Lotus Moving Upmarket: the Evora GTE Concept

Lotus Evora GTE concept

Lotus has had considerable success with its Evora GTE, the racing version of the Evora road car. Now the company is making a good thing better by, more or less, combining the two in a GTE concept that will show at Pebble Beach tonight (see press release).

The concept car has a tweaked V6 producing 420 hp and a sequential AMT gearbox. This far outdoes the present Evora S—no slouch at 345 hp and 4.6 seconds to 60 mph—presently Lotus’s top road car.

But it’s the handling that always has distinguished Lotus from the pack, though some have complained not so much about a lack of power but its “loose, vague gearshift.” Even so,

the Evora feels lighter on its feet than a Porsche Cayman S and it fidgets far less than a Nissan GT-R. The Lotus’s steering also has a lovely oily, linear feel and perfect weighting.

Evora GTEUnder Proton, its Malaysian owners, Lotus has been brought back from near-death and is now moving upscale, à la Ferrari and Porsche, off the track and onto the road, with features to appeal to the American market. So it’s likely that the Evora GTE will get built.

Evora GTEIt has a more aggressive front end, vents and air management splitter, as well as ultralight alloys bound with Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires. No more details at this point, but we can add a couple of things:

1. Two guys from Lotus Malaysia were getting their Evora cleaned at 2:00 a.m. in a Kuala Lumpur car wash when encountered by a journalist from CarThrottle. The result is a great story, and the Lotus gents revealed a bunch of important details about the company’s plans and progress.

2. The Evora is still the quintessential British sports car. In October 2009, another two guys (this time very English) took an Evora on a 190-mile trip on challenging British B-roads in the Lake District of middle England. The detailed account of this, published in EVO, tells you more about what it’s like to drive this car than most any car review I know.

You’ll also learn something about British beer and being locked in a pub.

Lotus cars have to move upmarket: That’s where their buyers are. Do you agree?

—jgoods

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1 Comment

  1. In my opinion, Lotus has always been a value leader- A chance to buy a fairly exotic car without the exotic price. And they carried it off well, creating some iconic mid-priced sports cars that are considered classics today. By going “upscale”, Lotus is evacuating the niche they created and dominated for a very crowded field of freakish over-endowed exotic cars meant primarily to be bought by rich arabs and entertainers and locked in a garage, or stuffed with money and crashed into SUV’s by drunken sports and hip hop celebrities.

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