Hethel, Norfolk - This, says Lotus, is its most powerful road-going car yet: The Evora GT430.
But more importantly, in the true spirit of founder Colin Chapman, it’s also the lightest version yet of the company’s flagship berlinetta. To quote Chapman’s oft-repeated mantra: “Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere."
Thanks to a new aero kit made almost entirely of clear-lacquered carbon-fibre panels, the GT430 weighs in at less than 1300kg ready to go - 26kg lighter than its predecessor, the Sport 410, despite the addition of nine kilograms’s worth of wider wheels and tyres, as well as a bigger rear wing.
The revised aerodynamics generate up to 250kg of additional downforce at full tilt boogie, which in this case is 305km/h, via bigger front intakes, a new carbon-fibre splitter, air blades and louvers on top of the front wheels, aero ducts behind each rear wheel to reduce pressure inside the wheel arch and a deep rear diffuser under the profiled carbon-fibre wing.
Suspension is entrusted to ultra-lightweight, low-sideload Eibach springs and new Öhlins TTX two-way adjustable dampers with 20 click-adjustment compression and rebound settings, for an overall weight saving of 10kg over the Sport 410.
The Evora’s all-aluminium, supercharged and intercooled 3.5-litre petrol V6 has been retuned with the aid of a more authoritative (and 10kg lighter) titanium exhaust system and an air-to-liquid transmission oil cooler, to deliver a claimed 316kW at 7000 revs and 440Nm from 4500rpm to the rear wheels via a low inertia single-mass flywheel, and six-speed manual transaxle that incorporates a Torsen limited-slip differential.
0-100km/h is quoted at 3.8 seconds, 0-160 at ‘less than eight seconds’, while a close relationship between tyres and tarmac is fostered by 10mm wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres - 245/35 R19 at the front, 295/30 R20 at the rear, on ultra-lightweight forged aluminium rims in either black or silver - or optionally, in gloss red or gloss black with machined rims.
You can select from four drive modes - Drive, Sport, Race or Off - and when you’re in either Race or Off mode there’s a new variable traction control function, linked directly to the ECU, that allows you to preset the amount of wheel-slip the car will allow before the electronic nanny steps in to spoil the fun, to one percent, three percent, six percent, nine percent, 12 percent or, for the brave and foolish only, “Off”, which does exactly what it says on the tin.
There’s more of the light stuff inside, with new carbon-fibre door sills, a new carbon-fibre instrument binnacle, and either Lotus sports seats with carbon-fibre shells or even lighter Sparco race seats with the option of four-point harnesses anchored by a titanium rear frame.
The rest of the interior surfaces are trimmed throughout in black, in either full leather, alcantara synthetic suede or a mix of perforated leather and alcantara in red and black, with two-colour contrast stitching in red and white.
Just 60 Evora GT430s will be built for the whole world; SA Lotus distributor Pearl Automotive says it can get one if the customer moves quickly enough - but won’t be drawn on price. As an indication, however, the maker quotes £112 500 (R1 900 000) ex works, including 20 percent UK VAT.
Please note that this price does not include air conditioning (£1500), four-speaker audio (£2000) sub-woofer and amplifier (£400), sound insulation (£500) or cup holders (£120 each).
No footage is available yet of the Evora GT430; here to whet your appetite, however, is the official promo for the Sport 410 which, we remind you, is 26kg heavier and 15kW slower.