This article first appeared in The Motorsports Report on February 11, 2011 by our contributor James Groth.
Curves have a decided double meaning when speaking of Evora. In one manner Evora’s curves are about pure beauty and in another it’s how rapidly and safe Evora powers through corners. Considering the magnificent shapes Evora embodies, I am suggesting that the Lotus design studio had Victoria Secret catalogues around for inspiration. The design gods got their creation right. You will see different sensual lines every time you take her out; dating should be so rewarding.
Appreciate a tailored look? Direct your attention to the narrow waistline of Evora. Imagine the figure of Scarlet Johansson on the Red Carpet. With this figure were Evora dressed in red or yellow, she could easily be mistaken for one of the Italian competitors. Only Evora’s modest price-per-performance dollar would give it away as not one of the $150,000 Italians.
Evora’s lines are purposeful rather than for mere beauty. The rear integrates a floating rear wing providing downforce while contributing to the low 0.33 drag coefficient. The design is so efficient that it eliminates the need for a weight-adding electro-mechanical wing that rises at speed, like in some Porsches. This is in keeping with the practical philosophy of Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman of “Performance through Lightweight”.
Atop her sensuous curves there is Evora’s unusual roofline. The bodywork joining the rear quarter and glass to the roofline appears as two points of connecting rectangles. Think of it as the Geometric Abstraction style of Piet Mondrian’s paintings or a Giulio Lazzotti table. Perhaps these too were part of the Evora inspiration.
This is the world’s only mid-engine 2+2 on the market. For the purest, the standard 2+0 is equipped with a shelf area rather than the small rear seats. Once inside, Evora’s cockpit is unusually open, unlike the cramped even claustrophobic feel common in many sports cars. The A-pillars on modern cars are thick and often block side vision while cornering. Lotus, renowned for its superior handling, would have none of these restrictions.
In contrast to the norm, Lotus designed the Evora’s windshield so that the “A” is pulled rearward and to the side. Envision a jet fighter canopy, this may have been the designer’s muse. This functional design contributes to the driving pleasure by providing a spaceship panoramic view. Evora is designed to be much wider inside than her perceived dimensions, giving driver and passenger additional personal space.
The layout of the interior and controls is elegant and simple with one exception. The ignition switch is hard to see and reach on the steering column. Complicating things is the engine immobilizer on the key that gives you 40 seconds to start the car once you enter. This is not very practical for a Le Mans start, or everyday use. Drawing from Lotus’ racing, a simple and appropriate fix would be a red starter button.
Evora’s interior is a cross between stylish modern Italian and functional Swedish. Features include a dash and center-shift console of aluminum, leather Recaro high back seats and a flat-bottomed magnesium steering wheel. An interesting option is the reversing camera accessible via the touch screen. Those not used to the tiny rear window or relying on the excellent side mirrors will appreciate this option.
This test car was a striking Laser Blue with black interior, and was a hit by all that saw her. Would you rather be seen around town in Chrome Orange, Storm Titanium or Phantom Black? Done, the color pallet for Lotus looks like a Dunn Edwards store and features twenty choices. Considering how exclusive these cars are you may be the only one in your market driving a Graphite Grey Evora with a Paprika interior.
A trip from Malibu to the central coast wine country allowed for participation in a rally during this five hundred mile drive. My lady passenger commented on how the comfortable seats held her in place on the twisty roads and the secure feeling at speed Evora gave her. Part of this secure feeling comes from what Lotus refers to as Versatile Vehicle Architecture. This design won the Dewar Trophy for Technical Excellence with a chassis weighing only 440 lbs. yet provides outstanding rigidity.
Similar to Lotus racecars the Evora’s nose channels massive airflow through the radiators creating downforce at speed and lowering the drag coefficient. The result of all this downforce and its light weight can best be felt in the curves. Lean and roll are absent and the suspension does not beat up the occupants at speed, even on slippery country roads. Contributing factors to superior handling comes from a weight distribution of 39% front and 61% rear and her lean weight of 3,047 lbs. As a result Evora was never challenged beyond her outstanding abilities.
The brakes are immense and provide confident stopping power. Adhesion comes from (225/40ZR18) tires up front and (255/35 ZR19) on the rear. The only annoyance was noise on deeply grooved freeways coming from the low profile tires. This is nothing unusual from other similar wheel and tire setups, once on smooth pavement everything is again quiet.
The steering is noteworthy in its precise feel and lack of effort. There is no play in its geometry; when you turn the wheel the car responds immediately. Lotus’ World Champion drivers Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti would have demanded nothing less.
Overall, Evora’s inherent qualities sharpen ones skill level. You develop into a more competent and safe driver effortlessly. Got any cars like that in your garage?
