1 Jan 2009
THE first new Lotus for a decade came in the elegant shape of the Evora 2+2 coupe, powered by a Toyota 3.5-litre V6 producing 206kW of power at 6400rpm and 350Nm of torque at 4700rpm – sufficient to achieve a 0-100km/h time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 261km/h.
In contrast with the contortionist-friendly Elise and Exige, Lotus attempted to design the Evora to allow those of a wider girth or a lanky frame to get in and comfortable, accommodating a 186cm-tall person in the front seats and a 152cm person in the back seats at the same time.
Further nods to practicality were Isofix child-seat anchorage points for the rear seats while hatchback concealed a 160-litre boot – which Lotus claimed could accommodate a set of golf clubs.
Dual-stage airbags and three-point pyrotechnic seatbelts for the driver and front passenger were fitted, while the standard equipment list included keyless entry with alarm and immobiliser, remote hatch locking, air-conditioning, a height-and-reach-adjustable steering wheel, Recaro black leather seats, heated/powered door mirrors, cast-alloy wheels (18-inch diameter front, 19-inch rear), an Alpine audio system with CD/MP3/WMA compatibility, auxilliary input and iPod docking.
Despite the big engine, four seats and high equipment levels, Lotus managed to restrict the Evora’s kerb weight to 1382kg.
While the Evora chassis used similar extruded and bonded aluminium technology to the Elise and variants, it had a completely different structure, using lightweight composite body panels bonded to the chassis, contributing stiffness to the safety cell around the cabin. At the front and rear of the cabin, composite clamshells were bolted to the chassis, which Lotus says enables easy removal for repair.
The chassis structure itself weighed little more than 200kg, and featured a front sub-frame made of extruded and bonded aluminium bolted to the main chassis tub. Lotus learned lessons from the Elise body structure, where a heavy front-end crash could write-off a car as the chassis is a unified structure.
For that reason, the Evora chassis, with its replaceable front-end, made it easy to change for repair, and was also designed as the deformable front crash structure.
In August 2011 Ateco took over importation duties and promptly slashed the Evora's pricing while upping the standard specification to include almost everything that was previously optional.
Ateco also introduced the six-speed automatic Evora IPS and the 257kW/400Nm supercharged Evora S, which could catapult from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 277km/h.
When it was new