Lotus says the new Evora is the world's first four-seat, mid-engine car. Its engine placement is one that's been used in two-seat cars to ensure optimal weight distribution and better cornering control.
In contrast to the high-revving four-cylinder engines used in the flyweight Elise and Exige, the Evora has a Toyota-sourced, 3.5-liter V-6. Larger, heavier and more expensive than either sibling, the Evora roughly competes in price and performance to the Porsche 911. It is Lotus' first modern attempt at a daily driver, too, with options such as a two-passenger backseat, a navigation system and a backup camera. A few years down the road, the automaker says to expect a convertible variant.
Though it bears a passing resemblance to the Exige and Elise, the Evora weighs 3,046 pounds, about 1,000 pounds more than either sibling. Lotus says the car was designed to be a better daily driver than the Exige or Elise, with larger doors, narrower door sills and a 2.5-inch higher seating position. Still, the Evora looks like a racecar. A low, broad nose extends far beyond the front wheels, while the rears sit comparatively closer to the rear bumper. In back, a spoiler joins the taillights, though it's far smaller than the Exige's massive wing.
The mid-mounted engine, located behind the backseat, sends exhaust out two central pipes directly below the license plate. The Evora's rear wheels measure 19 inches in diameter and wear Pirelli P-Zero high-performance P255/35ZR19 tires. The front wheels measure 18 inches and wear P225/40ZR18 P-Zeros.
In contrast to the sparse cabins in the Exige and Elise, the Evora's cabin offers a leather-covered dashboard with genuine aluminum accents. Front and center is an Alpine 7-inch touch-screen, which controls the iPod-compatible stereo, navigation system and optional backup camera. A full-leather interior, with cowhide spanning more surfaces, is optional. Luxury shoppers should note, however, that the Evora is no Mercedes SL or Jaguar XK: Heated power seats and automatic climate control are unavailable, as those features would add weight and diminish the Evora's performance, Lotus says.
The automaker says the Evora's front seats can accommodate two 6-foot-6-inch adults, and the 5.7-cubic-foot trunk can hold a full set of golf clubs. The rear seats, however, are intended for kids.
Technically behind the backseat rather than under the hood, the Evora's 3.5-liter V-6 engine comes from Toyota. It makes 276 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 258 pounds-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. The sole transmission is a six-speed manual.
Lotus says the Evora hits 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and can achieve a top speed of 162 mph. As to be expected of a car significantly larger than the Exige or Elise, the Evora uses hydraulic power steering — neither sibling has power steering at all — and its front disc brakes measure a relatively massive 13.8 inches in diameter. The rear discs are 13.1 inches.
Antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system come standard.