Lotus shows off its new Evora model at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, proving the company can make a car for people over 5' 10". Unlike the Elise and Exige, cars that let short people have all the fun, the larger Evora was designed for less athletic ingress and egress, as Lotus puts it in the press release. And unlike its sister models, the Evora gets some real horsepower courtesy of two extra cylinders. Designed for more than sport driving weekends and track days, the Evora brings useful car technology into the cabin, with a full-featured Alpine system.
Even though the Evora has 2+2 seating, its looks are unmistakably Lotus. The nose stretches substantially forward of the front wheels, while the back end is clipped off. Graceful curves rise over the front fenders, then settle back into air intakes just behind the doors. The roof is the only real blemish, looking like a baseball cap on a supermodel.
Lotus claims the Evora, although bigger than its stablemates, still exhibits the company's signature stability and handling. In Lotus style, the engine sits amidships, but this one is a 3.5-liter V-6, sourced from Toyota, but with engine management software designed by Lotus. Producing 276 horsepower at 6,400 rpm 252 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm, this engine is more than adequate for the under-3,000-pound car. Testing hasn't completed on a production car, but Lotus says the top speed will be in the neighborhood of 160 mph and 0 to 60 mph times should come in under 5 seconds, all the while getting more than 30 mpg on the highway.
Adding to that practical fuel economy is the Alpine infotainment system, providing GPS navigation, iPod playback, and Bluetooth cell phone integration. The GPS unit on this Alpine system is removable, letting you take it on nonauto trips or use it in another car. But who would leave the Evora in the garage when the open road beckons?