Hethel sharpens the Evora’s focus with a bit more power and a lot less weight
The Evora Sport 410 can be considered 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 l0bhp over the Evora 400 – is not the main talking point. The attention instead is focused 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 (including all fluids and with a 90% fuel load) of 1325kg. That’s not a lot of mass for 410bhp to move around, with the resultant 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 measures, from the small (each door card panel is 2kg lighter) to the more significant (the one-piece carbonfibre tailgate contributes a 12kg reduction alone).
In addition to the reduced mass, the car also benefits from a 5mm drop in ride height, stiffer dampers, increased downforce and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Lotus claims a significant three-second advantage over the standard Evora 400 around its Hethel test track.
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.
“The Evora’s extraordinary ability to flow along a B-road remains its standout quality”
Even below 30mph, the Sport 410 is working its magic. The steering has fluidity and feedback to shame every electric system out there, the new seats (each a 9kg saving) 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 along a B-road remains its standout dynamic quality. The more aggressive set-up makes the ride busier, but the Sport 410 shrugs off the worst bumps in a way many rivals would struggle with; it is always unflustered, so you can 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 and made more so in Sport or Race modes. And with a flat torque curve from3500rpm almost to 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 them, that it’s never aloof. The 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, but they add 4.3kg and 8.5kg respectively.
If you value driving above all else and are fed up with how some car makers sell their track-focused models, the Sport 410 is glorious, melding fantastic outright speed with dynamic nuance and reward.
In a world that seems to prioritise multitudinous modes over 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-plus Lotus, it not only comfortably stands comparison with rivals at this price butwill also require no optional extras where many others will.
The Sport 410 is not the car to convince those unsure of Lotus’s methods, and 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.
Lightest, fastest Evora yet is as well suited to the road as it is to the track. This is Lotus at its very best
Lotus Evora Sport 410
Engine: V6, 3456cc, supercharged, petrol
Power: 416bhp at 7000rpm
Torque: 302lb ft at 3500rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Kerb weight: 1325kg
Top speed: 100mph
Economy: 29.1mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 225g/km, 37%
Rivals: Porsche 911 Carrera, Nissan GT-R