This review was first published in Issue 204 of Top Gear magazine (2010)
This is the Lotus Evora 2+0. Eh? The Plus Zero? I can see the advertising hoardings now... “The Lotus Evora 2+0, now with added nothingness”. What’s wrong with just calling it a two-seater? Jeez. Anyway, the headline news is that the 2+0 is the cheapest way into Evora ownership – at £48,550, it costs £1,445 less than the the 2+2.
This saving has been achieved by ripping the rear seats out, and very little else. Which is brilliant, because you get all the excellence of the +2 Evora without the pointless rear seats. The 2+2 layout just doesn’t work for most people, anyway. Unless they’re miniscule. Or children. Space back there is so tight that the rear seats aren’t useable as places to sit, and they also compromise the packaging as luggage doesn’t fit there easily.
In the 2+0, that’s all changed. Now there’s a proper shelf, with netting to stop any gear sliding forward and into the driver’s lap. It’s made it a far more useful space, if a little tricky to get to – because you’ve got to thread all the luggage past the front seats and B-pillar. But even taking that into account, this Evora has really begun to make sense as a GT car.
The Evora remains brilliant to drive. It handles superbly yet is also comfortable. The compromise that Lotus has managed to achieve between sports car and GT car deserves an international award – we gave the Evora an extremely presitigious ‘Jeremy’ last year but the suspension alone deserves another gong.
There are some nasty bumps in the road near the TG garage, and as you hit them you feel that corner absorb the impact, but none of the shock is transmitted to the rest of the Evora. The isolation of how one wheel reacts in relation to the rest of the car is amazing. In the cabin it registers as just a blip.
Crucially, you still feel in touch with the outside world. All the signals you want are transmitted back through the seat and steering wheel, and the Lotus is delicately easy to drive. The chassis is so good that the Evora could comfortably cope with more power. The 3.5-litre V6 is quick enough, but the car feels so well engineered that it could manage another 30bhp. This, then, is the Evora to have.
The message for Lotus is stick to what you know best. Ditch the practicality, keep the engineering.
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