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2011 Lotus Evora S First Impressions

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Weight is the enemy. For the last 60 years, the Lotus brand has developed and engineered a succession of sports cars with weight reduction in mind. Or, if you prefer, an abstinence of weight.

The Evora is the daily driver in the brand’s line-up. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/Auto123.com)

The Elise and Exige are rolling proof that you don’t need a gazillion horsepower to enjoy blistering and performance and handling. What these cars lack in straight-line speed, they make up for in cornering abilities along with the intense sensation of driving a pure sports car.

The Evora, however, is the daily driver in the brand’s line-up. It doesn’t have the go-kart feel of an Exige, but offers ride comfort when you’re not on a closed circuit. If you don’t ever bring it to a track, however, you’d really be missing something.

The car’s uneven weight distribution (39% front, 61% rear) is deceiving; one might expect excessive oversteer, but it isn’t the case. The Evora corners flat, hangs on, scrubs its outside front wheel and remains joyfully controllable and poised.

The brilliant handling can be explained in part by the Evora’s design underneath. Lotus claims its chassis could be the most technologically advanced in the world in regards to niche cars. To the lightweight aluminum centre tub is bonded front and rear subframes, and the result is a very stiff structure.

With no chassis flex, Lotus engineers are free to develop suspension components that emphasize handling and ride quality instead of hiding an imperfect platform.

Forward motion in each Evora comes from a transverse, mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6, which Lotus isn’t ashamed of admitting that it is sourced from Toyota; after all, they build reliable engines, don’t they? The English manufacturer slaps on its own engine management and exhaust systems, making sure it doesn’t sound like a Venza at wide-open throttle.

Each Evora comes from a transverse, mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/Auto123.com)