The mechanical shifting feel of the 6-speed gear box in a mid-engined British track car… That’s the dream, am I right?
Cars for most people is just a mode of transportation from point A to point B. As long as it has four wheels and an engine, and as long as it can carry you from home to work, it’s all the same. But for some, it is more than that. For those who feel an emotional connection to their cars, and for those who believe that one can learn to push themselves beyond the limit, there is a whole another market; track cars. Companies such as Caterham, Donkervroot, and Lotus has been practicing this art of efficiency for decades, creating and mastering the tradition of minimalism. Lotus in particular, provides a great example of this; and one in particular-the Evora S.
The extent of which Lotus takes this idea of simplicity is immediately evident as soon as you approach the car. With the car’s height being just over 48 inches and the length only around 170 inches-only 20 inches longer and an inch shorter than the Mazda MX-5- it weighs only around 3100 lbs which is not much weight at all. The lightweight nature of the Lotus combined with the supercharged V6 sourced out of a Toyota Camry (345 hp/295 lb/ft) is enough to launch the Lotus from 0 to 60 in just 4.3 seconds. Especially considering how small the car is, it feels like a rabbit on snow after a hunter just barely missed his shot. The sense of urgency in the linear power curve generated by the supercharger is chemically addicting-even with a conservative 5.5 pounds of boost, the V6 has more than enough power to satiate the thirst for power of an adrenaline junkie.
The handling ability of the Evora S is baffling. Though I am not sure how the standard vehicle with no modifications would handle, but the car I got to test with its 235 section tires up front and massive 295 section tires in the rear, the thing handles about as well as a bullet train. No matter at what speed, the Lotus would stick to the road with no drama; it inspires all of the confidence for the driver as the I could feel exactly what the car is doing at any moment in time. Evora is so small too, making it absolutely effortless to place it exactly where I wanted it. The way the vehicle is designed, the driver’s seating position felt like I are sitting dead-center of the vehicle-though it is quite difficult to get in and out of the car due to the door sill being the width of river Thames. Speaking of the design of the Lotus, the huge rear wing certainly adds to the aggressive looks of the car as well (and the Lotus letters on the wing is a bit obnoxious yet fantastically tasteful in my opinion).
On the downside, the visibility out of the rear is quite abysmal, to say the least. The rear view mirror is about the size of an iPhone screen, and what little visibility you do have is blocked by the head rests and the engine. And in case you wanted to make a lane change, I’ll just go ahead and let you know that you won’t be seeing much over your shoulders either as the C-pillar is about as wide as the gap between a whale’s eyes. The drawbacks don’t stop there either. When you first unlock the Lotus with the key fob, you have about 30 seconds to get in the vehicle and start it, otherwise the electronics in the car will lock you out from starting the car. It’s a great theft prevention system until you remember that, due to the door sill, it takes 28 seconds to get yourself into the car. Then you have about two seconds left to put your foot in the clutch and put the key in the ignition and start the car up. The three pedals are placed within an inch of each other too, which only makes the process more difficult.
The interior space is quite limited too; the glove compartment is just about big enough to fit the registration and a pair of gloves, and though there are rear seats, the only way anyone would fit in the back of the car is if the passengers did not have legs… Or a normal sized head. And if you’re lucky, you might be able to fit a whole backpack in the front trunk of the Lotus. Even in the footwell, there is not a dead pedal due to that enormous door sill so I found myself either resting my foot underneath the clutch pedal; it could have been deadly if I had to bring the car to a sudden stop.
That’s enough rambling about the car though, at the end of the day, it’s a track car. If you found yourself complaining about the interior storage and its drawbacks, perhaps you purchased the wrong car. Though it sounds like the Evora is nothing but flaws, but trust me when I say this, the driving experience is nothing like I’ve ever driven before. Would I like for Lotus’ to be more reliable? Yes. Having to spend an arm and a leg every time the clutch needs to be swapped does not necessarily sound like a fun time. But because of the stupid smile that this car put on my face the entire time I was driving it, I can forgive all that. It certainly would be a pain up the rear end from time to time if I were to own the vehicle, but I can’t deny that I want one of these. With its quintessentially British design and the way it elegantly dances around every corner, I couldn’t imagine anyone not falling in love with the Evora S, especially if one truly understood the bond between a driver and his tarmac-munching-Pitbull.