Lotus Exige 260 Cup. Farewell. Journals

Surely the time hasn’t come? Is long time crankandpiston.com contributor Sean really selling the Lotus Exige Cup 260?

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Driver's Log
Date acquired: May 2012
Total kilometres: 24,935
Kilometres this month: 1895
Costs this month: $0
L/100km this month: 12.0

I bet you didn’t see that coming.

A farewell? Surely the Cain & Cup partnership fits together like hand in glove. Yup! With a heavy heart, that time has come.

Like any car that you’ve really loved to drive, look at, polish give that final glance back, there’s still a tinge of “mmm, I’m not sure” about selling my Lotus Exige Cup 260. Since the S2 Exige was launched in 2004, I knew I’d have to get one. When they brought out the supercharged 240R version, I had sleepless nights realising I wasn’t one of the lucky 50 who’d smacked their names down. By this time my Exige needs were getting very serious – I wrote, phoned, begged Lotus Cars in Hethel to get one over to the UAE for me. Only to hear the same stern reply of “No, we don’t have an agent in your country” echo back. Thank goodness those dark days are gone, now we have Al Futtaim representing Lotus in the UAE.

Lotus Exige 260 Cup -01

Then it got worse! By 2006 Lotus launched the Exige in North America and it became the darling of magazine and internet reviews. Our friends in the New World weren’t too sure where to position the Exige, so they tested it against EVERYTHING: Corvettes, 911 GT3, Ariel Atoms, MX5, Caterham 7, Cobra replicas, Ferrari F430 (like the time crankandpiston.com ran the Lotus against a Ferrari 430 Scuderia and a Porsche Cayman R). You can’t necessarily ‘win’ against those cars, due to their diversity, but two things were clear: 1) If you wanted a focused drivers car, that could be used regularly on the road, the Exige could mix it with the best of the pack. 2) The highly technical ‘hotel valet’ test. In an Exige, your steed is always parked out front and the average passer-by got drawn-in like a magnet.

And the all time low? One of my best friends in the UK, nipped into his local showroom on a whim and drove-out in a Chrome Orange copy (my favourite Exige colour), then got it stoked with tuning goodies. Okay, no more Mr. Nice Guy! Forget asking Lotus Cars directly, I’ll do it the Middle East way – a few months later, a 2008 Solar Yellow Cup 260 was sitting on my drive. Well, if you’re gonna be a bear, might as well make it a grizzly. Over the next few years, the 2008 Cup 260 got changed for a 2007 Exige S, but when the 2010 Cup 260 came along, I knew that was ‘The One’.

Lotus Exige 260 Cup -12

What’s so special about the 2010 Cup 260? Well, I won’t bore you with a re-run of old Journals, but a glance at the specsheet would raise an eyebrow or two for those who know . Suffice to say that Lotus Motorsport knew it was the final build year, so used all the tricks to make it the fastest, lightest, most developed Exige S2 ever made. Even today, you can’t buy an Exige with the same specification as a 2010 Cup 260 and to get lose you’d need to get a Cup R, which isn’t road legal and starts at $150,000. In years to come, the 2010 Cup 260 will be up there with best of Lotus’ back catalogue, nestled between a Sport 190 and a 26R.

And the all time high? That’s easy: every time you drive it! No matter nipping to the shops, blasts to the mountains or commute to work, it always puts a smile on your dial. The phase ‘racing car for the road’ is abused by motoring hacks – in reality any car that could win on track would feel horrible on road. A Cup 260 isn’t pretending to be a race car, but it is an elite Road Racer, that ignites your sensory system – even before you climb in.  If you yearn a Road Racer in your life, with supercar looks & supermarket running cost, get in touch. Whoever drives it away, can be sure I’ll wait outside till I can hear the whine of the supercharger no more.


Lotus Exige 260 Cup -10

Lotus Exige Cup 260 (spec)
Engine: In-line 4-cyl / 1796cc / supercharger
Power: 290hp @ 8000rpm
Torque: c174lb ft @ 6000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Front suspension: TBC
Rear suspension: TBC
Brakes: TBC
Wheels: 16-inch (front) / 17-inch (rear)
Tyres: 195/50 R 16 (front) / 225/45 R 17 (rear)
Weight (kerb) 890kg
0-100kph: 4.0sec (claimed)
Top speed: 245kph

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