2017 Lotus Exige Sport 380

Lotus was undergoing a bit a crises when its current CEO, Jean-Marc Gales, came onboard in 2014. But after spending nearly forty years in the red, the British brand is back in the black and doing what it does best – making lightweight sports cars for adrenaline-hungry enthusiasts. And that’s very good news indeed, because it means we get machines like this – the Exige Sport 380. Framed as a follow-up to the Sport 350 unveiled late last year, the 380 takes the tried-and-true Exige formula to even greater heights, making for the lightest, most powerful, most downforce-generating, and flat-out fastest model to ever wear the nameplate since it was first introduced in the year 2000. Offered as either a coupe or a roadster, this new range-topper is a bona fide street-legal track terror, packed with OCD weight saving details and legendary handling refinement.

Lotus claims the 380 is aimed at “six-figure supercars,” and looking at the spec sheet, it certainly appears to have all the trappings of a giant slayer.

“We’ve saved something special for our last new car of 2016,” says Gales. “We have built upon the foundations of the excellent Exige Sport 350 and developed a perfectly proportioned, intuitive and attainable supercar for real roads. The cut in weight is drastic and, combined with the hike in power and its enhanced agility, we’ve created something exceptional – far greater than the sum of its parts.”

For the moment, there’s no official word as to whether or not the 380 will come stateside, but if I were to guess, it’s unlikely. That said, Lotus has expressed interest in redoubling its efforts in North America, so maybe there’s a chance yet.

Either way, this is a car that pays attention to the details, so let’s do the same, shall we?

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Exige Sport 380.

Exterior

Overall, the look of the 380 isn’t terribly different from that of the Sport 350. The same basic shape is unchanged, with an ultra-wide, ultra-low stance, high fender flares, large side intakes mounted behind the doors, and pointy creases front to back. The roofline falls gracefully into the rear end, and the tail gets a flat, truncated appearance that pushes the whole thing forward with a sporty, aggressive demeanor. While the dimensions are small, the shape is pure exotic head-turner, offering huge curb appeal no matter where it might turn up.

However, the 380 adds to this superb canvas with a slew of visual touches that simply scream for more attention. In front, the fascia gains new black headlight surrounds, while in the rear, the taillights go from a cluster of four to a cluster of two. The aero is beefed up with extra canards in front and a GT-style wing in back (more on that later), while details in the undertray, side-view mirrors, front access panel (the black section just ahead of the windshield), side intakes, spoiler risers, and rear diffuser are all striped in red. Raw black carbon pervades throughout.

Lotus Exige Sport 380
Lotus Exige Sport 380

You’d be forgiven for calling it over the top. But here’s the kicker – functionality was still Lotus’ primary goal.

You’d be forgiven for calling it over the top. But here’s the kicker – functionality was still Lotus’ primary goal. Step one – less weight. Enter everyone’s favorite composite material.

As you can see, carbon fiber is used everywhere on this thing, especially when it comes to the new aerodynamics. The new front splitter, reshaped access panel, bumper-mounted canards, large rear wing, and rear diffuser surround are all made from the stuff, cutting out 2.7 kg (roughly 6 pounds).

Seem a bit extreme? Well, get used to it, because we’re only scratching the surface.

In back, the glass rear window was replaced with a new polycarbonate unit (basically plastic), saving 0.9 kg (roughly 2 pounds) compared to the 350. And you know those new lamp clusters fixed to the rear? Well, those are for weight savings as well, simplifying the old four-cluster design to a two-cluster with inboard reverse lights and fog lights, netting another 0.3 kg (0.66 pounds) on the scales.

Obsessive? You bet. But that’s the Lotus way. We’ll explore further weight savings measures later in the review, but for now, expect the same basic theme – if you shave just a little bit from everywhere, the result is substantial, especially if you start with something as lightweight as the Exige Sport 350.

Lotus Exige Sport 380
Lotus Exige Sport 380

Obsessive? You bet. But that’s the Lotus way.

On to the aero. To keep the 380 as planted as possible while on the move, Lotus applied a good bit of updated CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modeling to the car’s design. This included tweaks to the front access panel for better airflow through the horizontally mounted radiators, improving the air’s movement across the top of the car, as well as an updated front splitter and lip spoiler design for reduced undercar pressure. The carbon canards just ahead of the front wheels are also new, as are the airblades behind the rear wheels and that big GT wing bolted to the trunk.

