Lotus evolves the Evora into its most powerful production car ever
By now, the formula for Lotus special editions is well known: add a bit of power, shed a bit of weight, slap some stickers on the side and voila, you've got a car fanboys and cashed-up collectors will be clamoring to buy. Thankfully, the Evora GT430 takes things a bit further than that. Lotus has treated the car to a comprehensive makeover, and the result is a much more focused beast than the base Evora.
With 430 hp from its supercharged engine, the limited edition Evora GT430 may be the most powerful production car Lotus has ever made, but there's a lot more to it than just a power boost. The overhaul starts under the hood, where the 3.5-liter supercharged V6 engine now makes 430 hp (321 kW) of power and 440 Nm (325 lb-ft) of torque.
Lotus says the 30 hp (22 kW) increase over the Evora 400 comes courtesy of a new air-to-liquid gearbox cooler, initially introduced on cars sold in the US. The reworked engine should sound good, too, thanks to a lightweight titanium exhaust. Power is put to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox
Along with the uprated engine, Lotus has redrawn the Evora's smooth exterior lines for more downforce at high speeds. The front bumper combines broader air intakes with a mean looking carbon fiber splitter, while new blades and louvres on the wheel arches add a dash of racing drama. New aero ducts behind the rear wheels and a reworked diffuser are standard, but the rear end is dominated by that massive carbon fiber wing.
It looks spectacular to us, with all the pent-up aggression you'd expect of a road-going racer like this, but the design is also functional. Lotus engineers say the car generates 250 kg (551 lb) of downforce at its 190 mph (305 km/h) top speed.
Usually, more bodywork means extra weight, but that isn't the case here. The wing, wheels and tires are around 9 kg (20 lb) heavier than those fitted to the standard Evora, but Lotus has actually managed to make the GT430 a handy 26 kg (57 lb) lighter than the Evora 400 thanks to liberal dashings of carbon fiber. The lightweight weave has been used for the front splitter, roof, rear wing, tailgate and rear three-quarter panels.
To make sure the GT430 delivers the compliant ride and flat handling for which Lotus is known, it's been fitted with a set of rebound and compression-adjustable Ohlins TTX dampers, coupled with stiffer Eibach springs. Gone are the standard wheels, and in their place are lightweight forged aluminum numbers wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. Coupled with the limited-slip differential, the Michelin rubber should help deliver incredible traction in the dry.
Inside, the standard cabin has been treated to new carbon race seats, fresh door sills and a new instrument binnacle cover. Those who spend their weekends at the track will be happy to know Sparco bucket seats and four-point harnesses are optional as well. Lotus is pushing its personalization program at the moment, meaning owners will be able to spec almost any combination of colors and materials – provided they're willing to pay, of course.
"The Evora GT430 is a landmark car for Lotus," says CEO Jean-Marc Gales. "Lightweight engineering and class-leading handling, paired with Lotus' aerodynamic expertise, define the Evora GT430 as a legendary Lotus. It's a truly beautiful car, meticulously finished in hand-crafted carbon, and employing the latest aerodynamics and lightweight materials. This highly developed vehicle perfectly reflects Lotus' attention to engineering and design."
Just 60 Evora GT430s will be built. The car is currently available for order in Europe, with a version tailored for American design regulations set to land in the first half of 2018.