Lotus Evora 400 Roadster won't save the brand, and that's okay
As much as we love convertible sportscars, Lotus needs another model.
Fortunately, there's one upcoming exception. For 2017, Lotus is bringing the Evora 400 to our shores, and a North American version of the Sport 410 has been promised. We welcome them with open arms and a proper pair of Southcombe driving gloves. But that one model line isn't going to be enough to keep Lotus in the minds and hearts of driving enthusiasts from sea to shining sea, nor will it keep the admittedly small number of US dealers happy.
As pleased as we are to see reports that a Roadster version of the latest Evora is on the way, more will be needed. Lotus told Autocar that it expects the convertible to account for half of its sales here in the States, and we don't doubt that. But it's still just another version of the same automobile, and 500-700 additional sales is not going to be enough to reestablish Lotus as a legitimate sportscar contender here in America. For that, it's going to need another model line or two, hopefully at an entry-level pricepoint. A range-topping halo car wouldn't hurt, either.
On the bright side, the Evora Roadster sounds like a solid step in the right direction. It's apparently just as stiff and lightweight as the coupe – "It's so simple it makes you wonder why it wasn't done six years ago," says Lotus chief Jean-Marc Gales – and that means its 400-horsepower, supercharged V6 engine will still propel it from 0-60 in 4.1 seconds and to a top speed of 186 miles per hour. Plus, the Lotus name is well established and highly respected.
We don't think we're smarter than the men and women leading Lotus in the UK. So, we're sure Lotus doesn't expect the Evora Roadster to completely reverse its unfortunate fortunes in the States. The promise of a new Elise in 2020 ought to help in that regard, assuming it will be more attainable than the $90,000 Evora. In the meantime, we can't wait to feel that familiar wind-in-the-hair excitement we're sure the Lotus Evora Roadster will provide.
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