October 22, 2014

Lotus Evora Long Term Test – Sport & Paddles

I’ve driven this particular Evora for the best part of 3 months now and it’s certainly got me hooked. Perhaps it’s the summer weather (those 3 or 4 sunny days we’ve had this year!), perhaps it’s the fact I’m near the end of the year long loan of Evora’s from Lotus or perhaps it’s that when in Sport mode and using the paddles this car is hilariously quick and great fun to drive! Whichever it is, I’m finding that ‘just popping out for a quick drive’ is a common utterance, a destination is not required and just-for-fun driving is the essence of what this car can offer.

The downside to this is that there’s not much that’s going to be able to replace this car. The power from the supercharged V6 is road shrinking, the armfuls of torque available rarely leave you caught out and the much anticipated ‘crack’ from the exhaust on full throttle upshifts is audible gold. Finding out where the grip limit is on a deserted roundabout is a delightful experience and it’s a shame that I’ve not been able to track the car as I’m sure the revised suspension geometry and uprated bushes of the MY12 Evora would make this a devastatingly fun track car, certainly for me and my abilities as a driver.

Since the car was first picked up there have been very few niggles, it seems that almost 3 years into production (the first car was handed over on the 2nd Sept 2009) there not much which goes wrong with production cars. From the many owners on our forums there are occasionally some teething problems but they’re few and far between now, perhaps some are to be expected on what are still hand-built sports cars. With the early cars coming out of warranty we expect to see more hitting the tracks and being subject to independent servicing and aftermarket upgrades soon, time will tell if this takes any toll on the Evora. This particular car did have a misfire on one cylinder, once, and that’s been it to date in almost 3,000 miles of driving so reliability has been spot on. With the car approaching 9,000 miles the rear tyres are soon to be changed, the bespoke (LS marked) 275/30 ZR 20 P-Zero Corsa’s don’t come cheap either at £786 a piece from a Lotus dealer although they can be found cheaper elsewhere by shopping around. The other main cost is fuel and I’m still seeing the computer on 12-13MPG around town and 15-18MPG on an A and B-road run, somewhere between 325 and 375 miles from a 50l (usable) tank of fuel once mixed in with motorway miles. Not many people will buy a forced induction V6 with economy in mind and the upside is that you do get a lot of fun for your money, although the ‘not much slower’ naturally aspirated car does seem to use substantially less fuel, perhaps something to bear in mind if you’re considering a purchase and plan on lots of town driving and stop start commuting.

The MY12 interior improvements are still very impressive as time has gone on. The sports seats look great, are hugely comfortable and give all the support you’ll ever need and the darker cabin works for me, it just feels classier, more expensive. The Pioneer head unit is still a pleasure to use, in fact if you wish you can upgrade the software on the F930 to the latest version (F940) for a small fee which makes it even better again and able to run iPhone apps on the head unit along with updated mapping technology, now using NAVTEQ! Obviously I can’t do this as it’s not my car but there’s some owners thoughts and some screen shots on our forums here. This new model will be a rolling change to the Evora production line so expect very new cars to be fitted with the newest Pioneer unit, great news.

Something which is still as refreshing as the time a year ago when I began this test is the amount of attention the car still gets. I’ve owned a Lotus continuously for over a decade and am used to people stopping to stare but even in a parade of high end cars, the Evora draws a good crowd. It still happens that I’ve caught people having a quick snap taken next to the car or peering through the window and almost everyone when I’m on the road wants to take an extra second or two to take the car in, I’ve been told by people following on a journey that a mexican wave of heads turn behind the car to track it as we drive along. Nice if you like that sort of thing!

Not long now until the car returns to Hethel so I’m going to be making the most of the time I have left, in fact I’m off out for a drive now. Where? No-where in particular but I’ll be grinning when I arrive.

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