The Lotus Evora is essentially a stretched version of the no-longer-sold-here Elise and Exige. Designed for touring rather than track days, the Evora is roomier, more comfortable, and marginally more practical than the Elise and Exige. However, it's still a Lotus, which means that outstanding driver feedback, sublime handling, and spot-on driving dynamics all come standard. A mid-mounted, Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V-6 provides 276 hp in the Evora; tacking on a supercharger helps the Evora S put out 345 hp. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. There is a new automatic, dubbed Intelligent Performance Shift, that can be manually operated via steering-wheel-mounted paddles. The automatic is available only with the normally aspirated engine, but Lotus purists should really stick with the manual gearbox. There is a long list of changes and tweaks for 2012, including the trickle-down to the base Evora of some items that were previously exclusive to the Evora S, such as a noisier exhaust and a close-ratio transmission. Standard equipment is pretty much limited to such things as power windows and locks; options include touch-screen navigation, a backup camera, heated seats, and seven different wheel designs. The Evora can be specified as a two-seater, with a small bench behind the driver's seat, or a two-plus-two, but the rear seats in this case are exceptionally tiny. Now that the Elise and the Exige are no longer sold here, the Evora is the only way to get behind the wheel of a new Lotus.
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