So we’re not entirely sure about the looks, and some of the interior is a teeny bit suspect, not so much from an aesthetic point of view but – disappointingly but inevitably perhaps – on quality.
But in most other respects the Evora is a proper piece of work, combining quite extraordinarily good mechanical refinement with a stonking good chassis, beautiful steering, strong yet subtle performance and a level of equipment that just about justifies its price. You can read our first drive by clicking here.
It’s also the world’s first and only mid-engined 2+2, which is admirable, although in all honesty it’s more of a 2+0.5, so little room is there in the rear chairs for anyone much over the age of two. Either way, it’s an impressively packaged sports car that is genuinely more practical than most. You can, according to Lotus, cram two full size sets of golf clubs in the boot, even if there wouldn’t be much room for all the other detritus required by would-be Padraig Harringtons.
But what’s it like beside the mighty Porsche Cayman S?
That’s the big one for the Evora, and it’s a very big one indeed when you think about it. Pound for pound the Cayman is probably Porsche’s best all round car, and in S guise it is knee-tremblingly good to drive. Yet this is the exact car that Lotus targeted when designing, refining and signing off the Evora, so…
Without wishing to give the game away completely, let’s just say that there are lots of things the Evora does better than the Porsche, and not very many that it does worse. The Cayman is itself no great looker in the eyes of many, but in the opinion of this particular author it looks a million dollars beside the Lotus. It also feels – and sounds – quite a bit perkier than the Evora in the intermediate ratios, a result of its significantly shorter gearing and louder engine/exhaust note combo.
And as for the difference in cabin quality, let’s just leave it at Weissach 1, Hethel 0 and move on. Except you can’t, because the Evora is such a disappointment inside quality-wise – and especially beside the unusually well made Cayman – it becomes an impossible factor to ignore.
However, get past the Evora’s one or two static foibles and compare it with the Cayman on the road, and a totally different picture begins to emerge. The Lotus may not sound as throaty as you’d expect but it’s faster than the Cayman in a straight line, and in the mid-range the response from its 3.5-litre V6 can leave the Porsche feeling flat footed by comparison.
It also steers more sweetly than the Cayman, which is some achievement, while its all-round double wishbone suspension provides a level of composure that is just breathtaking, even in the soaking wet conditions in which most of this test took place. What you notice most jumping from one to another is the extra agility and composure of the Evora when you’re really going for it. It changes direction with such precision and immediacy, all the Cayman driver can do is watch in awe. It’s that well sorted, is the Evora, yet at the same time it’s that much more comfortable than the Cayman as well.
I’ll leave the final verdict for the magazine comparison in a couple of weeks’ time, but in the meantime consider this. As it stands this particular version of the Evora is just the beginning; a platform from which numerous variants will emerge, some of which will have more power (quite a lot more power when they fit the supercharger) and be significantly more focused in set up. And yet even as it is now the Evora is good enough to give the ultimate version of Cayman a very hard time indeed. You’ll have to read the mag in two weeks time to find out how hard.