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The fastest, most powerful and most expensive Lotus ever made is also one of the best

Our Verdict

Lotus Evora

Lotus moves upmarket with a 2+2 GT, but is the Lotus Evora an everyday car?

  • First Drive

    Lotus Evora GT430 2017 review

    The fastest, most powerful and most expensive Lotus ever made is also one of the best
  • First Drive

    2016 Lotus Evora Sport 410

    Lightest, fastest Evora yet proves itself as well suited to the road as it is to the track; this is Lotus at its very best
Mark Tisshaw
13 October 2017

What is it?

The Lotus Evora’s transformation from sports car to supercar is complete with this: the Lotus Evora GT430. Since taking over at Lotus in 2014, company boss Jean-Marc Gales has been incrementally improving the Evora (as well as the Elise and Exige), and perhaps no bigger step has yet been taken than with the new GT430.

The name suggests the GT430 has 20bhp more than the Sport 410 on which it is based, and it does. But it’s so much more than that; the GT half of the name actually gives more away. For this is in effect a road-going version of the GT4 race car, which is conveniently driven by Lotus chief engineer Gav Kershaw, the man who’s led this car's development.

So with that extra power comes three other key race car ingredients: less weight, a completely new aerodynamic package and adjustable suspension lifted straight from the race car.

The Evora GT430 comes in some 36kg less than the Sport 410. There’s such a vast amount of carbonfibre used on the body that more of the bodywork is made from it now than composites. Even the washer fluid bottle isn’t spared in the drive to reduce weight elsewhere.

Aero wise, that huge rear wing is the most obvious part of an aero package that results in downforce of 250kg being produced. The package is so focused and extreme that Lotus will even sell you a ‘Sport’ version of the GT430 with it toned down and the wing deleted if it’s too much for you.

As for the race suspension, it’s sourced from Ohlins and has spring rates that increased by a massive 47% at the front and 20% at the rear over the Sport 410. It’s manually adjustable within two basic settings: road and track.

New lightweight alloys, a Torsen limited-slip differential, wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, beefed-up AP Racing brakes, the GT4 car’s traction control system and the six-speed manual gearbox’s improved application from the Exige 380 complete the Evora GT430’s supercar makeover.

What's it like?

Turn in to your first corner in the Evora GT430 and you’ll see what the car is all about. It hasn't just shed weight, but it shed weight in the right places – on the bumper sides of either axle. At the front, this means it turns in with an extraordinary precision that shocks you at first with just how immediate and involving it is. And addictive.

This is a car all about involving you in the driving experience, doing its best to flatter you in the process and not intimidate you.

The new suspension makes the Evora more in tune with a British B-road than it’s ever been. The increased spring rates mean you can also feel more of that B-road, which makes this a less suitable everyday car than other Evoras. It’s more 911 GT3 than GT3 RS in this regard, though.

The engine’s incredible urgency and responsiveness are delivered through the much improved gearshift and you really feel the extra power on both road and track without ever being overwhelmed by it. For this remains an approachable car even in its power delivery - one with a titanium exhaust that sings the most wonderful tune above 4500rpm. Can we get a campaign going for this to be Christmas number one?

The mechanical grip created by the aerodynamic package is quite extraordinary, the speedometer requiring a double take on corner exit speeds around Lotus’s Hethel test track to see how fast you really are going. No Lotus has ever lapped the circuit faster.

Nor has one reached a higher top speed - high-speed tests on the German autobahn have gone all the way to 190mph. We saw 140mph on the test track and high-speed stability was excellent to boot. It also gives you another chance to go above 4500rpm.

It’ll stop rather promptly from those speeds, too, with the brakes resisting fade even under heavy track use and their effectiveness proving a very good demonstration of just how light the car is. 

Should I buy one?

That price will be catching your attention by now. The GT430 represents a leap over the £82,000 Sport 410 not just dynamically, but also in price to the tune of £30,000. Which is as expensive as a Lotus has ever been.

But the 30 examples Lotus planned to make of the GT430 soon became 60 off the back of demand, and then another 60 without the aero package. Another 60 of each will be built for North America next year. The point is that customers are willing to pay for it and do not care one jot about a Porsche 911 having this generation of Evora licked inside, or about everyday usability, no matter how much Lotus improves.

And they are paying for an Evora that’s as good as it ever has been and one of the finest driver’s cars around.

Lotus Evora GT430

Where Hethel, East Anglia; On sale Now; Price £112,500; Engine 3456cc, V6, supercharged petrol; Power 430bhp at 7000rpm; Torque 325lb ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerbweight 1299kg; Top speed 190mph; 0-62mph 3.7sec; Fuel economy na; CO2 rating 234g/km; Rivals McLaren 540C, Porsche 911 GT3

Join the debate

Comments
13

13 October 2017

if they have sold 240 of them - good job done! Wouldn't get my £100k+ I'm afraid but good luck to them and the brave souls who are snapping them up. Really hope that Geely do the same jobe with these guys as they have with their other acquisitions. As long as they aren't forced to use the same 4 cykinder engine that is.......

jer

13 October 2017

Low volume production cars did'nt make them so expensive. This is what the Evora should have been from the start. Would love to know if its sourcing components in low volumes or labour that makes them so expensive relative to say Porche. You'd think saving gazzions on production lines would save money. Gales has done a great "unshowy" job at Lotus. 

13 October 2017

So the plan was to make and sell 30. I'm assuming there's some profit being made there and it's not a loss leader to show off the technical improvements.

Instead you've potential order for 240. yummy yummy.

Lotus going in the right direction, now backed up with Geely money and new models coming soon.

Future seems bright in Norfolk. 

13 October 2017

Only 10 RHD wingy GT430 for the UK.

13 October 2017

A thing of joy. As simple as that.

14 October 2017
A car for enthusiasts, not wankers.

14 October 2017
Sounds very good from the article and there's clearly a strong interest (despite what seems like a lot of money) for a halo model like this. It's a good way to showcase what the team at Hethel is capable of - I just hope the range can be expanded with Geely's backing.

The Excel S.E I had back in the 80's was a fantastic car, quick (for the time), with phenomenal handling and didn't prove to be 'Lots of Trouble...' but it was also practical enough to live with day to day, whereas the modern ones are just too track focussed (for me), great for the weekend but not much else.

Cars like the Elan, Eclat/Excel and even the Esprit were all sportscars, they steered beautifully, punched well above their weight cost wise and were all quite livable too.

I look forward to the future for Lotus and hope it can expand its range to include something for people like me. It would be great to have a Lotus again.

14 October 2017

Best looking Evora to date.  While £110k+ is a lot for a Lotus you can't get a new 911 GT3 for that and most 911s are c£100k these days with a few choice options.  And they're selling so well done Lotus, futures bright.

14 October 2017

will it make a lot of money for Lotus?

Hope so! However, a niche market is all very well but it can be vulnerable to fads and fashions... Supposing that someone else (Ariel, for argument's sake) produces and sells an equivalent car foe less money, it is esay to see customers switching loyaties if the price-gap is big enough. Could Lotus market it a a lower cost and sell more units?

Now, one silly question if I may? Can someone explain to me the purpose of the flat segment at the bottom of the steering wheel? Even my (not so) humble Polo has one such... Why? Genuine question, BTW!

 

15 October 2017

I think it is race-derived, to free up some space for your thighs in the tight confines of a race car, where you would probably not use full lock much. It does not make much sense on a road car, but that's marketing for you. It's right up there with spoilers, carbonfibre trim and fake air vents.

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