The Lotus Exige S is an automotive hand grenade. Brutally fast and noisy, it prioritises the grin on your face above pretty much everything else, but apparently some people climb out of it saying: ‘You know, this is good, but what I really want is more road noise, stiffer suspension and extra performance’.
For these presumably fetishistic people Lotus has created the Exige Cup, which bridges the gap between roadgoing Exige S and race-sanctioned Cup R.
To the Exige S it adds two-piece brake discs (for better heat dissipation and reduced fade), 20% stiffer springs and Nitron two-way adjustable dampers, carbon bucket seats, and Pirelli Trofeos that normally come only with a Race Pack-equipped Exige S.
But what’s been subtracted is of equal importance, and that includes carpets, airbags – Lotus gets special dispensation because it builds fewer than 1000 units – headlining, noise insulation and leather trim.
>> Click here to read CAR's review of the standard Lotus Exige V6 S
The Cup is like an Exige S on crystal meth: the unassisted steering is constantly nudging feedback into your palms, the supercharged 3.5-litre V6 is violently quick with greedy wodges of torque almost everywhere and the already hard-wired chassis feels like it’s been hooked up to a defibrillator, so fast does it react.
Impressively, the Cup’s ride still proves far from unbearable, but you’ll pay for your fun with a mighty hangover of road-noise: if your passenger shouts, bits of what they say might just be audible.
>> Click here to read CAR's review of the track-ready Lotus Exige Cup R
The Exige Cup is a great drive, and those of you who commute to the Nürburgring from an internet forum will no doubt love it. For the rest of us, a Race Pack-equipped Exige S is more than enough.