Building upon the Exige Sport 380 as a base, the Lotus Exige Cup 380 goes further in its quest for weight reduction towards improved performance. Powered by the same 3.5 litre supercharged V6 engine in the Sport 380, it also produces the same 375 hp at 6,700 rpm and 410 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm here. A close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox is the sole transmission option for the Cup 380.

The Cup 380’s performance gains come from its weight reduction and aero enhancements. Its dry weight tips the scales at 53 kg less than the Sport 380, and the aerodynamic alterations add up to provide 200 kg of downforce at the Cup 380’s top speed of 282 km/h.

This is achieved by the extensive use of carbon-fibre components such as the new front splitter, front access panel, bargeboards, roof, diffuser surround, new larger aperture air-intake side pods, one-piece tailgate and a straight-cut, ‘high efficiency motorsport-derived’ rear wing.

The one-piece tailgate – a sort of tip of the hat to the Evora Sport 410 – in particular saves 6.5 kg, and the omission of gas struts saves a further 1 kg, while the carbon-fibre side pods save 0.5 kg. Inside, the one-piece inner door panels, HVAC console and face-level vent surrounds can also be specified in carbon-fibre, which together save an additional 1 kg.

A wider set of rear tyres have been specified on the Exige Cup 380, where a pair of 285/30 ZR18 rears measure 20 mm wider than those on the Sport 380. Front tyres are 215/45 ZR17 units as before. The weight savings and increased grip result in a lap time of 1 minute 26 seconds at Lotus’ own track in Hethel, a record for a road-legal Exige, the company says.

Four user-selectable ESP modes – Drive, Sport, Race and Off – offer a choice of configurations, and the latter three modes increase throttle response, lower the car’s slip thresholds and remove understeer recognition to hand more control to the driver, while a six-position traction control selector gives the choice of 1% to 12% wheel slip in the first five settings, and fully off in the sixth. An exhaust bypass valve also reduces back pressure at higher engine speeds.

Harnessing the Cup 380’s performance are Nitron two-way adjustable dampers, with Eibach adjustable anti-roll bars front and rear. Braking duties are handled by AP Racing forged four-piston calipers with two-piece grooved brake discs.

Further options are available on the Exige Cup 380, including a titanium full exhaust system which saves 10 kg, while an FIA compliant roll cage, full race harness, electrical cut-off and fire extinguisher controls can be added. The passenger airbag can be deleted, and similarly a non-airbag steering wheel can be specified. Further personalisation can be commissioned via the Lotus Exclusive programme.

Available in Essex Blue, Metallic White, Metallic Silver, Metallic Grey and Metallic Black, the Exige Cup 380 comes as a coupe body only, and is limited to 60 units worldwide. The Lotus Exige Cup 380 is priced at £83,000 (RM467,470 – direct conversion, before local taxes) in the United Kingdom, and €109,900 (RM518,241) in Germany.

GALLERY: Lotus Exige Sport 380