New Lotus Exige Sport 350 is lighter, faster, tartanier

Seems like Lotus just cannot stop tinkering with its cars. We’re not sure the rather epic Exige S particularly needed any fettling, but Lotus broke out the spanners anyway to create the lighter, faster, err, tartanier Lous Exige Sport 350.

The Exige Sport 350 replaces the Exige S which wasn’t exactly a heavyweight, but Lotus has managed to trim away 51kg, the new car tipping the scales at a scant 1,125kg.

Savings are made with a new louvred engine lid, lighter battery and engine mounts, “optimised” sound deadening, lighter pipework in the heating and ventilation system and a new centre console with a deeply sexy exposed gearshift mechanism.

The Toyota-based, supercharged, 3.5-litre V6 engine is unchanged, though with 345bhp and 295lb/ft it was already plenty powerful enough. 0-62mph passes in 3.9secs, aided by a revised shift mechanism on the six-speed manual gearbox. The optional six-speed auto is marginally quicker, but seems a bit pointless.

Multifarious skirts and spoilers generate 42kg of downforce at 100mph. Firmer dampers and revised suspension geometry sharpen up the handling considerably, the Sport 350 capable of lapping Lotus’s Hethel test track a whole 2.5secs quicker than the S.

Inside, there’s better switchgear and new upholstery options, including an extremely cool tartan pattern.

Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales said: “With the Lotus Exige Sport 350 we took an already phenomenally quick car and made it even faster, more dynamic and more pure, perfectly demonstrating our Lotus design philosophy of ‘lighter and faster’.”

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By Only Motors

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