Lotus made no mechanical changes to the Evora for '14. There are five new colors, and the '13's mishmash of trim levels has been rationalized. Trim levels are now (1) the standard car, with all-black cloth and leather; (2) Premium, with full leather in a single, monotone color; (3) Premium Sport, with four interior colors available; and (4) Premium Suedetex, with suedelike accents. Lotus also plans to make its track-only Elise Cup model available in the U.S., although details won't be available until late in the year, so expect shipments to begin in early 2014...more
Dany Bahar was ousted as Lotus CEO more than a year ago, along with his ambitious plans to extend the Malaysian-owned, fabled English brand to an unprecedented six models. The minimalist Elise and Exige are no longer exempt from certification rules that now keep them out of the U.S. market, Elon Musk has moved on from using Elise bodies in which to wrap Tesla's electric cars, and Lotus hasn't bothered to certify the new Exige V6 for sale as a road car in the United States. That leaves the Evora as the only Lotus you can legally buy brand-new here. Some 125 customers did so in 2012, and you might think about it, too, if the Porsche Boxster and Cayman are getting too luxurious for your sports car tastes.
Launched in the 2010 model year, the Evora carries on for 2014 with a 3.5-liter twin-cam V-6 rated 276 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Evora S adds an Eaton supercharger, which boosts ratings to 345 hp and 295 lb-ft. Toyota builds the V-6 and sells it to Lotus, so the British sports car's powertrain reliability is hard to beat. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or IPS, the Intelligent Precision Shift six-speed automatic with paddleshift manual controls. Buyers may choose from a two-seat version or a two-plus-two with a vestigial, fold-down rear seat suitable only for the smallest of kids who aren't in extrabulky child safety seats.
In a July 2011 head-to-head comparison between an Evora S and the 2012 Porsche Cayman R, we found the Porsche's handing more neutral, while the Evora was easier to manipulate between understeer and oversteer. The Lotus' brakes were more direct and much more suitable for the track, while its steering was light and precise, although offering less feedback than the Porsche's heavier, slower steering. Far less versatile as a daily driver, the Evora S proved to be a purpose-built sports racer you can drive to and from the track.
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