I’ve just spent a couple hours lapping the new Lotus Evora Sport 410 around the legendary Norfolk sports-car maker’s 2.2-mile test track. As you might suspect, it is more than a mildly pleasant diversion on a gray English afternoon. I should mention this was only after three sunny days and more than 500 blissful miles spent getting to know the most powerful Evora yet by hammering it down a variety of pastoral English country lanes of the narrow and sacredly curvy sort that gave birth to this Lotus and its many esteemed predecessors. The Sport 410 is also, undoubtedly, the car Lotus wishes it built when it launched the Evora line of mid-engine sports cars in 2008.
Think of this car as an upscale, upsized retake on the more miniscule mid-engine Elise that returned Lotus to volume production in 1995. The Elise boasted a groundbreaking chassis of bonded aluminum extrusions and the new Evora was a great car at the time of its U.S. introduction in 2010—an Elise with a V-6, just shy of 11 inches more wheelbase, and a tiny but still useful backseat. It was, however, still possessed of a few more rough edges than a firm with a longstanding reputation for rough edges might want their self-proclaimed Porsche competitor to contain. It steered and rode wonderfully, and while a marked step up from previous Lotuses in terms of build quality, its ergonomics were still more challenging than any modern Porsche’s.