Review: Lotus Evora GT410

Summery lanes in Shakespeare country last week found us on our annual catchup with Lotus and a new version of the Evora, the GT410. It uses the same drivetrain as the 410 Sport but with slightly less of a hair shirt and, wonderful, a rear window you can see through clearly.

The clean lines of the Evora GT410 will draw approving looks

The GT is also softener and more practical. It costs less than the Sport, too. The suspension is set for a more subtle ride quality and touring comfort. However, this Evora remains an ultra-fast coupé, capable of more than 180mph.

The trappings include Sparco sports seats, air conditioning, a reversing camera, an infotainment system, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth. Digital radio makes its first entry into a Lotus. The cabin, either two seats or 2+2, has better sound proofing to reduce road roar and other intrusions on the hi-fi experience.

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The doors have arm rests and storage pockets. You get cruise control and heated seats and rear parking sensors. All quite civilised and useful.

Standard tyres are all-weather Michelin Pilot Sport 4S on 20-inch wheels at the back and 19s at the front. The respective carcasses of 285/30 and 235/35 give huge traction and grip. The tailgate is a single glass panel which gives better visibility than the louvred unit on the track-focused GT Sport. The body colour on the GT is used on the roof, side sills, tailgate and mirror housings. Red AP racing callipers give stopping power and pavement appeal. In fact, the whole car looks stunning.

Acceleration and top speed is not much shy of the GT Sport, which uses the same supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine but gains downforce and reduced wind drag thanks to its advanced aerodynamics.

Such stuff is the lifeblood of the race track or a natter in the Camshaft Arms – now open again and spruced up after lockdown.

Lotus arranged driving sessions at Caffeine & Machine, which is a hang-out for bikers and drivers at Ettington on the A429. Apparently in normal times it can be so busy at weekends that you are advised to reserve a parking spot for your car.

We picked up lunch at the Henley in Arden bakery and ate it in isolation on carpark tables at the driving base. Thus far, the Covid-19 emergency has knocked PR hospitality out of kilter.

The car seemed splendid, several notches more to our taste then the hairier Lotus models we’d tested in Bicester last year. The Evora is such a fine looker anyway, but the cleaner lines and toning paintwork of the grand touring GT410 now give it elegance.

Warwickshire was green and lovely and expensive. The roads usually had 50mph limits unless one ventured on to the M40 where you could get some noise from the engine and reach, well, 70mph. This car wasn’t made for these times.

Ours had the 2+2 seating but frankly, even Freddy is too tall to sit in the back. Youngsters and dogs may be happy there. The driving position has plenty of adjustments, and getting in and out of the front seats is not too hard. There’s eye-catching detail, with parallel hand-stitching – a little bit wavering across the fascia edge on this car.

The windscreen catches reflections of the silver ventilation pods and the rear mirror shows both the engine and the road. Side mirrors include a view of the bulging wings and air scoops. Luggage? Well, the rear seats are handy plus a decent trough behind the engine.

Neat details include a small digital speedometer in a cleft between the main instrument nacelles. You’ll like the solid aluminium gear knob too.

Components come from here and there – France for the bodies, carbon seats from the Lotus factory in Norfolk, panels from Banbury, the engine from wherever Toyota builds its potent V6.

Other Lotus stuff: a new combined unit for chassis manufacturing and sub-assembly opening in Norwich next year worth some 125 jobs to the county capital.

Unveiled last month: a 20th anniversary edition of the Exige Sport 410. All versions come with upgraded exterior features commemorating the Exige of 2000. Check: the body-coloured roof, side air intake pods and rear wing, plus the black shark fin stone chip protector ahead of the rear wheel. The mood is carried over to the interior, where there’s a choice of different coloured Alcantara trims, and each seat is decorated with panelled stitching which echoes that of the original car. From £82,640 with a surplus of kit over the regular model for the same price.

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