New Lotus Evora GTE vs the Stig
The most powerful road-going Lotus ever vs our tame racing driver
Posted: 12 Jul 2012
Within the first 100 yards, you will assume that the GTE is soft. You will be quite correct. But after 200 yards, two corners and four bumps, you'll realise that ‘soft' shouldn't be confused with wallowy, or uncoordinated. It rides like an Evora; a good thing, because an Evora pads and thinks its way down a bumpy road like no other car on the planet. But where a standard car will lose its nose fairly early to speed-sapping understeer - especially in anything tight - the GTE just burrows its way through an apex. The harder you throw it, the better it gets. A lot of this is due to the increase in track width - 110mm may sound like relatively little, but in engineering terms it's a huge margin - but also because the centre of gravity has changed in relation to that tweak. So, the GTE is more stable and feels more responsive through every part of a corner, from turn-in to accelerate-out. The suspension is otherwise pretty much standard Evora S spec, so the huge dynamic change is purely down to the way the car stands over the standard-size wheels and tyres (19s on the front and 20s on the back). It's phenomenal.
The more obvious difference is the motor, but even here it doesn't feel like the GTE is some lashed-together special. Yes, it will have coming up for 100bhp more than the Evora S, but it still pulls cleanly and builds consistently through the entire rev-range. The car we're driving is awaiting final production tweaks to the induction and exhaust system, and so is slightly down on power (making about 410bhp as opposed to 438), but the torquey delivery feels as easy to access and fuss-free as the rest of the car. You can rely on the motor to help out if you happen to pick the wrong gear, never getting stranded in some cam-based no-man's-land. And the noise builds through a gravelly rush of induction to a no-nonsense shear of exhausted gas. Not particularly soulful or operatic, but addictive.