It’s called the Evora GTE, and it’s the most powerful road-going car ever produced by Lotus Cars. It’s got roughly 440bhp, can hit 62mph in a faintly alarming four seconds dead and tops out at 167mph. It’s lighter than the already semi-anorexic base car and looks uncannily like the result of someone dipping an Evora in industrial glue and rolling it through the GT2 parts bin. It also sounds like someone has replaced the exhaust manifold with a metal drainpipe, giving it the kind of fast, raspy brap usually associated with Nomex and pit garages. I think we know where this is going.
So, why is it then that - braking hard over a couple of bumps from 120mph into a tight right-hand corner at Lotus’s Hethel test track - all I can think, with remarkable clarity, is: “Bloody hell, this is really… comfy.”
Hang on. Comfy? I should be regaling you with tales of taming the mighty ravening beast with quick and accurate dabs of opposite lock and exaggerating my driving ability, not pondering the fact that the GTE rides better than anything this side of a full-fat Range Rover on 17-inch wheels. I should be fighting, wrestling, at war, not placidly considering whether I can stick another 10mph on that corner entry speed when I’m already 20mph and 50ft past where I thought I was going to beat my ego to death with Hethel’s shiny new Armco. It’s streaming wet, and this car is rear-wheel-drive and mid-engined. There’s 370lb ft delivered via the tender ministrations of an Eaton supercharger parasitising a 3.5-litre V6, and the traction control is switched off. At some point, I think, as the nose of the GTE stubbornly refuses to wash wide, it’s going to bite, the accident is going to be inconveniently fiery and will involve picking splinters of carbon fibre out of distressingly intimate places.
Words: Tom Ford
Pictures: Lee Brimble
This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Top Gear magazine