The result is 140 kg (309 pounds) of downforce when traveling at the car’s top speed, an improvement of 60 percent compared to the 88 kg (194 pounds) of the old 350 model. The 380 also makes more downforce than the Porsche Cayman GT4 (220 pounds). Incredibly, the extra stick is paired with the same coefficient of drag as the 350.

The rollers are new, and come with an updated lightweight design. Sizing is staggered, measuring in at 17 inches in diameter at the front and 18 inches in diameter at the rear. You can get yours with either a black or silver finish, while exterior paint choices include 10 different hues.

The result is 140 kg (309 pounds) of downforce when traveling at the car’s top speed.

Further custom options include an exterior accent package with five different color choices. There’s also an optional Carbon Exterior Pack, which throws in a one-piece carbon roof panel and carbon louvered tailgate. Funny enough, the carbon roof is 2 kg (4.4 pounds) heavier than the standard roof, but the carbon tailgate is 2 kg lighter, which means a net-zero weight gain for the extra composite styling.

Finally, as mentioned previously, the Sport 380 will be produced either as a roadster or a coupe, with the droptop coming as standard and the hardtop offered as an available option.

Competition

Porsche Cayman GT4
Ariel Atom 3S

Next to a rival like the Porsche Cayman GT4, the Exige Sport 380 could be seen as a bit ostentatious, especially with the bright red exterior trim and accents. Whereas the GT4 is refined in its approach to visual speed, the Lotus seems to shout, bearing a passing resemblance to some custom skin from a modern racing video game.

It’s a look that’s sure to appeal to plenty of enthusiasts, especially those that frequent the race track with any degree of regularity. However, for those folks who appreciate something a little more under the radar, the Porsche is the obvious way to go.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Atom. This is the car that famously melted Jeremy Clarkson’s face into a quivering mass of skin, and as such, it’s about as subtle as a racing kart with license plates. But that’s part of the appeal, right?

So where’s that leave the Sport 380? Well, somewhere in the middle. It’s a flashy head-turner for sure, but it’s not quite as shouty as some of its rivals.

Lotus Exige Sport 380 Porsche Cayman GT4 Ariel Atom 3
Wheelbase (Inches)93.3097.892.32
Length (Inches)160.78174.7134.25
Width (Inches)70.9471.570.78
Height (Inches)44.4449.847.0

Interior

Per Lotus tradition, the Sport 380 is equipped with a barebones, spartan interior that’s heavily focused on melding car and driver into one cohesive unit. Amenities and features are as basic as they come, and the two-seater layout can be a tight squeeze for those of the larger, taller persuasion.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

But while rudimentary in its design, the 380’s cabin does manage a sort of mechanical, analog, laid-bare appeal, something that’s not easy to find in the modern age of digitized automatic everything.

But while rudimentary in its design, the 380’s cabin does manage a sort of mechanical, analog, laid-bare appeal, something that’s not easy to find in the modern age of digitized automatic everything. The best example of this can be found on the central tunnel, where Lotus saw fit to install an exposed shift gear linkage, similar to what you get on the Sport 350.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

Featuring an open-gate design, lightweight machined and cast aluminum components, and an anodized surround, this shifter is pure, unadulterated cool. It simultaneously looks both old and new, and hilariously, Lotus Lotus is quick to point out it saves a little weight as well. Exactly how much weight, you ask? Lotus doesn’t say, but my guess is it’s about the same as having two pieces of toast for breakfast, rather than three.

Speaking of weight, the 380 is outfitted with new carbon fiber racing buckets, which get fixed backs and come upholstered in either Alcantara, leather, or classic tartan fabric. Contrast stitching is thrown in as standard. While they certainly look rather snug, the 380’s seats also save 6 kg (13 pounds).

Lotus Exige Sport 380

Bluetooth {and} A/C? How opulent.

Options include carbon fiber side sill covers, which supposedly make it easier to get into and out of the car. I say sure, why not – this thing is so small and low to the ground, maybe a few millimeters actually do make a difference.

If you’re looking for a little more zest, there’s also an Interior Colour Pack, offering up four different contrasting hue options for the surrounds used on the transmission console, HVAC controls, seat eyelets, and electric window bezels.

