For this Lotus, only function matters

Lotus is one of the little known automakers to those not following automotive news closely. The company’s expertise lies in making sports cars. One of them is the Exige Cup 430. Take a look.

“Adding power makes a car fast in a straight line, reducing weight makes it fast everywhere” – that’s Colin Chapman’s* formula for making a fast car. Several manufacturers have tried to use that formula to make their cars. None have been as successful at sticking to that formula as Lotus Cars*. The Exige Cup 430 serves as the best example of how this company makes its cars. It is also the car I’ll be talking about today. The Lotus Exige Cup 430 sits atop the company’s Exige model lineup. Let’s get to the juicy details, shall we?

Lotus Exige Cup 430 – Photo Gallery

What’s new about the Lotus Exige Cup 430?

The Lotus Exige Cup 430 is the most performance-oriented model in the Exige lineup. Just like all Lotus cars, it has a mid-engine layout, giving it a European sports car look and feel. This also helps it balance its weight to aid its handling. Most importantly, it allows the engine to lose as little power in transmission from crankshaft to the wheels as possible. If you haven’t guessed it yet, it is a rear-wheel drive car.

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Before we go ahead, one clarification – the Exige is based on the cheaper Elise. The difference is that it uses a larger engine than the Elise. How large? How about a V6 displacing 3.5 litres? If that ain’t enough, it is also supercharged and has a titanium exhaust system. As a result, its power output is rated at 436HP and torque at 440Nm. For maximum driver involvement, it features a six-speed manual gearbox and no power steering.

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Then there is its unladen weight of 1110kg, which comes as a result of an aluminium chassis, lithium-ion battery, and multiple carbon-fibre parts. The Lotus Exige Cup 430 has three-way adjustable Nitron dampers that are paired to double-wishbone setup at both ends. The front and rear anti-roll bars on the car are adjustable as well. Old school ideology and new school techniques exist together here.

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This car takes weight reduction to bonkers level as even A/c, stereo with two front speakers, and even cruise control are optional bits. But what’s the benefit of all the weight reduction and power on tap? The car dashes from naught to 100kmph in just 3.3 seconds and can hit a top speed of 280kmph.
The Exige Cup 430 also has aerodynamic tricks up its sleeve.

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Bits like a splitter up front, a wing at the back, and air curtains help it generate 171kg downforce. The Exige Cup 430 has lapped the Hethel circuit in 1 minute 24.8 seconds, 1.2 seconds faster than the open-cockpit road-going version of the Lotus 3-Eleven*. However, this car’s mechanical bits are one part of the Exige Cup 430 story.

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The Lotus Exige Cup 430 is quite a compact car, even if it doesn’t feel so. It is a strict two-seat car, a fact that gives its sporty credentials some credence. The design of the car is easy on the eye. It flows from one end to the other without being muscular.

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The only hints of muscularity in the car’s design are provided by those flared fenders. The car’s overhangs are quite small, making it feel agile. The front end features a dual-tone carbon fibre trunk lid while either side gets an engine air intake vent and a rear wheel vent (likely for brake cooling).
The rear features a big wing with the Union Jack on the sides.

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The roof slopes down smoothly and ends abruptly in what seems like a trunk-lid spoiler. You see, a mid-rear engine car doesn’t have a trunk but a frunk (front trunk). The point is this – the Exige Cup 430’s design and styling may not be to everyone’s taste but they work in the car’s favour in a unique way. If that’s what designers and stylists aimed for, mission accomplished.

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The interior of the car is spartan and doesn’t seem a place to get comfortable in. Bucket seats, black colour theme, optional stereo and A/c are some bits that tell this car ain’t for regular use. The real special bit inside is the exposed gear shift mechanism. It just looks so refreshing and cool, it’s awesome.

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I’ll forgive the lack of creature comforts in this interior only because of the exposed gear shift mechanism. The seat backs feature Lotus emblem and Cup 430 bits. don’t forget to check out the car’s interior and exterior photos.

Is the Lotus Exige Cup 430 worth consideration?

The Lotus Exige Cup 430 from a dying breed of cars. In a world filled with GTs and SUVs, this is among the few two-seat sports cars that has the go to go with the show. The Lotus name is a legend in itself as the company has been making sports cars since 1948. Since then, it has built nothing but sports cars and F1 cars.

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If you hold Porsche in high regard because of their sports car development prowess, then you should extend the same treatment to Lotus for building no-nonsense pure sports cars for decades. The Exige Cup 430 is one of the purest sports cars around. With purposeful looks matching its spartan no-frills interior, there are few cars that can even look as purpose-built as it does. In fact, the purpose runs so deep in the car that it has only two seats.

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It has no automatic gearbox on offer and gets the powertrain from Evora GT that’s been modified to fit into its shell. What other car do you know of that has optional airbags because its maker wants to keep the vehicle’s weight down? Don’t expect the Exige to be accommodating though. It is quite compact and built to go around a circuit as fast as possible. A car like that is barely accommodating or comfortable even.

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However, it promises to give you one hell of a driving experience. Multiple carbon fibre parts, aluminium chassis, less than 1200kg kerb weight, and optional A/c sound like a serious racing car. if you are looking for a similar car albeit something not to be used as a daily driver, the Lotus Exige Cup 430 makes a strong case for itself. Do check it out.

Lotus Exige Cup 430 – Specs at a Glance

SpecificationsLotus Exige Cup 430
PriceGBP 1,03,285 (on-road price in UK, approx Rs 90.51 lakh at current exchange rate)
EngineDOHC, 24-valve, water-cooled, dual-VVT-i, supercharged 3.5-litre V6 petrol
Power430HP
Torque440Nm
Transmission6-speed manual
Front SuspensionDouble wishbone with Nitron three-way adjustable dampers
Rear SuspensionDouble wishbone with Nitron three-way adjustable dampers
Front BrakesAP Racing discs with four-piston calipers
Rear BrakesAP Racing discs with four-piston calipers
Length4,084mm
Width1,802mm
Height1,129mm
WheelbaseN/A
Fuel Consumption9.8kmpl
Fuel Tank Capacity48 litres


*All links courtesy Wikipedia.org

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