However, the opportunity to win a Lotus Evora S for a year was too tempting to ignore and so I found myself entering the Lotus Diaries competition that is being run in collaboration with evo magazine. Having been accepted to enter the competition I had a chance to take a brief test drive yesterday, the idea being to take some photos and video and to write a 200 word review. I had planned to try and put together a comprehensive video review but the Lotus salesman wasn't willing to spend his working day entertaining my directorial plans when I wasn't likely to be buying the car. That meant that I could simply enjoy the experience and get a feel for the car.
When Lotus put out the Evora it won many plaudits (including evo Car of the Year) and was immediately hailed as one of the world's best handling cars. But critics always felt that it could handle more power. Lotus responded by adding a supercharger to the 3.5 litre V6 engine and giving us the 345bhp Evora S.
It will always be a matter of taste but I think that the Evora S is a good looking car. It helps that you don't see many of them on the road, making sure it is still something 'interesting' or 'unusual'. Of course it does look like a grown up Lotus Elise in many ways but that is no bad thing. The interior is less special feeling by contrast. It is certainly a pleasant and comfortable place to be but you might expect more flair considering the price and the competition.
The power and the base price of around £60,000 put the Evora S in direct competition with the Porsche Cayman S and entry level 911 as far as many commentators were concerned. I think that the 911 is a different proposition altogether, its GT capabilities and size marking it out as a bit more of a heavyweight contender in comparison. The Evora S is a much purer sports car than that even if Lotus has done a good job of making the car perfectly liveable and capable of being taken on longer trips, to mainland Europe for example. It certainly feels every bit the inertia-free sports car when you put your foot down, catapulting you towards the horizon with disdain. It's a very quick car, reminiscent of its sub-5 seconds 0-60mph time, and feels torquey right through the rev range. All the controls are slick and everything feels well made, though I can understand why some journalists criticised the gearshift. It is not good enough for a car of this pedigree and price and certainly not as good as the manual gearboxes that Porsche produces. It requires the precision of an open-gate shift but without the satisfaction.
The ride is superb, as one would expect from a Lotus. The car seems to communicate exactly what's going on beneath you without letting road imperfections crash into the cabin or jar you offline in the way that many cars do on British roads. This means that you can best enjoy the sharp and precise steering, cutting the desired driving line through any given corner.
It is quite calm and not too noisy in the cabin, though frustratingly it means that you can only really hear the supercharger whine from the engine as opposed to the exhaust but this might be a blessing for longer motorway journeys. The sports seats are certainly comfortable and feel as though they too would be as good for long journeys as track work. And you would want to take this car on track to try and understand its capabilities and limits as it's a car that urges you to press on harder.
I enjoyed driving it and would have happily carried on for hours as I learned its intricacies and pushed it harder, particularly in the corners. Would I have one over a Porsche? Probably yes but mostly because I want a car like this to feel a little more individual and not so ubiquitous as the Porsche. As a sportscar for the British A and B roads, one that's capable of jaunts to the south of France or the Nurburgring, there can't be many better sports cars out there. The only problem is the price. Some of the cars in the forecourt at the dealership I went to were selling for around £68,000. That is a lot of money for a car that has the potential to depreciate quite heavily over the next few years. I personally wouldn't spend that money as there are far too many attractive alternatives on the used market right now that would even leave you some change for insurance and upkeep - I would rather get a Porsche 911 Turbo or GT3 in that scenario.
If you would like to vote on my competition entry or simply see more photos and my thoughts on video, please visit the Lotus Diaries website at http://lotusdiaries.evo.co.uk/profile/alchristou.