Lotus became famous more than 50 years ago for designing light and agile racing and sports cars. They were driver's cars of the fist order.
Lotus still builds driver’s cars with great performance and handling.
The Evora, introduced last year, is one of these high- performance two-seat sports car although it has a back seat option.
Lotus offers two versions of the Evora: The base model, which is equipped with a 3.5-liter 276-hp V-6 and either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
If you want more power, the Evora S with a 345-hp supercharged V-6 is also available.
Lotus loaned us the Evora S. It was blazingly fast.
This car’s charm is not the straight-line acceleration, however; it’s the handling. The Evora was designed for precision driving on twisty secondary roads, making Connecticut’s rural roads this car’s natural habitat. The steering is perfect, lean in corners is banished and braking is superb.
“The prime customer for any Lotus is obviously a sports car buyer,” said Kevin Smith, communications executive for Lotus. “These are people who place a high priority on driving dynamics, more so than on flash and prestige.”
They’ll get what they pay for in the Evora, with zero-to-60 miles per hour taking 4.9 seconds.
They might be surprised by the ride, which is firm and even abrupt over bigger bumps. But unlike other sports and grand touring cars, the Evora is never uncomfortable. You could drive this car all day. The air conditioning also worked well, keeping us cool on a 103-degree day.
“We source our engines and transmissions from Toyota,” Smith said. “But exhaust, intake and engine [tuning] give them our character. These are cars with super high performance that are also extremely reliable.”
Getting in and out of this car presents some problems. The door opening is low, the seats are lower and the doorsill is wide. Not even shorter adults could enter and leave the car gracefully when we had it. People with big feet - mine are size 12 - will have a particularly challenging time.
Visibility is not great, either. Evora drivers need to be constantly alert to the traffic behind them. And they will want to make sure their side mirrors are properly adjusted.
Being able to see the cars around you is important when you are driving the Evora because other drivers will make risky moves to get a better look.
“We only make about 1,500 a year; 450 to 500 come to the United States,” Smith said. “While our owners are not seeking prestige, they do enjoy the exclusivity.”
When I stopped for gas several people asked to take pictures of the car.
“I mean no disrespect,” one young man said. “But is this yours?”
“No, it’s a company-owned car,” I said.
“I want your job,” he replied.
Lotus Evora: $64,000 plus $1,175 for destination charges; Evora S starts at $80,000.
Engines 3.5-liter V-6 Supercharged 3.5-liter V-6
HP/Torque (lb-ft) 276/258 345/295
EPA 18/27 6-speed manual 17/26 6 speed manual 20/28 (automatic)
Also consider Porsche Boxster or Cayman, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK.