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Arregueti

R&T 2020 Performance Car of the Year - Evora GT

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I came across this and thought it was worth sharing here:

The Evora GT in R&T’s 2020 PCOTY

It makes for a long read, so I cut to the extracts relevant to the Evora:

(A surprising winner, too. This seems to be a trend lately)

Quote

No one accused the Lotus of blending into anything. The car seemed to have dropped in from a different dimension. Or at least a different time. The Evora GT is a snapshot of sports cars from 10 years ago, bare and alive, a minor evolution of a relatively simple platform that debuted in 2009.

It’s weirdly bad at being a car. The seats are mounted a bit too high. The stereo is an aftermarket afterthought. The ignition sequence is an annoying secret handshake—a series of unintuitive button presses to disable the factory alarm—designed to make you look like an idiot at the valet. The rearview mirror provides a spectacular view of the engine’s wastegate actuator and nothing else. It’s loud. And none of that mattered, because the Evora is that good. The GT’s supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 is the same Toyota engine Lotus has used for years, but it sings. As I chased the Corvette up Northern California’s Donner Pass in second gear, roadside granite bluffs bounced the noise back through the open windows, the blower whine crawling around in my lap. On track, the gears felt a little long, the cable-shifted six-speed too clunky for quick shifts, but on the street, the gearbox was divine. It’s the car most of us would have in our garage.

“Fast, winding canyons are like sailing or skiing or ice-skating,” Smith said. “Just dancing. You choose the flow and the Lotus serves it up on a platter.”

There is magic here, and not from electronic trickery. No electronically adjustable shocks or computer-controlled differentials, just careful geometry and tuning. The stuff that has long made Lotus, Lotus. Unlike others in this group, the Evora demanded something of the driver. Skill was necessary for quick laps, but the car never punished a lack of it. You need more than a pulse to make an Evora circle a road course. But that was also true of another machine.

 

And rhe relevant extract from the conclusions:

 

Quote

As we sat around a table discussing the week, competitors dropped from contention one by one. The McLaren, for all its supercar glory, could be simultaneously dull and exhausting at a public pace. Gearbox complaints felled the Corvette from grace; every judge wanted an honest manual in place of the dual-clutch, in part because the manual C7 in similar trim was more joyous and alive. And the 911, so close to perfect, still felt big on those back roads. The Lotus, with its wailing V-6, missed the mark in refinement and, like the GT-R, is an old car trying to stay young, not so much moving the sports-car game forward as preserving it in amber. Even the Miata came up short, hamstrung by a folding hardtop that makes installation of a proper roll bar difficult—necessary hardware if you want to take the car to the track.

 

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I don't believe for one second they really think the 'winner' was the best/most enjoyable car to drive of the line up they had. Just making a statement which is really wasting everyone's time. Still, US journos always seem to enjoy driving Lotus cars, even if they all say pretty much the same thing every time.

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I agree. It is probably a statement about simpler affordable cars (on which I can agree). On the other hand, they included the quote below about the Lotus, which sounds like picking a winner to me, but chose a different car. Hard to understand when you normally decide with your wallet.

9 hours ago, Arregueti said:

It’s the car most of us would have in our garage.

 

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The 400 came second to the Honda NSX in 2017 and to be highly praised here says a lot for the basic platform. 

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At least no-one can accuse them of pro-British bias. Trump voters will be incensed by a Korean hatchback ‘beating’ the new Corvette. Maybe that’s the idea - to get everyone talking about R&T. Seems to be working!

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I think I can imagine the Hyundai being the winner, particularly if it's an automotive journalist(s) judging them. I think performance cars can get tiring if you drive them all the time, and the freshness of a car that's fun and exciting to drive but also one that you're able to (somewhat) sensibly exploit is easily enough to make it stand out. 

I largely agree with the Evora comments too. Driving experience? Phenomenal. Mechanical construction? Brilliant. Cabin construction, materials, feel and construction? Not up to what you might expect in a one hundred thousand pound car, which they can easily be, mine was.

