Toeing the line between the street and the track

The apex-hungry engineers over at Lotus are at it again, releasing yet another tuned-and-tweaked version of the most-excellent Exige. This time, it’s called the Sport 410, and it slots between the Exige Cup 430 and Exige Sport 350 as a replacement for the Exige Sport 380, offering a harder edge than the Sport 350, but a more forgiving A-to-B drive experience than the Cup 430.

Continue reading to learn what makes the Lotus Exige Sport 410 special.

What makes the Lotus Exige Sport 410 special

2018 Lotus Exige Sport 410 Exterior Interior
- image 779266
Although it may look a lot like the Cup 430, the Sport 410 definitely stands out as soon as you delve into the specs.

For those of you who may be unaware, the Lotus naming conventions goes like this - add the word “Cup” to those models destined for the track, and the word “Sport” to those performance models that’ll spend most of their time on the street. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that there’s plenty of overlap between these two camps, with Cup models occasionally hitting the highways and Sport models vying for position at the local track day on the weekends. But in terms of intended use, that’s the distinction.

“Developed directly from the track focused Exige Cup 430, the Exige Sport 410 is designed to be the ultimate road drive, unrivaled in its class,” Lotus explains. To that end, the 410’s chassis, suspension, and powertrain stuff all come from the Cup 430, but get unique modifications to help the 410 stand out as more road-biased than its go-faster 430 sibling.

Let’s start outside, where a quick glance makes it difficult to tell the difference between the Sport 410 and Cup 430. They both get that low, squat Exige stance, with flared fenders and a maniacally grinning fascia, plus large rear wings and loads of composite elements.

However, delve into the specs, and you start to notice a few key deviations. The aero, for example, looks similar, but applied to the Sport 410, the wings create a maximum of 150 kg (331 pounds) of downforce, with 60 kg (132 pounds) produced in front and 90 kg (198 pounds) produced in the rear. Compared to the the Cup 430, that’s about 150 pounds less total downforce.

2018 Lotus Exige Sport 410 Exterior Interior
- image 779258
Although peak downforce numbers are lower than those offered by the Cup 430, the Sport 410’s 331 pounds of extra stick is nothing to sneeze

Still, although the peak numbers are lower, 331 pounds of extra stick is nothing to sneeze at. Lotus says it refined the aero components through the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and extensive test sessions in the wind tunnel, all in the name of enhancing the grip, maintaining the inherent handling balance, and increasing the high-speed stability.

In front, the splitter element works to direct the atmosphere underneath the car. There’s also air curtains in the front clam cover which help to direct air out from the front wheel wells, reducing turbulence and drag in the process. Larger intakes help with cooling duties, while an extended aluminum diffuser in the rear mates with a high-mounted rear wing to complete the package.

The lightweight front clam cover was also revised in the Sport 410, while the front grille was made larger. Crossover benefits for the new clam include use in the Exige Sport 350, so look for it there as well in the future.

Unsurprisingly, carbon fiber is used for the front air curtain and splitter element. In the corners, the Sport 410 mounts a set of forged alloy wheels, with 17’s in front and 18’s in the rear. Buyers can get theirs with either a black or silver finish for the rollers.

Critically, the Sport 410 is offered in both a hardtop Coupe and Roadster body style, with the droptop receiving a lightweight, removable roof section that can be stored inside the car for unlimited headroom at a moment’s notice.

2018 Lotus Exige Sport 410
- image 779262
While slightly less plush than something like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Exige Sport 410 isn’t completely stripped down.

Moving inside the cabin, we find a familiar sight, with the Sport 410 once again utilizing the Exige’s spartan, simplified cabin space. The layout includes minimal buttons and controls, with two fixed-back bucket seats, an analog gauge pod, and our personal favorite touch, an exposed gear linkage. Lovely!

While slightly less plush than something like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Exige Sport 410 isn’t completely stripped down. You still get some nice materials, with Alcantara wrapping the steering wheel, center console, and dash, and a leather-Alcantara combo for the door cards, not to mention loads of contrast stitching. You can also get an Alcantara-leather combo for the seats, or if you really wanna go high-end, go for the optional full-leather package. However, we gotta admit, full hide might look a bit out of place on the carbon-fiber trimmed Lotus-branded seats. Just sayin’.

Further interior options are offered through the Interior Color Pack, which comes with four new color choices and contrasting surrounds for the center tunnel, HVAC surround, carbon seat eyelets, and electric window bezels. Air conditioning is also included as standard, while a full entertainment system with iPod and Bluetooth support is optional.

2018 Lotus Exige Sport 410 Exterior Interior
- image 779263
Like the Cup 430, the Sport 410 packs a supercharged and intercooled 3.5-liter V-6, sourced from Toyota and mounted in the middle of the machine.

Of course, no one buys a Lotus for the leather interior, so lets move on to the performance side of things. Like the Cup 430, the Sport 410 packs a supercharged and intercooled 3.5-liter V-6, sourced from Toyota and mounted in the middle of the machine. The intercooler uses a water-to-air cooling element, while the oil cooler and large clutch also come from the Exige Cup 430.

