2012 Evora New Car Test Drive
Few cars possess the allure of a Lotus. Known in its early years for remarkable racecars engineered by company founder Colin Chapman, the British marque remains famous for producing exotic road cars with distinctive styling and dynamic performance in a lightweight, efficient package.
The Lotus Evora is no exception. Sleek and trackworthy, it straddles the line between true enthusiast machine and flashy commute-mobile, and is compelling enough to elicit comments from well-heeled executives to old hippies in panel vans who declare it bitchin'. Now that the smaller, sportier Elise and Exige models have been discontinued in the U.S., the Evora is left as Lotus's only passenger car on the market.
What separates the Evora from other near-$100,000 sports cars is the focus on a pure, unadulterated driving experience. Unlike other carmakers who cram their sports models with every conceivable driver aid and entertainment techno-gadget, Lotus forgoes many of today's expected creature comforts in favor of engineering and technology that enables drivers to be more engaged, instead of relying on a profusion of electronics.
The engines used in the Lotus Evora are decidedly non-exotic, namely, a version of the Toyota V6 found in the Camry. But that's a good thing, as it means reliability and relatively inexpensive replacement parts. Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic, dubbed Intelligent Precision Shift, or IPS (currently available on the base Evora and forthcoming on the Evora S in Summer 2012). The Lotus-developed automatic gearbox features paddle shifters as well as a full automatic mode.
The Evora S is a supercharged-version of the Evora that churns out 345 horsepower, a 25 percent power boost over the base model. Torque tops out at 295 pound-feet at 4500 rpm. Visually, the Evora S differentiates itself with black outside mirror housings and a modified rear diffuser. The S packs an additional 122 pounds over the base Evora, but with its stiffer suspension and new forged aluminum control arms, you'd hardly know it when darting through the esses on a mountain road or a world-class racetrack. The extra power shaves the 0-60 mph time down to 4.3 seconds with the manual transmission.
The Evora 2+2 is the same size as the standard version except they've stuffed a little seat behind the driver and passenger.
For 2012, Evora comes standard with its Sports-Ratio 6-Speed manual gearbox, previously a $1,500 option. Naturally aspirated Evoras also get a new exhaust system found in earlier model years only on the Evora S. For 2012, Lotus ditches the old Alpine navigation display for a more upscale Pioneer head unit on all cars equipped with the optional Technology Package. There's also a new gearshift knob, new wheel designs, a modified exterior paint color scheme and additional interior colors. A new Premium Sport optional interior package gives the Evora cabin an even sportier appearance. All 2012 Evora models come with additional leather interior trim not found on 2011 models, including on door pull handles and air vent surrounds.
Also new is the 2012 Evora S GP edition which features a special black and gold exterior paint scheme, gold-painted wheels, red brake calipers, the Premium Package with Suede-Tex upholstery, the Technology Package and a rearview camera. Only 15 Evora S GP cars will be available in the U.S. The Lotus F1 Team is using black and gold livery on its 2012 Formula One cars and those colors were used for the John Player Special Lotus F1 cars in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Lotus Evora achieves surprisingly good fuel economy for a sportscar. The naturally aspirated Evora is EPA-rated at 18/26 mpg City/Highway or 21 mpg Combined with the manual transmission and 20/28 mpg with the IPS (23 mpg Combined). The supercharged Evora S is rated 17/26 mpg (20 mpg Combined) with the manual and 19/28 mpg with the IPS (22 mpg Combined).
The closest rival to the base Evora is the Porsche Cayman, while the Evora S is better pitted against the Porsche Cayman S, Nissan GT-R, Audi TT RS and even the Corvette Z06. There is no direct competitor to the Evora 2+2, a mid-engine sports car capable of seating four.
The 2012 Lotus Evora is available in two models: the naturally aspirated Evora and the supercharged Evora S. Both are available in either two-seat 2+0 or four-seat 2+2 configurations.
Evora ($66,100) is powered by a 3.5-liter Toyota V6 engine that makes 276 horsepower. A sports-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox comes standard, with a 6-speed IPS automatic transmission optional ($1,950). The Sport Package ($1,400 or $1,000 with IPS) features a selectable sport mode with an enhanced throttle response and less invasive traction control and adds a sports diffuser, titanium exhaust tips, cross-drilled brake discs and black painted brake calipers.
Standard equipment includes leather front seats, air conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power locks and windows, a trip computer and an Alpine audio system with CD player, iPod connector and auxiliary audio jack, cast-aluminum wheels (18-inch front, 19-inch rear), heated exterior mirrors, bi-xenon headlights. Evora 2+2 ($67,600) adds cloth rear seats.
Evora S ($76,100) comes with a 345-hp supercharged version of the 3.5-liter V6 and the sports-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox. The Sport Package comes standard. Evora S 2+2 ($77,600) adds cloth rear seats.
Options for both models include power-folding mirrors ($475), rearview camera ($550), SuedeTex interior trim ($990), and heated seats ($550). Special paint and wheel options are available. The Premium Package ($2,750) includes heated seats, accent lighting, a center armrest, upgraded floor mats and leather trim on dash, door panel and center console. The Technology package ($3,100) includes cruise control, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, an upgraded audio system and a new Pioneer touchscreen display with navigation, DVD playback and a USB port.
The Evora S GP ($90,790) features gold-painted 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rear wheels, a special black and gold exterior paint scheme, gold-painted wheels, red brake calipers, the Premium Package with Suede-Tex upholstery, the Technology Package and rearview camera.
Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, seat belt pretensioners, child seat anchors (2+2), and Lotus Dynamic Performance Management with four-wheel ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, hydraulic emergency brake assist. A rearview camera is available, which can help the driver spot a child or pedestrian behind the car when backing up.