By on February 18, 2015


The Lotus Evora is one of my favorite cars ever. The new Evora 400 makes history by eclipsing the twin-turbo Esprit V8 as the most powerful production Lotus road car to date.


With 400 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, courtesy of a revised supercharger and a water-to-air intercooler, the Evora should easily hit its claimed top speed of 186mph. (Insider tidbit: the sum total of internal changes made to the Camry V6 to prepare it for supercharged duty is… none.) The car’s also dropped 49 pounds thanks to some material changes. It’s scheduled for US distribution in 2016. Let’s cross our fingers.


Oh, one more thing: I’d be shirking my duty as a lifelong Lotus Esprit fan (a friend of mine owns three S1 Esprits, one of which I’ve towed a few times behind my Land Rovers over the years) if I didn’t note that the Esprit V8 could have easily made more than its rated 350hp. The problem was the transmission, which dated back to the four-cylinder Esprits and couldn’t handle any more juice.


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46 Comments on “The Evora 400 Has Plenty Of Esprit...”

  • avatar

    Nice looking car, kind of Chevy-ish

    A big no on the spoiler, though

  • avatar

    I took a yellow Evora on trade for a Z06 two years ago. Cool car. Couldn’t live with one though. Scraped the lower chin spoiler on a curb stop. Never said anything. Ran it through the block. Dumped it. Made a grand-ish. Supercharger made a cool sound whining up. That’s my takeway from it.

  • avatar

    I give credit to Lotus for actually building the Evora, where Acura merely teases the NSX ad nauseum.

  • avatar

    I thought Lotus was done in the US. Did I miss something?

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    I’ve always loved Lotus. I have wondered how they have survived so long without ultimately ending up as a Chinese company’s “tuning” arm a.k.a. buying legitimacy in new markets.

    As soon as I win the lottery I’ll definitely buy an Evora, right after buying the best early gen NSX available.

  • avatar
    John R

    I really like this, but I’m worried the cost might be more dear than a Porsche GT3 ($150k~).

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’ve always noticed a large similarity between the base Evora’s specs and the 3.0/3.2L NSX’s. Any thoughts on that Jack?

  • avatar

    …just a temporary hiatus; original federal exemptions expired so the model refresh had to be re-federalised…

    …re-purposed mid-engined gearboxes have always been lotus’ weak link: the 918 was rated for 500hp prior to detuning…

  • avatar

    Where do I buy the supercharger kit for my Lexus V6???
    More people would buy the engine technology than the whole Evora.

    • 0 avatar

      For sure, where is the TRD kit? Or better yet instead of “Handling by Lotus” where is Toyota’s “Power by Lotus” badge?

    • 0 avatar

      That would be interesting. However, isn’t the Lotus a “limited production” vehicle and can therefore get a slight reduction in emission regulation? Also, I’m not sure of the value of a 400 HP engine on a front-wheel-drive platform. The added supercharger and intercooler would make an already front-heavy vehicle more so.

      If it were easy enough to strap on a supercharger or turbocharger and still run legally, there would be a lot better cars to do it on. Specifically in my case: the Cayman S.

      • 0 avatar

        Well there are RWD Lexuses with V6 power…a supercharged V6 would fit very nicely between the current 306hp V6 and the 5.0 V8.

        • 0 avatar

          …the evora was built around a compact transverse engine bay in order to facilitate its 2+2 design brief, and at the time, toyota’s TRD aurion sported the world’s most powerful FWD drivetrain in the 2GR-FZE…sure, the engine can take the power: the real question is whether its gearbox is up task…

    • 0 avatar

      I was also wondering if this means that there is some added goodness waiting to be bolted into my RX350.

  • avatar

    I’m very impressed – or maybe a little worried – that Lotus could up the power so much on that V-6 without needing to beef it up at all.

    An anecdote about Esprit V-8 engines: I have a family friend who bought one slightly used, and it did lunch its motor not long into his ownership. This is a 60+ year-old Swiss guy who meticulously maintains his own plane, so I doubt it was due to abuse. He said that after the warrantied rebuild, it never built the same boost again, so he suspected that the previous owner turned up the knob from stock.

