2019 Exige Sport 410 Test Drive - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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2019 Exige Sport 410 Test Drive

As a follow-on from posting in this thread https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/...e-huge-468776/... I decided to step into action for North American LTers

In a sheer act of self sacrifice, I trekked over to my local Lotus showroom (walking distance from home) & casually mentioned I recon the Exige 410 was the pick of the Lotus range. 5 minutes later, the demo car's key was in my hand & I was told to come back after Iftar.... it was only mid-day, so that was enough time to drive coast to coast via the Hajjar mountains, to the Omani boarder.... that's Lotus country !

So whats it like ?

In a word WOW ! Really, really liked it. Step change improvement over the 2015 Exige S & 2014 Evora S' Ive extensively driven . Lotus really got the whole drivetrain : chassis sorted.

Even as a long-term, multi Lotus owner, Im smitten. Its rare to have this much power in a light weight Lotus.... but the steering & chassis control are to die for... simply the best, totally keyed-in to the road without being hyper. The 'hot-rod' nature of the Exige V6's design & weight distribution indicates it should be a pig to drive.... goodness knows what Lotus could do from a blank sheet. And remember, this isn't a modified aftermarket car, its factory spec, 3 year warranty, fully compliant (in the Gulf)

So why is the Sport 410 so good, why is it the sweet-spot & where have Lotus improved over earlier Exige V6's ?

In no particular order :
1) Drivetrain mounting has been tightened-up. Very slight vibration at idle, allows for way better control during load & stop-start throttle.

2) Super slick gear change & clutch - the best I've every tried in a Lotus. Never a missed gear & smooth from cold to high speed hot. The gearbox oil cooler must be helping, as its 45+ C here now.

3) The BHP & torque to weight (1100 KG) ratio is sweet. Most Lotus' are momentum cars, you need to carry speed - great for the track, not always ideal for the road. They often get up to 200 KPH pretty quick if you rev to the max, 240 KPH (if you're lucky) takes its time. The Exige 410 rips to 270+ KPH without hesitation. In a car this light & compact, you really feel that speed compared to a full sized supercar.

4) The whole rolling chassis of handling / steering / ride / braking is tip-top compared to pretty much anything I've driven on the road... that includes GT4s, GT3s, Speciale, Macca MP4 etc. Unless you're a professional racing driver, I dont know what more you need.

Why the sweet-spot? The lower Sport 350 misses too much (lacks CC SC, oil cooler, power, 3 way Nitrons) the higher Cup 430 only has a touch more power & some cosmetic changes, yet costs way more. Given equal drivers / conditions, a Cup 430 wouldn't pull away from a 410 in my view.

Downsides ? Its still cramped inside, tricky to get in/out if your above average height. Cabin noise builds at speed. Radio is crap. Rear disability letterbox. Side mirrors fold in at high speed. You dont buy one for the expensive materials or some-such. But you guys knew all that.

Hope the piccies capture some of the fun. PS, the colour is Air Force Blue.... handy for low speed flying
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Last few before sun set & the toys had to be put away till next time .
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 10:20 AM
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Talk about a dream car, and thanks for the write-up. Hopefully we get something similar when the next generation of cars is federalized.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, three other refections I had on the Exige 410 during the cool-down after the mountains :

1) On Lotus forums such as SELOC - where members have been running around in Exige V6's since 2012, I sometimes read comments like 'I'd just buy a used Exige S V6 & upgrade as required compared to buying a new one'. Sure theres a price difference, but I think that totally underestimates the development work Lotus Cars has done to refine the package to its current 410/430 level (thank goodness for the Evora 400 development!) Its too cynical to say Lotus just does lipstick changes year on year - if you drive the different iterations, as I have, you can really tell the changes.

The other issue with 'upgradeitis' ... there is no end to it. After market suppliers marketeer their 'upgrades' which do not always deliver. Even if you want to re-fresh with Lotus OE newer parts (i.e. the latest gear change assembly or trans oil cooler) this isn't really viable. And of course you end-up with a modified, older car which has a narrow market, no warranty, dealer techs will be cautious about working on.

2) 40 odd years ago Lotus had a 2 seater mid engined sports car, also about 1000 kg, with approx 160 BHP depending on spec. They made it for driving enthusiasts in small volume.

For good or bad, the Exige V6 is made in similar volume, similar target customer, similar mass - yet can be had with almost X3 the power. Once this generation of cars gets replaced, no way will owner Geely want to develop cars that are so focused, they'd never get their return. If this Lotus recipe appeals - get it while it lasts!

3) Modern cars have got bigger & bigger, tech laden, more isolated from the driver. I compared the road driving dynamics to some tip-top sports / super cars above (I dont claim to be a driving God BTW). But even a 'little' Cayman GT4 is way bigger / heavier than an Exige V6. Move up to a 458 or MP4 & they're bigger again. I guess thats part of the charm of classic sports cars - they tend to be simple / compact / lighter / analogue... but rarely offer super sharp driving dynamics or robustness or safety by todays standards

Imagine if a company like Ferrari had just continued the Dino 246 theme closer to the original & made a 'Pista' version in 2019. Or if Lancia had developed a more road orientated Stratos.

