You’d be forgiven for thinking this Lotus Exige Sport 410 is yet another special edition from the Norfolk-based brand. After all, the firm has been rather prolific in that department over the last few years.
But scoff as some might at those limited-run models, they have allowed Lotus to return to a situation strong enough for Chinese giant Geely to buy a 51 per cent stake in the company – thus securing the British sports car firm’s future.
With Geely’s commitment, Lotus is now planning further ahead and easing development on the current Elise, Evora and Exige models. Its efforts are now concentrated on all-new cars, the first of which we will see in 2020. In the interim, Lotus has settled on a three-car line-up for the Exige, and the final addition is this: the Exige Sport 410.
The 410 is a series production model that aims to strike a balance between the softer Sport 350 and track-focussed Cup 430. As such, Lotus’s engineering started with the Cup car and looked at what was required to provide a more comfortable, road-biased model. One of the first decisions was to reduce the level of downforce produced by the 430, to develop a car with more mechanical grip – with the aim of being more involving for a wider spread of drivers.
This is why the Sport 410 does without the Cup’s extreme vents in the top of the front wheel arches and more aggressive front splitter. And while there may be a reduction in downforce (it still develops 150kg at 180mph) there is also less drag, which is why the 410’s straight-line performance is a match for the 430.
Underpinning the Sport 410 is a re-tuned Cup 430 chassis, with adjustable Nitron springs and dampers. These are a little stiffer than the Cup due to the reduction in aero pressure on the car, while there are new anti-roll bars, too. You also get a set of AP Racing brakes and those 18-inch (17-inch at the front) Team Dynamics wheels are forged items fitted with Michelin Cup 2 tyres.