The Lotus Exige and Elise two-seaters are no longer offered in the U.S., leaving the mid-engine Evora as the only Lotus for the 2012 model year. In contrast to the high-revving four-cylinder engines used in the Elise, the Evora has a Toyota 3.5-liter V-6. Larger, heavier and more expensive than the Elise, the Evora roughly competes in price and performance with the Porsche 911. The Evora is Lotus' first modern attempt at a daily driver, with options such as a two-passenger backseat and a navigation system.
New for 2012
A Pioneer navigation and audio system is a new option, and it has voice guidance in 18 languages. A new exhaust system increases the exhaust volume above 4,700 rpm, and an available Sport button keeps the exhaust in its freer-flowing mode. Additionally, 2012 Evoras have a standard close-ratio six-speed manual transmission.
Though it bears a passing resemblance to the Exige and Elise, the Evora two-door coupe weighs about 3,000 pounds, which is roughly 1,000 pounds more than the Exige or Elise. Lotus says the car was designed to be a better daily driver than those two cars, with larger doors, narrower doorsills 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 rear wheels sit comparatively closer to the rear bumper. Exterior features include:
- Standard 18-inch wheels in front; 19-inch wheels in back
- Seven available wheel designs
- Standard bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlamps
- Lightweight aluminum chassis and aluminum and composite body
In contrast to the sparse cabin in the Elise, the Evora's cabin offers a leather-covered dashboard with genuine aluminum accents. 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 optional rear seats, however, are intended for kids. Interior features include:
- Optional rear seats
- Optional premium leather interior
- Optional navigation system
Under the Hood
Mounted behind the backseat rather than under the hood, the Evora's 3.5-liter V-6 engine comes from Toyota. It makes 276 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque in the base Evora. A supercharged version in the Evora S is rated at 345 hp and 295 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines come with a standard six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is optional. Mechanical features include:
- Rear-wheel drive
- Four-wheel-independent suspension
- 276-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (Evora)
- 345-hp, supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 (Evora S)
Safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Traction control
- Electronic stability system
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