Despite some opinions to the contrary, we've not forgotten about Lotus sports cars on PH editorial. It would have been ideal to include an Evora or Exige in our Alpine/GT4/R8 triple test, but it wasn't possible this time around - certainly one to revisit in future. And furthermore, the clamour around the latest 718 GTS Porsches can only mean renewed interest in the wares of Hethel. After all, who else offers six cylinders, rear-wheel drive and a manual gearbox in such a finely-honed sports car package?
In 2020, the automotive landscape looks very, very different to how it did on the launch of the Lotus Evora in 2009, and significantly changed from when the Mk3 Exige arrived in 2012. Where not so long ago the cars might have felt outdated against contemporaries, there's an argument to say the Lotuses today represent an opportunity to buy new all those fast car attributes we now fear for the survival of: noise, excitement, an enthralling driving experience.
This particular Evora is not a new car, but it does present a fascinating alternative in light of the GTS launch and the arrival of S-spec A110s in the UK. Because this Sport 410, painted in Porsche Ultraviolet no less, is for sale at £64,850 with fewer than 4,000 miles on it. The Alpine we had in recently, equipped with the desirable forged wheels and carbon roof, was £63,136; the 718 Cayman 4.0 GTS range starts at £64,088. While priced out of contention brand new - this is a very similar vehicle to the newly announced 410 at more than £80,000 - a lightly used Evora presents a compelling alternative to the newer, shinier rivals.
Why? Because despite all the foibles, from a slightly cruddy cabin to a manual gearbox that won't match the Porsche's, the Lotus Evora remains a dynamic masterclass. 10 years old or not, there would be no hesitation in comparing its ride and handling to the new Alpine and Cayman - it really is that good. Add into that a shape that still draws admiring glances, the best noise of the three and wonderful steering that requires no 'good, for EPAS' qualifiers and it isn't hard to make the case.
Of course, the fact that Caymans are on every street corner and Alpine can't produce enough A110s at the moment would suggest Lotus hasn't quite nailed the everyman sports car just yet. Hopefully that will come with Geely investment in the future of its core models. Until then, we'll have to remain content with a line-up that, while certainly old and occasionally expensive, can still offer attributes which no rival can match. Opt for something slightly used like this Evora and the prices can become more palatable.
Indeed, a little more than £50k now buys one of the early Evora 400s that form the basis of today's range; spend that money on an Exige and there are 300-mile, special edition cars available. Point being, therefore, that Lotuses remain relevant, and will no doubt find their way into more than a few future comparisons. But don't wait for any more of that to convince you - the classifieds are full of possibilities already...
SPECIFICATION - LOTUS EVORA SPORT 410
Engine: 3,456cc supercharged V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 416@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 302@3,500rpm
MPG: 29.1 (NEDC)
First registered: 2017
Recorded mileage: 3,920
Price new: £82,000
Yours for: £64,850