The Lotus Exige might just be the smartest sporting coupe ever created, having an aggressively sexy body, dead nuts reliable drivetrain and above all else, lightness.
“To add speed, add lightness”
To create the 345 horsepower Exige 350 Sport, Lotus engineers channeled the spirit of the late Colin Chapman to reduce weight in some rather unconventional ways. An old school racers trick is to simply cut holes in things, which is basically what Lotus did by adding louvers to the engine cover. Removing interior body panels is another great weight saver, so they left out any sort of cover for the gear shifter mechanism. Little bits like this added up, making the new model 51 kg lighter than the outgoing Exige S.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of testing the Exige 260 Sport in the wet at Pocono Raceway and I found the car to be one of the most planted, intuitive machines I had driven to that point in my career, even in the rain. Especially in the rain. Even with my substantial heft behind the steering wheel, the tiny Lotus felt almost as if it was being guided by The Force, seemingly requiring more of a glance towards the next apex rather than any real steering input. Just don’t ask to see the video of me getting out of the car.
While Lotus did not contact me about their creative direction when filming this introduction video, it somehow feels fitting that we get to see the new supercharged six cylinder version being flogged in the rain.
Lotus press release
As the ultimate incarnation of the world famous Exige, Lotus has revealed the Sport 350, the latest version of the class-leading and award winning sports car, that’s lighter and faster than ever before.
A video demonstrating some of the areas where weight savings have been made, together with a glimpse of the stunning performance of this Sport 350 variant can be found on the Group Lotus YouTube channel. (see above)
The 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine generates 345 hp and 295lbft of torque at 4500rpm, offering scintillating, progressive power to the road, while revised suspension tuning and wheel geometry contribute to un-matched vehicle dynamics and steering precision. Coupled with the car’s lower mass, this power and torque enables the Lotus Exige Sport 350 to accelerate to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds (0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds) before reaching a top speed of 170 mph (274 km/h).
The new Exige Sport 350 is the next model in the range to mark the reintroduction of the renowned ‘Sport’ naming designation. It joins the recently announced Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 – delivering a lighter and even more performance-focused driving experience.
A product of Lotus’ ‘Lightweight Laboratory’, the Exige Sport 350 weighs just 1125 kg and has shed 51 kg compared to the previous model Exige S. This reduction in mass is the result of a thorough re-evaluation designed to deliver a pure driving experience.