    Another note on Esprit V-8s: getting a ride in one was awesome.

    I’ve always thought of the Evora as the driver’s roadgoing Lotus. Unless you really live in idyllic hill country, the Elise seems too compromised, but like the Esprit, it has the presence that’ll attract all kinds of buyers with money. The Evora is a little dull looking by comparison, but I suspect is the most satisfying in the real world.

  • avatar

    Love it. I can easily see myself buying one of these in a couple years. I personally think that Lotus and maybe the Alfa 4C provide a driving experience unlike almost anything else available right now. This is going on my short list.

  • avatar

    Please tell me this car can be had with a manual transmission.

  • avatar

    If I was in the market for a sports car in this price range I’d definitely consider it. As of today I think I prefer the look of the old one but maybe this will grow on me. The design seems very busy, more classically masculine than feminine, and I suspect it won’t age as well as the first edition.

    I’ve seen people complain that it has AC and a nice interior, or even an interior at all, and I just roll my eyes. Those people should go buy a Caterham or something. Lotus needs to actually sell cars in order to survive and they’ve got a large challenge in building cars that support their heritage of being light, minimalist, and quick with superb handling while also having enough comfort that an increasingly older clientele, the people with money, are willing to drive them.

  • avatar

    Lotus has rarely been a successful car manufacturer. Lotus recently started sales to China and that has gone well. It’s just that US sales are poor, mostly due to lack of new product. Despite their poor ergonomics people still have a passion for them and as a small manufacturer they should be around for some time.

  • avatar

    At this point in 2015, by Dany Bahar’s plans, Lotus’s lineup would have consisted of the mid-engine Elan coupe, an all-new, bigger Elise, the Elite grand tourer, a new Esprit, the Eterne four-door coupe, and the City Car.

    Ah well…That was all a lot of vapor. More realistic heads have prevailed, and I’m glad they’re squeezing as much as they can out of their existing Evora.

  • avatar

    That Lotus badge on the center console looks kinda rice.

  • avatar

    Good to see something light AND powerful from Lotus, rather than the either/or they typically provide.

    I was thinking the gearbox from the old Esprit was a Toyota model which stopped production, and that spelled the end of the Esprit? (But lets face it, it was outclassed by everything else there at the end, and had run too long.)

    I like the styling, something about it looks very tough – almost like it would have AWD. Love the wheels, and the interior looks good too. Main criticism would be the front end, as it’s a bit outdated now, and still has the same front end as in 2009.

  • avatar

    I wish one automaker would buck the trend (now, cliché) of putting an oversized, angry face on its cars. I don’t think the lack of one discouraged people from buying the earlier Evora.

    I’ve always thought Hyundai/Kia should have bought up Lotus. The Brits certainly would have taught the Koreans all about suspension tuning.

  • avatar

    Its just my opinion, but ‘real’ exotic cars need exotic propulsion. Every truly great sports car line has a discernible engine scheme that is unique in its technology, sound, and quirks: Ferraris have screamer V12’s in front or screamer flat-plane 8’s in back, Corvettes have big pushrod cross-plane 8’s with a basso profundo note, Porsches have flat-sixes that sound like a gold miner shifting a tray of nuts and bolts, etc.

    A Camry engine with a supercharger might make bang-for-buck sense from Lotus’s perspective, but every time I see an Evora the first thing I’ll think about is the family-sedan engine; basically it’s a badge-burnished kitcar. Fiero-into-Ferrari hack jobs and the like have tweaked pedestrian engines, not ‘real’ sportscars.

    I’m not harping on Lotus per se either, I think the same thing when I see a Pagani Zonda (rare, but every now and then you see one). For both those cars – the Evora and Zonda – their respective prices and purported pedigrees demand a unique engine, even though the mills currently enjoined in each of the rides are, from an engineering perspective, probably as good as one can reasonably get.

    But that is not what these kinds of cars are about.

