IN­SIDE INFO Specs & rat­ings Model: En­gine:

Friday - - Leisure - Evora S 3.5 litre V6 su­per­charged Six-speed auto, RWD 345bhp@7,000rpm 400Nm@4,500rpm 269kph 4.7sec Dh386,400 Su­perb steer­ing, sub­lime chas­sis, looks, en­gine Prac­ti­cal­ity, trans­mis­sion

if you man­age to take it close to the chas­sis’ lim­its, it re­mains well within your con­trol. It’s quite ev­i­dent that the car is de­signed and en­gi­neered to han­dle a lot more horse­power and torque than the V6 un­der its bon­net churns out.

As for the en­gine, it’s the same 2GR-FE 3.5-litre V6 that does ser­vice in the Toy­ota Au­rion and the Avalon. But in the Evora S it pro­duces 345bhp and 400Nm of torque, thanks to an Ea­ton su­per­charger. Lo­tus es­ti­mates the 0-100kph time of the Evora S to be just 4.7 sec­onds, which al­though isn’t quite neck-snap­ping, is good enough in a 1,437kg car, tak­ing it all the way up to a top speed of 269kph.

How­ever, this beau­ti­ful en­gine is let down by the au­to­matic gear­box, which Lo­tus so pompously calls the IPS or In­tel­li­gent Pre­ci­sion Shift. While it’s just fine tod­dling around town, the auto ’box fails to do jus­tice to the en­gine if you’re look­ing for some spir­ited driv­ing.

The shifts aren’t quick enough to help you squeeze the most out of the great en­gine and even shift­ing with the steer­ing pad­dles re­sults in a mushy re­sponse.

The avail­able stick-shift op­tion should solve this prob­lem, but with that cramped footwell, jug­gling with the clutch and brake ped­als in the man­ual-trans­mis­sion ver­sion is sure to leave you club-footed very soon. On the up­side, the man­ual trans­mis­sion Evora S shaves a tenth of a sec­ond off the 0-100kph time and the top speed goes up to 286kph.

One good thing about the IPS vari­ant of the Evora S is that the Sport Pack comes with a sports but­ton as stan­dard, which sharp­ens throt­tle re­sponse, raises the rev limit and deep­ens the ex­haust note. But don’t ex­pect it to sud­denly sound like a Maserati. The Evora’s V6 sounds good but it hardlly wails like a su­per­car; in fact, it gets drowned out by the un­usu­ally loud ra­di­a­tor fan.

The Sport Pack adds a sportier set­ting for the Dy­namic Per­for­mance Man­age­ment sys­tem, a sports dif­fuser, ti­ta­nium sports ex­haust tailpipe and cross-drilled brake discs with red cal­lipers. If you choose to go for the op­tional Tech pack, it adds crea­ture com­forts you wouldn’t ex­pect in a Lo­tus like up­graded speak­ers and stereo sys­tem with am­pli­fier and sub­woofer, a DVD player and even a 7.0in touch­screen colour dis­play with in­te­grated sat-nav.

The in­te­rior is also sur­pris­ingly well put to­gether. There are no gap­ing panel gaps, most of the cabin is clothed in suede and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any dried-up glue in joints as was the case in many pre­vi­ous Lo­tus mod­els.

Of course there are prac­ti­cal­ity is­sues, like the rear win­dow that seems to be smaller than the rearview mir­ror, se­ri­ously ham­per­ing vis­i­bil­ity, and the ex­cuses for rear seats that any self-re­spect­ing tod­dler would find un­ac­cept­able. It’s bet­ter to delete them and opt for a par­cel shelf in­stead, as cargo space is lim­ited.

But you don’t buy a Lo­tus for its prac­ti­cal­ity. It’s the way it drives that still draws en­thu­si­asts to the Bri­tish mar­que de­spite all its lim­i­ta­tions on the build-qual­ity and prac­ti­cal­ity front.

When it comes to pure driv­ing fun, the Evora S won’t let you down. And in the cou­ple of days I spent with the Evora S, I no­ticed that it turned as many heads as a Fer­rari or a McLaren would, which can­not be said about a Cay­man or a 911.

But that’s about all that it beats the Porsche on. Apart from its ex­otic looks, awe­some steer­ing and the amaz­ing chas­sis, the Evora S isn’t any­where close to a Cay­man when it comes to prac­ti­cal­ity and build qual­ity.

It’s ironic that while Lo­tus fo­cused on mak­ing the Evora more use­able and less hard core than other mod­els like the Ex­ige, it’s the prac­ti­cal­ity is­sues that put a bit of a damp­ener on an oth­er­wise bril­liant sportscar.

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