The new Lotus Exige Cup 430 is the wildest incarnation of the fire-breathing, point-to-point two-seater sports car.

The Cup 430 sees the introduction of a savage, high-performance engine installation, mated to a new supercharger and charge cooler, designed specifically for the unique demands of this vehicle.

A development of the powertrain used on the phenomenal Lotus Evora GT430, it’s perfectly paired with a newly-designed body, which delivers enhanced aerodynamic performance to reveal the model’s true potential.

The result is a strikingly different beast of pure performance, that’s not for the faint of heart.

With 13 per cent more power than its predecessor the limited production Cup 380 and 220kg of downforce, it’s a bona fide ball tearer.

It has 24 per cent more power and generates the same downforce at 160km/h as the Exige Sport 350 does flat out at 274km/h.

Lotus’ expertise in lightweight design has played its part in reducing the overall dry weight by 12kg to 1059 kg, with the vehicle down to 1056kg in its lightest configuration.

This, combined with the dramatic jump in raw power, raises the Cup’s power to weight from 265kW to 303kW / tonne.

With 320kW at 7000 rpm and 440Nm of torque from 4000 rpm, 0-100km/h takes 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 290 km/h.

Helping to harness all that power, the Cup 430 benefits from a comprehensive range of new aero elements.

A new ultra-lightweight front clam with unique carbon fibre ducts has wider radiator apertures and a new mesh pattern grille to provide a more combative aspect and to allow for a new front splitter and air curtain mechanism to reduce drag.

The lightweight rear clam panel supports the larger, straight motorsport wing to increase downforce without impacting upon the car’s overall drag coefficient.

The new design front and rear clam panels are 6.8 kg lighter than those on any other Exige.

Focused fairly and squarely on aggressive track performance and point-to-point supremacy, the new Lotus Exige Cup 430 is capable of covering the Hethel circuit in 1 minute 24.8 seconds – the fastest production car to lap the famous circuit – 1.2 seconds faster than the Lotus 3-Eleven (Road).

Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said, “This is the car that we have always wanted to build, and I am sure that all Lotus enthusiasts will be delighted with the end product. As well as a significant power hike, the Cup 430 has benefited from extensive development in areas essential to Lotus’ DNA, in order to ensure that the full potential of the Exige’s incredible chassis can be exploited. This car has no rivals – inside or outside of its price bracket – and it’s no exaggeration when we say that nothing can keep up with this Exige on the road or track.”

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.