New S-Class is supposedly comfier than ever. Also, many screens and few buttons
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The Top Gear car review: Lotus Evora
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
It’s definitely the most practical Lotus, by virtue of its size. Use the rear seats as a place for your soft luggage, and there’s no reason why it can’t be your only car, if you’re a two-person family. It’s comfortable and fluid enough to easily fob off long car journeys.
That big front bonnet doesn’t have any storage under it – it’s all radiators, air conditioning and various reservoirs and suspension bits. But at the rear, even though it carries a lithium battery – and a supercharged V6 – there’s still space for a boot that’s easily big enough for a couple of soft bags – it’ll even swallow a standard airline carry-on bag, should you care to use your Evora for the airport run.
Narrower and lower sills than the pre-update Evora mean that getting in and out is a far simpler manoeuvre than the near-yogic movements required by its predecessor. It’s easier than the Elise and Exige as well, because there’s no technique to master. Not that the crouch-put-leg-in-scooch routine of the smaller Lotuses is overly taxing – or something that doesn’t become second nature after the third time doing it – it’s just that the Evora is simpler by not giving you the ingress/egress conundrum in the first place.
If you’re a considerably proportioned sort, you’ll want to know this straight away. Yes, the Evora is the largest Lotus, the most spacious, the easiest to get in and out of and the only one with an adjustable steering column.
But in terms of practical storage solutions, the Evora’s answer seems to be ‘try IKEA, chief’. There aren’t a smattering of pockets and cubby holes all over the shop, ready to swallow your phone, wallet, and travel detritus.
With that said, there are really nerdy – but entirely excellent – details like a magnesium-alloy steering wheel, which weighs less and therefore has less inertia, so it can transmit more information from the front wheels to your fingertips. It’s fairly obvious that Lotus has concentrated on the driving, both inside and out. If you want somewhere to put your phone, put it in your pocket and stop complaining.
There’s more evidence of Lotus’s ‘driving first’ motivations in the instrumentation, too – there’s a proper tyre-pressure monitor in plain and constant view to the left of the rev counter, which, in something as heroically fast as the Evora 410, seems like the most obvious inclusion since ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ in the Ten Commandments. As we’ve written, time and again, way past the point of incurable RSI in our fingers, tyres are the only thing that lets you have any control over what your car is doing. You can have all the active aero and adaptive modes in the world, but it’s all for nought if your tyres are flat.
Moving on to the rest of the cabin. It’s not the sort of thing that you’d be able to point and say, “Yes, I can see where the money has gone here”. It’s leagues better than Evoras of old, however, capitalising on the completely refreshed layout that debuted in the Evora 400. There’s no evidence of anything but solidity and lovely hand-stitching, but the dials and touchscreen stereo/nav unit look about as dated as the Shoop the Whoop meme.
Looking back, you’ll notice that the rear window’s gone, replaced by supremely cool carbon louvres that faintly echo the Lancia Stratos, DeLorean DMC-1 and Lamborghini Miura. Yet despite the slatted rear view, and the tall charge-cooling system for the supercharger, rear visibility isn’t any sort of problem on the move. For reverse parking, there’s a rear-vision camera and display in the old-school, but perfectly functional, touchscreen unit.
The overarching theme, then, is of what you need and nothing more. That really does sound like practicality, doesn’t it?