While busy using Geely’s money to develop new generations of its models, Lotus is keeping itself relevant on the market with its eternal obsession for lightweight techniques, disguised under the banner of special editions.
We’ve seen recently the Elise Cup 260, the Evora GT430, and a myriad of bespoke models, and that’s only during the past few months – and Lotus doesn’t show any signs of fatigue. Instead they are touting “the most extreme Exige ever conceived” in the form of the newly developed limited edition Exige Cup 430. As the name implies, there’s a healthy boost of power included – motivation comes from the same supercharged 3.5-liter Toyota V6 used inside the Exige 380, but with a jump from 380 horsepower (283 kilowatts) up to 430 horsepower (320 kilowatts). Aside from the 55 hp (41-kW) power surge over the regular Exige there’s also more torque to speak of – it now has 325 pound-feet (440 Newton-meters), with delivery manifested through a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox, of course.
The additional oomph has an influence on the performance specifications: 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) is achieved in a mere 3.2 seconds and it won’t stop pushing until it reaches 180 mph (290 kph), again more than what the Exige 380 is capable of. There’s also a new design to discuss – motivated by the bettered aerodynamics, with new front splitter, front louvers, and a huge rear wing, among others. The Exige 430 now comes with 485 pounds (220 kilograms) of downforce, along with a very light body. That’s thanks to the use of carbon fiber, the new special edition tipping the scales at 2,328 pounds (1,056 kilograms), also aided by the forged alloy wheels – available in red, black, or silver – shod in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. They even did a lap of the Hethel Circuit – and the Exige 430 turned out a time of 1 minutes 24.8 seconds, which is not only a production car record for the historic track, but also 1.2 seconds better than the purpose-built Lotus 3-Eleven. Pricing kicks off at £99,800 in the U.K., €127,500 in Germany, and €128,600 in France.