It has been a long time since Lotus sold anything that wasn't based on its lightweight, two-seat, track-bashing convertible, the Elise. Come the third quarter of 2009 though, Lotus aficionados will be able to get their hands on something a little more comfortable.
Powered by a reworked version of the 3.5-litre V6 from the Toyota Aurion and with a body constructed out of aluminium, the Evora weighs about 1350kg. That's positively portly for a Lotus but still lightweight by six-cylinder sports car standards. Part of the weight gain is due to hitherto unheard of features in a Lotus, like the optional Alpine sound system with 7-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth hands-free and DVD player.
With lashings of lovely cream leather — at least on the show car — adorning everything from the dashboard, to the seats and armrests, as well as generous servings of brushed metal, the interior is an inviting place to be, whether you're sprinting to 100km/h in about five seconds, taking a leisurely Sunday drive or merely gawking.
Lotus is marketing the Evora as 2+2 because wedged between the mid-mounted engine and the front seats are a pair of optional rear seats. Due to the dearth of rear leg room, however, we couldn't imagine anyone larger than a toddler happily sitting in the back for more than, say, five minutes. There's also a 160-litre boot, allegedly large enough for a set of golf clubs.
It's great to see Lotus pushing its boundaries by offering a car that mixes the luxury and amenities that modern drivers crave, with traditional Lotus virtues, such as low weight. Shame about the timing though.