Over the years Lotus have produced some great cars, but only recently has investment been sufficient to produce cars that make an impact on the Sports and Supercar scene. The Evora was eagerly awaited and did not disappoint. Being a Lotus enthusiast and owner of a classic Lotus Esprit Turbo HC, one of Colin Chapmans finest achievements, it takes quite a lot to impresss me. However the Evora is simply a stunning drivers car. Its poise and handling is sublime, in my opinion better than a Cayman or Boxster, in fact many in its class are simply blown away by the chasis and presence on the road. Take a look at Jeremy Clarksons review to see how even he was impressed. Our car is stunning. In the slightly rare white and black combination, this Evora turns heads wherever it goes, more than many supercars we have had in the showroom. The car has been maintained as all Lotus's should be, and in the last few years has done fewer miles to preserve its beauty. Our car has a sports exhaust fitted by Lotus which makes the V6 roar match its looks. The car has also benefited from upgrades such as the upgraded head unit with reverse camera and of course that all important sports ration gearbox. In our opinion one of Hethel's finest achievements and a car that earns its place in our showroom as one of the greats.
As you likely already know, the Evora is massively larger than the Elise—21.9 inches longer, with a 10.9-inch stretch in the wheelbase—which puts it on par with other sports cars such as the Porsche 911 and Cayman. The Evora is roughly five inches shorter than the 911 but still manages to squeeze in similarly sized (i.e., tiny) back seats that are designed to fit very small adults or children up to about 10 years old. It also has a narrower doorsill and a 2.5-inch-higher seating position, making it far easier to get into and out of, which is one of the Elise’s setbacks. Two six-foot-plus males can sit in comfort without their shoulders touching, which is inevitable in an Elise. In fact, this six-foot-five driver didn’t even have to put the front seat back all the way to get comfortable.
Back seat or not, the Evora is still very much a Lotus in the driver-thrills department. As with the company’s other cars, the steering is absolutely brilliant. The Evora has hydraulic power assist as opposed to the unassisted racks of other Lotuses, but the magic still comes through. In fact, the Lotus guys are so fanatical about steering feel that the Evora has a magnesium steering wheel in order to reduce weight—and therefore inertia—so the driver is informed of every last road nuance. The weighting is perfect, and the constant subtle feedback that comes through the thin, flat-bottom wheel is superb without making the car feel nervous or twitchy.
The Evora is planted and secure, yet it picks apart corners with a light and playful feel that always makes mid-engine cars feel so special—think Ferrari F430, only with better steering. The Evora’s handling is so natural and fluid that you get the sense it actually enjoys being pushed. Braking is similarly spectacular, with immediate bite and extremely linear behavior. Despite weighing about 100 fewer pounds than a 911, the Evora wears 13.8-inch front brakes that are larger than the Porsche’s. Lotus says they’ve been designed to easily shrug off track use.
The Toyota-sourced V-6 is responsive and has a nice midrange induction growl—Lotus routes a tube from the intake to the cabin to enhance the noise—and it sings a sophisticated but fairly subtle roar in the 5000-to-7000-rpm range. In fact, this is as loud as Lotus could make it to pass strict European noise regulations. U.S. cars get a slightly louder exhaust. A benefit of the, shall we say, responsible level of horsepower is impressive fuel economy numbers. Based on European ratings, the Evora could return as high as a 911-bettering 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway in EPA testing.
Initially, the Evora will be offered only with a six-speed manual, but Toyota’s six-speed automatic transmission will be on the options list for 2011. Don’t worry—as with the engine, the autobox will be completely reprogrammed by Lotus. The Evora goes on sale imminently in Europe but won’t be available in the U.S. until early 2010, and the critical pricing decision has yet to be made. Current exchange rates would put the Evora at $75,000 or so, which is practically on top of the Porsche 911 and over $10,000 higher than the price of a Cayman S. That may be a tough sell for some. But the sales volume will be supercarlike, which means your neighbour—or anyone else on your drive to work—is not likely to have one, and the level of driver feedback is unsurpassed in the “real car” realm. That’s enough for us.
CAR AND DRIVER 2009
If you fancy something that you wont pass on the other side of the road, something that handles better than a Ferrari and has looks to die for, an Evora is for you. Relatively cheap to run, but with Supercar pedigree, we recommend you come and test the Evora for yourself. We know you will not regret it.
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