Haute Auto: 2011 Lotus Evora S Test Drive

In the past, I avoided any opportunity to pilot Lotus vehicles due to their exceptionally diminutive and compact size. The Exige and Elise were much like sitting on the ground in a contorted position in a confined and restricted space. Those factors not withstanding, I really wasn’t a big fan of the styling execution – particularly of the Elise, which to me resembles a flattened insect. Okay, it really isn’t that bad, and it does seem to have a loyal following – probably for its performance qualities however and not necessarily for its looks.

The aforementioned issues were eliminated when the Evora was introduced last year, looking terrific, providing 2+2 seating (optional), that’s actually possible to get into and out of without imitating a pretzel.  Well, almost! If you happen to be over 6’4” the pretzel application still applies; but once inside it’s quite roomy and comfortable. There is also a base 2+0-seating configuration available.

Both the 2011 Lotus Evora and Evora S come in coupe form, featuring only two doors, yet, four seating positions (2+2). Power for the Evora comes from a Cosworth modified and tuned, Toyota-based 3.5-liter DOHC, 24-valve V-6 with Dual VVTi, electronic returnless fuel injection and Lotus T6E engine control unit. The engine is positioned amidships in a transverse orientation and makes 276-horsepower at 6,400 rpm, while generating 258 pound feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. Motive force is metered to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, which is available in two forms – a standard ratio version, or an optional Sports ratio unit. The Evora is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 162 mph.

The Evora S on the other hand adds a non-intercooled Harrop HTV 1320 supercharger assembly (utilising Eaton Twin Vortex Series (TVS) Technology) to the already potent powerplant that, with a modest 5.5 pound boost, increases the horsepower from 276 to 345 and the torque from 258 to 295. 0-60 time for the Evora S is 4.3 seconds and the top speed capability climbs to 172 mph. Other standard equipment includes a Sport Pack with cross-drilled and vented brake discs, engine oil cooler, switchable sports mode, a sports rear diffuser, active exhaust with by-pass valve and ceramic coating, Phantom Black Wing mirrors and a 6-speed Sports-ratio transmission.

In terms of its styling, the Evora and Evora S is not unlike a mini-Ferrari in its imagery – particularly from the rear. The coupe body style is exceptionally sleek. It is indeed striking, exuding loads of sex appeal (for either gender actually). The “S” may be easily differentiated from its sibling by the exhaust – its dual exhaust is housed in a single, center-mounted exhaust outlet, while the naturally aspirated Evora features a split dual exhaust. The interior accommodates two comfortably up front and two not so comfortably (if at all) in the rear seat. Instrumentation and switchgear is logically placed for optimum user friendliness. The flat-bottomed, three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel is fat and comfortable.

My test 2010 Lotus Evora S 2+2 Coupe wore an exterior finish of Graphite Gray metallic, while the interior was done in Charcoal leather with genuine aluminum trim accents. The base price was set at $77,500 while added options such as the Sport Package, Tech Package and more increased the final count and amount to $88,125. Base sticker for the 2+0 version is $76,000. The Evora S comes with an impressive inventory of standard features and equipment, but it’s possible to upgrade and personalize one’s Evora S by adding one or more of the many available options.

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