2018 Lotus Evora GT430
If you're a fan of sports cars, it's easy to admire the Lotus MO. It's a simple formula in a well executed package. No other company creates cars as pure to the art of driving as a Lotus coupe, and every time you think they can't get better they throw out one more special edition that just... is. Naturally, squeezing tenths out of an already highly strung machine is difficult, and the task of extracting more power out of a Toyota 2GR-FE is a monumental project. But somehow Lotus has been doing it for 7 years in their Evora. And this year is no exception. It's their best one yet.
The first versions of the Evora came in two trims: Normally aspirated or supercharged. The 3.5-liter V-6 churned out either 276 or 345 horsepower. The latter being the Evora S, utilizing an Eaton TVS sucker with exhaust protection valves to reduce back pressure. According to Lotus, this allowed the Toyota engine to survive the added stress. Today, the base Evora is the Evora 400 and 410, and judging by the name you can guess how much power it makes. Compared to the Evora S they've ditched the Eaton supercharger for an Edelbrock unit, dropped the weight by 46 lbs, and sliced the zero-to-60 mph from 4.4 to 4.1 seconds.
With the addition of a limited Evora GT430, Lotus is tuning the platform up to eleven with help from name-brand parts, sexy technologies, and good old fashioned British lightweight elbow grease. The first part on the drawing board is the most prominent one - the number 430. Yes, Lotus is still using a supercharged 2GR-FE, though this motor is now charge cooled to create 430 horsepower at 7000 rpm and 325 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm. Lotus says an air-to-liquid cooler incorporated into the gearbox is what gives the GT430 its added torque, but the standard titanium exhaust saving 22 lbs doesn't hurt too.
Those 20 extra horses aren't the only contributor to its 1 minute 25 second lap record on the Lotus test track. Its speed is a result of a huge list of upgrades to its drivetrain. Its suspension, lovingly tuned by Lotus, retains its forged aluminum front and rear multi-link geometry with Eibach springs from the Evora 410, but the Bilstein dampers are upgraded to Ohlins TTX two-way adjustable models - featuring 20 clicks for compression and rebound while saving 22 more lbs of weight. The redesigned body uses a carbon fiber front splitter, front access panel, roof, tailgate, quarter panels, and full width rear wing to add downforce and reduce its weight. Louvers in the body over the front wheels evacuate high pressure air built up in the wheel well for more front end downforce and thus improve its front end grip. Evoras normally have a weight distribution of FR 39/61, so the added aero should make turn-in as vicious as a cobra strike.
Even its straight line performance is impressive noting a zero-to-60 in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 190 mph. Drivers will have to be quick on the shifts with its single mass flywheel 6-speed manual transmission to achieve that speed, but there are some aids to keep you in line. Its rear axle is equipped with a Torsen limited slip differential, and the traction control has five levels of slip ranging from 1 to 12 percent. Or off, if you feel like awakening your inner Schumacher. More rubber is laid on the road with 245/35 R19 and 295/30 R20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires replacing the normal Michelin Pilot Super Sports from the Evora 410. The wheels are upsized in kind with lightweight forged aluminum models available in black or silver. Besides the wing, the wider wheels are the only parts that add more weight to the GT430.
Rounding out its fancy upgrades is a set of 4-piston AP Racing brake calipers at all four corners. Front J-grooved ventilated discs and rear lightweight aluminum three-piece discs save 4 lbs of unsprung mass, but its braking system doesn't have to work too hard to stop its 2773 lb (1258 kg) dry weight. A reduction of 57 lbs versus the Evora 410. Near-invisible weight saving measures also involve a reshaped aluminum undertray, aluminum brackets, polycarbonate backlight glass, and a reshaped fluid fill system. All improvements that would be impossible to spot at a glance.
Its interior is, as usual, barren. The cabin of the GT430 is clad in Alcantara and leather or just Alcantara on request, and the carbon bucket seats are sourced from Sparco. If you want to take it racing, an optional 4-point harness can be installed. If you want to have fun with British electronics, you can pay extra for a touchscreen with navigation, reverse camera, and iPod and Bluetooth connectivity.
The most powerful road going Lotus will be hand built in Norfolk, England. Only 60 will be sold worldwide, North America included. Lotus plans to deliver North American versions in spring 2018. Expect all of them to be sold out.