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Evora 400 Test Drive... Thoughts


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Not my pictures, but as I now have a (tentative) collection date and everything seems solid, I'd like to introduce to you all the conclusion to my search. Some changes have been made to the car s

I come from Jap rally replica background (JDM scoob & evos). I change cars every 18 months, but have owned a '06 Impreza Spec C Type RA for 10 years, which is an absolute keeper for weekend thrash

Car is still on temporary reg, should be changing over next week

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88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

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Jury is still out. Not white, black or silver for sure. Dark grey is extremely tasteful, esp. with red leather, but perhaps a bit too subtle for me.

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James Martin (JayEmm)
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2 hours ago, JayEmm said:

Second, for whatever reason I feel like I sit a little bit too high in the car... maybe an inch and a bit... but still too high for my liking. The car doesn't feel as low as it looks. I can't recall feeling the same way when I sat in a car in the showroom. Odd.

I think the seat was raised and the sills were dropped on the 400 to make it easier to get into/out of. There was talk about this when the 400 first came out.

Buddsy

 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Did I read that they made space under the seats so passengers in the back can get their feet under them?

It's not like I'm lacking room in the car, I just like feeling a little bit lower. Not as bad as my other half's civic, damn thing feels like you're sat in a van

James Martin (JayEmm)
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50 minutes ago, JayEmm said:

Jury is still out. Not white, black or silver for sure. Dark grey is extremely tasteful, esp. with red leather, but perhaps a bit too subtle for me.

Yes, Dark Grey with red interior is the bees knees (also happens to be my ordered config).  This will be my first Lotus and so I'm new to the brand, but I've come to find that as an enthusiast group, there is a lot of love for the brighter colors on this forum.  Since mine will be my daily driver, I found the shape of the 400 attention grabbing enough that I actually wanted a color that was a little understated.  I did come dangerously close to going with the green though, just feels right on a Lotus.

As for seating position, most folks report that the alcantara seats feel a bit lower than the leather seats due to padding.  Also the dash being lowered gives the impression of sitting a tad higher.  But I'd imagine that like any couch/car seat/chair etc. the padding will compress a little over time.  Suppose that will also depend on the 'heft' of the occupants...

You are also not the first to suggest the car didn't feel fast, or feel like it had 400 HP, while others have stated that it felt very fast.  Wonder if that's a frame of reference thing, or testament to the way in which the power is delivered.  Some cars "feel" fast because of an uneven power delivery, but 0-60 doesn't reflect anything special.  Wonder if the 400 is the opposite?

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Mine should compress fairly quickly if that is the case ;)

In any case, you'll find it feels a much, much more special place to be than an M3. I am sure in the states you will get plenty of looks wherever you go, a Lotus is a pretty rare thing over there. I had a Corvette for a week and people went nuts over it.

James Martin (JayEmm)
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I can tell you that my TT RS gets WAY more attention than I ever thought it would.  I imagine a 400 would receive "rock star" attention in my part of the USA.  

I've tried to broach the issue in previous posts, but we are entering an age where horsepower just isn't going to matter as much.  A large number of sports cars are in the low 4 seconds, even high 3's for 0-60 times.  And most of them are massive overkill for public roads.  Personally, I've stopped asking how fast a car is and would rather know if it's "fun."  If it was just a matter of power and speed, I could easily ramp the power of my TT up to 450-500 hp with around 450 lb ft of torque for a fraction of the cost of upgrading to a new car.  My car with its Stage 1 upgrade is probably faster than the 400 in a straight line, but is the 400 much more fun to drive and much more involving?  I won't know for awhile as a test drive is probably months away in the US.  

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You're absolutely right. Even my other half's Civic can get me my licence lost in about 10-12 seconds, there is a limit for what's "enjoyable" power, on the road anyway.

The 400 is hugely fun. Window open, sports exhaust on and you'll be smiling from start to finish I think.

James Martin (JayEmm)
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Having test driven, and subsequently ordered an Evora 400 over the past few weeks I can say that as ridiculous as this may seem the car does not "feel" that fast. To put into comparison the car felt slower than a Mk2 RS Focus, Subaru Imprezza WRX STi, Exige S S2 and waaaaayyyy slower than a V6 Exige. The key point that I am making is "feel". Looking at the speedometer it is patently clear that the car is fast, I put down the feeling to the effortless way that the car delivers power and covers the road, in comparison to the Exige which is certainly more frenetic.

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40 minutes ago, Jim Lin said:

I am surprised that in two posts that you have made that you have commented that it's not that fast, as you drive a E46 M3 right??

It doesn't feel that fast, that's why I've said it! Yes I currently have an E46 M3, which is supposedly quite a bit down on power and quite a bit up on weight, and the Evora 400 doesn't feel much faster. Quite damning as I've recently found out my M3 is quite ill and probably down on power too!

