The transverse, mid-mounted, dual VVT-i, 3.5-liter V6 is the 2GR-FE powerplant from Toyota and the six-speed manual hales from our Pacific Rim brothers and sisters as well. With a new twin-barrel exhaust system put on and particularly with the in-house programmed T6e Lotus ECU, the free-revving thrills are as you have always expected from a Lotus. In standard trim, the Evora powertrain revs to 6600 rpm and can be momentarily overrun to 6800 rpm for heated downshifts and such. Opt for the Sport Pack and redline rises to 7000 rpm with throttle dabs to 7200 rpm--opt for the Sport Pack, all right? Acceleration to 60 mph is estimated as equal to a Porsche Cayman S with seven-speed PDK. Launch Control will not be available until the dual-clutch six-speed comes into production.
Cleverly wedging the V6 sideways between the rear bulkhead and back axle, Lotus dynamics are maintained with a 39/61 distribution of weight. Special engine mounts under the V6 allow for better negation of engine vibrations and weight shifts in the engine bay. The wheelbase is 101.4 inches, 10.8 inches longer than the Elise or Exige, making possible this unique example of a mid-engine two-plus-two. Between the aluminum tub and frontal structure strapped to a sturdy steel rear framework (440 pounds total weight), and the full fiberglass body, the Evora's fore-aft bending and torsional rigidity are both double that of the Elise, stiffness reaching 26,000 Nm/d. I noticed no expected body creaking or metallic rattling anywhere at any speed.
Bilstein provides the passive 46mm tube dampers and Eibach the springs, the latter attaching directly to the body to allow for softer bushings to be used. Lotus is hinting at a future multi-mode Damptronic system. Chassis at the corners is the expected double-wishbone with shorter upper arms. Wheels are lightweight, single-piece, forged nine-spoke alloys from Rimstock--18-inch front and 19-inch rear--with a customer-pleasing "forged" logo embossed on the rim. Though I've felt better tires on such a car versus the stock Yokohama Advan Sport LTS treads, these Yokes are good work after Lotus has collaborated closely with the company to dial in the composition and tread design. After a slew of laps spent drifting with gusto, the tires held up surprisingly well.
The AP Racing brakeset with four-piston calipers--there's a cross-drilled option in the Sport Pack--is definitely up to the task from what I witnessed and felt. Someone out there, perhaps even Lotus, will find upgrades for stopping, especially as the Evora is deemed "easily race ready," but the stock set is a good group even at the latest braking points taken all afternoon long. The steering rack, with its 2.9 turns lock-to-lock, is supplied by TRW from an existing vehicle's parts bin, though Lotus ain't telling from which (apart from that it isn't a sports car). It certainly feels sports car, stopping one tick shy of that typical go-kart Lotus personality.
Inside, forget everything you assume about a Lotus, since the Evora cabin as designed by Anthony Bushell is distinctly premium. The first version of Evora out will be the 2+2, followed later by the inclusion of the "2+0" optional interior where you gain a righteous parcel shelf. All is not as awkward as you'd imagine in the rear seats, with honest room there for kids and smaller adults provided the two people in the front Recaros don't play in the NBA. All the same, rear foot room is great since the Recaros are set 2.5 inches higher than in any other Lotus. The copious headroom of the long swooping roof has made all of this possible. Staring through the feel-good three-spoke steering wheel, I note the subtly chromed dial display housing and easy-to-read instruments. A latest-generation 7-inch Bosch touchscreen onboard system with sat-nav is optional and sets nicely into the upper dash.