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Lotus Evora S: Cayman Killer!

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On: Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 1:14PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Lotus Evora S:  Cayman Killer!

First impressions are everything. Climb inside the newest Lotus on the market, and instantly you know it is something special. The two-tone cockpit surrounds you like a glove. Two big gauges sit front and center to give you the most important data, while an Alpine stereo and navigation unit sit off to the side and take care of everything else in terms of entertainment and navigation.  Depress the traditional heavy-duty clutch pedal (thank God), and you'll notice the light effort thanks to an upgraded master cylinder. Fire up the Toyota(!)-sourced 3.5-liter V6—yes, mostly the same V6 you would find in a Camry, except this motor has been massaged by Lotus a bit to bring out a little more Mr. Hyde from the humble Dr. Jeckyl engine. Better flowing intake and exhaust manifolds combined with Lotus-designed engine management and, oh yeah, a supercharger bolted on for good measure will make your ears second guess exactly how many cylinders your eyes have sworn they saw under the hood. 

Pull out onto the track, mash the go pedal and the Evora S roars to its 7,200 rpm redline, hitting 60 mph in an incredibly fast 4.3 seconds (and 100 mph in 10.4 seconds if you had more room). The mad dash makes the little car's already svelte 3,168 pound body seem at least half a ton lighter than it is. The lightweight clutch and improved shift linkage make their presence known as second gear comes up in a heartbeat. There is only the slightest hint of a supercharger whine, but it only adds to the excitement as you enter your first of many turns. The optional 235/35R-19 front and 275/30R-20 Pirelli P Zero tires instantly seem well worth the extra money. The sticky rubber makes the most of the increase caster angle (vs. the standard Evora), stiffer bushings, larger rear antiroll bar and new rear end geometry as all 345 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque push you out of each apex while the steering wheel is telegraphing everything the car is thinking in a clear, concise, predictable and almost telepathic way. Rip through the last turn onto the back straightaway and nail the accelerator, and the Evora S pushes you firmly into your supportive leather-trim seat. Odds are you will run out of room before you hit the car's 172 mph top speed; the Evora S leaves little doubt it could get there in a hurry.

Jam on the brakes at 60 mph and the vented discs rein the little Evora S down to 0 in 100 feet flat. After your hot lap around the track, you could take a minute to wonder how many of the on-board safety systems you actually felt during your spin. Corner Brake Control (CBC), Drag Torque Control (DTC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), and the Traction Control System (TCS) were all working hard to make sure you didn't destroy the $77,175 piece of automotive excellence you thought you were piloting so well on your own only minutes ago. Thankfully you had the controls set to "Sport" mode, so throttle response was quicker, and you were allowed to push the Evora S to its limits before any electronic nannies intervened.

Although you glanced over the Evora S before you got in, after feeling the thrill and precision of its supercharged ability, you decided to take an extra look around the car to fully appreciate it. From the front, the S looks very similar to the standard Evora (black mirror caps are the only profile hint), but there are a few subtle differences once you get around to the back end of the car. The very noticeable "S" badge on the bumper would be the most obvious, but a single exhaust tip enclosed in a racier rear diffuser lets anyone that just got smoked know that this Evora is packing an extra 69 horsepower and 37-lb-ft of torque over the standard model.

Now comes the tough part. You stand back and think about your options. What to do? Oh, what to do with that 80 grand just eating a hole in your pocket? Sure the Cayman R is almost 15 grand cheaper, and the standard Evora is 9 grand less, but the S is so much faster and there are going be only about 400 of these bad boy toys coming to US shores this year. The choice should become just a bit easier than you might have first thought it would have been, because it seems your last impression of the Evora S is strikingly similar to your first one: this car is something very special.

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dwalter | 5:29PM (Thu, Jul 21, 2011)

A little bland and outdated looking for a brand new $80,000 Lotus (IMO)

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