This time around, the engine was detuned a bit, and like the name suggests, it now produces 410 horsepower at 7,000 rpm ad 310 pound-feet of torque between 3,000 and 7,000 rpm. That’s 20 ponies less than the Cup 430, if it wasn’t already obvious.

While slightly less powerful, don’t think for a minute that the Sport 410 got fat and slow with its small concessions to civility. Dry weight is rated at a feathery 1,054 kg (2,324 pounds), making the Sport 410 the lightest V-6-powered Exige ever produced. That figure also blesses it with a power-to-weight ratio of 389 horsepower per metric ton.

“Working from Lotus’ standpoint as the leader in lightweight design, every gram has been justified, from the standard lightweight carbon front splitter and access panel at the front to the carbon side pods, tailgate and wing at the rear,” Lotus says.

All told, a run from 0 to 60 mph takes 3.3 seconds, missing the 430’s benchmark by just one-tenth of a second. Top speed is rated a 180 mph, matching that of the Cup 430.

Routing the power rearwards is a standard close-ratio six-speed manual transmission.

2018 Lotus Exige Sport 410 Exterior Interior
- image 779260
All told, a run from 0 to 60 mph takes 3.3 seconds, missing the 430’s benchmark by just one-tenth of a second

When it comes to the handling, the Sport 410 offers new tuning for the three-way adjustable Nitron dampers, leaning a bit to the cushier side of things for the intended road usage. Customers can also get customizable rebound settings, as well as custom low and high-speed compression rates, while further adjustability is made via front and rear anti-roll bars from Eibach.

Throwing the anchor are four-wheel disc brakes from AP Racing, with forged four-piston calipers, as well as two-piece J-hook discs. “With a higher thermal capacity and improved bite, these discs have better debris clearance and impart consistent pedal feel with greater stopping power,” Lotus says.

The tires are Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 compound, sized at 215/45 ZR17 in front and 285/30 ZR18 in the rear. That’s 20 mm of extra rubber in the tail of the machine, which helps it grip a bit more when laying on the loud pedal.

Performance options include a full titanium exhaust, which will actually cut out an additional 10 kg (22 pounds) over the rear axle. Track stuff includes options for an electrical cut-off switch and fire extinguisher controls, an airbag delete, a non-airbag steering wheel, four-point racing harnesses, and an FIA-compliant roll cage installed by the dealer.

Yep, the Sport 410 will still be a track star if you want it to be.

Further aesthetics customization is offered through the Lotus Exclusive program, and there’s optional high-gloss carbon fiber components for the instrument panel, sill covers, barge boards, and the roof.

“With every new Lotus we look to move the bar higher and apply technology and development ideas drawn from top-of-the-range models,” says Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. “Our agility as a company means that the lessons learnt today can quickly be incorporated into the cars of tomorrow and the Exige Sport 410 is a perfect example of this.”

Unfortunately, the 410 won’t head stateside, and that really sucks. But the fact Lotus is still pumping out these hot-to-trot Exige variants and not some overstuffed SUV instills us with hope all the same.

References

2017 Lotus Exige Cup 430 Exterior
- image 743809
485 pounds of extra aero stick

Read our full review on the 2017 Lotus Exige Cup 430.

2012 - 2015 Lotus Exige S High Resolution Exterior
- image 574249
Lotus has added an auto transmission to the Exige’s option list, and it’s quicker than the manual.

Read our full review on the 2017 Lotus Exige.

2016 Lotus Exige Sport 350 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 659173

Read our full review on the 2016 Lotus Exige Sport 350.

no article
- image 743196

Read more Lotus news.

With a stunning combination of raw speed and real-world ability, the Lotus Exige Sport 410 joins a line-up like no other to complete the Exige family of peerless sports cars.

Starting with the revised Exige Sport 350, the comprehensive Exige range now includes the new Exige Sport 410 and culminates with the extreme Exige Cup 430: each at a distinct price point, performance level and degree of motorsport focus.

Developed directly from the track focused Exige Cup 430, the Exige Sport 410 is designed to be the ultimate road drive, unrivalled in its class.

This latest addition to the Exige range packs the advanced chassis, suspension and powertrain set-up from its more powerful stablemate, the track focused Exige Cup 430, with a recalibrated engine producing 410 hp (416 PS) at 7,000 rpm and 420 Nm (310 lbft) on tap from 3,000 rpm to 7000 rpm. The high-performance 3.5-litre, supercharged and charge cooled V6 engine combined with a dry weight of just 1,054 kg (lightest possible dry) delivers a class-leading power to weight ratio of 389 hp / tonne, and makes the Exige Sport 410 the lightest V6 Exige ever.

Capable of 0-60 mph in just 3.3 seconds, it records fierce in-gear acceleration before reaching a top speed of 180 mph / 290 km/h (Coupe configuration) – equal to the range-topping Exige Cup 430.

The Exige Sport 410 has been developed to generate 150 kg of downforce, sharing design cues from the Exige Cup 430, adopting a visually arresting revised lightweight front clam panel incorporating wider grilles and carbon fibre air curtains and front splitter.

