A heavy Lotus wouldn’t go down well at all. Not with the customer base, with the critics or with the ghost of Colin Chapman. And a heavy Exige would be a real heresy, particularly when unadorned examples of the original Exige S1 weighed less than 800kg with fluids onboard.
Next to that, the Exige looks portly. Hethel’s claim is for a kerb weight of 1125kg, 10kg less for the Roadster, and the scales at our MIRA test track confirmed that our test car - a coupe - full of fuel weighed 1200kg. That puts the car within 95kg of the previous Porsche Cayman R and 160kg of the 997 GT3 RS 4.0. The Race 380 has a claimed dry weight of 999kg, which means ladened it will tip just over the one tonne mark.
Two things directly explain the mass increase; notionally, really only one. The Toyota-derived supercharged V6 that powers the car, also found in the Evora, has forced a growth spurt. There’s 70mm of extra length in the wheelbase and almost 300mm of additional overall length compared with the original Exige, and a current Elise. All of it is to accommodate that engine, which has been squeezed in sideways right behind the cabin.