There’s also a few options for the infotainment system, but to be honest, it’s more or less an afterthought for a car like this. Still, if you must, you can get iPod connectivity, Bluetooth support (a first for the model), and air conditioning.

Bluetooth and A/C? How opulent.

Further customization options can be had through the Lotus Exclusive program, which includes unique paint options, exterior graphics, interior trim, and more.

Competition

Ariel Atom 3S
Porsche Cayman GT4
Lotus Exige Sport 380

First things first – the optional infotainment system. The question is if it’s even really necessary in a car where every tenth of a kilo counts. Personally, I don’t think it is, but at least it’s an option that’ll broaden the 380’s appeal to folks considering this British two-door as a means of getting from A to B.

By comparison, the Porsche Cayman GT4’s cabin is a palace. The infotainment gear is modern and advanced, and there are soft-touch surfaces everywhere. If you want something that’ll coddle you a little on the way to a track day, Stuttgart is the way to go.

Then there’s the Atom. This thing has no doors and no roof. What’s that? You don’t wanna be chewing on bugs while cruising down the freeway? Well, you can get a windscreen, but it’s an option. ‘Nuff said.

Drivetrain

In the old Exige Sport 350, there’s a mid-mounted, transverse, fuel-injected, 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which is the same powerplant you get in the Lotus 3-Eleven and Evora Sport 410. In the Sport 350, output is rated at 345 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, all of which is sent to the rear wheels through a manual six-speed transmission.

As you might expect, those figures get a nice bump in the Sport 380. Lotus added a new supercharger pulley (read: more boost), a new fuel pump, a retuned ECU, and the same high-flow exhaust as the Evora 400 and Evora Sport 410, and the result is 375 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 410 Nm (302 pound-feet) of torque at 5,000 rpm.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

That’s a gain of 30 horsepower and 7 pound-feet, bringing the 380’s power-to-weight ratio up to 352 horsepower per metric ton (2,205 pounds), substantially improved next to the 350’s ratio of 307 horsepower per metric ton.

For those unwilling to break out the calculator, that’s a gain of 30 horsepower and 7 pound-feet, bringing the 380’s power-to-weight ratio up to 352 horsepower per metric ton (2,205 pounds), substantially improved next to the 350’s ratio of 307 horsepower per metric ton.

Acceleration improves as well, with the 0-to-60 mph sprint dropping two-tenths, going from 3.7 seconds in the 350, to 3.5 seconds in the 380. Top speed is upped by 8 mph, going from 170 mph in the 350, to 178 mph in the 380.

Complementing the extra muscle, Lotus also fiddled with the Exige’s transmission, modifying the old six-speed manual for quicker gear changes, plus adding a new oil cooler for higher performance. If you’re the kind of person who’s frightened by three pedals, Lotus is offering the option for a six-speed automatic, which throws in forged aluminum shift paddles on the steering wheel. And if you simply can’t be bothered, the slush box also gets a full auto mode. Availability for the automatic transmission opens up this coming Spring.

Finally, Lotus also added a bigger fuel tank, now up to 48 liters (12.7 gallons) from the 350’s old 40-liter (10.6-gallon) tank. It’s a bit of an unexpected move for a car like the Sport 380, considering the extra heft that a bigger tank filled with gasoline adds to the car’s weight, but I guess if it means more laps before pulling in for a refuel, it’s worth it.

Competition

If you’re looking to best the beast from Germany in the acceleration department, the Exige Sport 380 should fit the bill. While the Cayman GT4 is surely no slouch, boasting 385 horsepower thanks to its potent 3.8-liter flat-six engine, it’s still significantly slower in the 60-mph sprint, taking just over four ticks to reach that magic number. Top speed, however, is a bit higher, clocking in at a never-going-to-use-it 183 mph.

But if ultimate speed is more your thing, then the bomber from Ariel is the clear winner. Even if you opt for the much cheaper Atom 3 model, you’re still looking at 60 mph in a heart-stopping 2.9 seconds, all thanks to a high-strung, naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder banging out 230 horsepower.