As with all Lotus cars, the Exige Sport 410 has outstanding handling and lightweight agility engineered into its very DNA. Conveying an extraordinary level of tactility and precision, it’s developed to perform at its very best with maximum enjoyment and driver feedback on the road.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc said, “With every new Lotus we look to move the bar higher and apply technology and development ideas drawn from top-of-the-range models. Our agility as a company means that the lessons learnt today can quickly be incorporated into the cars of tomorrow and the Exige Sport 410 is a perfect example of this. We have taken the Exige Cup 430, the ultimate track-centric Exige, and developed it into the perfect road orientated sports car, ensuring that we stay ahead of rivals when it comes to cars that deliver a truly engaging analogue driving experience.”

Completing the update to the entire Exige range, the new front clam design also transitions across to the Exige Sport 350, giving a visual refresh to the entry-level model in the Exige line-up.

Both the Exige Sport 410 and Exige Sport 350 are available in Coupe and Roadster configurations, with the Roadster having a lightweight black removable soft-top which can be easily stowed within the car for open-top driving. The Roadster configuration is not available for the Exige Cup 430.

The Exige Sport 410 – forged through development

Reflecting its Sport nomenclature, the new Exige Sport 410 treads the fine balance of cars that retain their focus on road driving yet remain supremely responsive and agile. Whilst Lotus’ Cup variants are developed with circuit driving at heart, the Sport models are tuned to provide the perfect balance of performance, agility and power delivery for the road.

Working from Lotus’ standpoint as the leader in lightweight design, every gram has been justified, from the standard lightweight carbon front splitter and access panel at the front to the carbon side pods, tailgate and wing at the rear.

Distinctive in its appearance, thanks to wider aperture grilles in the new front clam panel, the Exige Sport 410’s revised aero configuration provides total downforce of 150 kg (60 kg at the front and 90 kg at the rear); developed through extensive CFD modelling and wind tunnel testing in order to preserve the car’s handling balance and high-speed stability.

The front splitter helps separate and speed airflow under the car, and the inclusion of air curtain elements into the front clam panel efficiently moves air through to the front wheel cavities to help reduce turbulence and drag created by the front wheels. In addition, the enlarged front clam panel openings, with wider radiator apertures, aid cooling. At the rear, the extended Aluminium diffuser, combined with the new high-mounted wing all contribute to the Exige Sport 410’s enhanced downforce.

The Exige Sport 410 uses the Exige Cup 430’s 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine with supercharger and water-to-air charge cooler, calibrated to generate 410 hp (416 PS) at 7,000 rpm and 420 Nm (310 lbft) of torque from 3,000 rpm to 7,000 rpm. The latest addition to the range also employs the oil cooler configuration and larger clutch from the Exige Cup 430, perfectly matched to the close-ratio, six-speed manual transmission with exposed-gear-change linkage.

Befitting an industry benchmark, the Exige Sport 410 takes the chassis, suspension and dampers from the Exige Cup 430, re-tuning the three-way adjustable Nitron dampers for a road bias and to suit the car’s revised aerodynamic set-up. These can be customised to the driver’s precise requirements (rebound and low and high-speed compression) along with the Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, fitted as standard, which complete the car’s class-leading chassis set-up.

The Exige Sport 410 is fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (285/30 ZR18 rear and 215/45 ZR17 front), 20 mm wider at the rear deliver improved traction and work in harmony with the car’s ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels, which are available in either black or silver. Braking is courtesy of AP Racing, with forged, four-piston calipers and performance two-piece J-hook brake discs. With a higher thermal capacity and improved bite, these discs have better debris clearance and impart consistent pedal feel with greater stopping power.

Performance options for the Exige Sport 410 include a full exhaust system in titanium, removing 10 kg from beyond the rear axle, and a number of high-gloss, visible weave carbon fibre components including instrument binnacle, sill covers, barge boards and roof. A host of motorsport-centric options are also available including electrical cut-off and fire extinguisher controls, airbag deletion, a non-airbag steering wheel, 4-point harnesses and a dealer fit FIA compliant roll cage.

Centre of attention in the cabin is Lotus’ acclaimed open-gate manual gearshift design giving quick and precise changes. The fine detailing continues with an Alcantara® steering wheel and Lotus’ own carbon fibre sports seats trimmed with either a combination of Alcantara® and leather or optional full leather, both featuring contrast stitching.

The optional Interior Colour Pack (in a choice of four colours) provides contrasting surrounds to the transmission console, HVAC surround, carbon seat eyelets and electric window bezels. As standard, the centre console and dashboard are trimmed in Alcantara® with the door cards, a combination of Alcantara® and leather. Air conditioning and an integrated entertainment system including iPod® connectivity and Bluetooth® functionality can also be specified.

Lotus Exclusive

The new Exige Sport 410 can be personalised through the popular Lotus Exclusive programme. Combining traditional British craftsmanship with modern design, the service inspires customers to spend time tailoring the character of their Lotus with a comprehensive array of options.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: