The Lotus Elise/Exige twins are quickly becoming the Porsche 911s of Britain. Or are they British Mustangs? In other words, totally fantastic sports cars with so many special variations that only the idiot savants among us can keep up and keep track. Case in point: meet the new for 2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260. What is it? A faster, stiffer and – you guessed it – lighter version of the already impossibly quick, nimble and skinny Exige S introduced in March of this year.
Power remains the same (257 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque from the supercharged 1.8-liter Toyota inline-four) but remember what Lotus founder Colin Chapman said: “Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.” With that in mind, the Cup 260 not only makes use of the 84 pounds of weight savingsthat the skeletal Exige S lords over the base Exige, but sheds further kilos of flab through some pretty aggressive dieting.
Extensive use of carbon fiber saves another 26 pounds, lightweight components (battery, wheels, subframe, fly wheel, rear-window delete, supercharger U-bend pipes) chop off a further 48 pounds. In fact, Lotus says the wheels are the lightest ever fitted to a production car. Ripping out other useless junk like the carpets, rearview mirror, sun visors and the like sheds another 10 pounds.
Add it all up and you’re left with a car that weighs just 1,958 pounds, slightly more than half the weight of a Chevy Camaro SS (3,857 lbs). And where the 426 hp Camaro can hit 60 mph in five seconds, the lithe little Lotus can do it in four ticks flat, thanks in part to an all-new launch control system but also because it doesn’t weigh anything. The 30% stiffer rear-end coupled with the two-way adjustable Ohlins dampers means the Exige Cup 260 should handle even better than all the numerous Exiges that came before it. Price? Nothing is set in stone (ha ha) about the U.S. MSRP but $80K seems about right – provided Lotus decides to import it.