In the recent past, Lotus' cars, the Elise and Exige, were primarily known for providing plenty of entertainment for their drivers but also not much in the way of practicality. The 2013 Lotus Evora also puts driving thrills first, though it is more civilized. By Lotus standards, anyway.
The Evora is bigger than those older Lotus models, but it is by no means large. The seats in the rear of the Lotus Evora barely classify as seats and the car certainly won't hold four full-size adults. Given the premium price for such a small car, Lotus buyers will be quickly asking what additional features are available. The Evora does not disappoint, though, with its well-appointed interior and high-class materials.
As expected given Lotus' reputation, the Evora is still a lightweight car at around 3,100 pounds. As such, even the base Lotus Evora's 276-horsepower V6 provides quick acceleration, while the S model has a supercharged version of that V6 giving it another 75 hp.
Taking the rear seats out of the equation (as they are essentially a glorified shelf), the Evora suddenly sees few very real competitors, the biggest being the Porsche Cayman. The Cayman also offers excellent handling while also being more refined than the Lotus. For a larger car with its engine in the front, the BMW M3 is a very attractive option given its superior practicality. But if sharp driving dynamics and rarity are top priorities for you, the 2013 Lotus Evora should work out well.
The 2013 Lotus Evora is a 2+2 sport coupe that is offered in base and Evora S trim levels.
Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, heated exterior mirrors, air-conditioning, leather-upholstered front seats, cloth-upholstered rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power windows, a leather-wrapped gearshift knob and hand brake, a trip computer and a CD player with iPod integration and auxiliary audio jack.
There are three main option groups available. The Premium package adds accent lighting, heated front seats, a center armrest, premium floor mats and leather trim throughout the cabin. The Sport package features selectable sport modes, enhanced throttle response, a higher rpm limit, a rear underbody diffuser, titanium exhaust tips and cross-drilled brake rotors with black-painted calipers. The Technology package includes cruise control, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and an upgraded sound system with a 7-inch touchscreen display, navigation and a USB port. A SuedeTex option adds faux suede interior trim elements.
Stand-alone options include a sports ratio gearbox, a rearview camera, power-folding mirrors, various wheel options, clear paint protection film and a premium audio system. Buyers can also opt to delete the rear seats in favor of a rear parcel area.
The Evora S receives more power thanks to its supercharged engine, and the powertrain also features an exhaust bypass valve that opens in Sport mode, a heavy-duty clutch and a close-ratio transmission. Also included are all the items from the Sport package along with a sportier suspension tune and a more aggressive rear aero diffuser.
The Evora's interior is quite a departure from the hard-core sports cars in the Lotus lineup, sporting a modern cockpit with rich leather surfaces, carpeting and significantly more creature comforts than what were offered in Lotus' past. The relatively few knobs and buttons are within easy reach and are elegantly styled and placed.
Entry and exit from the front seats is civilized, thanks to a shorter and narrower side sill and larger door openings. Once seated, there is enough space up front to comfortably accommodate 6-foot-plus adults. Unfortunately, though, the front wheelwell intrudes on foot space. As a result, the clutch pedal is shifted an inch or so to the right, which can be awkward for some drivers. We had bigger issues with the lack of a functional dead pedal, however. A small ledge that can only fit a few toes is all that is provided, and its placement is painfully uncomfortable.
The rear seats don't fare any better, and are really no more than an upholstered package shelf with seatbelts. Rear space is almost nonexistent, and may even be uncomfortable for small children. In a pinch, these seats might come in handy, but we'd probably opt for the rear-seat delete. Rear visibility is laughable, but fortunately, a rearview camera is available as an option. As for the trunk, Lotus claims the Evora can hold up to 5.7 cubic feet but its narrow shape drastically limits what you can store back there.
The 2013 Lotus Evora is powered by a mid-mounted 3.5-liter Toyota V6 that produces 276 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. The only standard transmission is a traditional six-speed manual, while a six-speed automatic with shift paddles is available as an option. The Evora S gains a supercharger and increases power output to 345 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
Lotus estimates the 0-60-mph run at around 4.9 seconds for the base Evora, with a stated top speed of 162 mph. The Evora S should hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and our testing validates this claim with our own 4.7-second result. In terms of fuel economy, the base Evora is expected to achieve 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway for the standard manual, while the automatic gearbox should get 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. If you opt for the supercharged Evora S, your fuel economy will remain almost exactly the same.
The 2013 Lotus Evora is most at home on tight, twisting roads or a genuine racetrack. With the handling characteristics of smaller, lighter cars, the Evora knifes through turns with uncommon precision and otherworldly levels of grip. The Evora provides a relatively serene cabin with few squeaks and rattles, plenty of sound insulation and a suspension that reduces pothole effects to "normal" car standards.
In the base Evora, power is plentiful throughout the rev range and the transmission features well-spaced gears to make the most of the V6's output. We were pleased to find that the supercharged Evora S also provided surprisingly linear power delivery; however, the closer-ratio gearing kept us busy shifting more often. Steering feel is as good as it gets, some even say "magical" for any car, and the power steering makes maneuvering in tight spots effortless. We were also extremely impressed with Lotus' sophisticated traction control system that in certain circumstances, acts as a highly effective stability control system.
The 2013 Lotus Evora is noticeably sparse when it comes to safety equipment. Antilock brakes and traction/stability control are included, but no type of side airbags are available. At our test track, Edmunds logged repeated 105-foot stops from 60 mph, as a true sports car should.
The 2013 Lotus Evora is unchanged.