Taking some cues from the track-oriented Exige Cup 430, the new Exige Sport 410 is the newest road-oriented production car from Lotus. Retaining some of the hard-edged charm that made its track-focused sibling such a standout, the Exige 410 provides genuine track day performance with a level of usability appropriate for a road car.
The 3.5-liter V6, recalibrated for the conditions, now produces 410 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque to spit the 2,325-pound car down the country lane with a ferocity once reserved by racing cars. A sprint to 60mph takes a mere 3.3 seconds, and the slippery Exige continues to a top speed of 180mph. Mind you, this is the speed attainable by the Coupe only—I’m not sure I’d like to travel that quickly in a soft top, anyways. Those who appreciate country fragrances more than I do can opt for the Roadster variant—which has a lightweight, stowable, black removable soft top.
Though a road car oriented for real-world conditions, the Exige’s racing pedigree shines through. With roughly 330 pounds of downforce — 40-percent of that generated at the front axle — the car boasts both beautifully incisive steering, and a reassuring rear axle; offering high-speed stability which made its siblings so effective at Hockenheim. This gain in aero grip comes from adopting some of the Cup 430’s styling cues, like a revised lightweight front clam panel incorporating wider grilles, carbon-fiber air curtains, and a larger front splitter — all of which have been extensively tested in the wind tunnel to retain that forgiving aerodynamic balance.
Further adding to the amount of grip are a set Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (285/30 ZR18 rear and 215/45 ZR17 front). Twenty mm wider at the rear, this strong stagger keeps the car usable and approachable on wet country lanes. Massive AP Racing four-piston calipers and performance brake discs make for a consistent pedal feel and more longevity over multiple hard brakes.
Obviously, the racing link is strongly represented in the Sport 410, but anyone who craves a hint of added raciness can spec their car with lightweight options. A full titanium exhaust is available, and it also trims some 22 pounds from the car. Less heft can be had with any number of carbon interior pieces: sill covers, barge boards, and roof, to name a few. Those who intend to take their Sport 410 to the circuit regularly, a long list of racing options like electrical cut-off and fire extinguisher controls, airbag deletion, a non-airbag steering wheel, 4-point harnesses and a dealer-fit, FIA-compliant roll cage are available. As suggested by track-oriented optioning, it’s safe to assume this car is just a slightly softer, slightly more comfortable version of a car with very sharp teeth. Consider this one fitted with a muzzle — albeit one made from a thin layer of velvet.