Retromods are all the rage. Depending on which one, they cost eye watering amount of money & are normally developed by specialist companies with limited resources. A car like an Exige 410 has a foot in both camps. It takes advantage of modern tech, but doesn't throw away the benefits of the older original designs. To me, this is the spirit of driving an Exige 410.
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Last edited by cain-it; 05-28-2019 at 02:38 AM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 06:52 AM
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Great write up and photos. Sounds like you have the experience of driving many different sports cars. As a Lotus fan as we all are here, it’s great to hear how they stack up to other cars.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cain-it View Post
In a sheer act of self sacrifice, I trekked over to my local Lotus showroom (walking distance from home) & casually mentioned I recon the Exige 410 was the pick of the Lotus range. 5 minutes later, the demo car's key was in my hand & I was told to come back after Iftar.... it was only mid-day, so that was enough time to drive coast to coast via the Hajjar mountains, to the Omani boarder.... that's Lotus country !
Thanks so much for your act of sacrifice! This is a great comparison of the different V6 variants. I agree with your reasoning, too - Lotus is a small company with a limited pool of engineers. If they're developing new things they're not improving old things. It makes sense that a mature version of a V6 Exige would be better than an older variant as long as they were putting labor hours into improvement.

I also think you're right that Geely is going to orphan this car soon. They obviously have very different goals for the Lotus organization and marque than sharpening the point on the Exige.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cain-it View Post
As a follow-on from posting in this thread https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/...e-huge-468776/... I decided to step into action for North American LTers

In a sheer act of self sacrifice, I trekked over to my local Lotus showroom (walking distance from home) & casually mentioned I recon the Exige 410 was the pick of the Lotus range. 5 minutes later, the demo car's key was in my hand & I was told to come back after Iftar.... it was only mid-day, so that was enough time to drive coast to coast via the Hajjar mountains, to the Omani boarder.... that's Lotus country !

So whats it like ?

In a word WOW ! Really, really liked it. Step change improvement over the 2015 Exige S & 2014 Evora S' Ive extensively driven . Lotus really got the whole drivetrain : chassis sorted.

Even as a long-term, multi Lotus owner, Im smitten. Its rare to have this much power in a light weight Lotus.... but the steering & chassis control are to die for... simply the best, totally keyed-in to the road without being hyper. The 'hot-rod' nature of the Exige V6's design & weight distribution indicates it should be a pig to drive.... goodness knows what Lotus could do from a blank sheet. And remember, this isn't a modified aftermarket car, its factory spec, 3 year warranty, fully compliant (in the Gulf)

So why is the Sport 410 so good, why is it the sweet-spot & where have Lotus improved over earlier Exige V6's ?

In no particular order :
1) Drivetrain mounting has been tightened-up. Very slight vibration at idle, allows for way better control during load & stop-start throttle.

2) Super slick gear change & clutch - the best I've every tried in a Lotus. Never a missed gear & smooth from cold to high speed hot. The gearbox oil cooler must be helping, as its 45+ C here now.

3) The BHP & torque to weight (1100 KG) ratio is sweet. Most Lotus' are momentum cars, you need to carry speed - great for the track, not always ideal for the road. They often get up to 200 KPH pretty quick if you rev to the max, 240 KPH (if you're lucky) takes its time. The Exige 410 rips to 270+ KPH without hesitation. In a car this light & compact, you really feel that speed compared to a full sized supercar.

4) The whole rolling chassis of handling / steering / ride / braking is tip-top compared to pretty much anything I've driven on the road... that includes GT4s, GT3s, Speciale, Macca MP4 etc. Unless you're a professional racing driver, I dont know what more you need.

Why the sweet-spot? The lower Sport 350 misses too much (lacks CC SC, oil cooler, power, 3 way Nitrons) the higher Cup 430 only has a touch more power & some cosmetic changes, yet costs way more. Given equal drivers / conditions, a Cup 430 wouldn't pull away from a 410 in my view.

Downsides ? Its still cramped inside, tricky to get in/out if your above average height. Cabin noise builds at speed. Radio is crap. Rear disability letterbox. Side mirrors fold in at high speed. You dont buy one for the expensive materials or some-such. But you guys knew all that.

Hope the piccies capture some of the fun. PS, the colour is Air Force Blue.... handy for low speed flying
Nice write up, and thanks for letting us know what we can't have in the US, it's like hearing someone's date with Irina Shayk.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 10:59 AM
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Irina Shayk 410 or Irina Shayk 430?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 02:15 PM
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Last few before sun set & the toys had to be put away till next time .
WOW. Great looking machine. Batmobile?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 03:21 PM
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Irina Shayk 410 or Irina Shayk 430?
I'm not that choosy, I'll take either.
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