They may get some bad press in Malaysia, but let’s not forget Lotus still knows how to build some world-class sports cars. Recently they’ve been concentrating on cutting yet more weight from their cars and reintroducing them with the Sport moniker.
Losing weight, or adding lightness as Colin Chapman would say, is tough when there was so little fat to trim, but the boffins at Hethel have given the car a new battery, engine mounts, centre console, HVAC piping and a louvered tailgate, which are all lighter than the parts they replace.
The engine is the same 3.5-litre supercharged V6 that’s found in the Exige S, so the Sport 350 has 345hp and 400Nm, but the lighter weight has bumped power-to-weight to 306hp/tonne. Lotus claims 0-100km/h requires just 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 275km/h if the car is equipped with a six-speed manual, or 3.8 seconds and 261km/h with a six-speed auto. There’s a 5kg weight penalty going the auto route, so we’d suggest a three pedal car.
For truly serious ‘light is right’ customers, a set of lightweight forged alloy wheels and cross-drilled and vented two-piece brake discs shave a further 10kg from the kerb weight and to complete the look, they can also opt for a tartan interior trim. Alcantara is also available for those wanting something racier.
Sales start in Europe in February 2016 with other markets coming online from March next year. American car enthusiasts however won’t be getting the car. Suggested prices start from £55,900 – which is nearly £10,000 cheaper than a Porsche Cayman GT4 in the UK, so hopefully we’ll get similar savings when it goes on sale in Malaysia.