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New Lotus Evora models add, lose speed

Lotus announces two new versions of the Evora, one with a supercharger, and one with an automatic transmission.

2011 Lotus Evora S
2011 Lotus Evora S
Lotus will show off the Evora S, with 345 horsepower, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. Lotus

Not long after we experienced the 2010 Evora, Lotus announces two new variations on the Evora to be launched at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. One model, the Evora S, gets more power and makes the optional Sport package from the original Evora standard. The other model replaces the standard six-speed manual with an automatic, a move sure to cause dismay among Lotus purists.

The Evora S uses the same 3.5-liter V-6 as the standard Evora, but gets 69 more horsepower, going from 276 to 345. Likewise, torque in the S model is up at 295 pound-feet versus the 258 pound-feet in the Evora. Although Lotus' announcement did not mention it, the Evora S most likely uses a supercharger to achieve this power, similar to how the company's Elise and Elise SC models compare.

Included on the Evora S is a Sport package, consisting of a more rigidly tuned suspension, different gearing in the transmission, and a performance mode activated by pushing a Sport button on the dashboard. The performance mode sharpens accelerator response.

2011 Lotus Evora S transmission
Lotus uses buttons instead of a shifter for the automatic. Lotus

Lotus posted a zero to 60 mph time of 4.6 seconds for the Evora S. The Evora reaches 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.

Going in a different direction, Lotus will also show off an Evora with a six speed automatic transmission, called Intelligent Precision Shift (IPS). Evora's equipped with IPS hit 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, slower than the standard Evora.

As Lotus sources the Evora's engine and manual transmission from Toyota, the automatic is also most likely of Toyota manufacture, but Lotus uses one of its own control units on the transmission, as it does with the engine.

Instead of a shifter, Evora's with the IPS get buttons on the console for park, drive, and reverse, with paddles on the steering wheel for manual shifting through the gears.

Big plans for Paris

A spokesman for Lotus previously said four new models would launch at the Paris show. This preview of the Evora S and Evora IPS accounts for two of those models.

Lotus APX
Lotus showed this concept a few years ago, and it could be the direction for a new model. Lotus

The Evora represents an attempt by Lotus to broaden its model lineup, providing a car that is more of an everyday driver than the track-tool nature of the Elise. But in the past, Lotus has also shown a small SUV, the APX, as a concept to demonstrate the versatility of its extruded aluminum chassis design.

A sporty, compact SUV is the most likely direction for a new Lotus model, as that segment is popular now, and it would also allow Lotus to retain its core qualities.