What Do You Think Of Lotus’ Fastest Road-Going Car: The New GT430 Sport?
What would Colin Chapman think of an automatic gearbox in a car bearing the Lotus name? He might chagrin the additional weight and the dilution of the driving experience, but I doubt he would scoff at the performance of the brand’s modern offerings. Put him in a 3-Eleven and there’d be a smile appearing soon afterwards.
Lotus has had a rocky fiscal existence in recent times, and though track days are still populated with plenty of Elises and Exiges, they just don’t have a large enough market (at least in the US) to really start expanding their scope. In a way this is a good thing, for a Lotus SUV, or crossover, or sport-noun-vehicle, or any other hallmark of an expanding sports car company would be a tragic headline.
They do have plenty of models to choose from though, albeit they are based off of two chassis; the Elise and the Evora. The hierarchy of today’s Lotus automobiles boils down to trim levels and engine options, and we wouldn’t be so disappointed in the limited selection if the cars weren’t so good. The Evora GT430 for instance, is a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 with the horsepower figure right there in the name. It will reach 60mph in 3.7 seconds, and it weighs a scant 2,775 pounds dry. It’s quick. It’s the most powerful Lotus road car ever built, and it just got faster.
Today the brand has announced yet another variant on its existing Evora platform, the Evora GT430 Sport. It’s not to be dismissed as a mindless add-on. For this is the fastest production Lotus ever made, with the aforementioned V6 able to send the car to a top speed of 196mph when equipped with a manual transmission. Though the addition of “Sport” to the preexisting GT430 model implies a sportier version, this is actually a slightly more sedate experience. The car still comes with the limited edition GT430’s (only 60 were built) Öhlins dampers, AP Racing calipers, adjustable TCS, and the same swaths of carbon fiber making up the bumpers, roof, nose panel, rear quarter panels, and tailgate, but it ditches the aero kit consisting of a front splitter, fixed rear wing, and louvered arches. It also sits on skinnier wheels and tires, all of which help it reach a higher top speed than its more track-focused relative. The Sport also adds the automatic gearbox option that the GT430 did not, and equipping it as such will up the 0-60 time by a tenth over the manual, but reduces the top speed to 177mph. As if you needed another reason to get the manual.
The best thing about the new GT430 Sport though lies not in the numbers that hint at the performance capabilities, but in the lack of figures: they will build as many of these as people want to buy. No word yet on whether it will make it to the United States, but if it does, expect it to be priced about $11,000 cheaper than the limited edition GT430.
So until we get to drive one, what are your thoughts? Does this car carry on the tradition of lightweight, highly-connected sports cars that the company built its reputation on? Does faster actually mean better? It’s not a plump and plodding supercar that has a high top-end that you’ll never see on the speedometer, but it’s not an Elan or a Seven either.