Driving the New Kid on the Block
There’s a new Lotus in town, and I’m not talking about the big battery with wheels that they just announced; I’m talking about the Evora GT. Yes, they have improved a car that has proven to go toe-to-toe with some of the heavy hitter mid-engine sports cars. So you may be wondering what they could have possibly done to make the new Evora GT even better than the Evora 400. The answer is a simple yet effective solution: more [usable] power, less weight. Yeah, I know… “crazy concept.”
To be exact, it has lost 71 pounds and gained 16 horsepower. The supercharged 3.5L V6 propels this 3100-pound Lotus to 60 mph in a claimed 3.8 seconds and reaches its top speed at 188 mph. A six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic transmission are offered, but Lotus says that the 0-60 mph time is the same regardless of gearbox choice. We chose to have a go in the manual version, and I’m confident that it was the right choice for this car.
The first thing that I noticed was how exotic it looked compared to the early Evoras. They have always been good looking cars, but the GT looks great in my opinion. Beautiful paint color aside, the carbon package rear hatch and redesigned bumper make it look superb.
I think the interior is pretty cool too, other than what looks to be an afterthought of a stereo head unit. Credit where it is due though, at least it’s an Alpine unit. I won’t consider the stereo a complaint though since I didn’t use it once and that’s because I had a hilariously fun supercharger whine coming from behind my head along with a decent exhaust note that you would never expect to come from what is essentially a Toyota Camry engine.
Some people tend to get stuck on the fact that the Evora engine is a Camry V6, but any smart person will see the good side of that. The Evora GT engine makes 416 horsepower reliably and has character, mostly due to the supercharger making it lively at the lower range of rpms compared to other cars in the same class that don’t come alive until the top half of the rpm range. The car is slightly lacking at the top end for sure, but in first and second gears, it feels pretty damn quick. Third and fourth gears are for the canyons and track anyway, so you won’t really ever notice the lack of top end get-up unless you’re accelerating on the highway.
While we are on the topic of canyons, that’s where I had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with the car and I must say it felt right at home in every way. In fact, even the seat literally felt like home as it was not overly aggressive, yet bolstered well enough to keep me from flying side-to-side at high cornering speeds.
Steering feel was on-point and perfectly weighted and the car was so confidence inspiring that I would even go as far as saying that I prefer it to the Porsche Cayman GT4 I drove about a year ago.
The steering wheel was just what you want in a driver’s car: perfect size, minimal buttons, and ergonomic. The only thing I didn’t like about the driving experience was that the gearbox felt cheap. The shift knob itself felt nice and price-appropriate as did most of the interior, but that didn’t distract me from the sloppy-feeling gears. It didn’t ruin the experience for me though, because the rest of the car made up for it.
Something that didn’t bother me but may upset someone who buys the car is that you cannot see anything out of the rear view mirror. You can essentially see the color of the car behind you as long as they’re close enough, and it would potentially allow you to see flashing red and blue lights behind you…if any black and white car ever catches you in the canyons. Another visible part from the rear view mirror is what I believe to be a supercharger bypass valve. I could be wrong about that, but whatever it is looks neat when it’s opening and closing during your drive.
This car is one of few sports cars that I can truly say would be enjoyable and recommendable for the driver of any skill level. It has endless grip and is easy to communicate with at just about any distance from the limit that you choose to drive it at and it won’t bite you for giving too much input.
Yet, the limits are so high that the experienced driver could still find them as an invigorating driving challenge. I believe it’s THAT good. Besides, who doesn’t like turning heads rolling down the street while there is blower whine behind your head!?
My theory on why the Lotus Evora GT is so good has to do with the fact that it has no rules holding it back. There is no “older brother” that it’s not allowed to outshine, there is no gimmicky brand heritage, and there is nobody asking Lotus for an Evora with sub-3 second 0-60 mph times. It stands on its own two feet, has legitimate racing DNA, and focuses on being a good driving experience. The Evora is allowed to be what Lotus intended it to be. If you don’t like fast, fun, unique sports cars then this isn’t the car for you. If you do though, then this is a good Lotus, a great Evora, and an amazing sports car.
VIDEO: AlphaLuxe Drives Lotus Evora GT (7m 23s)
Counterpoint by ThomasM
By Colin Chapman’s definition, Lotus cars are light; agile; responsive. Sportscars.
GT cars, also known as Grand Touring cars, tend to be larger than sports cars. Heavier. More luxurious. Less agile but plush and more SUBSTANTIAL.
The Lotus Evora GT weighs in at 3100 pounds. Light by today’s passenger car standards; heavy by traditional Lotus standards.
The stick shift is notchy but not unpleasant.
Acceleration is smooth but, except for 1st gear, not particularly impressive.
Handling and traction are where Lotus has traditionally excelled, and with the Evora GT, that tradition continues. It tracks consistently and true. It is not nervous and not sometimes twitchy like its closest ‘cross-shopping’ alternative.
Yet it is more GT than (traditional) Lotus.
When I drive my Alfa 4C, which weighs in at c. 2400 pounds in US trim, frequent questions I am asked are: “How does it compare to the Lotus? Which do you like better?”
My answer has always been: “If I’m going to the track and there’s money on the line, I’d take a Lotus. For everything else, I’ll take the Alfa 4C.”
My answer hasn’t changed after driving the Evora GT.
Previous Lotus Car Articles
Primary Author’s Biography
Michael Gallardo found interest in cars at around 6 years old. Going to the drag strip to watch NHRA races and riding in his Dad’s VW Beetle were the earliest memories that he can credit his passion to. A year after high school, Michael bought his first car, a 1986 Porsche 944. Ever since then, he has been switching it up and trying to experience all of the cars that he possibly can. Interests include watching Formula 1, going to the shooting range, collecting watches, trying new places to eat, and an occasional round of golf.