The interior layout, fit and finish
Once you’ve managed to twist and wriggle yourself over the wide sills that conceal the Exige’s bonded aluminium chassis, you’re received by a snug, minimalistic interior. There’s an Alcantara wrapped steering wheel, a couple of carbon-fibre backed sports seats, a smattering of switches, a handbrake, and that’s about it. Some will argue that it’s simply too spartan to tolerate, especially when you consider the Cup 430’s high price tag, but others will view it as a uniquely purposeful, pared-down driving environment.
Talking of uniquely purposeful features, those carbon-fibre backed seats, despite being wafer thin, are surprisingly comfortable on longer drives. They place you nice and low, with your bum seemingly hovering just a couple of inches from the tarmac, while the fixed steering wheel and pedals force your arms and legs to be stretched out before you. This might not sound like a particularly relaxed driving position, but it feels entirely natural.
In terms of build quality, the Cup 430 feels pretty well put together. Yes, the switchgear looks very basic and the ancient Vauxhall-sourced column stalks feel flimsy, but the Cup 430 can be spruced up with various option packs that add carbon-fibre to the sills, Alcantara to the seats and leather to the doors inserts. There are also some stunning details that engineering fans will love, such as the exposed aluminium door hinges and the open shift gate and tall aluminium gear stick of Lotus’s six-speed manual gearbox.
Just bear in mind that this car is about excitement rather than comfort, and that an Exige essentially comes as a stripped-out road racer. If you want even basic amenities such as carpets, a stereo, sound insulation, cruise control, metallic paint or air conditioning, Lotus will want your credit card details.
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