Lotus Exige Sport 410 first drive: The Goldilocks option

Lotus might only build three core models right now, but there are a mind-boggling number of derivatives and special editions. They range from entry-level cars right up to hardcore track toys with license plates, many of which can put some supercar noses out of joint. This is the Lotus Exige Sport 410, but really it should be called the Lotus Goldilocks because it represents the middle of the Exige range and for some it will be just right.

Lotus Exige Sport 410 first drive
Lotus Exige Sport 410 first drive
Lotus Exige Sport 410 first drive

First impressions

Lotus went about this the right way from day one. Instead of modifying the base Exige 350, it decided to tame the track-focused Cup 430 in a bid to provide some incredible performance in a more road-biased package. It gets the same adjustable Nitron suspension, AP Racing brakes, titanium exhaust and sticky Michelin Cup 2 tyres. Power comes from the familiar supercharged 3.5-litre V6 that kicks out 410bhp and 310lb ft torque in this guise. That performance potential is channeled to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission for a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed that pushes 180mph.

In the eyes of Lotus, less is more and that is why the 410 is actually the lightest Exige at just over a tonne, providing you tick the right carbonfibre boxes. The intricate weave makes up the louvered deck lid, large rear wing, delicate air curtains, front splitter and sports seats. Said seats are made in-house and weigh just 6kg! There’s also less aero on the Sport 410 for a more subtle look — well, subtle for a lightweigh...