£73,125 - £75,125 Price range
This is the Lotus Evora 400 – a replacement for the basic Evora and the supercharged Evora S. It’s Lotus’ latest attempt to provide scintillating performance (never a problem) with the everyday usability – needed to beat the Porsche Cayman, Jaguar F-Type and Aston Martin V8 Vantage – that tends to elude the company.
The performance side of things is well taken care of – the Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine from the old Evora receives a hefty 55hp boost that brings total power to 400hp – enough for 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and a heady top speed of 186mph.
Handling is also impressive – few cars get the unanimous praise that the Lotus does and much of that is down to lightweight construction that makes it feel nimble in corners in a way that rivals can’t match. Better still, the traction and stability control systems mean you can lean on the car’s performance without worrying that it will bite back. Only the slow-shifting manual gearbox dampens the thrill, although it’s still worth avoiding the conventional automatic model if possible.
It’s away from the track that the Lotus makes less sense. There buyers will find it has stiffer springs than the original car and steering that – by following the cambers and contours of the road in minute detail – arguably gives too much feedback for relaxed normal driving.
Things aren’t so rosy on the inside, either. Sure lower and narrower sills mean the Evora is easier to get into, the dashboard feels sturdier and the redesigned instrument cluster is clearer to use. But it’s still not a patch on the hewn-from-granite feel of a Porsche Cayman interior and doesn’t offer the huge range of options that ultimately make the Porsche so easy to live with.
That said, equipment levels are decent, enough, with all cars getting air-conditioning, a reversing camera with parking sensors and an infotainment system with sat-nav.