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Monday 8th November 2010

Driven: Lotus Evora S

Hethel invokes the power of supercharging to 'man up' the Evora



What with the 'future model' furore surrounding Lotus in recent weeks, it's easy to overlook the Evora amidst the swarm of celebrity unveilings. But the Evora is as crucial for the immediate viability of the company as it was at launch.


And now we have a faster version, the obvious new feature being the fitment of a supercharger. It's a Harrop HTV 1320 with Eaton twin vortex technology that bolts onto the existing 2GR-FE 3.5-litre Toyota V6 without the need to touch the engine's internals. It swells the power of the Evora from 276bhp to 345bhp, and there's an increase of torque from 258lb to 295lb ft. The increased flexibility of the engine is made abundantly clear when you consider that the 'S' produces more torque at 2,500rpm than the standard Evora does at its torque peak.

The new engine has required twin oil coolers (mounted at the front) and considerable detail modification to the rest of the drivetrain. The six-speed gearbox has the closer, sports ratios (3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th are affected); while there's a new clutch, master cylinder, pedal box and new gearshift cables and linkage.


Getting straight to the point, the new engine has transformed the Evora. However good a car it was before, the experience has just moved up several notches on the excitement scale. The chief reason for this is the torque that's now available: even through a sequence of relatively tight corners you can leave the car in third gear, content in the knowledge that the car will pull strongly from 3,000rpm or lower when the need arises. The power keeps on building too, the car revving confidently out to the 7,200rpm limiter (when you're in 'Sport' mode), and by this point you'll be going very quickly indeed.


It'll hit 60mph from rest in 4.6sec (4.8sec to 62mph, a tenth quicker than a 911 Carrera and a good deal quicker than a Cayman S, even though at 1,437kg the Evora S is heavier than either of them) and go on top a top speed of 172mph (matching the Cayman S, but a little short of the 911's 180mph). The Nissan GTR though, of course, is significantly more potent still.

As engaging as the raw performance of the Evora S is, for me - and this is just a minor point - the Toyota V6 still doesn't have the crispness, the multi-layered vocal chords and smoothness of a dedicated performance engine from, for example, BMW or Porsche. Breathing through the optional sports exhaust it has at last found its voice, although you'll only hear the faint sounds of the supercharger at work with the window lowered, but it's a business-like gritty, growl rather than the sort of yelp that'd make your hairs stand on end - the sort that, say, you might get when enthusiastically exercising a Noble M12.


For the 'S', the gearbox has been improved and this can only be a good thing, but although much more 'together' in its operation it's still only a tool to do the job rather than a standout feature of the driving experience, and some care is needed at high revs/full throttle if you are to change gear cleanly.

Lotus has also taken this opportunity to take a second look at the chassis of the Evora, introducing a series of updates that may make it onto the regular car at a later date.

The front lower wishbone bushes and all of the rear suspension bushes are 10% stiffer, there're new front wishbones to increase castor angle, a slightly larger rear anti-roll bar and revised damping, but the spring rates stay the same.


The result is that, put simply, this car is divine to drive on a challenging road. It possess such purity of steering response and chassis communication that you never for a moment question it not doing exactly, emphatically what you've just asked it to do. No rival, German, Japanese or otherwise, can match the sheer tactility and precision that the Evora S offers, and few would be able to keep up with its subsequently stellar cross-country pace.

That it can do this, complete with circuit-suitable levels of strong-willed body control (we were able to drive it on a circuit and it had bags of enthusiasm, stamina and poise), and yet also ride bumps in the road with more comfort than some luxury cars is astounding. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to remember this is focused sports car running (optional) 19" wheels on the front axle and 20" on the rear. It just makes you realise that big rims are not a worthy excuse for a poor riding car, and that the Evora S would make a fine long distance companion.


At £57,550 for the 2+0 (the 2+2 is £58,995) we drove (our car was over £62K with extras) the Evora S sits below the 911 Carrera (£65,889) and the Nissan GTR (£59,645, but £69,950 for the MY2011 model). Yes, there're some formidable rivals in this market niche, and the Evora S, while possessing a cabin of real flair and character, can't yet match the solidity, quality and ergonomics of interiors from the volume carmakers.

But anyone in the market for such a car as this who doesn't at least put the Evora S on their shopping list is doing to themselves a great disservice. Once driven, it's clear that it's a very, very special car indeed.









Adam Towler
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Author Discussion

sootyrumble

Original Poster:

295 posts

73 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
I really hope people buy into this car as i am a huge fan of what lotus do, I know this is no lightweight at 1400 odd kgs but compared to the competition is still pretty good

adycav

7,615 posts

104 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Looks like a strong alternative to a new 997, M3 or GT-R.

I wonder - will there be a stripped out 'clubsport'-type version?

scratchchin

kambites

41,307 posts

108 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
It's a shame that Lotus still can't get their perceived quality up to the standards of their rivals. I have no doubt that it's a significantly better car to drive than a Carrara or Cayman S, but for most buyers in this market, that really isn't all that important.

Oddball RS

1,452 posts

105 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Nice car, lot of money though.

"I have no doubt that it's a significantly better car to drive than a Carrara or Cayman S"

Not sure about kambites statement either tbh.

