Steve Sutcliffe
28 October 2010

What is it?

The Evora S is the car that Lotus believes is good enough to be priced above the Porsche Cayman, and only slightly beneath the basic 911 Carrera. Hence it costs £58,995 in 2+2 trim and goes on sale at the end of November.

In the simplest terms it’s a more powerful, faster version of the already excellent base Evora, the extra go arriving courtesy of a supercharged version of that car’s Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6. But in reality it is, according to Lotus, “the car we always wanted to build.” In other words the version of the Evora we’ve all been waiting for.

The headline news concerns the more powerful supercharged engine, of course, which now develops a rousing 345bhp at 7000rpm and 295lb ft at 4000rpm – enough muscle to send the 1437kg Evora S to 60mph in a claimed 4.6sec and to 172mph. But there have been improvements made throughout the rest of the car to further improve its dynamic behaviour – and, of course, to justify its £10k premium.

The most significant of these concerns the six-speed manual transmission. This remains as before internally but now features an improved shift mechanism, a lower inertia clutch, new shift cables and a redesigned pedal box to reduce pedal effort. The suspension and steering have also been preened in line with the increased performance, though not, Lotus insists, at the expense of the base car’s exquisite ride quality.

What’s it like?

In a word, brilliant. As suggested, it still rides beautifully, gliding across pockmarked surfaces as if it’s been touched by some Higher Being. It wouldn’t be a Lotus were this not so. But what you really notice, of course, is what happens when you put your foot down – because that’s when the Evora S reveals its true self. The handling and steering seem to crystallise and become even sharper, even more responsive as a result of the extra torque that’s available. After a day at the wheel of this car you realise that the Porsche Cayman is no longer quite so supreme.

In short, the supercharged Evora is one of those cars that, for whatever reason, manages to over-deliver on the sum of its parts on the road. It feels so much more than an Evora with an extra 70bhp.

Not only does it go way harder than before but it sounds, feels and IS hugely more invigorating to drive. The extra engine noise alone makes it seem like a completely different animal on the road. There are rasps and fizzes from the supercharger at low to middling revs that mingle perfectly with the deeper bass sound of the exhaust. As a combination it makes for a truly rousing soundtrack, one that provides just the right accompaniment to the increased performance. Which, by the way, is considerable.

Lotus may claim a 0-60mph time of 4.6sec and 172mph flat out, but between 4000-6000rpm it feels even faster than those numbers suggest. And, thank the lord, the gearchange – though still not squeaky clean above 6000rpm – is approximately 15,000 times better than before. It glides through the gate with a much more precise, mechanical feel, one that actually adds rather than detracts from the car’s appeal.

Even the interior has been much improved, not on the design front but, more significantly, in terms of the way it’s built. A few months ago Lotus poached some key people from Porsche’s quality control department, by all accounts, and already they are making a difference. A fairly big difference if the test car is a typical example.

Should I buy one?

Can’t see why not if you’re in the market for a £60k mid-engined sports car and are only interested in driving the very best. Even amid the bubbling excitement of what’s to come at Lotus, the Evora S is a stand out car right now, a stroke of rare genius.

And if you’re wondering then the answer’s yes; I’d have one over a Cayman any day.

Lotus Evora S

Price: £58,995; 0-60mph; 4.6sec (claimed); Top speed: 172mph (claimed); Economy:
 27.7mpg (combined); CO2: 235g/km; Kerb weight: 1437kg; Engine layout: 3.5-litre V6, petrol, supercharged; Power: 345bhp at 7000rpm; Torque: 295lb ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox: 6-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
46

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

Well, the cynical won't find any Porsche bias here. It's gushing praise of Lotus all the way and sucks boo to Porsche.

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

If anything, it was supposed to feel quicker and it would be stupid to spoil that suspension. So it delivers.

But it's also heavier again, why so much? The Elise SC is hardly heavier then a base one...

I still like the "base" Evora as a roadcar only and real world owners proposition. Will these gearbox, interior and chassi improvements also be introduced there then?

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

I have a soft spot for Lotus, based on the old ethic of performance through lightness. 1,400kg does seem quite heavy...

Looking at the design, I still think that £60k is too much, but it is good to hear that quality is being worked on, and always good to hear that Lotus deliver brilliant handling cars.

I really hope that the Lotus engineers half revolt against the new regime and still add lightness to the cars without sacrificing the quality improvements being made.

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

No-one seems to have noticed that the Evora S has virtually identical power and torque of the Esprit V8, and very similar weight. I used to own a V8 Esprit and it was very quick. Absolutely as quick as a stage 1 tuned Skyline R34 (I used to own one of those too) and quicker than a Ferrari 360 (though most things are). The Evora S looking all but identical to the standard car makes it a real 'sleeper'. I can't wait to try one. Is there going to be any video Steve?

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

I want one. I just want one.

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

the pits wrote:
No-one seems to have noticed that the Evora S has virtually identical power and torque of the Esprit V8, and very similar weight.

Well spotted, pits. The Evora S is giving away about 50kg in kerb weight but is actually quicker to 60 than the old V8. Slightly slower at the top end though.


Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

The writer clearly rates this car and it is obviously a brilliant drive. Personally though I think it is not a looker. Really want to support Lotus as a British company but I am underwhelmed by their 5 new car designs too and do not think they will all fly. Be delighted to be proved wrong though and wish Lotus great success.

Pro-EU referendum: let the people decide a.s.a.p.

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

So it beats the Cayman as a driving tool. I wonder if it can beat a Porsche as a long term ownership proposition: a sturdy and reliable car that can be used day in and day out without it falling apart?

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

Shame it just looks like another Elise at a glance and not a £70k car.

Re: Lotus Evora S

3 years 24 weeks ago

Los Angeles;

It is indeed true the Lotus does get 'gushing praise'

all the way,so did the M600 in the test,it still came second !

Those of us who are cynical will wait for a group test with the

Porsche and Evora S in to find out the result before we say anything.

Please register or login to post a comment.

Our Verdict

The Lotus Evora S rides and handles in a way that puts nearly everything else in its shade. Shame the interior doesn't match the price tag

Driven this week