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Harder, faster, stronger Lotus. Image by Lotus.

Harder, faster, stronger Lotus
The latest Lotus trackday toy has emerged from Hethel: the Exige Cup 260, wearing loads of carbon fibre and a massive wing.
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Anyone who's bought a laptop from Apple will know the drill: spend a fortune on the very latest, shiniest, fastest MacBook available, then just a few months later wander into Dixons to find there's an even shinier, even quicker version. Annoying.

This is the 2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260, which is like the 2009 one but ever so slightly improved in a variety of ways. The headline stats first: it has 288bhp-per-tonne, hits 62mph in 4.1 seconds, returns 33.2mpg and emits 199g/km of CO2. Its 256bhp maximum power arrives at 8,500rpm, and all its 174lb.ft of torque is mustered at 6,000rpm.

This Exige only weighs 890kg because, as per the Lotus philosophy of 'performance through light weight' initiated by founder Colin Chapman, some dramatic steps have been taken to ensure it gets plenty of performance through being very lightweight. Measures include getting rid of the positively leaden rear view mirror, sun visors and mud flaps, and using carbon fibre or carbon composite for anything that's not prohibitively expensive. Colin would approve.

The rear wing is bigger, higher and placed further back than that of the 2009 model, and it gets adjustable dampers as standard. The chassis is stiffened by 30 percent at the rear, and around the front a new carbon composite splitter reduces drag. Stopping power comes from big cross drilled brake discs - 308mm at the front and 282mm at the back.

Available now, the new Exige Cup 260 costs £46,000 on the road, but you can pay more if, for example, you fancy shrouding the lightweight alloys with racing slicks, or fitting a roll cage into the pre-drilled holes in the car's chassis.

Mark Nichol - 28 Aug 2009

2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260. Image by Kyle Fortune.2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260. Image by Lotus.2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260. Image by Lotus.2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260. Image by Lotus.2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260. Image by Lotus.

2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260. Image by Lotus.2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260. Image by Lotus.      - Lotus road tests
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