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Lotus adds lightness and speed to build an Exige that preys on supercars

Lotus has introduced a faster, more hardcore version of the Exige capable of running alongside high-profile supercars. Called Sport 380, the new model is offered as a coupe and as a convertible.

Lotus prides itself on building basic, driver-focused cars that use as few electronics as possible and the 380 is no exception. Instead of adding fancy driving aids, the company has made the Exige faster by removing as much excess weight as possible. The Sport 380 stands out thanks to a number of carbon fiber components, a polycarbonate rear window, forged wheels, and a lithium-ion battery. Reducing the number of rear light clusters from four to two helped shave 10 ounces — clearly, every bit helps.

CFD modeling helped Lotus make the Sport 380 more aerodynamic than the standard Exige. Engineers added canards on the front bumper, a large rear spoiler crafted out of carbon fiber, and air blades behind the rear wheel in order to obtain over 300 pounds of downforce. That’s 60 percent more than the Exige Sport 350, and Lotus managed to achieve the increase without adding drag.

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A supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine is mounted right behind the passenger compartment. It has been tuned to develop 375 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 302 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. 375 horses is a respectable figure on its own, but it’s downright impressive in a car that tips the scale at less than 2,500 pounds in its most basic configuration.

The six spins the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, though a six-speed automatic unit controlled by shift paddles is offered at an extra cost. Equipped with a stick, the Exige Sport 380 hits 60 mph from a stop in 3.5 seconds and it keeps accelerating until it hits 178 mph. Opting for the two-pedal setup adds two tenths of a second to the zero-to-60 sprint.

Fully street legal, the Lotus Exige 380 is on sale now in a handful of countries. In Germany it carries a base price of 89,900 euros, a sum that converts to roughly $95,000. The list of options includes a titanium exhaust system, a track pack developed for racers, and an interior color pack that brightens up the cabin. Additionally, buyers can work directly with Lotus to customize their car.

As of writing, Lotus isn’t planning on selling the Exige 380 in the United States, but the company has promised to put a bigger focus on the North American market in the coming years.