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Says it all though. Lotus need to get moving forward.

The Lotus, with its wailing V-6, missed the mark in refinement and, like the GT-R, is an old car trying to stay young, not so much moving the sports-car game forward as preserving it in amber.

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Moving forward to where? Or towards what out of interest?

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What the Evora needs most is a better interior. If it had even the same quality cabin as a 3-series BMW (not even a new one; maybe E90-era) Lotus would sell so many more, I reckon.

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More modern interior gadgets are very likely, lower C of G less so. A DSG auto would be considered by an increasing number to be a step back in terms of driver engagement but would probably help sales.

Lotus' ambition to sell far more cars in the future means they will likely follow the lead taken by Ferrari and others to make their cars easy to drive for less skilled drivers. That is a common trend throughout the industry but most things I have read lately say this is coming at the expense of driver engagement. Fast cars are in general getting faster, easier, safer, but less involving. Progress for many but not everyone.

The first really all-new Lotus is still a very long way off but it's likely to be auto only and have electric steering as both are necessary for autonomous driving tech, something Geely is very into. Seems to completely miss the entire point of a Lotus to me but what do I know?

I like the idea of a longitudinally mounted V6 in an Evora chassis, quite happy with the same V6 (or a version of it) but mounted North-South and lower if possible sounds like an improvement but it would very likely be considered of little to no benefit to the vast majority of car buyers and not worth re-engineering cost. I really don't think any such thing is of any concern to Lotus at this time. Daily useability, ease of ingress/egress and interior tech are the priorities. I happen to know that it will look jaw dropping too. But a major step on as a pure drivers car? I haven't heard anything yet to suggest that it will be.

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8 minutes ago, EGTE said:

What the Evora needs most is a better interior. If it had even the same quality cabin as a 3-series BMW (not even a new one; maybe E90-era) Lotus would sell so many more, I reckon.

this exactly.  While I know most people on these forums poke fun at people who want a better interior, the reality is the evora that is on sale is no longer fit for purpose on the inside, especially at the quoted list price.  This is the aspect of the Geely take over I am most interested to see influence Lotus.  I have read today that apparently a last hurrah of the Evora in its current form but with a properly updated interior and better entry/exit will be debuted at some point next year.  I really hope this is true.

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I think the S1 Evora had a pretty amazing interior by the standards of 2009, certainly a more interesting place to be than an E90 BMW, so not convinced it's that simple.

Bigger problem is the high build cost. The Evora is expensive to make so has to be expensive to buy if Lotus are to make a profit. Economies of scale has a lot to do with it, suppliers holding Lotus to ransom post JMG is another factor. On paper the Evora doesn't sell itself. It has to be driven before it makes any sense to the few buyers who are even aware it exists. So we are left with a tiny number of people already. You could have Apple design the interior and it wouldn't automatically send sales through the roof. Tough market out there with an awful lot of less risky/quirky/left field options for someone with £80k in their pocket.

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Maybe I’m blind to it but I’ve loved the interiors in both my S1 and 400.. the interior in my e90 M3 was a big pile of creaky plastic crap

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I wouldn’t mind some more guages, nicer indicator stalks and matching switch gear illumination, I still think the pre 400 cars have the edge inside but generally always very happy to get back into my Evora.

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52 minutes ago, C8RKH said:

.......... that the world is not flat, but it curves.

Really? Bugger!

I just had t-shirts printed.

  • Haha 1

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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1 hour ago, C8RKH said:

I think the interior is fine. I really do.

It's actually quite nicely shaped. It's well finished. To me, it's a sports car. It's what a sports car should be. 

Yes, a climate system would be nice, but not essential.

Yes, an inbuilt ICE might be nice. But it's not essential and you audiophiles would just bitch and moan because it would be much harder/impossible to fettle/upgrade.

Have a real look at an early Tesla S. Look beyond the oo rrr of the 55" plasma lcd hd 4k TV display in the middle and it's actually quite meh.

