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Lotus Evora S
8/10

Latest
Road Test

Lotus Evora S driven

Driven November 2011

Additional Info

So this is it, the first new product from New Lotus. It's the facelifted Evora, so let's not get too carried away and judge Dany Bahar and his new management team too harshly when this minor model year refresh is simply designed to answer the most pointed criticisms levelled at the Evora since its launch 18 months ago.

And what were those exactly? Well, not the driving dynamics - as usual with things that come from Hethel, those have been bang-on from the word go, but in other areas - you know, the usual Lotus areas - there was room for improvement. Lotus listened to its customers and identified four key points: interior quality and perception, the gearshift, engine character and response, and the appeal of the overall package. In total, 140 changes have been made.

None to the bodywork - well, not unless you count the doorhandle. It now has a more positive action and a nicer thunk when slammed. The door seals have also been changed so they have fewer nasty joins.

This doesn't sound exciting, but this is the level most of the changes have been made at, so let's rattle through a few more. The leather is better-quality and more prolific, the seaming has been reworked, there's extra padding underneath to improve trim cushioning, new floormats, a more shapely steering wheel, a Pioneer satnav instead of the crazily complex Alpine system, new colours... have we lost you yet?

The overall aim is to make the Evora more upmarket, and, by and large, it's succeeded. But this is a reskim, not a rethink, and many of the fundamental issues remain. Panel gaps are inconsistent, getting in and out is awkward, the pedals are offset to the centre. These are more involved, and they take more time to sort than Lotus has been able to give them.

So let's concentrate on what we've got here, because there is more to it than the superficial interior tweaks. Previously there was a bit of slack in the drivetrain, and that's been successfully eradicated by fitting beefier engine mounts and lowering the clutch and flywheel inertia. The gearshift is tighter and more precise, if notchy, with an overly long lever and unpleasant pistol-grip knob, while an exhaust valve goes some way to improving the engine note.

Is it a persuasive update? Ish. The interior is better, and the mechanical changes mean it drives more cleanly at low speed, but it's no Porsche. The overwhelming reason to buy the Evora is still the way it drives, because in that, it takes the Cayman to the cleaners. Shame the price has risen by near enough £2k in the process, but we'd pay that alone for the best change Lotus has made in this facelift. It no longer smells of glue.

Ollie Marriage

We like: Cabin nicer, drivetrain better
We don't like: Still stuff to be done
The  verdict: More appealing, but you'll still buy it for the driving dynamics, not the quality.
Performance: 0-60mph in 4.8secs, max 172mph, 28.7mpg
Tech: 3456cc, V6, RWD, 345bhp, 295lb ft, 1436kg, 229g/km CO2
Tick this on the options list: Tech Pack, £2,800
And avoid this: SuedeTex Trim Pack, £700
Price: £60,550 (2+2 £62,450)

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