5-litre supercharged Toyota-sourced V6. Off the line, then, the lithe Lotus will lag behind the latest metal (and carbon fibre) from Ingolstadt, Sant’Agata, Maranello and Zuffenhausen, with its quoted 0-100kph time of 3.5 seconds. But Hethel says this hot Exige will make up for that in the corners, with 140kg of downforce at the car’s top speed of over 285kph and carbon composite body components all over.

Hethel went to extremes to cut weight, managing to remove 2.7kg from the front splitter, rear wing and rear diffuser all together. At the back, a polycarbonate louvred window saves another 900 grams, the carbon seats cut 6kg, and lithium-ion battery saves a massive 10.3kg to combine for a total of 26.3kg in weight loss. Even the rear lights have been redesigned to save just 300g. Hethel says the Exige Sport 380 will come from under Dh550,000 to take on competition costing twice the money, available to order now.