Lotus is a pioneer as far as driver-orientated racing technology is concerned, but the company has often lagged behind its rivals when it comes to creating cars with modern, passenger-focused creature comforts. Its newest effort, however, the four-seater Evora, is designed to show that the Norwich-based company isn't actually run by Mormons and is indeed partial to the odd luxury.
To discover whether this is indeed the case, we hopped into the supercharged £57,550 Evora S model, which is a rival to theand Cayman.
The standard Evora is fast, make no mistake. Its 3.5-litre V6 engine churns out a very respectable 276bhp and it'll do 0-60mph in a whiplash-inducing 4.9 seconds. But even this level of grunt isn't quite good enough for many petrolheads -- Lotus' engineers included. That's why, for the Evora S, they effectively poured a bucket of steroids into the engine bay, fitting a supercharger.
This supercharger, an Eaton Twin Vortex model, forces more oxygen into the engine than it could receive if it were naturally aspirated. Introducing additional air in the combustion process means Lotus could also increase the amount of fuel forced into the engine, which makes for a larger explosion, causing more power to be produced every time the engine turns over. The end result is an additional 69bhp, which brings the Evora S' total to 345bhp.
This extra injection of power results in a significant increase in performance. The Evora S shaves 0.3 seconds off the standard car's 0-60mph time, achieving the sprint in just 4.6 seconds. Its top speed increases by 9mph, too, to 172mph, so it can compete -- on paper, at least -- with its most direct rival, the Porsche 911.
In practice, the Evora S feels powerful, but the majority of its grunt is only accessible if you're revving the pants off it. Ask it for a burst of speed low down the rev range, and the result isn't very spectacular. It changes character at around 7,000rpm, however, when its supercharger helps it to keep up with -- and in some cases beat -- all but the fastest supercars away from the traffic lights.
Our only gripe is that the exhaust note isn't quite savage enough. It delivers a fairly nice rasp above 6,000rpm -- particularly with the sport mode engaged -- and it sounds fantastic when screaming through tunnels, but more volume from the rear pipes would improve the driving experience no end.
The car's handling is more impressive than its straight-line speed. The original car provided astounding grip and dynamism, and little has changed with the Evora S. It's a little heavier than the standard car thanks to 50kg of supercharger sitting just behind the passenger compartment, but beefed-up suspension bushes help it carry its weight through fast corners with an impressive surefootedness.
The Evora S is extremely agile around tighter, slower bends, too. Disable the traction control, squirt on a drizzle of power as you're cornering, and it'll unfurl its tail end in a manner that's so linear and predictable that even inexperienced drivers can catch and counteract it with a dab of opposite lock.