By Matt Degen
Like a jumbo shrimp, the Evora is the biggest vehicle from British automaker Lotus. Though large by Lotus standards, the Evora is still a diminutive car by U.S. ones. Like the even smaller Elise and Exige that preceded it, the Evora excels at nimble handling vs. brute power. Unlike those past 2-seaters, the Evora can be had with a pair of rear seats, but they are best thought of as holders for parcels, not people. Compared to past Lotus sports cars, the Evora has a quieter interior and an improved ride. At nearly $70,000 and up, the Evora's minimalism isn't cheap. It comes with style and exclusivity, but also a smaller dealer network and far less frills than a Porsche Cayman, BMW M3 or Audi S5.
If your ideal sports car is a rear-wheel-drive exotic that does more with less, the Evora is worth a look. Though big by Lotus standards, the Evora is small, lightweight, extremely agile and even fuel efficient compared to bigger and more muscular rivals.
If you need to carry grown humans in the rear seat, desire the latest technology or seek accessibility to a vast dealer network, look beyond the Lotus Evora. The less expensive Porsche Cayman offers similar performance and a better ride, while the brawny BMW M3 and Audi S5 are more spacious.
After receiving an optional automatic transmission in 2012, the low-volume Lotus Evora carries over mostly unchanged for model year 2013.
Driving Impressions For those who love the thrill of racing on a track, the Lotus Evora is supremely satisfying. With its strong V6 propelling a lightweight body, the Evora is very quick,...hitting 60 mph in five seconds or less and supercharged Evora S models reaching that speed in the mid-4-second range. But the Evora embraces its character most when tackling twisty roads. Precision is the name of the game here. The Evora has an almost telepathic ability to respond to driver input. Steering feel is splendid, and the wheel provides constant and accurate feedback. Brake and throttle reaction are equally instantaneous. Unfortunately, the Evora's 6-speed manual transmission is a bit clunky and has long throws. The optional 6-speed automatic is smoother but far from the best out there. Potential Evora owners should know that getting in and out of the low vehicle requires acts of dexterity, and that rear blind spots are pronounced.
For this larger car, Lotus went with a larger engine, straying from the 4-cylinder units used in past cars. This V6 comes from Toyota and is a relative to the one used in America's best-selling car, the Camry. That's good news when it comes to reliability.
With its striking wedge-like profile, the 2013 Lotus Evora looks like nothing else on the road. Add to that the fact that Evoras are rare to begin with, and you get a car that's an immediate attention-grabber and conversation starter. Expect a prized spot in the valet line.
Judging by its tidy proportions, it should come as no shock that the Evora's cabin could euphemistically be called "cozy." Potential owners may want to practice yoga to get used to the bending required to enter and exit, but once inside, driver and front passenger will find well-bolstered leather Recaro seats. The Evora is available as a 2+2, but the rear seats are extremely cramped. Just consider it storage area. Up front, buttons for everything from seat heat to putting the car in drive are classy but, like the rest of the cabin, rather Spartan. A tiny rear window and thick pillars hinder visibility.
At about 171 inches in length, the 2012 Evora is large for a Lotus, but still small by U.S. car standards. For comparison, it's about eight inches shorter than a Honda Civic sedan. The Evora is low and wide, similar to the race cars that inspired it. Elongated headlight housings create visual drama up front even when the Evora's bright bi-xenon headlights are off. Large side air ducts sit directly behind each door, while the Evora's rear haunches extend to lend this little car a more muscular look. A built-in spoiler beautifully arcs across the rear end, bookended by circular taillights with built-in turn indicators.
The 2013 Evora's emphasis is on tearing up twisty roads, not coddling passengers with the latest creature comforts. That said, Evora owners won't feel totally deprived while ripping up asphalt. The Evora comes with leather-trimmed Recaro sport seats in front, Alpine AM/FM/CD player with iPod connectivity, AP Racing 4-piston brake calipers, and 18-inch wheels up front and 19-inch wheels in the rear. Performance-oriented Pirelli P-Zero tires are also standard issue for this corner-carver. Evora S models feature a Harrop supercharger for additional power, black door mirrors, and the Sport Pack with cross-drilled brakes and switchable Sport mode for quicker throttle response.
Upgrades for the 2013 Lotus Evora include the 2+2 configuration that adds a pair of tiny rear seats, a 6-speed automatic transmission, larger wheels, heated front seats, rearview camera, and several sport packages with visual and performance enhancements. A Tech Pack includes a navigation system, 7-inch touch-screen display, upgraded 100-watt audio system with DVD player, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and parking sensors.
All 2013 Lotus Evora models use a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V6. The regular Evora model's engine makes 276 horsepower, while the Evora S employs a supercharger that brings the pony count to a robust 345. All Evora models have a mid-engine, rear-drive layout. Top speed for the naturally aspirated Evora is 163 mph, while supercharged models max out at 178 mph. The optional 6-speed automatic transmission with Intelligent Precision Shift (IPS) increases fuel economy but slightly lowers acceleration time and top speed.
276 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (manual), 20/28 mpg (automatic)
3.5-liter supercharged V6
345 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 mpg (manual), 19/28 mpg (automatic)
A 2013 Lotus Evora with the naturally aspirated V6 and two seats has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $68,285. The higher-powered Evora S with the supercharged engine adds over $10,000 to the bottom line for an MSRP of $78,585. At these prices, even an entry Evora costs thousands more than a Porsche Cayman S, BMW M3 and Audi S5, and is in line with the fire-breathing Audi RS5. While the Evora may offer an air of exclusivity not found in those rivals, it has far fewer creature comforts. If last year's version of this low-volume model is any indicator, the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price isn't far off from what the manufacturer is asking. The Lotus Evora is a rare vehicle introduced just three years ago, and its resale value is difficult to predict. So far, though, past models' values are holding up well.
By Evora S (CA) on Friday, January 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "An extremely well balanced chassis."
Cons: "A tricky entry and exit from the cabin !"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The Evora has an extremely competent chassis, fantastic braking and a beautifully designed composite exterior. Handling point to point is phenomenal, and on track will happily keep up with far more expensive counterparts. The interior, with premium and tech pack is a nicely appointed cabin. On the road it always generates lots of attention."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Lotus Driver (UT) on Monday, October 22, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Most fun you can have in a car"
Cons: "seems a little cheap and rough around the edges"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car new in 2011, and take it out on the weekends. The S model not crazy fast, but it gets the job done. The handling is amazing. It is a little rough around the edges (fit and trim). But then I expected that in a handmade car. It is a little hard to get in and out, but comfortable to drive once you get in. The back seats hold a small suitcase, but no real person could sit in them. Overall though I love the car."
11 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By justaguy (CA) on Thursday, December 22, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "world-leading handling, looks, exclusivity"
Cons: "fit and finish, clutch issues, poor support"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Based on what I paid, the power is a little lacking. At $84k, the 4.9 sec 0-60 is underwhelming. Even worse, the S upgrade only takes the 0-60 time down by .3 seconds to 4.6 seconds. Anyway, the car has not held up as well as it should in the 18 months I've owned the car. I have had it in the shop about 6 times now for various fit and finish issues, and one major issue, which involved changing out the entire clutch, which took over 4 weeks to complete. It seems Lotus is very slow at providing parts to their US dealers for repairs. Yes the handling is superb, but there is more to this car than just that. Otherwise, I could spend 1/3 the money and gotten myself an Elise for ~30k. This is a true luxury automobile with a very comfortable, quiet ride and motor. I just wished the quality lived up to the price. From a value standpoint, this is the kind of car that must steal your heart in order to steal your wallet."
26 people out of 30 found this review helpful