What is it?
This is the latest Lotus Evora S, now fitted for the first time with the IPS automatic gearshift that has so far been offered only on the standard car, and which has found most favour chiefly in America and the middle- and far-east.
The 2012 Lotus Evora S is powered by the same 345bhp supercharged V6 as before, but benefits from the 143 (count them) improvements made as part of Lotus’ reinvestment in the Evora.
What’s it like?
Engine running, it’s a choice of selecting Drive or Sport modes via push buttons on the centre console and either letting the Intelligent Precision Shift system - a six-speed torque-converter unit, Toyota-sourced like the engine - doing its bit or changing via well-placed steering wheel mounted controls.
Left to its own devices, the IPS system delivers on the Evora’s ambitions to be a mid-engined GT car. Shifts are quick, smooth and almost always reasonably precise. Only when you push on does it struggle, both by holding too many revs on upshifts or not changing down fast enough under braking.
Using the paddles improves things, although the fact it reverts back to automatic mode if you don’t change gear for ten seconds is frustrating. Sport mode livens up throttle response, allows more revs and introduces electronic control systems later - and lets you change gear as you wish. The effect is far more engaging. However, it does tend to over-blip the revs on downshifts, leaving you scrabbling for drive just when you want to be powering through a corner.
For the vast majority of the time, though, the IPS system works well; however, its hard to get away from the fact that it can spoil the fun a bit when you’re really in the mood for a blast - which, given the sensational handling and ride of the Evora is what you should really be most interested in buying this car for.
On smooth roads the Evora is first-rate, gripping tenaciously and hardly rolling. On the broken, cambered surfaces for which the UK is so well known, and derided, it rides imperiously. The Evora remains one of the most pleasurable cars to drive on these shores - a fact now boosted by the majority of those 143 changes. Chiefly, and substantially, they improve the cabin quality and ambience, and enhance the driver involvement with minor changes such as allowing more engine noise into the cabin.