Driven: Lotus Evora 410 Sport in Azure Blue!
I was invited down to Silverstone to test drive something rather special from Hethel
Ok so I'll start by declaring a love for hand-built British sports cars, it's only fair before I step into the Lotus Evora 410 and tell you how stupendously brilliant it is! Ok so enthusiasm for the brand aside, here is my unbiased review.
As a previous owner of a 2013 Lotus Evora S, I have to admit I really did have high hopes for this lightweight powerhouse, who wouldn't with eye watering performance figures and the impressive weight. It's just 1325kg, that's around 300kg lighter than your average Vauxhall Corsa!
With regards to styling, well you can't deny, it looks fantastic even parked amongst some of the other serious competitors on the market. After seeing a couple on the road recently I really couldn't wait to get my hands on it.
I arrived at Lotus Silverstone and immediately looked round the forecourt. The 410 jumped out at me in the stunning Azure Blue colour, it really sets the car off! The car boasts plenty of carbon including its roof and rear boot lid with integrated spoiler. Now I struggle to get excited about carbon as much on sportscars these days. Every manufacturer has started throwing the odd carbon parts on their cars, however Lotus have really thought about this and you can tell. The rear engine cover, roof and front inspection panel are very well finished indeed, there's a seam running throughout the carbon in perfect symmetry across each panel, it's a nice touch.
Carbon is visible on the front inspection panel, roof and rear louvred engine cover with integrated spoiler
Moving on and stepping inside the car I'm happy to report that I have no issues here. It's not as plush as the latest Maserati but its not trying to be either. The interior trim is what you'd expect from a high end sportscar with dashboard components trimmed in alcantara along with the door cards and roof lining. A small sporty steering wheel in leather is surrounded by a digital display that feels modern and features useful displays including an eye level digital speedometer. The cabin is incredibly spacious and finally the door sills have been lowered with some clever rework of the aluminium frame to make it easily accessible even for the 6ft 5" giants out there like me!
The temperature controls, manual gearbox and driving modes sit nicely within arms reach and if you tick the option on the spec sheet, the updated Alpine system including nav is actually pretty good with some welcomed features such as bluetooth media and phone. Some of the switchgear and surrounding plastics do feel somewhat cheap but honestly that really is being picky, the interior is a huge upgrade on the predecessor and makes the new 400 and 410 suitable for those longer journeys and tours.
The interior of the 410 Sport is trimmed with alcantara and the contrast stitching is rather nice too
Now on to the best part. As with any Lotus the number one concern is how it drives, in fact if you have never experienced a Lotus for yourself I cannot recommend a test drive enough! Starting the engine makes you realise that this new Evora is the evil counterpart of its older brother. The noise on a cold start is incredible and yes it might be clever trickery with the exhaust but I really don't care, it's a great soundtrack especially when you start giving it the beans! I get the feeling that when that exhaust was fitted someone stood in the factory during the build inspection wearing headphones and listening to very loud music...and I'm so glad they did!
I took the car out onto some stunning countryside roads and immediately I was in awe over how well the car handles itself. Round every corner I could feel the nose tucking itself in and no matter how hard you try you're going to find it difficult to destabilise the car (although I'd give it a good go on track!). The grip from the Michelin tyres is incredible and the weight distribution of the car clearly works very well to create such a balanced drive. It's also worth noting that the weight of the car is to thank for this as it allowed Lotus to completely revise the damping and recalibrate the suspension to improve its geometry.
During my drive I tried out the driving modes and whilst I felt little difference to the overall drive from 'sport' mode, I have to say 'race' mode was an immediate improvement. Throttle response seemed better, the engine feels primed for a track day and the noise is taken up a level more! You also have an option to have the exhaust valves open via the exhaust button conveniently placed next to the driving modes, this button will become the most important in the cabin for most!
The manual gearbox on the 410 is actually very good. The short throw through the gears gives it the feel of a race car whilst also making it so easy to use as a daily driver, there really is little effort involved when changing gear. There's an IPS automatic gearbox available too that previously received mixed reviews with some mentioning the delayed response from the paddles. I drove the Exige S with the same IPS system and there have been significant improvements in response times thanks to improved software.
Driving in a straight line the car will accelerate all the way to the redline and keep you pinned in the seat but you'll never feel out of control. The cars 410HP 3.5l V6 will get you to 60mph in just 3.9 seconds. That's the same as an Aston Martin Vanquish! The impressive stats don't stop there either, there's 420 Nm of Torque, a lightweight low inertia fly wheel and of course the engine is in the middle to give it that all important balance.
The mid mounted 3.5l V6 engine producing 410HP powers the Evora 410 to 60 in just 3.9 seconds!
Now I said I wouldn't be biased...and I'm not going to be. I know the price tag of the Evora 410 is enough to make eyes water when you look at the competitors in the market. At a starting price of £82,000 thats Porsche 911 territory. You're also going to want a few of the optional extras like navigation with reversing camera as the view out of the back is very limited thanks to those carbon louvres. I'd also recommend the larger Sparco seats for added comfort as the standard carbon bucket seats (albeit they do look cool) are really not comfortable if you're going distance. Don't worry about upgrading your stereo - who cares with the soundtrack of the exhaust! If you do find yourself listening to music though then the stereo isn't too bad as standard but there is very little bass and it does lack some clarity if you're into that sort of thing.
You can buy a Porsche 911 and it's a superb car we can't argue with that (lets hope Jeremy doesn't read this) but seeing another on the road will be as frequent as a footballer changing their hairstyle. The Evora is definitely more exclusive, it's a rare sight even though there are quite a few out there. If you love driving and want a raw sportscar but with modern comforts then I would have to choose the Evora 410. It might fit into the bracket of a sportscar to most, but to me I think it might just be one of the more affordable and accessible supercars out on the market today.
The car pictured above is the Lotus Evora 410 Sport in Azure Blue and is currently available at Lotus Silverstone for £79,000. www.lotussilverstone.co.uk