Lotus Exige Sport 380 Porsche Cayman GT4 Ariel Atom 3
Engine3.5-liter V-63.8-liter DOHC 24-valve flat-62.4-liter Honda K24 i-VTEC
Horsepower375 HP @ 6,700 RPM385 HP @ 7,400 RPM230 HP
Torque302 LB-FT @ 5,000 RPM309 LB-FT @ 4,750 RPM
Transmissionsix-speed manualsix-speed manual6-speed with a limited slip differential
0 to 60 mph3.5 seconds4.1 seconds2.9 seconds
Top Speed178 mph183 mph
Weight2,447 Lbs3,050 Lbs1,350 Lbs

Chassis And Handling

So the Exige Sport 380 is quick – that much is obvious. But this thing is about so much more than straight-line potential. According to Lotus, the 380 also aims to be “sharper, and more direct than [its] adversaries.”

Lotus Exige Sport 380

To achieve its incredible performance, especially in the bends, the 380’s primary weapon is an absolutely feathery curb weight.

To achieve it’s incredible performance, especially in the bends, the 380’s primary weapon is an absolutely feathery curb weight. As such, this new model uses several of the Sport 350’s lightweight components, including innovations from Lotus’ Lightweight Laboratory, and copious carbon fiber components glistening with an unpainted, high-gloss finish weave.

The bones of the machine are good as well, employing a lightweight bonded and extruded aluminum (erm, excuse me, aluminium) architecture. Adding to all those nitpicking weight-saving details listed above is a new lithium-ion battery, which cuts 10.3 kg (22.7 pounds), plus new forged wheels and grooved disc brakes that combine to cut a further 10 kg (22 pounds). There’s also an available titanium exhaust system that reduces weight over the rear axle, improving the car’s balance in the process.

Fine. So let’s stop beating around the bush then, shall we?

The Exige Sport 380 has a curb weight of 1,110 kg (2,447 pounds), or 1,121 kg (2,471 pounds) when equipped with an automatic transmission (yet another reason to go three pedals). Opt into the various diet options, and you’ll shave another 10 kg (22 pounds) or so.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

The Exige Sport 380 has a curb weight of 1,110 kg (2,447 pounds), or 1,121 kg (2,471 pounds) when equipped with an automatic transmission (yet another reason to go three pedals).

That’s nearly 25 kg (55 pounds) less than the Sport 350, which is a noticeable amount of mass for a car at this size and weight. And I know if you add up all the weight savings mentioned in this article, it’s more than 25 kg. The 25-kg number is based on final weight figures published at Lotus’ website, so it looks like weight additions found their way in was well.

Lotus hasn’t specified the weight difference between the coupe and roadster models, but it should be noted that the 350 droptop is actually 10 kg (22 pounds) lighter than a similarly equipped hard top.

However you wanna look at it, the 380 is lighter than the 350. But the magic of a Lotus isn’t just about raw power-to-weight – it’s about the way the car manages when thrown at an apex or two.

Tested extensively on Lotus’ company track in Hethel, the 380 supposedly “offers a pure, undiluted drive that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.” The focus is on old-school tuning techniques, rather than electronics that could “dull the experience” behind the wheel.

It all starts with fully independent double wishbone suspension in front and back, plus front and rear anti-roll bars. Bilstein makes the dampers, while Eibach makes the springs.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

But the magic of a Lotus isn’t just about raw power-to-weight – it’s about the way the car manages when thrown at an apex or two.

Minimal digital intervention is provided by the automaker’s Dynamic Performance Management system, or DPM. This comes with multiple modes for whatever the situation (or skill level) might call for, including “Drive,” “Sport,” and “Race.” Touch a button, and you get different settings for the throttle response, traction slippage, and “understeer recognition.” There’s also an exhaust bypass for even sharper response higher up in the rev range.

The steering is 100 percent manual and unassisted, a truly awesome feature for anyone looking for maximum feel.

Standard tire appointment is Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, a streetable ultra-high performance compound also found on the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari 458. Sizing is staggered at 215/45R17 in front, and 265/35R18 in back. The 380 gets tires that are 10 mm wider in front compared to the 350, which means more mechanical grip, and presumably, less understeer as well.

An electronic differential lock from Bosch makes even more traction when needed.

AP Racing makes the stoppers, with forged four-piston calipers and grooved two-piece discs, all of which is controlled thanks to a Lotus-tuned ABS system.

