Lotus Evora coupe
Price: £51,550 - £65,900
- Blistering performance
- Rare sight on the roads
- Comfortable and usable sports car
- Limited practicality
- Interior build quality not great
- Very expensive to buy
"The Lotus Evora is truly comfortable and everyday sports car that can cut it with the best performance models on the road."
Available in standard trim with a 3.5-litre V6 or more expensive 'S' trim which gets a supercharged version of the same engine. Whichever you choose, you're sure to get a usable sports car which offers incredible pace and sharp handling for keen drivers. Recently updated for 2012 and also offered with a six-speed automatic gearbox, the new version features an improved interior design, with more high quality trim appropriate for a £50,000 car. Families should probably look elsewhere though, as the rear seats are incredibly cramped and the mid-engined layout means the boot is very small.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Running costs will be to performance car standards
Bear in mind that the Evora is a performance machine so running costs are likely to be high. Servicing, insurance and fuel bills are all likely to be high but not out of the ordinary for this kind of car. Combined fuel economy of 32.5mpg for the standard model is actually pretty good. The 'S' model only manages 27.7mpg and will cost more to tax thanks to its higher CO2 emissions.
Interior & comfort
Comfortable for a sports car, even the more hardcore S model
Despite its classic sports car proportions the Evora doesn’t deliver the harsh ride you’d expect. The suspension is soft enough to absorb the imperfections in the road, making it an excellent long-distance cruiser. Road and wind noise is well isolated for a car of this type too although optional 20-inch wheels do. The low leather sports seats are tricky to climb in and out of, but once in place they provide excellent support in corners and remain comfortable on long trips. In the Evora S, the suspension has been stiffened by around 10 per cent, compared to the standard Evora, but fortunately it hasn’t ruined the ride. It still absorbs bumps in the road brilliantly and makes rivals seem harsh in comparison. The louder exhaust note from the sports exhaust, plus the whine of the supercharger add to the excitement, but removes some of the refinement
Practicality & boot space
Boot isn't big and optional rear seats are incredibly cramped
Boot space is at a premium in the Evora so you'll need some good soft bags you can squeeze in the back if you want to carry anything. As mentioned above, you can get a set of rear seats but we'd recommend you save the money and just go for the two-seater version as they're too small to really carry any passengers.
Reliability & safety
Toyota engine should prove reliable, but build quality could be better
The engine in the standard Evora is sourced from Toyota, so reliability shouldn't be much of an issue. The problems start when you peer inside the cabin. Despite the quality of materials being good, everything seems flimsily attached. Evora S models are better, with all buttons and switchgear boasting a more solid feeling. Unfortunately, the Evora hasn't been officially crash-tested by Euro NCAP but it does get airbags, traction control, ABS and other safety gizmos as standard. The car is also incredibly strong so should provide a good amount of protection in the event of a crash.
Engines, drive & performance
Two powerful engine choices and well weighted, responsive controls
The Evora uses a 3.5-litre V6 borrowed from Toyota, producing 276bhp. The engine revs smoothly and produces enough acceleration to keep most enthusiastic drivers happy, however it never feels uncontrollably fast. A more characterful exhaust note has been added for the 2012 model, which makes it feel much sportier than before. One of the few criticisms of the standard Evora was its lack of power compared to rivals. The Evora S addresses this issue by adding a supercharger to the 3.5-litre Toyota-sourced V6, which increases power by 70bhp to a total of 345bhp – more than its main rival, the Porsche Cayman S. A sports exhaust, fitted as standard, offers a throatier exhaust note that takes excitement up a notch, while the steering and beefier brakes are even better than the standard car.
Price, value for money & options
Not cheap to buy, but there's a good amount of kit
The Evora certainly isn't cheap, and the range-topping Evora S model is more expensive than a Porsche Cayman R. Nevertheless, it's a small price to pay for the fantastic performance on offer. The basic price-tag includes air-conditioning, leather sports seats and electric windows but there is a long list of extras like a reversing camera and sat-nav. That being said, resale values are likely to be poor when compared with its German rivals.
What the others say
Its extraordinarily smooth, super-damped ride and ultra-sharp handling capabilities provide a true Lotus solution and its overall "at oneness" places it on a rostrum all its own.
Lotus's 2+2 offers a compelling alternative to a Porsche Cayman, with fine handling, a supple ride and more extreme looks. Some quirks let it down but, overall, it's an impressive package.
We all know Lotus has ambitious plans in the pipeline, but the existing line-up is still going strong. And the Evora S is the new pinnacle of the current crop – featuring a supercharged version of the standard car's 3.5-litre V6 for Porsche-beating performance.
The new Lotus has wowed everyone with its ability to soak up bumps and float across the road; it made even a Cayman S feel a little heavy-footed when we drove them back to back at the launch event in Scotland.
Last updated: 7 Feb 2014