Lotus pulled 55 pounds out of the Exige and added power to create this Sport 380

The result is the quickest Exige ever.

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The hard-core Lotus just got harder. Or maybe corier? Anyway, the Lotus Exige Sport 380 is the most extreme iteration of the Elise and Exige yet. It hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, has even more downforce than the Sport 350, and weighs a full 55 pounds less than that car if you opt for the lightweight exhaust.

With a curb weight of 2,425 pounds, that weight reduction means something. Mass was pulled out of a variety of places on the car, including the front splitter, front "hood" insert, wing, and diffuser surround, all of which are rendered in carbon fiber and save a cumulative six pounds. Swapping the rear glass to polycarbonate reduces weight by two pounds, a lithium-ion battery in place of the standard one removes 23, the carbon racing shell seats cut 13, and lighter wheels and brake discs lower the total by 22. Lotus even messed with the lights on the back, going from four big ones to two and making do with smaller fog and reverse lights, saving just over half a pound. That optional titanium exhaust saves an additional 22 pounds. And it's not like the Sport 350 was a porker.

As the name suggests, there's more power coming from the supercharged and heavily massaged 3.5-liter Toyota V6. The Sport 380 makes 375 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, up from 345 and 295 in the Sport 350. The 380 accelerates to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds (down from 3.7) regardless of which transmission you choose, but we highly recommend the six-speed manual over the auto, if only for its fantastic and beautiful exposed linkage.

Tweaks to the aero package keep drag in check while increasing downforce by about 60 percent over the Sport 350, for a total of 309 pounds at top speed. Which, if you're curious, is 178 mph for the manual, 170 for the auto. So another vote for the three-pedal version.

We'll have to remain curious, though, because sadly the current Exige is still not available in the US in any form, nor will it be. But Lotus is working on a new one that should arrive in a couple years to join the rejuvenated Evora lineup – the fantastic Evora 400 and upcoming, fantasticker Evora Sport 410.

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