Can a focus on the track mean a distraction on the road?
Lotus Evora GT410 Sport 2018
Engine: 3.5-litre, V6, supercharged, petrol
Torque: 310lb ft
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Kerb weight: 1320kg
Top speed: 190mph
Fuel economy: 29.1mpg
CO2 rating: 225g/km
So that was the 410 Sport. And this is the Evora GT410 Sport, a weightier title although – come on, you know the Lotus drill – the car is of course lighter. It’ll also lighten your wallet by about another £4000 over the outgoing 410 Sport. So is your £85,900 well invested, or is this a step too far?
What it looks like, both in the metal and on the spreadsheet, is an even purer racing machine. There’s even more carbon, like on the roof and tailgate, but for maximum weight loss you’ll need to find yet more money, for the adjustable Ohlins dampers and the titanium exhaust (about £11,000 for both those extras). You could spend another £2000 on a six-speed torque converter transmission but why would you do that?
Presumably the answer you’re looking for is: because it drops top speed from 190mph to 171mph and pushes up emissions, while ensuring you can’t have the limited-slip diff. Some cracking reasons there.
The 3.5-litre Toyota-derived supercharged V6 sounds seriously, properly epic through that optional exhaust, while the supercharger means you can pull really happily from 1500rpm. Of course, you’ll spend a lot more time exploring further up the register towards 7000rpm, but it’s good to know you can be lazy if you feel like it.
That engine and that bonded aluminium tub mean you actually have a brilliant combination for the road as well as the track. The hydraulic steering is an absolute delight, perfectly weighted and with decent communication. You can hustle down a twisty road, even if it is wet and cold, with the sort of fluidity and control that you’ll struggle to find in cars a multiple of the price.
While this is extreme on the track if you’re going to use it mostly on the road we’d be tempted by the touring pack, which doesn’t cost any extra but replaces the Cup 2 tyres with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S versions and also softens down the suspension with Bilstein units.
The ride is always firm, but it’s never harsh, whichever dampers you use. There’s a bit of a jostle, a bit of a bob up and down and generally this Lotus is a pretty civilised affair – if you spend another £250 on sound insulation. But you get decent Alcantara, leather and smart switchgear in the cabin, and overall this feels like a higher quality car than its predecessor.
There are still some gripes that need a bit of work, like the premium infotainment system. It costs yet another £2000 but you’d be pushed to call it value for money. But, overall, this is an epic Lotus, with the aggressive looks that will turn heads. And, unlike say a Porsche 911 Carrera T, which is about the same money, those heads will then break into smiles rather than any other expression.