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2012 Lotus Evora

Overview
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2012 Lotus Evora Review

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British automaker Lotus has long been known for sports cars that rely on compact, lightweight chassis and small-but-powerful engines vs. the larger platforms and big, fuel-thirsty engines found in many rivals. But these qualities that make Lotus vehicles nimble on racetracks and twisty roads also result in cramped interiors and stiff rides. With the Evora, Lotus has created a larger car that addresses these issues by offering extra room and more comfort, yet retains its flingable nature. Like the outgoing Elise and Exige, the 2012 Lotus Evora coupe features a mid-engine/rear-wheel-drive configuration. The engine in the Evora, though, is a bigger, Toyota-derived V6. The Evora is offered as a 2-seater with storage in back or as a 2+2 whose two rear seats are child-only. An S variant offers more power from its supercharged engine.

You'll Like This Car If...

If your idea of a sports car is one that is lightweight, very nimble and stands out even among thrill machines costing $70,000 and up, the Lotus Evora is worth a look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While more livable than past Lotuses, the Evora still has plenty of compromises if you intend to use it as a daily driver. A Porsche Cayman or BMW Z4 can offer similar performance and a better ride. Also, the exclusivity of the Lotus also means a smaller dealer network when maintenance and repairs are required.

What's New for 2012

2012 Lotus Evora and Evora S models are now available with a 6-speed automatic transmission called Intelligent Precision Shift, or IPS. Lotus says the system will adapt to your driving style, and it features steering-wheel-mounted paddles that allow manual shifting.

Driving the Evora
Driving Impressions

Like other Lotus vehicles, the 2012 Evora is quick and highly maneuverable. What sets this one apart from others is that it’s more comfortable. While the Evora may not be...

... your first choice for a cross-country trip, the car is tolerable for going moderate distances. With the naturally aspirated 276-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, the 2012 Evora can hit 60 mph in five seconds or less, depending on transmission. The 2012 Evora S, with a supercharged version of the engine – making 345 horsepower – can do it in as little as 4.4 seconds. The Evora’s 6-speed manual transmission feels a little clunky and has long throws, while the automatic is a bit smoother but far from the best out there. Braking, meanwhile, is excellent. Potential Evora owners should be aware that entering and exiting this small vehicle can be an awkward dance, and the footwell and pedal position feel cramped. Also, blind spots to the rear are pronounced.

V6 ENGINE
For this larger car, Lotus went with a larger engine, straying from the 4-cylinder units used in past cars, like the Elise. 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.

DESIGN
The wedge-like Lotus Evora looks like nothing else on the road. Add in the fact that Lotuses are relatively obscure to begin with, and you get a car that’s an immediate attention-grabber and quite the conversation piece.

2012 Lotus Evora Details
Interior

Not surprisingly, the Evora’s minimalist nature extends to its cabin. Once you clamber inside, the driver and passenger seats are well-bolstered. As for Evoras with the 2+2 configuration, even Lotus admits the small back seats are really just meant for children. Back up front, functions like the climate system are controlled via large, circular knobs and a few buttons. In one sense that’s refreshingly simple, in another it feels out of place for a car of this price. The optional navigation system, too, is rather plain and has just so-so resolution. A tiny rear window and thick rear pillars create blinds spots that hinder visibility.

Exterior

At about 171 inches in length, the 2012 Evora is large for a Lotus, but still small by U.S. car standards. The Evora sits low and wide, akin to the racecars that inspired it. The Evora’s front is defined by elongated headlights that stretch half the length of its hood. Large side air ducts sit high and directly aft of each door, while the rear haunches extend outward and have a very muscular look. At the rear is an integrated spoiler and center-mounted exhaust. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard up front, with 19-inch wheels at the rear.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Performance is the name of the game for this car, so it’s no surprise that standard features for 2012 Lotus Evora models favor that aspect over creature comforts. All models employ a 3.5-liter V6 engine, ventilated brakes with AP Racing 4-piston calipers and bi-xenon headlights. Inside are Recaro racing-style seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and Alpine AM/FM/CD player with iPod connectivity.

Optional Equipment

The Lotus Evora can be upgraded with a variety of packages. The Premium Pack adds accoutrements such as a leather-clad interior, while the Tech Pack includes a 7-inch touch-screen display, upgraded speakers and a 100-watt amplifier and DVD player. Other options include navigation, two small rear seats, a 6-speed automatic transmission, heated front seats, and a backup camera.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Lotus Evora uses a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V6 that makes 276 horsepower, while the Evora S supercharges that same engine to make a robust 345 horsepower. All Evora models use a mid-engine, rear-drive layout. The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual. In a change from its usual course, Lotus offers a 6-speed automatic transmission in the Evora that achieves better fuel economy than the manual gearbox.

3.5-liter V6
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)

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