Don’t let the track-day spec fool you – this is still a Lotus that blossoms in the wild. Tackle a rough, corkscrewing backroad and Hethel’s trademark fluidity remains intact, with our test car’s £2000 ultra-lightweight wheels being relentlessly forced towards the Tarmac. By turns, this lets you exploit the hydraulic steering, which is just sharp enough, ideally weighted and communicative without being busy, the feelsome and reliable brakes and, of course, the 3.5-litre Toyota-derived V6 with Edelbrock supercharger and chargecooler.
With the bi-modal exhaust dialled up, tailpipe noise dominates, but it’s an authentically raucous soundtrack that thrills without artificial augmentation or contrived pops on the overrun. The engine pulls happily from 1500rpm but thrives from 3750rpm to the 7000rpm redline, with a throttle response to embarrass even the most alert of modern turbochargers. The gearbox’s two-step action still lingers, but it’s now a very minor flaw; the tactile aluminium gearknob, short, robust-feeling throw and heel-and-toe-friendly pedal layout are enough to make pleasant work of shifting.
On a dry road – even at near-freezing temperatures – the Cup 2s grip endlessly, allowing confident and committed progress. An on-track stint at Hethel confirmed the loftiness of those limits, with only a concerted combination of aggression and weight transfer unsticking the rear end. But if standing water and countryside muck are more likely to pass beneath your wheels than stripy kerbs, the no-cost touring pack with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and slightly gentler Bilsteins might suit better.
That’s not to say the ride is harsh; it isn’t. It is firm, but even sharp bumps don’t resonate through the bonded aluminium tub. There’s almost a temptation to seek out divots to prove how little they upset the car, although this trick isn’t quite as magical as in those early, innocent days when you could buy an Evora whose power output started with a two.
As for more mundane journeys, there’s a bit of jostle in town and a little vertical bobbing on the motorway, but both are tolerable. In fact, the Evora GT410 Sport makes a decent cruiser; the exhaust hushes up at low revs in its quieter mode, the steering is settled and – at least with £250 of optional sound insulation fitted – road and wind noise are perfectly manageable.
It's the same cost for 2+2 or 2+0 seating layouts; the latter’s rear shelf proved useful for supplementing the weight-restricted, 160-litre boot space.
The optional £3500 Sparco seats could use a bit more backrest padding, and the absence of armrests to lean on unfailingly caught us out when settling in, but the driving position is both sensible and secure. Copious stitched Alcantara, touches of leather and switchgear that’s now more good than bad add a feeling of interior quality missing from early Evoras.