And for those who are really serious about wringing it out, Lotus is offering its Track Pack, which includes two-way adjustable dampers from Nitron, plus adjustable front and rear sway bars from Eibach.

Competition

Beating the best on the racetrack is one of Lotus’ specialties, but the Cayman GT4 won’t go out without a fight. The Porsche offers all kinds of high-performance goodies to keep pace, like a lightweight lithium-ion battery, ceramic composite brakes, an A/C delete, and the Sport Chrono Package with Track Precision App, but even with all these goodies installed and the bottom line seriously inflated, the Lotus will likely walk away lap after lap.

Conversely, the hardcore Atom is once again the one to get if what you want is a dedicated track car where every tenth counts. It’s both lighter and faster, plus it’s cheaper, which matters if you accidentally stuff it.

Prices

Lotus Exige Sport 380

So far, Lotus has released the Exige Sport 380’s MSRP in three separate markets. For Lotus locals (that is, the British), pricing comes in at 67,900 pounds. The Germans will get it for 89,900 euros, while Japanese buyers can pick one up for 12,760,000 yen.

Long story short, the Exige Sport 380 is significantly more expensive than the Sport 350. To be exact, it’s 12,000 pounds more than its predecessor in the U.K, which is a sizable bump in price, even when considering all the upgrades you get with the 380.

Competition

Porsche Cayman GT4

Porsche Cayman GT4

Unveiled in February of 2015, the Cayman GT4 added yet another name to Porsche’s top-shelf GT family. Framed as a pure, unblemished vision of the ultimate performance Cayman, the GT4 follows in the footsteps of such greats as the 911 GT3, 911 GT1, and Carrera GT. It might be a bit slower than the Lotus, but don’t underestimate it – properly motivated, this thing can still lap the Nurburgring in 7 minutes, 40 seconds.

Read the full review here.

Ariel Atom

Ariel Atom 3S

U.K.-based automaker Ariel introduced the appropriately named Atom in 2000, offering the world a glimpse at what could be done when barely streetable meets minimalism in the name of speed. This thing is as stripped down as they come, coming fitted with nothing more than what’s needed to absolutely destroy lap times. You can get yours in a variety of flavors, including the truly insane 500-horsepower Ariel V-8, but if you’re looking for something to run against the Lotus Exige Sport 380, go for the 3 or 3S model.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

Lotus Exige Sport 380

These days, the term “track-focused” is pretty much relative. It could mean something somewhat civilized, like the Porsche Cayman GT4, which concedes a bit of backside coddling and comfort on the way to exhilarating performance. Or, it could mean something brutal, like the Ariel Atom, which concedes nothing and seeks the finish line ahead of the pack above all else.

The Lotus Exige Sport 380 falls somewhere between these two examples. It’s stripped down and basic, but it won’t thrust you into the elements with too much enthusiasm.

This is a car that emphasizes the driving experience, the feeling of going fast, the reward of precisely placing your tires at an apex.

But never forget – this thing is still wickedly fast. The attention to detail, the engineering, the refinement… this is a car that emphasizes the driving experience, the feeling of going fast, the reward of precisely placing your tires at an apex.

You can tell because the 380 is the polished Exige. Last time around, the automaker from Hethel was touting the Exige Sport 350 as the fastest and lightest to wear the nameplate, but now, Lotus is doing us one better – well, 30 better, to be exact. And the improvements are where it counts – power, aero, and weight. The 380 isn’t trying to do anything controversial. Rather, it’s doing what the Exige has always done, only better.

And that’s reason enough to celebrate.

LOVE IT
  • Faster, lighter, more powerful, more aero
  • The Chapman formula returns
  • Looks aggressive
LEAVE IT
  • Looks aggressive
  • Not the most comfortable option out there
  • Not the fastest option for the money

Press Release

High powered, highly evolved, and ferociously fast, the Lotus Exige Sport 380 is the most aggressive iteration yet for the Exige model line up.

Taking the fight straight to six-figure supercars, this new, top-of-the-range model carries over the lessons learnt in the development of the acclaimed Exige Sport 350, launched last year, but with significant revisions lowering weight, boosting power and enhancing aerodynamics.

