IPS makes an Evora a viable car for those who just don’t want to drive with three pedals

What is it?

The Evora IPS is Lotus’s first automatic gearbox option since it introduced one on the Excel SA in 1986.

Markets like the US and middle- and far-east demand it, and the Evora - mid-engined GT coupe that it purports to be - ought to be ripe for it.

Next-generation Lotuses will likely get twin-clutch ‘boxes, but the Evora IPS - despite the Intelligent Precision Shift initialism - receives a six-speed torque-converter unit, Toyota-sourced like the engine.

It adds £1800 to the Evora’s price (the S remains manual only). Power and torque are unchanged but the figures inevitably take a dive – 0-60mph rises from 4.9 to 5.3sec.

What’s it like?

As with many of the latest generation autos, there’s no shift lever – just a set of buttons on a nicely finished panel on the centre console.

D does what you’d expect: puts the ‘box into a shift pattern (Lotus-developed) that gives a sport/economy compromise – and 208g/km.

As on the manual, there’s a sport button too, which will usually put things a gear or two lower than normal.

There’s no permanent manual mode – the sweetly made and located, wheel-mounted paddles override things in ‘normal’ but it’ll still change up at the redline and, if you don’t change gear for 10sec, reverts to automatic.

In ‘sport’, pulling the levers for manual override lets the engine bounce off the limiter, it blips the engine on downshifts, and will wait 30sec before reverting back to auto. Lotus thinks that you won’t go 30sec without changing gear if you’re driving enthusiastically. It also says the torque converter feels tight, not slushy, with upshifts given a bit of a kick to enhance the feeling.

That’s the theory. In practice it’s a mixed bag. Shifts are usually made intelligently and cleanly. But around town it’s difficult to ease smoothly to a stop because downshifts affect deceleration. When driving more enthusiastically, full bore upshifts sometimes combine with a slur of wasted revs.

The biggest issue, though, is ‘sport’ mode downshifts if you’re braking towards a corner. The engine over-blips the revs and, by the time they’ve have fallen enough that the drive can re-engage, you’re frequently past the apex, and have been wanting throttle for a while already. That doesn’t happen at every corner, but at enough to leave it frustrating.

That takes some of the edge of the Evora driving experience. Its ride, handling and steering are still exemplary, and while most of the time the gearbox lets you enjoy that, there are occasions when it hampers the fun.

Should I buy one?

Perhaps, but make sure it’s for the right reasons: unlike many modern sporting automatics, IPS makes an Evora a viable car for those who just don’t want to drive with three pedals. But it isn’t for those looking for an appealing alternative to the Evora’s fairly average manual shift.

Lotus Evora 2+0 IPS

Price: £52,350; Top speed: 155mph; 0-60mph: 5.3sec; Economy: 32.1mpg; Co2: 208g/km; Kerbweight: 1436kg; Engine type, cc: V6, 3456cc, petrol; Power: 276bhp at 6400rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 4600rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd automatic

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Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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Peter Cavellini 12 June 2011

Re: Lotus Evora IPS

Substitute Chinese for American and i think that's why there's this gearbox in it.

Rammy 12 June 2011

Re: Lotus Evora IPS

Don't buy one then...

Mr£4worth 9 June 2011

Re: Lotus Evora IPS

Crazy name, surely it would have been good to re-se the old Europa special edition monicker? Try this Lotus Evora JPS, available in any colour scheme as long as it's gold on black...