The Lotus Evora
The Lotus Evora is a featherweight sports coupe with two seats for adults, two seats for the slimmest of children and a boot big enough for half of this hypothetical four-person family’s stuff. Or, to put it another way, it’s a lighter, mid-engined, V6, British version of the Porsche 911. Because of course we have to make that comparison.
We all loved Lilly, our Lotus Evora 280. It was such a beloved car within the Club that we decided to get another Evora to replace her. Enters Ellie, Lilly’s naughty sister. Ellie is an Evora 400 – so called because thanks to a water-to-air-intercooled Edelbrock supercharger the 3.5-litre V6 now produces 400bhp at 7000rpm. It also benefits from an aggressive redesign, enhanced interior and a chassis tuned for greater agility, grip and traction.
The geeky stuff
Compared to our previous Evora 280, Ellie, boasts a 120bhp hike in power, a weight reduction of 42kg down to 1395kg, a low-inertia flywheel and new improved aerodynamics. With a top speed of 300km/h and 0-100km/h covered in 4.1-seconds it’s both faster and quicker than a Porsche Cayman GT4.
Chassis tweaks include doubling the negative front camber, increasing toe in the front and reducing it in the rear, halving the bump-steer, stiffening the rear Eibach springs (by 16 percent), retuning the Bilstein dampers and stiffening the powertrain mounts. In addition the car is fitted with bigger AP RAcing brakes, a bombastic 3-inch exhaust system, a 6 gear manual transmission and, finally, a standard fit Quaife torsen limited slip differential.
The AP Racing calipers grip two-piece steel/aluminum composite rotors on all four corners, with a 370mm diameter disc in front and a 350mm disc in back. The wheels are forged aluminum, 19-inch front and 20-inch back. Lotus changed from Pirelli to Michelin for the Evora 400; the front tires remain at 235mm but the rear are 10mm wider at 285mm, to deal with an increased amount of positive downforce from the bodywork that is biased slightly to the rear.
The engine starts with a deep howl. Blimey, this thing sounds exciting. Getting on the throttle it feels really fast and sounds terrifically angry, popping and crackling in Sport mode. The power delivery is linear and you would almost forget that the engine is supercharged.
The Evora’s steering is, as you’d expect from Lotus, immediate, direct and beautifully weighted. There’s power steering, unlike the Exige and Elise, but it still feels almost every bit as connected and in tune as the other two’s manual racks. It is astonishingly well-engineered, a near-seamless giver of instruction and receiver of feedback. No, really – not knowing what the front wheels are doing in a Lotus should be grounds for the immediate and permanent loss of your driving licence.
But for all the engine’s ferocity and the increasingly hard edge that the Evora has moved towards, the general feeling is still one of lightness and balance. It won’t twitch or fidget over imperfections, but it will keep a reassuringly positive connection with the road surface. It gives an impression of flowing down a road, rather than smashing your way along it or wafting over it. It’s also, in case this much isn’t obvious, absolutely brilliant. This is a road car with the soul of a GT3 racer, not a lashed-up race car dumbed down for the road.
It’s so engaging, in fact, that, on a late journey back from work, it makes you want to drive straight past home and carry on to some brilliant roads. We are not sure many other cars — whatever the badge, wherever they’re from, or whatever the price — do this as brillantly as an Evora.
The Lotus Evora has always been one of our favorite sports cars. The 400, with increased power, a 6-speed manual, a limited slip diff, lower weight, bigger brakes, and more aero is as good as you are imagining it. Maybe even better.