Lotus Evora 2+2 Ambleside
Lotus Evora 2+2
Although Lotus has a rich history of 2+2 models, the Evora is its first mid-engined attempt. The company’s Elan+2, Elite, Eclat and Excel models all had their engines at the front, so is this new layout a hit?
Designing a car with a powerplant in the middle and a roomy cabin is a tough challenge. But, from the outside, it’s one Lotus has met with great success. The Evora is both well proportioned and attractive. Making this configuration work on the inside is another matter, though. You have to clamber across a thick sill to get into the car but, thanks to its higher seating arrangement and loftier roofline, it’s easier to access than an Elise.
Settle into the excellent Recaro seats and the driving position is good, while the dash design is unique, with lots of exposed metal and leather. Our test car was also fitted with the optional Tech and Premium packs, which include an Alpine audio and sat-nav system and extra leather trim. The overall result is pleasing, but it still lacks the rock-solid build quality of the Porsche.
It’s certainly the more interesting cabin, though, and you get the added benefit of two minute rear seats. In reality, they’re too small for adults and buyers can choose to leave them out altogether, and opt for a shelf behind the front seats instead.
From the driver’s seat, the high shoulder line and tiny letter box-shaped rear screen mean visibility is poor – so the £300 optional reversing camera makes sense. But it’s the driving experience that Lotus is famed for, and the Evora doesn’t disappoint.
Its stiff chassis and light, wonderfully accurate, steering is matched by superb body control and high levels of grip. Few cars can match the constant stream of feedback you get from behind the wheel. The Evora manages to replicate the feeling of being totally connected to the road that you get in an Elise but, crucially, its suspension isolates the hard crashes and bumps that ripple through its stablemate.
So while the ride is firm, noise levels are reasonable and the Lotus strikes an excellent balance between outright handling and comfort. Add this to strong brakes, excellent traction and a slick manual gearbox, and it’s a great driver’s car.
The Toyota-sourced engine is its biggest weakness. It delivers decent performance, but – despite our car’s £1,495 sports ratio gearbox – doesn’t have the mid-range punch to match the more powerful Cayman S. The V6 also lacks character, and sounds strained at higher revs. But it’s not all bad news, as its CO2 emissions of 205g/km are class-leading. This blend of attributes makes the talented Evora great fun, but does it have the all-round ability to beat the Cayman S?