That we can compare the 400 in the same discussion as the 570 is a victory for Lotus. Nobody should buy a 400 thinking it will match a 570 for impact, features and power yet it does scratch a similar itch. There's no shame in a car costing twice as much being judged the more desirable. Actually, it's a bit of conceit to compare them head to head. The 430 is postured differently. It has to stand direct comparison with the NSX, GT3, and it seems the 570 and now, the ZR1. Now that might even be a problem when a $105K 400 is measured against a basic Carrera 2S but it's not in play for an $85-90K 400. Lotus misjudged the sales for our current cars at over 100K, but as we've said and seen dozens of times, if you sell the car at an aggressive price, they will move off the floor. For better or worse, that's what it takes to reestablish the marque in America. They need to be seen and their role understood.
And let's not kid ourselves. It's not just raw performance that people shop for. Apart from any tactile differences a buyer must factor resale, ease of service, warranty (ours is meh) and feature sets. At current street prices one can objectively demonstrate that the 400 yields superb value as long as outright power is not the only criteria. Although I don't really see it, the comparison between the 400 and the GT3 is frequently attempted. Never mind that. Go direct for the Carrera 2S, a case that is far easier to make.
When you add the 430 to the mix the logic blurs. The 430 needs to very substantially up the 400's game in every category. Americans, apart from a few journos, haven't had the opportunity to drive it, so the 430 remains an enigma until such time as the cars arrive here. We can honorably speculate about the value of the 430 when comparing to the other options, including the 400 itself and still be Lotus fans.
It's not unreasonable to question the value proposition of the 430 in that light, but again, the 400, while in a different performance category than the 570 (or GT3) yet remains a class leading value even compared to a good Corvette depending on one's priorities. There will be two different buyers for those of course but if we're talking about bang for the buck, the Corvette GS needs to be mentioned. Horses for courses, but I see problems if Lotus needs $160K to deliver a street ready car with AC, sound deadening and a radio that is going to look to most people like an up-spec 400. That's a tough sell in the broader marketplace. How fast do you need to accelerate, what do you want for features and how important is feel? For many, that's going to figure in less flattering ways than it does to me. Perhaps they will readily sell the full allocation, and I hope they do. Even so, the numbers will be small enough to not register when compared to other constructors.
There is a wild card in the 430's bag of tricks, it's analog nature and bulldog spirit. If that's as valued in a Lotus as it is in air cooled Porsches and vintage Ferraris, it may stand as the compelling reason to buy a 430. If it's understood that Lotus provides exclusivity and tactile benefits that don't accrue to mass produced cars, then a case can be made. One has to forgo features our cars can't provide and trade them out for the things Lotus does so well.
I think the 400 remains the tip of the spear for good reason, regardless if you like the front end styling or don't. I don't see the ugly some attach to it, but perhaps I'm biased. I also don't see a working argument against elevating the 400's status rather than diminishing it as poor second cousin to the 410 and 430. Lotus needs to whip that horse because at the moment, it's the best option for bulk sales here. And it's a fabulous car. The 430, however great (and none need doubt that it is ) will as a matter of common sense continue to be a very specialized item with appeal mainly to those of us who already value Lotus. But for many it will be a tough choice when or if it goes head to head with high spec Porsches, McLarens, Astons or whatever the case may be for a given individual. The 400? Solid winner and the horse that needs to be whipped.
(The 570 ain't twice the car the 400 is but then again, is the 430? YMMV as usual) Despite my initial sense regarding the 410 (I agreed with Jay Emm on it by virtue of spec alone) that may be the value play in the current Evora lineup if you consider it's special nature and how easy it would be to match the 430's essence with a bit of help from say, BOE and Hethel Sport. But you could accomplish nearly the same thing with a 400 if you're buying it for road use, as most will do.
'17 Evora 400 MT
Last edited by lotusquacious; 05-23-2018 at 07:32 AM.