When Lotus transformed the fun-but-flawed Evora into the altogether more rounded (albeit more expensive) Evora 400 last year, no stone was left unturned. As many as two thirds of its components were redesigned, or binned entirely, as excess weight was ruthlessly sought and destroyed. Turns out there was yet more potential lurking under the Hethel rockery though, because this, the most hardcore Evora yet, is a full 70kg lighter than the 400 – and an astonishing three seconds a lap faster around the factory test circuit.
Channelling the spirit of the old Esprit Sport 300 (the lightweight one with the natty decals), the Sport 410 gets a 10bhp power increase (hence the name) but the real story is what it’s lost, rather than gained. Borderline-obsessive mass trimming includes swapping not just body panels for carbonfibre but windows, too. The rear quarter glasses are now blanking panels, and the tailgate a stack of Venetian-blind louvres water-falling into a ducktail scallop. Balanced by a poutier front lip, that gives the 410 double the downforce of the Evora 400 at its 190mph(!) V-max. With further weight shaved from seats (-18kg), doors (-2kg), wheels (-7.2kg total) and even the badges (erm, -50g), the 410 has less meat on it than Jack Skellington.
Its target audience is clearly built the same way, as it features the thinnest seats I’ve ever seen in a car, road or race. Weighing a scant 6kg each, they’re the same carbon buckets Lotus builds for its Exige racing cars, albeit trimmed in a choice of leather or alcantara. The radio/nav unit is gone, replaced by what looks like the lid from a tin of boiled sweets, as is air-con and anywhere to rest your elbow in the thinned-out doorcards. You can option the infotainment and air-con back in at £2000 and £1500 respectively, on top of the £82k asking price. Which, there’s no denying, is Quite A Lot of money.
Worth it? Judged on driving thrills alone, yes. We drove the 410 on road and track, and on the latter it’s sublime. Surprisingly frisky under braking (its keenness to rotate no doubt helping it to that Exige-beating laptime), and still stuck with slightly awkwardly positioned pedals, but otherwise as friendly to drive quickly as it is exhilarating.
You can make it understeer, you can make it oversteer, or make it do both at the same time; the choice is yours.
Make no mistake, though, it’s a car for the committed sports car fan only. The Evora 400 has a supple ride at speed that would put many saloons to shame, but on Norfolk’s corrugated roads the 410’s firmer compression and rebound rates, combined with those wafer-thin seats, make it a much more uncompromising proposition. Minus much of the 400’s sound deadening it’s a noisy one too, but what a noise; unfettered by insulation, its supercharged V6 sounds better than ever – all the more so with optional titanium exhaust (-10kg).
Think of it as an Evora GT3, or Speciale, and it makes sense. If you’re willing to sacrifice seating comfort, Steve Wright in the Afternoon and a place to put your elbows at the altar of driving nirvana, you’ll like the Sport 410 very much.
Lotus Evora Sport 410
Faster than the 400, but at a cost