What is it?
Consider the Evora Sport 410 Lotus’s equivalent of a Ferrari Speciale model or a Porsche 911 GT3; indeed, that’s not our summation but that of Hethel, keen to assert just how focused this new Evora is.
To that end, the power gain – a modest 10bhp over the Evora 400 – is not the main talking point, the attention instead focusing on mass reduction and chassis set-up. So the Sport 410 weighs a significant 70kg less than the already lithe Evora 400 – now just 1280kg dry – with a titanium exhaust able to shed another 10kg for £5500. Lotus claims a ready-to-go weight (all fluids and with a 90% fuel load) of 1325kg. That’s not a great deal of mass for 410bhp to move around, the 309bhp per tonne power-to-weight ratio enough for a 4.0sec sprint to 60mph and 190mph flat out.
The weight saving has come through a myriad of fascinating measures, from the small (the door card panels are now 2kg lighter each) to the more significant (the one-piece carbonfibre tailgate contributes 12kg).
In addition to the reduced mass, this car also benefits from a 5mm drop in ride height, stiffer dampers, increased downforce and standard Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Lotus claims a significant three-second advantage over the standard Evora 400 around its Hethel test track.
What's it like?
The Evora Sport 410 is everything driving enthusiasts love about Lotus – the poise, the involvement, the balance – made tangibly more thrilling, but without losing sight of the standard Evora charm.
Below even 30mph, the Sport 410 is working its magic. The steering has fluidity and feedback to shame every electric system out there, while the new seats – which save 9kg each – grab in all the right places and pedal weights are spot on. Immediately the Evora inspires confidence.
It only improves with speed, the Evora’s extraordinary ability to flow with a British B-road still its standout dynamic quality. The more aggressive set-up certainly makes the ride busier, but the Sport 410 can still shrug off the very worst bumps in a way many rivals would struggle with; it is always completely unflustered, leaving you to concentrate on enjoying the experience.
The brakes want for nothing in either feel or performance, the manual gearbox is surprisingly slick and the engine is strong. Really strong, in fact, certainly keen enough to make good on those acceleration claims and sound superb in the process. With a supercharger instead of a turbo, throttle response is eager – made more so in Sport or Race mode – and with a flat torque curve from 3500rpm to almost the limiter, it will pull hard in any gear.
On a circuit, the Sport 410 package comes together even better than on the road. Those suspension tweaks, combined with the super-sticky tyres and a limited-slip diff, give it exceptional composure. By adding carbonfibre further up the car, Lotus claims the centre of gravity is lowered by 12mm, and the Evora fairly scythes through the faster corners at the Hethel test track. Grip and traction are huge, but so involving are the controls and so clear the messages fed back through the controls that it’s never aloof. The very opposite, in fact. As a road-going track day car, this has to rank with the best.
Other observations? This Evora feels like a better-built product than even recent Lotuses, which is encouraging. It’s the little details, such as the quality of the materials and the stitching, that stand out. Be absolutely sure on your spec, though; neither an infotainment system nor air conditioning is standard. They are no-cost options, though, adding 4.3kg and 8.5kg respectively.
Should I buy one?
If you value driving above all else and are fed up with how some manufacturers sell their track-focused models, the Sport 410 is a glorious car, melding fantastic outright speed with dynamic nuance and reward. In a world that seems to prioritise multitudinous modes rather than a proper set-up, driving a car this entertaining with hydraulic power steering, passive dampers and conventional springs isn’t far off a revelation.
Sure, something like a Porsche 911 will prove a more amenable everyday car, but the Lotus is far from intolerable, even if the seats began to prove uncomfortable for this taller-than-average driver after a while. And while some may cringe at the prospect of an £80k Lotus, it not only comfortably stands comparison with rivals at this price but will also require no options where many others will.
The Sport 410 is not the car to convince those unsure of Lotus’s methods. Some people will just buy a 911 regardless. Instead, this very special Evora shows off Lotus at its absolute best and, for those to whom that matters, that’s extremely good news indeed.
Lotus Evora Sport 410
Location Hethel; On sale Now; Price £82,000; Engine V6, 3456cc, supercharged, petrol; Power 416bhp at 7000rpm; Torque 302lb ft at 3500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1325kg; 0-60mph 4.0sec; Top speed 190mph; Economy 29.1mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 225g/km, 37%; Rivals Porsche 911 Carrera, Nissan GT-R