Rather than relying excessively on electronics, or allow sterile interfaces to dull the experience, the extreme Exige Sport 380 offers a pure, undiluted drive that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

Unrivalled in its class: faster, sharper, and more direct than adversaries, the Exige Sport 380 is definitely not for the timid. With a dry weight of just 1,066 kg with lightweight options, and boasting a potent power-to-weight ratio of 352 hp per tonne, the new, pure-bred Lotus has been conceived to out perform and out manoeuvre so called supercars. The new Exige is blisteringly fast off the line, dispatching 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 178 mph.

From the intricately engineered exposed-gear-change linkage, to the swathes of carbon-fibre components and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres as standard, every inch of the Exige has been carefully cultivated. Firmly defined as a Lotus for the enthusiast, the car can be seen as an expression of intense engineering - challenging accomplished drivers to extract the car’s true potential.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented: “We’ve saved something special for our last new car of 2016. We have built upon the foundations of the excellent Exige Sport 350 and developed a perfectly proportioned, intuitive and attainable supercar for real roads. The cut in weight is nothing short of drastic and, combined with the hike in power and its enhanced agility, we’ve created something exceptional - far greater than the sum of its parts. The Exige Sport 380 is so good, that it is no longer the best in class, it’s now in a class of its own.”

Lotus Exige Sport 380

Unashamedly analogue and unfiltered

Lotus’ approach to developing the perfect sports car has allowed the Exige Sport 380 to lay claim to the title of the best sports car under £100,000. A true supercar car for the road, the Exige focuses on the three key attributes that have made the company a firm favourite with driving enthusiasts: reduced weight, higher performance and honed aerodynamics.

Raised on the roads around Hethel, and exercised on the company’s famous test track, the new car can trace its lineage back to the very first Exige, launched in 2000. Now the headline car of the range, sitting above the Sport 350 model, it is instilled with Lotus’ DNA and packed with a potent 375 hp engine into Lotus’ acclaimed two-seater.

Weight less

While employing some of the high-performance components premiered on the Exige Sport 350, Lotus returned to the Lightweight Laboratory in order to cut kilos from the kerb weight. Infused with carbon fibre from front to back, the Exige Sport 380 features hand-made, high-gloss visible weave components as standard to deliver a weight saving when compared to the Exige Sport 350. This includes the front splitter, revised front access panel, new rear wing and rear diffuser surround, which together save 2.7 kg. A lightweight, transparent polycarbonate rear window saves 0.9 kg over the glass equivalent in the Exige Sport 350. In addition, the carbon race seats (-6 kg), lithium- ion battery (-10.3 kg), ultra-lightweight forged wheels and grooved two-piece brake discs (-10 kg) combine to cut a massive 26.3 kg. A new design of rear transom panel now has two rear light clusters, rather than the four on the Exige Sport 350, with reversing and fog lights now mounted inboard, cutting weight by a further 0.3 kg.

In line with its illustrious lineage, the Exige Sport 380 employs Lotus’ lightweight extruded and bonded aluminium structure, as the company continues to lead in the field of advanced automotive construction techniques. Lotus is working continuously to engineer out the excess mass from its cars, and the company’s chassis technology remains the benchmark.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

Power play

The company’s powertrain division has left its mark on the car, with the uprated 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine generating 375 hp at 6,700 rpm and 410 Nm (302 lbft) of torque at 5,000 rpm. Refined from extensive testing and development, it’s a design that’s proved its mettle by powering some of Lotus’ latest supercars, including the track-focused 3-Eleven and the recently revealed Evora Sport 410.

The power boost comes from a revised supercharger pulley, which increases charge pressure, an uprated fuel pump, a recalibrated ECU and the introduction of a revised exhaust system – as used in the Evora 400 and Evora Sport 410. Allowing owners to enjoy the new Exige for longer between fuel stops, it also comes with an enlarged, 48-litre petrol tank.

Providing faster, cleaner changes, the Exige Sport 380’s six-speed manual gearbox uses Lotus’ acclaimed open-gate design. Eliminating lateral movement, by precisely aligning components, it features light-weight machined and cast aluminium parts. Aesthetically appealing, the open transmission mechanism also helps contribute to the car’s reduced weight. The manual gearbox has been further enhanced through the introduction of a new oil cooler, ensuring the gears operate at the optimal temperature no matter how hard they are performing.

