2015 Lotus Exige V6 Cup
Derived from the Elise roadster, the Lotus Exige V6 Cup and the more hardcore V6 Cup R model are super lightweight, back-to-the-basics machines focused on providing a pure and engaging driving experience. Recent changes in the United States' safety regulations mean the Exige siblings are exclusively sold as track cars and cannot be legally driven on a public road.
Based on the Exige S sold worldwide, the V6 Cup model gains a roll bar, competition seats equipped with four-point harnesses, a quick-release steering wheel, an adjustable suspension setup, two-piece brake discs and Pirelli Corsa tires. A strict diet helps the V6 Cup shed 176 pounds compared to its road-going counterpart.
The Exige V6 Cup R pushes the envelope by adding a large rear spoiler crafted out of carbon fiber, a full FIA-spec roll cage, a fire suppression system, an 18-gallon fuel cell and a carbon fiber driver's seat equipped with a six-point harness. It is 308 pounds lighter than the regular-production Exige S.
Both cars are eligible to compete in the Lotus Cup USA as well as similar events held in England, Italy and Thailand.
The Exige V6 Cup is powered by a mid-mounted supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 350 horsepower at 7,000 rpms and 295 lb-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpms. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission.
The more expensive V6 Cup R model uses an updated version of the supercharged six-cylinder tuned to churn out 366 ponies at 7,200 rpms and 304 lb-ft. of twist at 5,000 rpms. The naturally-aspirated Exige Cup's six-speed manual comes standard, and a six-speed sequential gearbox controlled by shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel can be ordered at an extra cost.
Both cars come standard with Lotus' Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) system that allows the driver to alternate between four driving modes - Sport, Race, Launch Control and off - at the flick of a button.
The list of options includes A/C, rear parking sensors, a host of different paint options, a fuel sampling kit, a passenger seat and diamond-cut wheels. Exige Cup R buyers can also order the aforementioned Xtrac Sequential gearbox.
Current Lotus owners interested in hitting the track have access to a full catalog of race-focused parts including a sports exhaust, an 18-gallon fuel cell, a six-point harness, a lightweight battery, a quick-release steering wheel, performance brake pads and stiffer engine mounts.
As a lightweight, minimalistic track machine, the Exige V6 Cup's main competition comes from the stripped-down, performance-focused Porsche Cayman R. Buyers can also conceivably cross shop the Nissan Nismo 370Z and the Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca, both of which offer plenty of power but are much heavier than the Lotus.