INSIDE INFO Specs & ratings Model: Engine:
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.