The first all-new Lotus since the iconic Elise roadster made its debut in 1995, the Evora enters the sports car market as the world’s only production mid-engined 2+2. The Evora aims to provide a rewarding driving experience through its mid-engined layout, coupled with Lotus’ legendary suspension and chassis engineering, to provide agile handling with a comfortable and competent ride.
A Lotus may not be top of mind when conjuring up images of comfortable cars to travel extended distances in, but, with the new Evora, the Norfolk based manufacturer now offers “a more refined ownership experience” to that of the company’s existing smaller models. A stylish and well equipped interior, along with wider, taller door apertures, narrower sills and higher seating position mean the Evora will appeal to a wider audience – or taller for that matter, with enough headroom for passengers up to 1.96 meters.
Under the skin, the Evora is built on Lotus’ Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) platform that allows for the development of a range of vehicles up to a gross vehicle weight of 1 900 kg. Using the company’s ‘bonded and riveted’ technology, evolved from use in the Elise family of vehicles, the Evora benefits from new and unique extrusions and folded panels, whilst providing more efficient production as well as lower cost repairs through its modular design. The Lotus Evora employs a composite roof as a stressed structural member to give an exceptional vehicle stiffness of 26 600 Nm per degree. This impressive stiffness is also thanks in part to the seatbelt anchorage frame and high-tech composite body panels that act as stressed items. However, despite this high stiffness, the complete chassis, or tub, and front and rear modules, weigh just 206 kg, helping to keep the weight of the whole car to just 1382 kg.
The composite body panels also serve to give the Evora its sleek and sporting demeanour. Seeing the car on show at the Top Gear Live MPH event in Cape Town (book if you haven’t already, it’s a must see), gave us the opportunity to study the car from all angles. The Evora’s profile is characterised by what Lotus aptly describe as “a strong ‘Coke bottle’ form” that narrows between the two axles and widens again towards the rear, to highlight the muscular rear wheel arch and fender. Fluid surfaces, with lines that blend and create contrast, make the Evora an engaging car to look at. Equally impressive are some usually unseen design and functional elements, that include a completely flat and covered undertray ending in the rear diffuser, as well as chimney style vents for engine cooling and the beautifully crafted aluminium hinges for the rear boot lid.
And what, you may ask, is lurking under that boot lid and responsible for powering the newest Lotus? The answer is supplied by Toyota in the form of a 3,5-litre V6 engine that has been tuned by Lotus to produce 206 kW at 6 400 rpm. Thanks to its lightweight nature and low drag coefficient (0.33 Cd), the Evora sprints from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 261 km/h. Fuel economy and emissions are becoming more important in our increasingly eco-sensitive world and Lotus recognises this. As a result, the new Evora returns impressive figures of 8.7 l/100km on the combined cycles and CO2 emissions of just 205 g/km.
Hand crafted and built on a dedicated new assembly line within Lotus’ advanced manufacturing facility, at Hethel in the East of England, production has been pegged at 2 000 cars per year. There are currently just two in SA and if you want to take a closer look you should get down to the Top Gear Live MPH Show in Cape Town or Johannesburg.
We aim to bring you more details, along with our driving impressions in the near future.