Beautiful? Yes, Handling? Incredible. So how does she perform power wise? The power is seamless with Evora’s dual overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder. The engine gets its linear feel from the Lotus (VVT-i) intelligent variable value timing. This allows the 3.5-liter to rev rapidly and not be short of breath at higher rpm. All of this accented with a wonderful growl from the exhaust that is absolutely addictive.
In its current state of tune Evora turns a 0-60 mph in a scant 4.9 seconds. Evora’s power comes from its mid-engine Toyota sourced 3.5 liter V-6, producing 276 hp @ 6,400 rpm to the rear wheels. Due to its superb power-to-weight and final drive of 3.23 she reaches162 mph.
Lotus engineers developed the electronic engine controls along with the clutch and six-speed gearbox to suit their requirements. The clutch is light and the shifting is easy and precise with the floor mounted six-speed manual. A sports ratio 6-speed is optional. Gearing is nicely matched with reverse up to the far left.
If you require more power, it’s coming. By mid-year Lotus will be delivering a Supercharged “S” model. The “S” delivers 345 hp and reaches 172 mph for those track day aficionados. The 0-60 mph drops to 4.6 seconds with the “S”. While Evora is not short on power some drivers just enjoy the feel and instant respond superchargers deliver.
Taking the upmost interest in Evora during the rally was the driver of a Porsche Cayman S. He appreciated the Lotus pedigree and recognized value. Evora is serious competition for Porsche 911 and Cayman S models.
Some considering the outstanding Audi R8 4.2 for $114,200 or 5.2 at $149,000 may ask themselves the following question. Other than the 4.2 being a half second faster than the standard Evora, just what do you get for those extra dollars, that I am not getting with the Evora?
There is a mileage bonus over competitors too. The EPA ratings are 18-city and 27-mpg highway; 30 mpg plus on the highway is being reported. With its 15.6-gallon tankthis makes for an extended driving range.
Evora is not about ultimate quarter mile times or reaching speeds three times the limit. In a word, Evora is about “balance”. Evora performs exceptionally in all meaningful categories while turning heads with her beauty. Bottom line; don’t wait for weekends to enjoy Evora, this car is designed to make every day more exciting.
Gentlemen prefer not to be surprised publicly or discuss price. However, the best surprise is a happy one. The base price of the Lotus Evora 2+0 (rear jump seat delete) is $64,000 plus delivery and options. Brilliant!
Evora! Sound like a lady you would like to get to know? … Search/LotusCars.com
Lotus History and DNA
Lotus Founder Colin Chapman was green before the term acquired its new meaning. He pioneered efficient performance from the use of lightweight materials and demonstrated it by winning on the track. This is the DNA of Lotus. Anyone interested in the extensive 60-year Lotus history should spend time at LotusCars.com.
Evora’s tagline is “True Character” and hers is derived from 79 Grand Prix victories, 7 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championships and 6 Drivers’ Championships in the most challenging and contested forms of automotive racing.
Certainly Mr. Chapman’s philosophy of “Performance through Lightweight ” was ahead of the industry. It’s even more pertinent in these times of preserving natural resources. Parent company Proton is investing a billion-dollars in the immediate and long-term future of Lotus while their new management team is rapidly advancing the Lotus DNA for a new century.
Anyone attending this years LA or Paris Auto Shows saw Lotus shock the automotive world by introducing five completely new models. Effectively Lotus covered the competition from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin and upped the ante.
The new CEO Dany Bahar instigated this bold move. He was the successful Senior Vice President at Ferrari heading up global car sales, F1 Marketing, and the Brand to mention just a few of his responsibilities. His goal: “return Lotus to premium brand status and profitability”.
Actress Sharon Stone and Paul Stanley of the group Kiss unveiled two of the five new models at the LA Auto Show evidenced Lotus is not going to be a one hit wonder with the Evora. Anyone attending the press preview saw how Mr. Bahar’s philosophy translated into five new models, demonstrating his ability to return Lotus to profitability. After seeing the new models his goal of restoring Lotus to its premium brand status appears very achievable.
January 2010, Mr. Bahar tasked designer Donato Coco to design five new models using none of the existing cars or chassis. Mr. Bahar wanted them done in nine months time, ready for the Pairs Auto Show. Oh, but Coco you only have five months time before having to show them to management for approval. This simply has not been done before. Yet, Donato Coco and his team did it and got it right, to the mass approval of the public and press at these important shows.
This management team is looking unparalleled. The key managers recently came from the top European bands and know how to succeed. The only somewhat comparable in terms of PR helping return a car company to profitability would be Chrysler. In the early 80’s Chrysler showed the press and Wall Street its advanced styling with concept cars, when it had nothing but the mundane “K” car to sell. Chrysler sold the future and in that era it worked. This type of PR would not work in today’s market without the spectacular, mostly finished five new models Lotus put on display.
In conclusion, while Lotus is showing five years of the future they are also ready to challenge the sports car market today with Evora, a serious and superior car for the dollar.
Miles Ahead Communications