Future Cars

2009 Lotus Evora – Eagle, We Hardly Knew Ye

We knew quite a bit about the 2009 Lotus Evora before, but we didn’t actually know the car’s name until its official debut at the 2008 London motor show.

We’d known for some time that the car, Lotus’ first all-new creation since the 1995 launch of the Elise, would use a nomenclature beginning with ‘E,’ although it wouldn’t be Esprit (that car’s revival is still in the works).

Externally, the Lotus Evora bears some resemblance to the smaller Elise and Exige, but the similarities end with the interior. In stark contrast to the minimalist cockpit of the Elise, the Evora features a stylish, well-appointed cockpit. A swath of stitched leather starts in each door panel, and wraps up into the front surface of the instrument panel; the center console itself is trimmed in a similar manner.

Technically, the car is a 2+2, but even Lotus advises using the rear seats for children only. We suspect most owners will simply flip the rear seats down, using the resulting package shelf to accommodate extra luggage.

As previously reported, the Lotus Evora uses a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V-6. Essentially the same engine found in the Camry, Lotus’ tweaks have it producing 280 hp 6400 rpm, and 252 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm – increases of 12 hp and 4 lb-ft over a 2008 U.S.-spec Camry. Coupled to a six-speed manual transaxle of Toyota origin, the V-6 is expected to push the Evora from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds and a top speed of 160 mph.

Such performance comes courtesy of the Evora’s light weight. Built upon Lotus’ new Versatile Vehicle Architecture, the structure is manufactured from aluminum extrusions bonded together, similar to that of the Elise. The complete chassis weighs only 440 pounds; the entire car – with weight-saving features like a composite roof panel – weighs 2976 pounds.

Production of the 2009 Lotus Evora, assigned to an all-new assembly line at Lotus’ headquarters in Hethel, England, will be limited to 2000 cars per year. Global sales are expected to begin in Spring 2009; with cupholders and interior spaces designed to appease and accommodate (larger) American buyers, we’re expecting to see the car stateside soon after.