When we announced that the Lotus Evora was going to be discontinued, the amount of non-response was staggering. Perhaps the newest car will be more rememberable — the performance figures (on paper at least) certainly suggest such an optimistic fate.
We got word today that the Lotus Evora 400 will soon grace the sportscar market. And, it will be the fastest and most powerful production Lotus vehicle to date. Given some of the highly capable cars that have descended from the english manufacturer’s legendary stable, that saying carries some palpable clout.
Engine and Drivetrain
The engine – as we’ve come to expect – is a reliable Toyota-sourced unit similar to the unit used in the last car. On top of that 24-valve 3.5-liter V6 sits a more potent supercharger than the out-going Evora S.
A significant horsepower bump of 55 ponies can be attributed to the reworked blower, but engine mapping and the inclusion of an intercooler play a role. Total engine output is now 400 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 302 lb-ft of torque avaialable from 3500-6500 rpm – not much in the world of Hellcat-influenced opinion but multiply in the Colin Chapman factor and that’s a lot of thrust!
A limited-slip-differential is standard equipment on all manual transmission cars and assures that power properly makes its way to the wheels. We’re still up in the air as to the inclusion of an automatic option in a car of this sporting pedigree. So, just know it has one.
Other noticeable driveline upgrades include a lighter flywheel and redesigned clutch disc. Combined, these will reduce shift times and improve the overall “feel” of the transmission.
Weight Loss Plan
The Lotus mantra of performance through lightweight has been the company’s war cry for generations. It’s a relief to see that it is still a thriving philosophy in the Evora 400. Lotus engineers have managed to trim the composite body down 22kg — roughly 50 pounds for the metric-system-challenged — which, when combined with some other weight saving measures, puts the overall curb weight right around 3100 pounds. That is a respectable weight figure, keeping in mind this is a car with four seats and the dimensional capacity to realistically fit people in them.
The blast to 60 mph comes in 4.1 seconds, a solid performance no doubt, but one unlikely to wow keyboard engineers. Let’s face it, this is a world in which some Corvettes are slipping under the 3-second limbo bar. Lotus does tout that the car can lap their test track 6-seconds faster than the last model – six-seconds around any track is serious business.
Chassis and Suspension
Underneath the revised composite body sits a completely redesigned aluminum chassis. The extruded and bonded alloy structure has been redesigned to not only improve vehicle handling, but also to make entry and exit to the car easier on the driver. Lotus claims that the subtle changes didn’t effect the claimed 27,000 Nm/degree torsional stiffness of the chassis.
The new aerodynamic elements of the bodywork are 100 percent functional. The car generates 70-pounds of downforce at 150 mph (26-pounds over the nose and 44-pounds at the rear) with a fairly low profile spoiler and front splitter.
In regard to braking improvement, Lotus has grown the diameter of the Evora’s brake rotors significantly. At front and rear are new, larger brake discs of a two-piece, cross drilled and vented design. There was no mention of caliper changes.
Will the Evora 400 Save the Day?
Overall, the car looks to be a solid performer and we are excited to see how it will fair against global competition. Is the Evora 400 the savior of a company who’s financial wellness as of late has been shaky at best? Too soon to say.
The last Evora, while an undeniably cable car, lacked the performance and build quality necessary to justify its price tag. We can only hope this car will blaze a new path. But, with more power, lighter weight and sharp (yet functional) exterior looks, Lotus clearly has their sails oriented with the wind, rather than against it.