Bear in mind, other cars which I have driven that I also say don't feel fast include: Ferrari 355, 360, Porsche 911 (996), Audi R8 V8 or V10, BMW Z4 M Coupe, TVR Tamora, Aston Martin V8 Vantage (4.7), etc...

I've only really been in two cars that I call really fast - A Corvette C6 Z06 and a modified 911 Turbo. Oh, and the Jaguar XKR-S I test drove last week. But that was uncontrollable to the point of being slightly scary.

Also note I said the Evora was a quick car, not a fast car. Point to point it would be a weapon that not much would probably be able to come near. I've also only had limited exposure to it. An M3 is dreadfully slow if you spend all your time below 3,500rpm - same for most high-revving NA cars. Hell, VTEC on my other half's car doesn't even kick in (yo) until 5,400rpm - even then you've only got about 150lb-ft of torque to play with.

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James Martin (JayEmm)
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The way I would describe it is; the 400 is very fast but its chassis and power plant are so composed and in tune that you don't notice just how fast you are going.

On my final test drive I went on a road I know reasonably well which has a nice sequence of corners, the 400 just glided through the corners, I glanced down at the speedo as the road straightened out and realised that not only was I was going 30% faster than I thought I was but I could have gone through much quicker.

With 'Ethel' traded in I am running about in SWMBO's Type R, nothing like as fast but is much 'busier' so you feel you are going quicker, it's noisier, the revs are higher, the body rolls more, chassis is twitchier and it generally hooligans around the place.

The 400 is unfussy, it sweeps through corners so easily, you don't need to brake as much which means you don't have to accelerate out the other side. Because it carries its speed so easily you don't have the contrast between braking and accelerating all of the time. Our senses generally register contrasts, without it our perspective simply recalibrates itself to the new norm. (Think frog and boiling water or James May comment after he max'd the Veyron)

First thing on the options list for me was Cruise Control, it is so easy to end up doing licence losing speeds and not realise it. ?

Tris...

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I've done the Autobahn a few times and it's amazing how pedestrian 100mph feels after having done a top speed blast.

You're absolutely right Tris, it's a ludicrously composed car - but transfers a lot of information. I felt very connected to the road, but not thrown about. It definitely rides better than either my M3 or the other half's Civic. The Civic is an incredibly stiff car.

What spec did you get your 400 in Tris?

James Martin (JayEmm)
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Great write up, I think you are spot on. My biggest issue is the seat height/ angle of seat base. The recaro's of previous evoras were much better.

The evora doesnt feel quick till you look at the speed you are doing, but the noise is epic.

Wonder if the 410 seats are better?.

 

phil

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I reckon the 410 seats probably are better. I really love the design of the Evora seats, they look awesome. Just a shame you sit high.

I asked about having 410 seats in a 400 - no dice.

Fortunately seats are relatively easy to change in a car. You could probably put the old Recaros in if you were so inclined.

James Martin (JayEmm)
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I totally agree with you guys about the car being fun.....there's not much point in having a car thats so fast that you can't use the power.....I was just surprised to hear a car with 400 bhp and sub 5 0-60 feels not fast to people.....i need a test drive!!

 

 

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33 minutes ago, JayEmm said:

Fortunately seats are relatively easy to change in a car. You could probably put the old Recaros in if you were so inclined.

The seats in my LE had 2-3mm washers between the runners and the floor. 

I remember reading some people had removed them and felt they noticed the height difference. Has any looked to see if it is the same on the 400?

Tris...

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9 hours ago, JayEmm said:

What spec did you get your 400 in Tris?

Carbon grey, with Alcatera interior, silver wheels and obviously Cruise control.

Just need time to go a bit quicker 

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Today, the Evora 400 made it to my local dealer on its tour and way to the NY Auto Show.  I got to finally test drive it.  The drive was relatively short, and I plan to go back in May when the car arrives for another test drive.  Here's my impressions from the initial test drive.  First, the positives.  It's beautiful.  The sound is crazy good.  In fact, as the day progressed, more and more police appeared in the neighborhood circling like bees.  Handles and corners well (in the limited testing I was able to do).  Now, the negatives.  I agree with what everyone is saying about it not feeling fast. I talked to the Lotus North America person who was there and the owner of the dealership and they were surprised to hear me say that.  I cannot pinpoint why it feels slow.  I am not sure if it is (a) not a quick enough throttle response (perhaps a flywheel issue), (b) not sufficient torque or torque mapping, or (b) gearing.  Either way, it's definitely fast, but the throttle doesn't feel super responsive, which is what I was expecting from Lotus.  The rear seats are very small (not surprisingly).  And the view out the back window is odd -- only the center of the window has a view with the sides being blocked by the rear structure.  Finally, the brake pedal is very high compared to the gas pedal, which is a pattern that US automakers do in family cars for safety (to make sure idiot drivers don't confuse the brake and gas).  The downside is that this pattern makes heel-toe more difficult (because the brake is so high that it's hard to reach the gas during braking).  The fact that Lotus did this was un-Lotus-like.  I truly hope that Lotus doesn't do what BMW has done -- make cars heavy and more boring in the name of selling more cars.