    • 0 avatar

      While I generally agree with your train of thought, I’d still punch baby seals for a Zonda Tricolore despite the AMG engine. For any of the small boutique manufacturers, build vs. buy must be an awfully big hill to climb with so many good motors out there.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess the question is the Evora an exotic? I shopped a Evora S before I bought my car now. I don’t think of this as an exotic. I think it’s a great car and it is exactly the kind of driver’s car that get me craving. I don’t really care on the origins of the engine. The simple idea that this car delivers a drivers experience matched by very few is plenty enough for me. The current Evora S is a 4.5 0-60. This new model adds 55 hp, 10 kb-ft of torque and sheds 45 pounds. I can imagine how fun this is. The only comparison I can think of in this range with similar dynamics would be an Alfa 4C.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem is that Lotus does not have the kind of production volume to economically justify fitting a one-off engine on a car that’s produced in lilliputian quantities and still stickers at around 100 grand. Ideally, Lotus should have just taken Ford’s 3.5L Ecoboost engine, which was designed from ground up to be turbocharged. It’s most extreme version is rumored to produce around 600HP. With this sort of power, a well designed sports car using that engine could in theory hang out with the likes of Ferrari 458 or Porsche Turbo.

    • 0 avatar

      I suppose, in a way. Though, using a tuned pedestrian engine has been a long standing tradition with Lotus. Look back the Lotuses of old. They often used, or at least started with, a Rover 4 cylinder. That having been said, something that screams a bit more than a mass market V6 would be nice sounding…

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right about exotic engines at the “hypercar” level (Zonda, Aventador, Veyron, Agera, etc.), but at the sub $100K mark, a reliable mass production engine is a very good thing. At that price point, you’re not paying for a sports car to be an ultra-rare display object, you’re paying for it to just be a sports car. For that to be done well, it must be fun, fast, and reliable. Does the 2GR contribute to that? You betcha.

      I for one, am attracted to the Evora precisely because it is powered by a 2GR, one of the most wonderful engines in existence. How wonderful? Let me count the ways:

      1. What you are paying for in an Evora is the brand name, as well as that bespoke bodywork and Lotus handling. Because it is stuffed with a 2GR though, you are paying 15-35K less.

      2. Because it is a 2GR, you are not only getting the car cheaper, but sooner, as in 2009 rather than still waiting for it in 2015 (NSX, anyone?)

      3. A lot of effort went into the 2GR. Let me digress for a second. Today’s mass-market smartphones are both cheaper and more powerful/capable than any similarly-sized class of electronics. The reason why is that mass-market potential allows electronics companies to sink huge amounts of money into development costs while also allowing massively scaled production. The result is a product that is simultaneously better and cheaper. Much in the same way that mass production improves phones, it does the same thing for engines. As far as I have heard, literally hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into the development of the GR series V6. As a 2GR owner, you get the result of titanic effort.

      4. With #3 in mind, exactly what you are getting with that 2GR itself is a whole lot of engine. To begin with, the 2GR was on Ward’s 10 Best Engines list for 4 years in a row:
      The D-4S injection system of the 2GR allows incredibly high specific output coupled with some of the best fuel economy in an engine of it’s size.
      The bottom end of the 2GR is incredibly stout, featuring six-bolt mains and a crankshaft that can survive in a heavily modified 800+ hp sand rail engine:

      5. With millions of 2GR’s floating around, you will never, ever have to worry about finding spare parts.

      6. With millions of 2GR’s floating around, you will never, ever have to worry about paying too much for spare parts.

      7. With millions of 2GR’s floating around, you will never, ever have to worry about finding help to work on one.

      8. With the 2GR’s showing up in a Lotus, as well as in other Toyota performance applications, the aftermarket has responded with 2GR upgrades.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Since it has the Toyota drivetrain maybe a hybrid version would help to increase their meager sales numbers.

  • avatar

    This car will be crazy-fast , and it’s got sleek, elegant design( i.e Alfa 4C is too small , and too ‘crumpy’ to looks sexy..) ..

    but Yes, relatively high price ,and plebeian Camry engine are a bit ‘problematic’ here .. (ussually, small brand-manufacturers problems..)

    Ford’s V6 EcoBoost(especially, if they prepare some ‘sportier-versions’ of it, as they promise) sounds a better fit here , and .. Jaguar’s F-type(‘british-connection’ here) supercharged-V6 would be even better ..

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