The Lotus Exige Sport 380 is also available with an optional six-speed automatic gearbox, where drivers can select gears sequentially via the forged aluminium paddles located behind the steering wheel, or rely on the gearbox’s fully automatic mode. The automatic gearbox option will be available from Spring 2017.

The Lotus Exige Sport 380 features Lotus’ Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) which provides enhanced ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings. Proportionally increasing throttle response, lowering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, it provides the driver with a finer level of control before the system intervenes. DPM also utilises an engine exhaust bypass valve at mid-to-high engine speeds, further reducing back pressure to boost throttle response and engine performance in both ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

Aero advantage

As with all Lotus cars, aerodynamic efficiency plays a key role in the Exige, helping it to drastically expand its performance envelope. Extensive CFD modelling work has allowed Lotus’ design team to fine tune specific areas, in order to deliver a substantial overall improvement. The revised front access panel modifies the air flow exiting the car’s horizontally mounted radiators, before it travels over the car, while the carbon front spoiler and rubber lip spoiler combined with the carbon barge boards reduce pressure under the vehicle.

In addition, twin pairs of front canard wings, mounted forward of the front wheels, a carbon rear wing and air blades behind the rear wheels, all work to help raise downforce to a massive 140 kg at maximum speed - a 60% gain over the Exige Sport 350, which generates 88 kg at its maximum speed. This increase in downforce does not come at the penalty of drag which remains the same as the Exige Sport 350.

Favouring mechanical solutions over electronic systems, including key parts such as unassisted steering, means that the Exige Sport 380 delivers the driver an intuitive experience. The extensive use of carbon fibre on the bodywork has lowered the centre of gravity, helping contribute to the Exige’s exemplary steering feel and precision handling characteristics.

Making the most of its performance potential, the Exige Sport 380 is fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres as standard (265/35 ZR18 rear and 215/45 ZR17 front). Selected for their tenacity, and 10mm wider at the front that on the Exige Sport 350, the increased mechanical grip is complemented by the car’s ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels, which are available in either black or silver. Either option is complemented by AP Racing forged, four-piston brake callipers and grooved performance two-piece brake discs.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

In addition to its already impressive credentials, it’s possible to sharpen the Exige further still. Opting for the full exhaust system in titanium improves the car’s overall balance, by removing 10 kg from beyond the rear axle. For customers who frequently go to the track, the optional Track Pack provides Nitron two-way adjustable dampers and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars.

The optional Carbon Exterior Pack contains a one-piece carbon roof panel and a distinctive carbon louvered tailgate. The carbon roof panel is 2 kg heavier than the standard soft-top but this weight increase is offset by the carbon louvered tailgate which saves 2 kg.

As befitting such a stand-out car, the Exige Sport 380 is sprayed and hand finished in one of ten individual colours. Providing some drama and drawing the eye to the beautiful composite carbon components, an optional exterior accent pack is also available in one of five key colours to deliver some finer detailing to the car’s undeniable presence.

Lotus Exige Sport 380

The car’s kerb appeal is enhanced by revisions to the Exige’s design front and back. Distinctive blackened headlamp surrounds provide a more aggressive demeanour, whilst to visually accentuate the width of rear of the car, a new rear transom features two lamp clusters rather than four.

The hand finished detailing continues inside, with the carbon fibre sports seats trimmed with either Alcantara®, leather or tartan, with all featuring contrast stitching.

The optional lightweight carbon fibre sill covers provide a motorsport theme when entering or exiting the Exige Sport 380 and, thanks to their lower profile and contoured finish, aid ingress and egress. The Interior Colour Pack provides contrasting surrounds to the transmission console, HVAC surround, carbon seat eyelets and electric window bezels in one of four colours. A new integrated entertainment system can also be specified, including iPod® connectivity and Bluetooth® functionality, along with air conditioning.

For owners wanting more, the new Exige Sport 380 can be personalised through the increasingly popular Lotus Exclusive programme. Combining traditional British craftsmanship with modern design, the service inspires customers to spend time tailoring the character of their Lotus with a comprehensive array of options.

The Lotus Exige Sport 380 is available as a roadster as standard and as a coupe as an option.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price
UK (Pound Sterling) £67,900
Germany (Euros) €89,900
Japan (¥ Yen) ¥12,760,000



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