One of the most respected and admired names in the world of sportscars is Lotus. The company has been around since the 1950’s building race and street cars, and every model they have ever made has an enthusiasts following (yes even the Excel).
I myself am a huge Lotus fan, falling in love with the brand ever since I saw James Bond drive around in a white Esprit in “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
Having driven some Lotus models in the past few years has only increased my love for them. Not only are these cars beautiful to look at, their performance leaves you speechless at times. They are proper sportscars for proper car enthusiasts.
But what about their new model, the Evora. Is this a genuine Lotus, or has the company changed its ways in pursuit of attracting a larger audience!
To find out, I borrowed an Evora (for a few hours) from the only Lotus dealer in Ontario, Gentry Lane.
The very moment I first laid eyes on my test car, I was in love. This low, sleek, mid-engined coupe is easily one of the most beautiful cars on sale in Canada today. From every angle, the car looks stunning. All its proportions look right and in black, my tester looked even more menacing. This car gets as many, if not more, looks than an Audi R8. So if you’re buying an exotic just for looks, this Evora might just be a very cost-effective way (costs $50,000-less than an R8) to garner some attention.
Open the door and you will not only be greeted by a beautiful looking interior, but one that is also one of the nicest smelling interiors I have come across. I mean, the leather in the Evora has a very high-end leather aroma to it, something you don’t get from most modern cars. I like that.
Sit inside and you will find some very modern, attractive gauges, which is actually very un-Lotus-like. You will also find very supportive and comfortable seats in the front, but while this might be the only mid-engined 2+2 currently in production, the rear seats are best used for transporting groceries, not humans.
Once settled into its driver’s seat, you will notice the rear window is much smaller than expected, so be sure to adjust the door mirrors properly so you can see out of it.
Now its time to fire up its motor, which came to life in a very discreet manner, not what you’d want from an exotic sportscar. There are two reasons for that. First, this cars 3.5-liter, V6 engine comes from one of the most boring cars on the planet, the Toyota Camry. Lotus engineers have coaxed more power out of this unit, to now produce 276 hp, but that is a mild gain over the Camry’s 268 hp.
The second reason the Evora tester sounded so quiet was because it had the standard exhaust, rather than the optional sports exhaust, which would make it more vocal.
On the road the first thing I noticed about this sportscar was its ride comfort. Most cars in this category have very hard, stiff rides, because the suspension is calibrated for optimal handling. The folks at Lotus seemed to have found a magic setting, because the car not only rides like a luxury car, but when you get a chance to test its handling, you’ll be amazed how light and agile this car really is.
Afterall, Lotus built their reputation on making lightweight cars that handled very well. The founder of the company, Colin Chapman believed that rather than building a heavy car and then put a big powerful motor to propel it (ahem. e.g. Chevy Camaro), it would be better to build a light car. Lightness improves the handling, is less taxing to its brakes, and doesn’t require a big motor to go fast. At 1380 kg, the Evora is a lot lighter than most of its rivals.
But I was expecting the Evora to be quicker. It’s not a slow car by any means, but for me, it didn’t have the kick I was expecting. It might only take 5.3-seconds to sprint from 0-100 km/h, and can top out at 280 km/h, but it just doesn’t feel rapid enough. A BMW M3, which is about the same money, would annihilate the Evora in a drag race.
Nor was I convinced with its stability at higher speeds, the front just felt lighter than I was hoping. So either it lacks sufficient downforce at the front, or it could make do with a heavier steering feel to boost confidence.
It could also make do with a smoother gearbox, the one it has lacks the refinement of the units found in cars like the BMW M3, Porsche Cayman S and the Audi S5.
So while the Evora is a very nice car, some of its rivals are better sportscars. So why buy an Evora?
Well the biggest reason is exclusivity. Gentry Lane will only get about 12 to 15 Evora’s to sell each year, so you won’t be tripping over these at every traffic light. Another reason, it is a beautiful car to behold. It would put a huge smile on your face every time you walk up to it, plus it wins the smell test.
While it may not be the best driving tool in its price range, the Evora is easily the most unique car in its segment. Prices start at $85,000. And if you want more performance, you can now order an Evora S with a supercharged version of the same motor, that produces 345-hp, plus you can now even get one with a six-speed automatic (IPS). So there is an Evora for everyone, and that includes YOU.