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Sunraysia Daily Saturday, July 22, 2017
OOR old Lotus. Passed around from
incompetent owner to (eventually)
bankrupt owner and on to an
uninterested owner, it’s the sportscar
company that could - but can’t because
there’s no money.
There was a highly amusing - for outsiders
anyway - attempt to kickstart Lotus, with ex-
Ferrari executive Danny Bahar drafted in to
try and reboot the brand. He failed miserably
after a laughable strategy to expand the range
to five cars with no obvious financial backing
to do so.
Bahar left under a cloud and Lotus was
back where they started - Elise, Exige, Evora
and a track special or two, but in a safe pair of
hands belonging to Jean-Marc Gales.
Same old Lotus, punching way above its
(light) weight. In Australia, sales dwindled
to single figures in 2016. As a result, Lotus’
import operation moved from Ateco to
Sydney’s Simply Sports Cars, the company
that also brings in the bonkers KTM X-Bow.
Where before you just got a car, now you get
a bunch of people who absolutely love what
they do, which Lotus needs. An Evora is not
an obvious proposition.
The Evora is available in two specifications
- the Evora 400 and Evora 410 Sport. We had
the 400 which was also in the Hethel special
edition spec, named after Lotus’ birthplace in
Norfolk, UK and had a striking blue paint job.
The 400 starts at $184,990 for the six-speed
manual, rising to $194,990 for the six-speed
auto. Standard is a five-speaker Alpine stereo
with sat nav, 19-inch fronts and 20-inch rears,
remote central locking, reversing camera, rear
parking sensors, LED daytime running lights,
bi-xenon headlights with washers, heated
front seats, leather trim, power windows and
mirrors and tyre pressure monitor.
As the Evora is handmade, you can delete
the rear seats (and air-con, if you must) and
you can specify different interior trim and
change the colour of the calipers.
The Evora is an older car but the occasional
tweak to the composite body has kept it
looking fresh. It looks terrific - close to
the ground, crouched, the design drawing
attention to its mid-mounted engine. The
engine cover is transparent and passers-by
can look in and see the big proud LOTUS
stamped on top of the supercharger.
Inside is straightforward if a bit plasticky.
There are some nice touches, though, and
it seems the early quality issues (almost a
decade has passed...) have been sorted. It’s
not an award-winner, but it’s functional and
caters for driver and passenger in comfort.
Six airbags, ABS, corner braking control,
stability and traction controls and reversing
camera form the Evora’s safety package.
There is no ANCAP safety rating.
Probably the least-inspired part of the car
is the stereo. There’s nothing wrong with it
per se, and it does what it’s supposed to, but
really does look like someone popped out to
Supercheap and bought a job lot. It’s a quality
Alpine unit with a sat nav that works and the
sound is perfectly fine. It’s just not what you
expect on a near-$200k sportscar. But if you’re
buying a Lotus for the stereo you’re either (a)
mad, (b) missing the point entirely or (c) both.
The Evora ships with Toyota’s 3.5-litre 2GR-
FE V6, an unburstable unit found in rather
less exciting product the world over. Lotus
straps an Edelbrock supercharger to it and
it cranks out 298kW and 410Nm to send the
1425kg machine to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds.
The engine is mid-mounted, jammed
right up behind the rear seat passenger’s
backs, and sits atop a six-speed automatic
transmission from Aisin.
The Evora’s driving position is, as the kids
would say, en pointe (that’s not how they spell
it, though). Step in and over the sill, snuggle
down and you’re in the cockpit. What’s in front
of you isn’t especially inspiring and does date
the car back to its inception in the mid-to-late
2000s. It’s all there, though, and while the
switchgear is old, it all works.
In place of a gear selector there’s a Ferrari-
style set of buttons for P, R, N and D and
you’ve also got a set of paddles on the leather
The engine start button is old school - in an
Audi or a Ford, you just press the button and
away it goes. In the Evora, you press and hold.
I like that. It’s endearing and has a race car
feel to it. The pedals are big, drilled units and
are suited for either normal driving or left-foot
braking, further encouraged by the fact this
is the auto. This isn’t a modern twin-clutcher
either and, technically, is blasphemy in a
Lotus, but there you are.
Switch to Sport mode, warm it up and
get on it. That’s what this car is all about.
The engine screams to the redline without
bothering to disguise its glee - this sounds
nothing like a Camry. The engine wails and
bangs and pops and has a lovely linear power
delivery courtesy of the supercharger.
Leave the transmission to its own devices
on the upshift - it’s slow to respond to the
paddles and changes up at the right time
anyway. If that’s a problem, the manual is for
you and as an added bonus, has a limited slip
diff. Which I didn’t miss on the 400.
The amazing thing about the Evora,
though, is the way it rides and steers. Both
are the stuff of legend but there isn’t another
sportscar on the planet short of a McLaren
570S that rides this well at any speed. The
steering is just about perfect - the way its
weighted, the way it responds to a roll of the
wrists, the way it isn’t hyperactive or scary. It’s
still hydraulically assisted, too - I think that
leaves it in a very select group.
Anyone can drive this car fast with
confidence, knowing it won’t bite. And it
manages all this without adaptive damping,
just a set of well-specified springs and
dampers from suppliers Eibach and Bilstein.
The AP Racing brakes are gigantic and
devastatingly effective while also beautifully
The new Lotus importers are keen to get
you out on track, on the road and together
with other Lotus owners. I’ve never driven
away from a car pick-up knowing what to do
with the tyre pressures once I’ve warmed up
the tyres. These guys are right for Lotus and
the Evora does not deserve to be forgotten.
Things are looking up at Lotus, too - it’s
profitable and has just been bought by
Chinese giant Geely who have done a brilliant
job with Volvo.
The Evora is not a Lotus that you’d choose
to leave at home on certain days. You can
drive this car every day without fear or favour.
While the back seat passengers will hate you
(that’s if you can get them in), if you treat the
car as a two-seater, you’re on a winner.
Fast, fun and even a head-turner after all
these years, the Evora is an acquired taste.
But it’s not the usual meaning of acquired
taste - take it for a drive and you forget that
it doesn’t have the interior polish of a 911
or the tech tour-de-force feel of a BMW,
Audi or Mercedes. It’s a simple, lightweight,
connected sportscar that will never fail to put
a silly grin on your face.
Lotus Evora 400
Lotus Evora 400
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