Lotus Evora GT430 first drive: No lightweight

The Lotus Evora has been around for a long, long time. At its launch in 2009 it was billed as a more grown up car, one to move on from the fun, but not very sensible Elise. The basic recipe was the same as the Elise – mid-engine, light weight, good looks. Its 3.5-litre V6, an import from Toyota, provided enough power to entertain and it handled impeccably. It was ‘A Good Car’.

As time went on though it barely evolved while its competition did. So Lotus had to change it. A 400 variant added more power, spruced up the interior and made the car harder edged. Not long later the 410 appeared with more power, more… everything. There was life in the old motor yet. Lotus saw it as an equivalent to the Porsche 911 Carrera S, which meant there was room for something more… Why not tackle the GT3?

And lo, the Evora GT430 and GT430 Sport were born. It looks like an Evora, it sounds like an Evora, and… that’s where the similarities end. Its chassis is based on the Evora GT4 race car, which means it’s stiff, its motor has been cranked up to produce 430bhp, its front and rear are made of carbonfibre, it has adjustable dampers, and the top-spec hardcore GT430 will set you back £112,500 before options.

Lotus Evora GT430
Lotus Evora GT430

There are two variants to choose from: The GT430 is a stripped out, hardcore, angry thing, covered in vents, aero trickery, and a wing so large it generates 250kg of downforce. The GT430 Sport is more relaxed. The wing is absent, it doesn’t look quite as feral, and it’s more subtle. Both car...