One of the legendary British sports car builders, Lotus has had a 73-year history of lightweight supremacy, creating legends like the 7, Elite, Elan, Esprit, and many others. Founded by legendary engineer Colin Chapman to build racecars, with their street machines being made to help fund those efforts, Lotus' cars have mainly appealed to and been aimed at track-focused buyers who can put up with a rough and spartan experience in order to reap the benefits of their lightweight design. Not every Lotus is entirely like this, though, and while the Esprit filled the mid-engine, more comfortable Lotus supercar position in the past, the Evora does so today.
Made as more of a grand touring-oriented 2+2, the Evora was introduced in 2009, filling in as a car with all the Lotus hallmarks but a driving experience that won't require a visit to the chiropractor afterward. Also packing a much nicer and better-equipped interior compared to the pure function forward Elise and Exige of the time, the Evora is still an exotic mid-engine design that packs some incredible handling - as a Lotus should. Evolving since then, the latest Evora, the Evora GT, continues the more civilized Lotus experience, carrying over the 2020 update to it without much change.
The Evora's Evolution Continues
With the Elise debuting in 1995, and the Exige a variant of it, the Evora was the first entirely new car from Lotus in 14 years when it debuted, and would prove its potential greatly in the following years. Today, the Elise and Exige are both discontinued, and Lotus' only other cars are now the incredible electric Evija hypercar - which is the first step in Lotus' plan to create an all-electric lineup, and upcoming Emiya to accompany the Evora. Back to the Evora though, as since its 2009 introduction its steadily evolved, gaining a new aggressive design, updated interior, more performance and less weight over the years.
Introducing the supercharged Evora S in 2010, this performance jump would be followed up by the even faster supercharged Evora 400, and its successor the Evora 410, then the awesome GT430 and its variants. In 2019, the Evora, as it now was introduced, called the Evora GT it replaced the other Evora variants, while carrying over the advancements they made along the way. Interestingly, while the Evora has its roots in lightweight performance, its main alternative for a mid-engine, touring based 2+2 happened to be the now-discontinued hybrid electric BMW i8, and now Lotus is going down the electric performance route.
Performance And Mechanical
Regardless of similarities to the discontinued i8, Since its debut in 2009, the Evora has been powered by a modern Lotus hallmark - a Toyota engine. Namely, the 2GR-FE 3.4 L V6, the Evora S' introduced a supercharged version of it, and the Evora GT is only available with one feeding the engine. Mounted in the middle, the Evora GT's supercharged V6 pumps out a healthy 410 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque (332 lb-ft for those equipped with an automatic transmission), which isn't an impressive amount in today's horsepower crazed market but is a properly good amount for the dynamics the car offers. Pairing to either a 6-speed manual or automatic, both come with a transmission cooler, and the enthusiast delighting manual offers some awesomely crisp shift action but a rather heavy clutch.
Sending power to the rear wheels, manual-equipped Evora GTs come with a Torsen limited-slip differential to enhance the handling even further. Built on a lightweight aluminum chassis, with a composite body, the Evora GT's handling also comes from its balance, and overall weight of 3,112 lbs, a far cry from the Elise's weight of around 2,000 lbs, but over 300 lbs less than its competitor, the 3,487 lb 2021 Porsche 911. Thanks to this, and the engine's great performance, the Evora GT will crack out a 0-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds and hit a top speed of 188 mph with the manual transmission and 174 with the automatic.
Handling, of course, is the strongest point of a Lotus, and the Evora GT is no exception. With its body re-design giving 141 lb of downforce, and some 19" front, 20" rear wheels wrapped in Michelin PS2 tires, along with its weight and mid-engine balance, the Evora GT is incredibly agile, with precise and direct steering to take full advantage of the experience. Interestingly, the Evora GT uses hydraulic power steering rather than the current industry standard of the electronic type, chosen intentionally to give the most feedback while driving, as well as a progressive turn in response that makes corner-carving a blast.
Bringing things to a stop, big ventilated and cross-drilled brake rotors with AP Racing 4-piston calipers give great confidence while making full use of the Evora's performance. Equipped with Bilstein suspension dampers and Eibach springs, the Evora's ride is composed and stiff, but not too harsh, while selectable drive modes can choose how crazy you want things to get. Tuning stability control across four modes - Drive, Sport, Race, and Off, the Evora can be tamed or unleashed as you please. As well, standard active exhaust can further let you tame or unleash it, while an optional titanium exhaust system makes it even wilder, and optional adjustable suspension can help you dial it to your liking.
Interior And Practicality
As a Lotus sports car, the Evora's interior is somewhat basic and very driver-focused but has a whole lot more comfort and luxury trimmings and features than what you'd find in their more track-focused models like the Exige. One interesting option for the Evora GT, while past models came with four seats in a 2+2 style, the Evora GT comes standard with only 2, as the rear seats are now optional. That being said, even if you equip them, they aren't exactly usable for adults and are incredibly small. Packing Alcantara upholstery and Sparco carbon fiber seats upfront as standard, the padding is comfortable for a pure sports car but too thin for long trips, something the Evora's touring side falls short on. As well, the Evora GT is small inside and out, making it not a great choice for taller drivers.
Features-wise, the Evora GT similarly outclasses its discontinued Elise/Exige siblings but isn't exactly a great offering when it comes to tech. A rather simple analog dashboard is great for a driver-focused experience, and while those who enjoy this focused simplicity won't mind, the Evora GT is not competitive at all when it comes to driver assists. You do get a 7" touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, but a rather generic Alpine headunit and the only driver assist is a rear parking sensor. The front trunk has no storage, but the rear is decently volumunous.
Pricing And Trim
There's only one trim level for the Evora GT, and its base price is $98,945. That being said, there's a wide assortment of options and trim bits to deck your Evora GT out with that can bring the price much higher, as well as Lotus' Exclusive Program for a full bespoke customization. Whatever you option it with, the 2021 Lotus Evora GT comes with a three year/36,000-mile limited warranty, as well as a three year/36,000 powertrain warranty.