Lotus Exige trips light with new Sport 350

Lotus Exige Sport 350 is even lighter to make the driving experience even purer.

Lotus Exige Sport 350 is even lighter to make the driving experience even purer. - Credit: supplied

Lotus has revealed the Sport 350, the latest and ultimate incarnation of the Exige sports car, that's lighter and faster than ever before.

The new Exige Sport 350 is the next model in the range to mark the reintroduction of the renowned Sport naming designation, joining Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220, delivering a lighter and even more performance-focused driving experience.

A product of the Lotus 'Lightweight Laboratory', the Exige Sport 350 weighs 1125kg, shedding 51kg compared to the previous Exige S to deliver a pure driving experience.

Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive of Group Lotus, said: '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. 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 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine generates 345hp and 295lb.ft of torque at 4,500rpm. Coupled with the car's lower mass, this power and torque enables the Lotus Exige Sport 350 to accelerate to 60mph in just 3.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 170mph.

The manual gearbox has been heavily revised, giving more precise and quicker shifting. It is also available with a six-speed automatic option where drivers can change gears manually via forged aluminium paddles located behind the steering wheel.

A newly-designed lightweight, strong and stiff, rear louvered tailgate not only helps lower the Exige's centre of gravity, but also aids engine bay cooling – a feature first introduced on the Lotus Esprit Turbo in 1980.

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The Exige Sport 350's suspension, with firmer dampers and revised geometry, delivers more responsive handling and, combined with a lowered centre of gravity and four piston brake calipers, help it lap Lotus' test track 2.5 seconds faster than the previous Exige S model, in a time of one minute 29.8 seconds – the first production Lotus ever to go sub one minute 30 seconds around the Hethel track.

The Lotus Exige Sport 350 goes on sale in Europe in February and will also be available as a Roadster from March.