Lotus has turned up the wick on its Exige sports car with a new model that pushes the power-to-weight ratio into new territory.
Called the Exige Sport 350, the model is a handy 51kg lighter than the previous Exige S to tip the scales at 1125kg.
Add in the powered-up 3.5 litre supercharged V6 petrol engine from Toyota producing 258kW/400Nm, and the Sport 350 boasts a power-to-weight ratio better than 224kW per tonne.
The 0-100km/h sprint is over in 3.8 seconds; and a claimed top-speed of 274km/h.
Lotus says its new Exige Sport 350 is sharper and more direct than previous models, with firmer dampers, revised steering geometry and 42kg of downforce at 160km/h.
Shifts from the manual gearbox are now more precise, while the optional six-speed automatic can operate in either full-automatic mode or via steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters.
Inside, the 350 gets a ‘Heritage Tartan’ interior with new colour and trim options, along with Lotus’ three-step (Drive, Sport or Race) Dynamic Performance Management system.
The diet for the model was thorough to say the least, with the carmaker weighing “every component” to see where kilos could be shed.
As a result, the Sport 350 gets lighter engine mounts, lighter centre console, lighter battery and even an exposed gearshift mechanism to keep weight down.
Put it all together, and the Exige Sport 350 can lap Lotus' test track 2.5 seconds faster than the Exige S.
Still not quick enough? By ticking every lightweight option box, including lighter alloy wheels and brake rotors, the 350 can shrink to 1115kg.
"The Lotus Exige is already regarded as one of the world's best sports cars and a benchmark for performance and handling both on road and on track,” Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said.
“With the 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'."
The Exige Sport 350 joins the recently-announced Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 models, and is set to go on sale in Europe in February next year. A Roadster version will arrive shortly after.
Timing, pricing and specifications for Australian customers are yet to be confirmed - stay tuned.
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