Frimley111R

5,836 posts

121 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
kambites said:
It's a shame that Lotus still can't get their perceived quality up to the standards of their rivals. I have no doubt that it's a significantly better car to drive than a Carrara or Cayman S, but for most buyers in this market, that really isn't all that important.
Perceived is more of a challenge than actual though. Those pics make it look much more of a quality product than I've ever seen before. They now have some top experts from other manufacturers who are beginning to make a big difference. As the MD says, 'We already do style, handling and performance'. With good build you can see why they are so optimistic about the future.
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kambites

41,307 posts

108 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
I'm not sure that perceived quality is harder than real quality, as such; just completely different.

kambites

41,307 posts

108 months

[news] 
Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Oddball RS said:
Not sure about kambites statement either tbh.
Well the reviews I've read of it generally say it's a better drivers' car and, until I get a chance to drive one, I have no reason to believe that they are lying. I still don't think it will sell, though, It just doesn't seem to offer the overall package that the Porsches do.

Edited by kambites on Monday 8th November 11:12

ManOpener

2,894 posts

56 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
A fantastic looking car spoiled by fussy wheels and the wrong rear lights. It would would look a million times better with some simpler, classier wheels and single-piece rear lights rather than those 90's-E-Class-Front tailights.

British Beef

730 posts

52 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all

Now I think a back to back comparison with Porsches offering will be interesting, with the new price and performance it is certainly gunning for 911s blood.

Re: Quality issues, build fit and finish LOOKS top notch and the engine + running gear is well proven.

The only place I sense quality complaints arise from is the touch or feel of interior fittings - is this correct??

Are there any real quality issues, or is it simply percieved (interior) quality issues?

I like a lot! Given £60k of my own money to spend on a new 2 seat car, this wins!!

Beefmeister

12,003 posts

117 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
The evo and Autocar reviews of the Evora S have both said that the quality of the interior has taken a massive leap for these latest cars. Just watch the Autocar video and see, he mentions it there:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-video/lotus-evora-s-v...


kambites

41,307 posts

108 months

[news] 
Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
British Beef said:
The only place I sense quality complaints arise from is the touch or feel of interior fittings - is this correct??
The ergonomics have been a constant source of complaint too. A rather narrow pedal box, offset significantly to the centre of the car and and poorly positioned controls. Not a "quality" issue as such, but still a significant fault with the interior.

Oh and the sat-nav is apparently rubbish, but then so many integrated systems are.

Edited by kambites on Monday 8th November 11:37

Beefmeister

12,003 posts

117 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Also, if they made this colour scheme an option - ooooh baby....



kambites

41,307 posts

108 months

[news] 
Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
I'm surprised they don't offer a black roof as an option, really (although I don't like the white at all). I wonder how many customers will get the roof wrapped in black?

justin220

2,890 posts

91 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Before this turns into another Evora bashing thread, I'll pipe in with my views.

I've owned mine since July (apparently the 2010 models have much improved quality) and done around 3000 miles. I'm absolutely loving it. Couple of wee niggles, but nothing that I wouldn't expect from any new car.

No complaints from me at all. Only thing that could be improved IMO from a customers point of view is a half decent courtesy car for owners when in at the garage.

911/Cayman owners get a boxster, or something similar, Lotus never offered me anything, I got the train (wasn't that bothered but I knew a few that wouldn't be so happy). At the same time I can appreciate that Lotus are not on the same levels as Porsche are, but if they are trying to steal Porsche customers away, I feel they need to do something.

juansolo

2,786 posts

165 months

[news] 
Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Agree totally with that review (after driving a regular Evora). The weakest links are the gearbox (which was horrible) and the fact that the engine, though pokey enough IMO, lacked character. The drive however was staggeringly good. But they've still a way to go before I'd go back to another Lotus.

I'd disagree with the comment that people don't care about ride. I care, and if that was all that mattered you'd buy the Evora hands down over any Cayman. I do however care more about build, and am prepared to put up with the compromised ride of the Cayman in favour of the fact that I don't have to take it back to the dealers every few weeks to have something else fixed...

Currently there is no option out there where you can have your cake and eat it.

British Beef

730 posts

52 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
justin220 said:
Before this turns into another Evora bashing thread, I'll pipe in with my views.
No complaints from me at all. Only thing that could be improved IMO from a customers point of view is a half decent courtesy car for owners when in at the garage.
.
This problem is compounded by the relative rarity of Lotus dealers, none north of Edinburgh (I think!?!), so living North of Aberdeen makes this an issue when considering buying, even more so if you dont get a courtesy car.

Could Lotus rectify this problem by having a professional "mobile service and repair" outfit? They would need to charge a premium, but it would be worth it!

alolympic

320 posts

84 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Looks a great car, and based on this Test, and Evo, I bet it is a great drive.
I just wish it wasn't so against Colin Chapman's ethos of performance through light weight. The car is heavier than it's Porsche rival, that just doesn't feel right. I suspect this is the 1st of many new Lotus'es to go in this wrong direction.....

Dagnut

3,368 posts

80 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Good review BTW.

Can't help thinking it should been like this from the start, especially considering the relatively few mods needed to achieve this power.

Porscheplayer

381 posts

77 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
I hope the new interior is a notch up in quality. I viewed the base Evora when it first came out. The fit/finish and layout was pretty poor compared to its peers.

Overall it nice was, but too expensive at 58-60K spec'd up with decent options.

The 345BHP S should be that much, 276BBHP isn't enough power for that sort of money imo.

I like Lotus, but always think their cars are over priced, couldn't figure out why a second hand Exige was nearly 30K, looks like it should be about 22K new.


kambites

41,307 posts

108 months

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Monday 8th November 2010 quote quote all
Porscheplayer said:
I like Lotus, but always think their cars are over priced, couldn't figure out why a second hand Exige was nearly 30K, looks like it should be about 22K new.
I don't mean this to sound snobbish (although it probably will anyway), but if you really don't understand why the Exige isn't a 22k car, you really don't get the point of the market that it's aiming at.
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