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.
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.