I like feel-good stories, and the 2017 Lotus Evora 400 I'm driving on Western Michigan's country roads has all the makings of a good one for auto enthusiasts. The car I'm at the wheel of marks the return of the British sports car company to the US. It's essentially been gone since 2014, back when it had to stop selling the Evora S here because it could no longer meet federal regulations.
Recent history has been tough for the plucky automaker, with numerous leadership changes and failed plans to launch a slew of new models, but the resilient little company is still standing. Returning to the States should be a key step towards better days, since we've accounted for roughly half of company's sales in the past.
Even without the resources of performance-car juggernauts like Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren or Porsche, Lotus has always managed to engineer and build special automobiles by keeping them simple, lightweight and involving. It doesn't take much time behind the wheel on the roads around South Haven to get a sense that Lotus has stuck with the same blueprint for the Evora 400, but it's clearly made a lot of meaningful improvements since the Evora S. This is not just an Evora with a more powerful engine.
The Good With 400 horsepower and 186 mph top speed, the Evora 400 is the fastest Lotus street car to date. Midengine balance is a ball on a race track. Ride quality is suitable for daily driving.
The Bad The Evora 400's backseats are laughably small. Infotainment interface features poor navigation system, while the technology offerings are slim in general.
The Bottom Line Lotus picks up where it left off with the Evora 400 by catering to hardcore driving enthusiasts.
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