Lotus Evora S with Liam Bird

This month our motoring correspondent Liam Bird has been test driving the Lotus Evora S – Flower Power?

June11-lotus-evora-sAgility is something that motoring writers usually attribute to a cars chassis and handling rather than to themselves. But in the case of Lotus’s Evora it helps if, as a driver, you too are supple.

The Evora S is the Norfolk sportscar builder’s answer to critics who said the standard Evora needed more power to truly compete with the big boys. By bolting a super-charger to the mid mounted, 3.5 litre Toyota engine Lotus have upped the power output to 345bhp and raised the torque 295lbft. They’ve also thrown in a beautiful new rear diffuser and made the 10% stiffer suspension standard, meaning that at £67,000+ the Evora S is ready to take on Porsche’s Cayman and also its iconic 911.
You sit low in the Evora – racing car low – hence the need for some personal malleability. Access to the surprisingly capacious cabin is granted by stepping over a wide sill and lowering yourself into the leather lined Recarco seats. Despite the door’s wide opening the ingress isn’t easy and you need the ability to lift your leg in and around the A pillar. Once in though you’ll realise it was worth all the effort- there’s even a rear seat but don’t expect it to carry much more than your coat. And despite the narrow foot-well and pedals that are off set to the left it’s easy to get comfortable.
The Evora’s interior has to be Lotus’s best to date. The stitching of the leather around the dash is of particular note and everything feels like it going to last. There are a few quirks of course this is a Lotus after-all. Most of the touch sensitive switches are hidden by the steering wheel and the rearward visibility is akin to trying to reverse whilst looking through a letter box; the optional camera is virtually a necessity.
But a Lotus is for driving not for looking at and it’s here that the Evora S really surprises. As you’d expect its quick 0-62 takes just 4.6 seconds and Lotus claim it’s capable of 172mph.But it’s the ride that truly impresses. It might look like a stiffly sprung racer-for-the-road but the Evora’s ride quality could easily embarrass an executive type saloon costing similar money. This car flows down the road without ever being disturbed by surface changes or mid corner bumps and the fact that it does it without  complicated  adaptive dampers or a confusing set of electronic suspension settings makes it all the more exemplary. The steering too is perfect, there’s absolutely no slack around the dead-ahead position the weighting is just right, every nuance of the road surface is communicated directly back to the driver and a flick of the wrist is all that’s needed to change direction.  The driving experience is so good that it almost feels as though when you reach for your seatbelt you’re strapping the whole car on rather than merely strapping yourself in.
Whether or not Lotus has done enough to tempt the faithful from their Porsche Caymens and 911s remains to be seen; some will love the Evora’s exclusivity while others will complain about its ergonomics and question its day to day usability. Driving all of them first would be the only real way of deciding. Now there’s a thought………..

Many Thanks to Lotus’s press department for the loan of the Evora S.

Lotus Evora S
Engine: 3.5litre V6 Petrol Supercharged
Power:  345 BHP @ 7000rpm
Torque: 295 lbft @ 45000rpm
Transmission:   6 speed manual.
Performance: 0-62mph 4.6 sec
Max Speed: 172mph
MPG: 27.7 Combined.
CO2: 235g/km
Price: £67,080

Liam Bird.

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