Test Drive: 2011 Lotus Evora S

“Lotus introduces a blown Evora for 2011”

The Evora S supercharged model ups performance level

In the past, I avoided any opportunity to pilot Lotus vehicles due to their exceptionally diminutive and compact size. The Exige and Elise were much like sitting on the ground in a contorted position in a confined and restricted space. Those factors not withstanding, I really wasn’t a big fan of the styling execution – particularly of the Elise, which to me resembles a flattened insect. Okay, it really isn’t that bad, and it does seem to have a loyal following – probably for its performance qualities however and not necessarily for its looks.

The aforementioned issues were eliminated when the Evora was introduced last year, looking terrific, providing 2+2 seating (optional), and actually possible to get into and out of without imitating a pretzel.  Well almost – if you happen to be over 6’4” the pretzel application still applies, but once inside, it’s quite roomy and comfortable. There is also a base 2+0-seating configuration available.

Both the 2011 Lotus Evora and Evora S come in coupe form, featuring only two doors but featuring four seating positions (2+2). Power for the Evora comes from a Cosworth modified and tuned, Toyota-based 3.5-liter DOHC, 24-valve V-6 with Dual VVTi, electronic returnless fuel injection and Lotus T6E engine control unit. The engine is positioned amidships in a transverse orientation and makes 276 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, while generating 258 pound feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. Motive force is metered to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, which is available in two forms – a standard ratio version, or an optional Sports ratio unit. The Evora is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 162 mph.

The Evora S on the other hand, adds a non-intercooled Harrop HTV 1320 supercharger assembly (utilising Eaton Twin Vortex Series (TVS) Technology™) to the already potent powerplant that, with a modest 5.5 pound boost, increases the horsepower from 276 to 345 and the torque from 258 pound feet to 295. 0-60 time for the Evora S is 4.3 seconds and the top speed capability climbs to 172 mph. Other standard equipment includes: a Sport Pack with cross-drilled and vented brake discs, engine oil cooler, switchable sports mode, a sports rear diffuser, active exhaust with by-pass valve and ceramic coating, Phantom Black Wing mirrors and a 6-speed Sports-ratio transmission.

Suspension componentry for both the Evora and Evora S consists of an Upper and lower forged aluminum wishbone with anti-roll bar, Eibach coaxial springs and Bilstein dampers both fore and aft, with unique tuning for the Evora S. The Evora rolls on staggered Pirelli P-Zero tires – 225/40 ZR18s up front and 255/35 ZR19s in the rear, mounted on 5-“Y”-spoke cast, silver painted light alloy wheels.

The “S” version allows for an optional 19-inch front and 20-inch rear set up with Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rubber on special “Diamond-Cut” design, 5-“V”-geo spoke forged alloy wheels.

Braking duty is handled by servo-assisted, four-wheel ventilated discs with optional cross-drilling),  Lotus-tuned Bosch ABS system, hydraulic Brake Assist, Electronic differential lock and EBD. 60-0 mph braking is world class, requiring only 100 feet.

In terms of its styling, the Evora and Evora S is not unlike a mini-Ferrari in its imagery – particularly from the rear. The coupe body style is exceptionally sleek with a drag coefficiency of 0.33. It is indeed striking, exuding loads of sex appeal (for either gender actually). The “S” version may be easily differentiated from its sibling by the exhaust – the dual exhaust of the S is housed in a single, center-mounted exhaust outlet, while the naturally aspirated Evora features a split dual exhaust. The interior accommodates two comfortably up front and two not so comfortably (if at all) in the rear seat. Instrumentation and switchgear is logically placed for optimum user friendliness. The flat-bottomed, three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel is fat and comfortable.

My test 2011 Lotus Evora S 2+2 Coupe wore an exterior finish of Graphite Gray metallic, while the interior was done in Charcoal leather with genuine aluminum trim accents. The base price was set at $77,500 while added options such as the Sport Package, Tech Package and more increased the final count and amount to $88,125. Base sticker for the 2+0 version is $76,000. The Evora S comes with an impressive inventory of standard features and equipment, but it’s possible to upgrade and personalize one’s Evora S by adding one or more of the many available options.

SUMMARY: In a special drive program coordinated by Lotus Cars USA, Inc., automotive scribes were introduced to the new and exciting 2011 Lotus Evora and Evora S vehicles.

participating journalists were afforded the opportunity to experience firsthand the Lotus Evora and the Evora S on the legendary Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. Each auto writer was able to pilot both versions around the track following an extensive street and road drive in real world scenarios.

 

The Evora S’s strengths include ample power on demand with an exceptionally broad torque range which minimizes shifting (the addition of a supercharger is an obvious and desirable improvement), excellent braking capability and an unbelievably, yet incredibly compliant suspension over even the roughest road surfaces. The only negative encountered was the limited footwell space with no dead-pedal area.

The Evora S is planted and compliant over even the most demanding road surfaces, and the steering is spot on and instantly responsive. Acceleration is surprisingly quick even in the normally aspirated Evora, but even more so in the Evora S. Press the dash-mounted Sport button and maximum rpms increase from 6,800 to 7,200 rpm. The suspension of the Evora S is stiffer than that of its stable mate and of the Elise as well.

Both Evora models reside in the sports car marketplace as the only mid-engine 2+2 production vehicle. Evora vehicles are assembled and even painted by hand, with no robotics involved at Lotus’ Hethel Manufacturing Facility in Norfolk, U.K. The Evora and Evora S are designed for drivers who want an exotic, stunningly styled, performance oriented vehicle. And, coverage includes a 3-year/36,000-mile limited vehicle warranty with an 8-year chassis perforation warranty. There are currently 40 U.S. dealers and 3 Canadian dealers in the North American market.

Perhaps best of all, Lotus now offers a model that fits drivers who are well over 6 feet tall, with more to come. And there’s more to come, with a V8-powered Esprit currently in development. There’s even the possibility of an open-top version of the Evora on the horizon, with the actual top configuration yet to be determined. An IPS version Evora will bow soon, with a six-speed automatic gearbox that will allow the driver to switch between automatic and manual paddle shift operation. Sadly for some, both the Elise and Exige will soon be phasing out of the Lotus lineup forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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