The Lotus Evora 400 might make you reconsider ordering that Porsche
Here we are again back at Hethel, to have a look at something Lotus Evora shaped, except this isn't shaped like any Evora I've seen before.
It's familiar, sure, but it's not like the car I drove back in 2012.
Sixty percent of Evora 400 is different from the Evora S and the 400 in its name isn't there simply for decoration.
No, that's related to its power.
It has 400 horsepower, 55 more than the S. The changes don't stop with the power.
The 400 has been given styling tweaks all over the shop.
The front and rear are new, the interior's been given an overhaul, and it should be easier to get in and out of thanks to narrower and lower sills.
So it looks different and it's got a better, more swish interior.
But the real question is Is it better than a Porsche, because realistically that's what this thing is going to be going up against.
And it costs 72,000 pounds.
Most certainly Porsche money.
Performance wise the Evora 400 offers a top speed of 186 mph and it will hit 62 mph from rest In 4.1 seconds, that makes it quicker than a Cambon G4 and a 911 Carrera S to that particular benchmark.
Score one for Lotus.
Now this performance game might just have something to do with the 42 kilos loads of shared Over the Evora S, that and the fiddled with engine, and supercharger, and all the technical make go faster gumpets.
Lotus says this is now as quick around Hethel as the Exige S, a very fast car.
It also says it's a car for today, whose looks and performance can only be matched by cars costing much more.
So is it?
The proof is in the pudding and this is what the 400 is like to drive.
First thing, it is shocking quick, and it's noisy.
Now they put a noise button in here which ups it.
So you press that, and it wails.
[SOUND] [LAUGH] [LAUGH] It makes a brilliant noise, but good God, it gathers speed so, so quickly.
The fiddles they've done to the engine have made this a seriously quick car.
The Evora S was a very fast car, this is a very, very fast car.
I was out on the track and I was taking corners just a little bit quicker each time, pushing it, exploring it.
It's quite a friendly car as well.
The chassis allows you to play, even make a few mistakes.
Though that's down, in part, thanks to their amazing traction control system that learns the surface you're on, learns the road, learns the corners.
And then allows the car to play a little bit depending on what mode you're in.
Drive is the safest, sport gives you a little bit of play.
Well I told you you can get some points on the angles going with that.
But I didn't have the time or the balls to do it.
And it also, of course, turns everything off.
The brakes, they work.
Good God, they work.
The steering, you get such great feedback through Lotus steering.
You've really You really do.
It feels absolutely wonderful.
You know just what the car is doing.
It's so imminently communicative.
There is no doubt that this is one of the best cars that Lotus has made, that I have driven.
There are, of course, a couple of other changes.
Before I got up close and personal with it, I was honestly really critical of the new look.
I thought it looked a bit housand and a bit tacky and a bit meh.
And I even said Tina Massari did a better job with it than Lexus.
Now even though I said that about Massari, actually I was wrong.
I was unnecessarily rude On social media because when you see in the metal the bigger bumper, not only does it look super-aggressive, and it gives the Avora a more angry edge.
Makes it look more like a sports car rather than a happy little Lotus from Norfolk.
It's also bigger for a reason.
It's gotta cool things to make this thing go as quickly as it does.
Then there's the rear.
I thought it was a bit overdone.
But actually the new ring is really pretty.
The new rear is beautifully sculpted.
Having spent a bit of time with it, the looks have really grown on me.
And the interior, my god it's so much better than before.
There's a bit more room to it.
The console feels quite wide, but the materials Those of a higher quality, the dials look a bit better, the switch gear in the center console feels nicer, there's better feedback from it, its more ergonomic.
So the new Evora is lighter, faster and better than ever before, but is it better than a Porsche, that's the question?
And there's a couple of reasons, why it isn't.
The first one is the fact that people are terrified of handmade sports cars, British or otherwise, because they have a reputation for breaking a lot.
I mean, Lotus used to have the unfair acronym of Lots trouble usually serious.
And this car doesn't feel particularly handmade.
I was, I came in expecting it to, but actually it doesn't.
Everything feels solidly built.
It's a step up.
it's the way Lotus used to be and it wasn't that bad before.
Then there's the fact that Lotus appears to be in a little bit of trouble business wise.
And that could put a lot of people off because they're worried that if they buy a car and the company goes belly up, that they'll be left with an unfixable car that they can't do anything with.
The whole Porsche thing will cause some troubles, though.
Many will consider the Evora, even go so far as to get a brochure.
But because it's not a Porsche, they'll go off and buy a Cayman or a 911 or something.
Which is a shame, because that little green and yellow badge has been on the front of some incredible race winning, globally famous Lotus is wanting the heritage.
Whether or not you think you want something German, if you don't give the Evora 400 a look, I think you'd be missing out on something pretty special because it is a wonderful, wonderful car.
The Evora, as grown up as it was, has grown up even further.
It's really serious bit of kick.
And even though I said earlier, yes, it cost 72 grand and it's a lot of money, you can feel why it is 72 grand.
Yeah, there are couple of faults, but you know why it costs that money.
The big question I ask myself any time I get into a new Lotus being unashamed.
[UNKNOWN] Lotus fan he is, would I buy one with my own money?
And having spent some time with it, not much time with it, if I had the money, if I had the time, if I had the space, there's a lot of ifs, I'd probably would.
It has the presence, it has the feel.
It's a fantastic car.
Lotus has made a brilliant bit of kit.