September 19, 2014

Lotus Evora Long Term Test – Moving on up…

After 3 months and 5,000+ miles in the Evora NA it’s time to move into something a little more pacey! Before I go into all the details though I just wanted to wrap up the final month with the canyon red car, the very one Mr Alesi himself so famously graced in ‘that’ picture. Over the period of time I’ve had the car, it was good, very good. In terms of what I expected from the car it covered its bases and then some especially with regards to it’s dynamic ability on the roads and how easy it is to drive well. The ride and handling is very true to form of a Lotus if not the new benchmark, the power delivery is very linear and braking is outstanding, a true sports car. I did say in the last update that the interior is much nicer than it’s generally given credit for (but maintain that the Alpine ‘infotainment’ system was a mistake to be in such a class of car, the removable Blackbird satnav unit causing most of its problems) and I’ll happily stand by that even having seen the MY12 improvements. Overall, from a performance car drivers perspective it is an attractive proposition to own. Residual values are still strong, certainly very few problems with the car and remaining warranty means peace of mind. In other news, my Esprit is up for sale, I can see an Evora in my future once this long term test is over, they really are that good!

The Evora S was delivered by Lotus and F1 legend Martin Donnelly which was nice! I’d like to start by explaining the differences between the NA car and the S as it’s not just had a supercharger bolted onto the top of the engine. The main difference is the suspension setup, described by a friend as being made out of ‘magic’ on a recent drive! The front suspension has 10% stiffer bushes in a couple of locations and the castor increased through a new front upper wishbone. All rear bushes are 10% stiffer, there’s a small 0.5mm increase to the ARB thickness and revised static suspension geometry complete the revisions at the back of the car. This leads to:

Front Suspension
– 12% Reduction in Camber Compliance (less Camber Loss whilst cornering)
– 22% Increase in Lateral Stiffness at the Tyre Contact Patch
Rear Suspension
– 19% Reduction in Camber Compliance (less Camber Loss whilst cornering)
– 32% Increase in Lateral Stiffness at the Tyre Contact Patch
– 1.5% Increase in Rear Roll Stiffness

In real terms, a stiffer car with less body roll, a more predictable car through the corner with faster turn in and more grip. And I thought it was good before…!

Since having the car I’ve had the chance to take it to the Frankfurt IAA so have experienced a long journey, that was 900 miles in less than a day and a half and it’s also been to Devon with me so another 900 miles in 3 days this weekend, we’ve done over 2,000 miles in the first 2 weeks! This is the non-premium pack model but the half leather works very well and I like it, plus I must say the addition of heated seats is very welcome! The car was very comfy for the 15 hours to Frankfurt and back, the continental roads seemed quieter on the tyres too and we had the chance to try some very high speed driving through Germany on the unrestricted sections of Autobahn. It’s on these roads that the supercharger becomes evident as the car finds it much easier to attain the very high speeds and retains a decent reserve of power where the NA is running out of steam and we managed a top speed of 157mph although I’m confident that the car had more as traffic would appear causing us to slow. The car was very stable and easy to drive at these speeds and the brakes were out of this world. A 150mph+ to 70mph deceleration is just without fuss or drama, the car pulls up with huge amounts of force but no vibration, no noise and not the smallest hint of fade, it’s a very smooth process and feels smooth through your foot, very reassuring. Even when the roads started to tighten but were still unrestricted the car was very easy to drive, the Evora didn’t convey the drama that the speedo seemed to be saying.

The power now seems more ‘supercar’ than with the NA car, it’s terrifically fast and maintains a huge wave of torque throughout the rev range. This means that even at decent speeds you’ve a solid reserve of power making the car incredible to drive while ‘pressing on’ as it seems to always have some more for you when you need it and when exiting corners at speeds means there’s more power, more readily available to power you out past the apex. You feel like your riding the front of a huge bubble of boost ready to propel you forwards, it’s properly good fun. This car is on optional 19″ & 20″ wheels too which are fitted with the hugely expensive bespoke P-Zero Corsa tyres, think over £1,500 for a pair of rears from Lotus (they can be bought for much cheaper elsewhere though, shop around!). They are non-matched patterns on the front and rear axles but give better wet weather performance and it would seem to me, better braking, certainly in the dry.

In case you’re out and about and spot an Evora, you can tell if it’s an S or not from the larger raked rear diffuser, the ‘S’ on the back (!) and black mirror covers. Also, when you start the car (and it’s warm), the engine will let off a little ‘rev’ to let you know it’s ready to play and when the Sport button is depressed at tickover the RPM increases menacingly and the car seems to vibrate more under you, more like a ‘raged edge’ sports car would. It just makes it a little more fun really, nice touches I thought.

The Alpine unit has been replaced with the later version of the same, this one without the Blackbird removable satnav. I can actually have a decent conversation at speed without shouting and it’s not crashed yet so all good there. I do think that this car is missing a seal on the boot though as my luggage got very wet in the rain and the carpets are still damp, this will be investigated and rectified under warranty along with a speed related noise from the A-pillar which I believe is not uncommon and a simple job to fix.

Overall, with the improvements to the car and the continuous production improvements (there are now sidelight and dipped beam tell-tales on the rev counter, incredibly handy!) the Evora is really coming into it’s own. The next few months with the S are going to be very enjoyable, next update in a couple of weeks!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAyIEK39Z-c

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Comments

  1. Anyone know what road that is in the video?

  2. It’s in Wales somewhere Matt, the road has ‘ARAF’ painted on it, Welsh for slow! 
    I’ll see if I can find out more! 

  3. Mmmm, looks like fun.


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