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How much? £57,550
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 3456cc 24v supercharged V6, 345bhp @ 7000rpm, 295lb ft @ 4500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.8sec 0-62mph, 172mph, 28.3/27.7mpg, 235/239g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1437kg/aluminium and fibreglass
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 5 out of 55

Handling

Rated 5 out of 55

Performance

Rated 5 out of 55

Usability

Rated 5 out of 55

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3.5 out of 53.5

Lotus Evora S (2010) CAR review

By Ben Pulman

First Drives

01 November 2010 16:31

This is the new Lotus Evora S, and with the help of a supercharger, its 3.5-litre V6 has been boosted from the standard Evora’s 276bhp and 252lb ft, to 345bhp and 295lb ft.

Enough, Lotus hopes, to shake off criticism that the Evora just isn’t quick enough; it’s that car’s only real fault, so has the extra power turned the new Evora S into the perfect performance car? Read on for CAR’s first drive of the new 2010 Lotus Evora S.

I thought the Lotus Evora was brilliant, so what’s been improved on the new Lotus Evora S?

That Toyota-sourced, 3.5-litre V6 has been fitted with a supercharger, which changes the character of the car. Power arrives higher up the rev range, while torque swells lower on the tacho. A glance at the torque curve reveals loads more mid-range grunt, the top speed climbs 10 notches to 172mph, but there are downsides too: the kerbweight goes up by 67kg; the fuel consumption figure drops from 33.2 to 28.3mpg; and the CO2 output is bumped up from 199 to 235g/km. Price? Up from £48,550 to £57,550, an increase of £9k.

But the Sports Ratio gearbox, which 90% of Evora customers already plump for, accounts for £1550 of that cost. And the Evora S also comes as standard with the Evora’s £1000 Sport Pack, which adds a Sport button – letting you sharpen the throttle response, raise the rev limit from 6800 to 7200rpm, and dial back the electronic angels – plus that big, black diffuser, cross-drilled and vented brakes, an uprated engine oil cooling system, and a switchable sports exhaust.

Take these extra goodies into account and the power increase only costs £6450, or just under £94 per bhp – not bad when Porsche will charge you nearly £375 per extra pony if you opt for the Carrera S’s Powerkit.

What else is new on the 2011 Lotus Evora range?

The new Evora S isn’t just a supercharger upgrade with a few extra options slapped on. The S – along with every other Lotus sold in Europe from the start of 2011 – now comes with DPM (Dynamic Performance Management), a suite of electronic aids developed with Bosch, including ABS, EBD, traction control, ESP and an electronic differential lock (there’s no proper locking mechanical rear diff), but you’ll be pleased to hear the last three items can all be deactivated.

Lotus has also increased the stiffness of the suspension bushes (in all locations at the back, but in only two places at the front, to be precise), thickened the rear anti-roll bar by a scant 0.5mm, revised the dampers (but not the springs), tweaked the rear suspension geometry, and fitted new front wishbones to increase the castor angle. The result, Lotus claims, is less roll, better stability, the same excellent ride quality, and, as if it wasn’t good enough already, improved steering feel.

Right, so what’s the new Lotus Evora S like to drive?

Bloody brilliant. The steering is as sublime as ever, wonderfully weighted, direct, and brimming with feel. The suspension is still supple, too, soaking up the awful roads that Lotus specifically includes in its test route. And now there’s loads of extra grunt: there’s enough torque that you can leave the S in third or fourth gear on almost any stretch of road and be lazy, or really work the engine hard and feel just how fast this new car really is.

You might not think the figures are headline grabbing, but the Evora S is light, so not only is its performance amplified, but it’s wonderfully quick to change direction too. Plus the supercharger adds some extra aural whooshes of delight and the V6 howls a deeper tune.

Our test car was also fitted with the £2550 Tech Pack – which includes an upgraded stereo, a 7in touch screen sat-nav (still too fiddly and confusing; come on Lotus), USB and MP3 connectivity, cruise control and rear parking sensors – and the £1750 Premium Pack, that adds heated seats and covers the interior in leather, making it feel like a rather lovely place to be.

The small rear seats are still useless, and work best when they double as a second boot, but you only have to make one or two compromises to live with an Evora day-to-day, rather than the multitude of changes you must make if you want to have an Elise.

Verdict

Superb. Extra power and torque answers our major gripe with the regular Evora, the gearshift much improved too, and steering and suspension still sublime.

It's a stark reminder of what Lotus does so right today. Let's hope the ambitious plans for tomorrow don't ruin this delightful sort of simple Lotus.

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Average rating: Rated 3.5 out of 53.5 (86 votes)

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wittgenfrog

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wittgenfrog says

RE: Lotus Evora S (2010) CAR review

@newfavourite - I agree about the increasing avoir du poids of Lotuses.  I too would prefer lighter and smarter to attempting to fight it out toe-to-toe with Porsche et al, who also have the benefit of  bespoke powertrains etc which should save them many kilos over Lotus' use of bought-in ones.

08 November 2010 13:39

 

newfavorite

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newfavorite says

RE: Lotus Evora S (2010) CAR review

The standard Evora at ca. 1350kg was baiting Caymans, but too heavy and underpowered in comparison. The Evora S at ca. 1450kg is now baiting 911s, but again too heavy and underpowered in comparison. Lotus should stick to its USP of lightweight, and then there would be NO comparison.

06 November 2010 16:46

 

carreader

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carreader says

RE: Lotus Evora S (2010) CAR review

Why do cars like this need a "Sport" button ?

Shouldn't a sports car be sporty all the time ?

04 November 2010 22:42

 

sunsurfer

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sunsurfer says

RE: Lotus Evora S (2010) CAR review

Cheers for the info Batty.  Although the trend for performance cars is less cc and more turbo/super charging.  I wonder what the Esprit would be like with a turbocharged V8

03 November 2010 22:43

 

Batty

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Batty says

RE: Lotus Evora S (2010) CAR review

@sunsurfer- There are difficult issues with heat generation and packaging when using turbos that isn't as prevalent when using a turbocharger. If the system is incorporated in the design from the outset, it can be overcome but is far more dificutl to retro-fit (and the Evora is extremely tightly packaged as it is).

03 November 2010 20:06

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