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First drive: Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

First drive: Lotus Evora 400
'Nearly there' Lotus Evora, closer than ever in new 400 guise.


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Lotus Evora 400

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Significant revisions to the Lotus Evora turn it into the Evora 400, a far more convincing ownership proposition for more than just Lotus die-hards.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Lotus Evora 400
Price: £72,000
Engine: 3.5-litre transverse mid-mounted supercharged V6 petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Body style: two-door, 2+2 coupé
CO2 emissions: 225g/km (Band K, £290 per year)
Combined economy: 29.1mpg
Top speed: 186mph
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Power: 406hp at 7,000rpm
Torque: 410Nm at 3,500- to 6,500rpm

What's this?

A new Lotus, which usually means a few revisions here and there and the same old compromises. However, the changes that make up the Evora 400 are more significant than ever, and while a lot of them involve how it drives, the most interesting centre around the basics - like how easy it is to get in and out of it. Lotus has lowered the sill height and it's narrower, too, by 56mm and 43mm respectively. That might not sound that much, but the difference it makes to getting in and out is remarkable; to the point where you no longer have to 'fold' yourself into the Evora, but can get in and out with relative ease.

Immediately, that makes the Evora 400 a more realistic day-to-day proposition, though the changes haven't stopped there. Lotus claims that around two thirds of it has been revised. The styling has been given a serious make-over to denote this, Lotus removing the slightly amorphous front and rear ends with an edgier look. It works well with the existing sharp-lined flanks for a more cohesive whole. The interior has been similarly overhauled, with better materials throughout and a layout that's far more user-friendly. The occasional cheapening parts-bin part (Ford stalks, vents and switches) jars a bit, while the double-DIN satnav does betray Lotus's low-volume status, but it's still a step forward in the right direction. There are new seats too, more space in the back 'seats', a 42kg drop in weight, suspension revisions plus a supercharger and charge cooler for the Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6 engine.

How does it drive?

That supercharger and charge cooler ups the output to 406hp - or 400 in good-old bhp, hence the name. Despite the 20kg those new components add Lotus has still managed to remove some 42kg from the Evora mass overall, though it's not quite the featherweight you might imagine, with a kerb weight of 1,415kg. That's within 40kg of a Porsche 911 - its most natural rival - which, given Lotus's famously mass-reduced pursuit of performance, is surprising. Still, with 406hp from the supercharged V6 it's able to reach 62mph in 4.2 seconds and on to an 186mph maximum, both numbers that are faster than a 911 Carrera 2, while the 0-62mph time is actually quicker than the Carrera S as well.

With the changes comes a hike in price, though the £72,000 Lotus now asks for its Evora 400 is not unreasonable given that the Carrera S would cost around £11,000 more before a single option was put on it. Lotus has simplified the Evora 400 line-up too, with all fully loaded with equipment; the only options are colour and transmission - a six-speed, paddle-shifted auto is available alongside the standard manual.

The supercharger changes the character of the engine and while it still likes revs, its added low- and mid-range muscle is obvious. There's any-gear flexibility now, the Evora 400 feeling quick everywhere, though the gearshift has also been improved to a point where it's no longer as obstructive as it once was. It has not got anything like the quick precision of the best manual transmissions out there, but changes to the linkages (still cable) and their housings and lubrication mean it's more accurate than before, if still not entirely happy being rushed. The manual model comes with a mechanical limited slip differential, while the auto does without. Lotus has been busy making changes to the suspension too, to better suit the greater performance that's now on offer.

There's reach and rake adjustment on the steering wheel, though the new lightweight Sparco seats feel a touch high, while offering plenty of comfort and support. The brakes are strong and full of feel, though the pedal's height does mean heel-and-toe throttle blips need practice to perfect. The optional auto, a standard torque convertor item, has been sped up, though it can't deliver quite the immediacy of its twin-clutch rivals. Regardless, it's still pretty good, adding to the Evora 400's everyday potential for many buyers.

The combined result of all Lotus' revisions is a faster, yet still supremely capable sports car. The steering is light, accurate and full of feel thanks in no small part to Lotus retaining a hydraulic set-up. That's hugely to the benefit of feedback, the Evora 400's steering not just offering precision, but a level of detail that's all but absent in its rivals. The suspension has been tuned to suit, too, with new damper settings improving control, yet doing so without being detrimental to the Evora 400's ride comfort. That's been achieved despite a revised wheel and tyre package (Lotus now using Michelins) that increases grip. More traction and higher thresholds of grip increase its pace on road and track, but it remains a car that's friendly and approachable to drive fast, even when reaching and breaching its heightened levels. Lotus' traction and stability system - which offers normal, Sport and Race settings - works away in the background as much as you need it to, and it can be turned off if you're happy to take complete control yourself.

All that balance and poise is backed up by an engine that not only delivers far more convincing performance than before, but does so with a soundtrack that's rousingly entertaining - particularly so if you've pressed the exhaust button that opens active flaps. What's most impressive though is the Evora 400 has all this engagement, but in a package that's far more resolved and credible as a daily driver, making it a far more persuasive choice against its established rivals.


A far more convincing package thanks to a number of considered changes, the Lotus Evora 400 is now the car it should have always been. There remain some compromises, but they no longer define the driving or ownership experience, to a point where the Lotus can genuinely be considered a rival for competition like the Porsche 911 - the car it most obviously competes with on performance and positioning. It's more expensive than before, but justifiably so, its performance better than the entry-level Carrera 2 it undercuts, and that's in its simplified, fully-equipped guise. A more convincing sports car, as opposed to just a more convincing Lotus, the Evora 400 impresses on many levels, to make it a car that you have no reason to quickly dismiss, and make it one you could readily and seriously consider.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

3 3 3 3 3 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain

Kyle Fortune - 5 Aug 2015    - Lotus road tests
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- Evora images

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.

2015 Lotus Evora 400. Image by Lotus.


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