I wanted to be blown away and feeling like I wanted to order the car on the spot.  I came away thinking that I will wait until the car is at the dealer in May for a more extended test drive so I can explore more the things that I experienced.  I am holding my final judgment until I can test drive it again.

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I think the Evora is a car that grows on you, and doesn't necessarily blow you away on the first go (depending on your experience).

I want to say a few things I think that might be what you're feeling.

1. I am certain the car is being torque limited. It's a 3.5L V6 with a supercharger on it, 300lb-ft of torque is not a lot. BMW got 270lb-ft from the 3.2L S54 motor, admittedly a much more bespoke engine but that achieved it without any sort of forced induction. Pretty sure it would not take much to unleash much more torque, but it is probably going to be at the expense of gearbox longevity. It's also not an especially light car.

2. Throttle Response. The throttle response on this car is brilliant - in my opinion. However, it's a little bit like TVR's throttles. Being American you've probably never driven one of those. TVR didn't have traction control on their cars, but they did have a very long throttle pedal. If you're used to modern machinery, most of them have overly sharp throttle responses. The Lotus in normal mode is very good, very linear - but you need to push it ALL the way in order to get the best from it. Sport mode helps a bit too. Haven't tried race. Probably doesn't help you are coming from an Exige which is almost certainly going to be a peppier car.

3. View out the back. I put this down to it being a supercar ;) 

4. On the brake pedal. I've come across this arrangement a few times. I haven't had a lot of time to experiment, but I didn't have a lot of success heel-and-toeing either. It might be that you need to be really stamping on the brakes to put your foot in the right position for heel-and-toe. It might just not be good! I've also not driven one long enough to judge.

 

8 hours ago, Tris... said:

Carbon grey, with Alcatera interior, silver wheels and obviously Cruise control.

Just need time to go a bit quicker 

Nice! Congrats on speccing silver wheels. Not enough of those.

James Martin (JayEmm)
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Thanks James for your comments.  I am glad to hear it's a car that grows on you, and I am definitely going to go back in May when the car is at the dealer for a better test drive.  The more I think back to the driving experience and look at the specs, it does look like it's a torque issue.  The M4, for example, is 425hp with 406 ft/lbs of torque.  The Evora 400 is slightly less horsepower (though much lighter), but the torque is only 300 ft/lbs, a significant difference from the M4.  It will be interesting to see where Lotus goes from here.

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Yes it's true, 410Nm for a 3.5 litres superchrged engine is not that much (the F-type 3.0 340HP produces 450Nm!), but I bet Lotus has intentionally chosen to map the engine to maximize power rather than torque being the Evora more of a light and sporty car than a cruising GT.

Maybe they also wanted keep the torque down to limit stress to the gearbox (as you know better than me, torque not power stresses transmissions).

Personally I feel the 400 has a lot of torque especially at low revs, but that is compared to my previos Evora that was a N/A. And I'd be very disappointed to find out the engine has less power than stated on its specs because here we have a luxury tax on powerful cars that costs 20€/kW for every kW above 185. So, if the 400 has, for instance, 288 instead of the 298 stated it'd be 200€/year lost in taxes for something I don't have!:angry:

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Torque from engines has become something that is an interesting topic these days. People often talk about their love for high-revving N/A engines, like the ones Porsche, BMW, Ferrari all used to make but most people then moan about their lack of torque. The BMW M3 V8 produces around 295lb-ft of torque too, from a 4.0L V8 - and around 420bhp at full chat. Every internet forum is either praising it as the best engine ever, or worse than a diesel. It really needs driving in the top half of the rev range. The Lotus might not generate a huge torque figure, but it does generate it quite low down. Many of these high-revving V8 engines don't generate their peak torque until something like 6,000rpm.

I wonder if a lot of torque might corrupt the Lotus experience too... as mentioned I have recently driven the Jag XKR-S, about 550bhp and 500lb-ft of torque - was borderline unusable at full throttle because it just wanted to break traction. Didn't help that car lacked a proper LSD (to my knowledge). With the Lotus you are going to be using full throttle a lot more of the time and letting the brilliant Chassis do its thing. 

As a point of interest, I did some maths. The Ferrari 458, which let's face it, has an engine direct from the Gods, generates 398 lb-ft of torque at peak. It (according to wikipedia) generates 80% of peak at around 3,250. The Evora's unit is generating peak power at 3,500rpm - so at around 3,500rpm the Evora is generating a similar amount of shove to the Ferrari unit - only about 10lb-ft shy. The difference of course is the Ferrari screams its way to 9,000rpm and about 560bhp. But, that's a car which costs about three times as much as the Evora.

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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