I've looked at Audis - I mean, even the R8 - the interior screams much more boardroom than sports car and black plastic everywnere - plastic is plastic to me.

It's funny, but quite a few people on here constantly whinge about the interior, however, everyone single person, young or old, who has jumped into my 410 Sport for a wee looksee has commented POSITIVELY about the interior and what a special place it feels. They have all loved it and this includes some serious petrolheads with everything from M5's, to R8's, Nissan GTRs, Aston Vanquish, M3, M4s, etc. In fact everything bar a Porsche - I refuse to let Porsche owners sully my car.

I don't think the interior is the issue at all. To be frank, it's rollocks. The issue is that the majority, including people who say they are interested in cars, have no idea. No clue. No inkling. That the Evora exists. WTF it is. What it looks like. How bloody wonderful it is too drive.

They have been marketed into submission by the German brands that a sports car needs to be heavy.Have twin turbos. That twin turbo diesel is good in a sports car. That they must be heavy, larder, dull and bland. 

Seeing an Evora is their wake up moment. The first time they are given evidence that the world is not flat, but it curves.

Very well said. I really like the whole car (400) as it is, Ive said it before addnorsium, I love the simplicity of the car. What was the term used in R&T PCY posted above " There is magic here, and not from electronic trickery"

I disagree with the comments about the height of the seat, Not sure whats going on there, is everyone including the R&T testers 6'5", Matt Farah is 6 3", I'm the same height as CABC, except I have ducks disease and sit as high as a 6' person, I need to have seat all the way forward and the track ramp up as the seat moves forward, bit annoying moving the seat back and forward to access and exit but to me that part of how special the car is to me and adds to the "event" when I drive the car. 

The GT wasn't bagged for the Toyota V6 this time "The GT’s supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 is the same Toyota engine Lotus has used for years, but it sings".  No one knocks the Pagani cars for using Mercedes lumps or the Volvo V8 used in the Noble 600, now that would be nice in the next Esprit.... 

 

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Yes, but you are all missing my point (and RT's). You tell me how good the Evora is. This I know, I'm on my second one. What I want to know is what the next 'better' car is going to be, or is the Evora the last car that Lotus will ever make and stay trapped in amber?

 

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Don't get me wrong; I really like the interior of my NA and later models such as 410 and 430 are way better still. However, the head-unit is quite poor, the airbags bulge out of the fascia and there are some very basic bits down near the floor. It doesn't put me off (at all!), but the press often mention the exposed screws and little things like that, which mass-produced cars just don't have. Then they recommend a Porsche, of course.......

I hope Geely bring the investment that allows Lotus interiors to get to the standard whereby non Lotus-enthusiastic drivers will consider them more mainstream, which would then bring more buyers and allow economies of scale to begin to play on the build-costs, too (good point on that, Jonny).

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No doubt the moment Lotus go full TFT dash then car buyers will rediscover a passion for precision analogue guages that won’t look out of date within 6 months.

I’m a big Aston Martin fan and was very fortunate to own a V12 Vantage. The interiors from that era had their ergonomic quirks and challenges but the Breitling inspired analog dials were exquisite. The new Aston interiors are a massive step backwards for me. Merc switchgear works well I’m sure but it’s a case of be careful what you wish for with Lotus. I would genuinely prefer a 2010 DBS to the latest one which is much faster of course but worse in every single other way that matters to me. Auto only, hideous interior, bigger, much heavier, electric steering. Audi R8 seems to be losing something with every new version too, original with the side blades was a great piece of design. 911 just gets bigger, heavier and more like a Panamera. 718 Boxster/Cayman completely inferior to its flat 6 predecessor in all respects other than straight line speed and mpg. Sales have been disastrous by Porsche standards. I’m not sure which new cars people are hoping Lotus will emulate? 

 

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V12 Vantage interior would do fine (except for the naff "power, beauty, soul" bit).

Also 997-era 911 would be perfectly acceptable, although I'm only saying that to wind up C8RKH 🙂

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