Lotus Evora 400 first pictures (2015): Norfolk’s fastest supercar yet

Published: 18 February 2015

► Lotus Evora relaunched
► New 400 supercharged to 400bhp
► Here in August 2015, £70k

Signs of life at Hethel: the new 2015 Lotus Evora 400 was shown today, ahead of a planned unveiling at next month’s Geneva motor show. 

Lotus calls it an ‘all-new supercar’ and its ‘fastest and most powerful’ model ever - aptly demonstrating where the fettled Evora sits in the pecking order of quick Lotuses. And this supercharged model replaces all other Evoras - this represents a definite move upmarket, with prices swelling to boot… 

What’s new on the 2015 Lotus Evora?

As predicted by CAR, Norfolk’s range-topper has been given a major going-over by the wizards of Potash Lane. The Evora simply hasn’t sold in big enough numbers, struggling to capture the 911 owners it targeted with its punchy £50k-60k price.

In response, Lotus has focused on making it 16% more powerful, lighter and more Lotussy - but also on adding an extra dollop of usability. The new Evora 400 starts production in August 2015, with US deliveries scheduled for the autumn.

It's all part of new boss Jean-Marc Gales' Lotus turnaround plan to reverse losses of £71 million.

Is this Evora really all-new?

Yes, and no. It’s clearly an evolution of the outgoing Evora, but Lotus claims more than two-thirds of the components are new. It even cites a new aluminium chassis, a revised supercharged and charge-cooled 3.5-litre V6 and all-new composite body panels. End result? It weighs an impressive 22kg less than before, tipping in at 1415kg.

That Toyota-sourced V6 now produces 400bhp - up a fulsome 55 ponies - and 302lb ft of torque. Key stats are suitably rapid, improving on the outgoing Evora in every metric:

Top speed 186mph
0-60mph 4.1sec
Hethel laptime 6sec faster than before

It’ll still handle, right?

We certainly hope so. Despite the financial ups and downs and worries over management change, Lotus has never lost sight of its ride and handling expertise. And the signs are that the new Evora 400 will continue this pedigree.

The outgoing Evora struck a fine balance between riding smoothly yet flattering in corners - and there’s a pleasing, grown-up fluidity to the steering rack too. A limited-slip diff is fitted on the 400, spring and damper settings fettled and Lotus quotes 32kg of downforce at 150mph thanks to the triple-element rear wing, composite rear diffuser and flat underside.

The new Lotus Evora 400. Tipped to cost nearly £70k

Manual and automatic transmissions are available, both options strangling CO2 emissions by a few points. The manual emits 225g/km and the auto is actually cleaner at 220g/km.

Lotus Evora 400 design story

Head of design Russell Carr said: ‘We were certain that a more focused and purposeful frontal aspect was essential for a modern supercar. However, we were also sure that to alter greatly the profile of the recognisable, award-winning, mid-engined Evora design would have been wrong intrinsically. Our ambition was to create a high quality innovative design. This was significantly assisted by an integrated digital design process that allows us to translate computer data rapidly into physical models, using our state-of-the-art milling and 3-D printing facilities.’

It’s interesting that Lotus insists on calling the Evora a supercar. It’s correctly mid-engined but that V6 engine may be cut short in cylinder count for true supercar status. But the language is telling; Lotus plans to bump up the price, to nearer £70,000. Today’s Evora costs £52k for a naturally aspirated model, rising to £62k for the supercharged one.

The new Evora is 35mm longer, now stretching to 4394mm to the benefit of aerodynamics. But the main changes wrought to the Evora affect the interior - and specifically entry and exit. The sills are 43mm narrower and 56mm lower than before, in a bid to ease access. CAR editor Phil McNamara has sat in a styling buck and says it’s a big improvement. ‘It’s much narrower than before, you really notice it,’ he said. ‘But this is still a very low car - it feels like a proper sports car, so you will still have to drop down into the seat.’ 

Lotus is planning a convertible Evora and - get this - even a jacked-up soft-roader model to appeal to those in dustier, tougher climes. 

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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