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Tested: Why the 2020 Lotus Evora GT is a Legitimate Everyday Exotic

The Lotus Evora GT has enough creature comforts to serve as a daily driver without sacrificing weight.

Billy RehbockWriter, Photographer

Every automotive segment has a benchmark. For hot hatches, it's the VW GTI, for off-roading it's the Jeep Wrangler, and for full-size luxury cars it's the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In the sports car realm, the Porsche 911 has increasingly fortified its hold as the critic's choice. But what if you have 911 money but don't want to opt for the obvious choice? Perhaps you have something more exotic in mind but still don't want to want to forgo every creature comfort. Lotus has an answer for that in the 2020 Evora GT.

A Lotus for Every Day of the Week

The first thing my fiancée said when she sat down in the passenger seat of the 2020 Lotus Evora GT was, "Oh thank God this isn't an Elise." When I originally told her that a Lotus was coming for a test drive for the better part of the week, she braced herself for having to ride shotgun in a barebones sports car. But as soon as she smelled the leather and microsuede inside the 2020 Lotus Evora GT, she knew this was going to be a much more comfortable ride than anticipated.

The interior is beautifully trimmed with luxurious materials; where the leather ends, metal begins. Basically, only the switchgear is plastic, and our test car came standard with a nice Alpine head unit. It makes sense that a smaller outfit like Lotus wouldn't develop its own infotainment system, and the display it does install works great. And unlike most makers of exotica, Lotus doesn't charge a dime for car play. (We're looking at you, Ferrari.)

Behind the wheel, I first took a long highway route to get acquainted with the 2020 Lotus Evora GT and its 416-horsepower, not to mention its mid-engine architecture. Lotus can rightfully call this car a GT; despite being setup for high-performance driving, the Bilstein mono-tube gas dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs help the Evora to maintain its composure on the freeway even over poor road surfaces.

In this sense the 2020 Lotus Evora GT is remarkably practical. It doesn't have a frunk up front like a Porsche 911 or Cayman, but there's still a trunk with meaningful space behind the engine; I was able to fit a large pallet of beverages in the rear with room to spare. Additionally, this is the only mid-engine 2+2 sports car on the market, so the back seats can absolutely provide enough stowage for a couple's luggage for a week-long vacation.

Canyon Carving Capabilities

When it came time to get a feel for the car's handling and performance, the 2020 Lotus Evora GT felt substantial and unflappable on the winding roads north of Los Angeles. Its ultra-direct steering provides a mild response when you first turn the wheel, and the car then turns-in more aggressively with additional steering lick. The engine's 317-lb-ft of torque is plenty for blasting out of corners or launching away from a standstill.

Pedal placement is perfect for making heel-toe downshifts, and throttle response is instant. One of the coolest aspects of the 2020 Lotus Evora GT is that you can see the supercharger's waste gate move in the rearview mirror, the little piece of metal opening right up as soon as the driver's foot hits the gas. Plenty of folks these days seem to knock V-6 engines for not sounding good, but when this Lotus is at full tilt, its supercharged powerplant yields a fearsome battle cry with the help of a togglable performance exhaust.

The 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged aluminum wheels are wrapped in grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires that help you feel even more confident in the 2020 Lotus Evora GT driver's seat. Lotus didn't lose its focus on keeping its cars light, even one that can happily serve as a commuter. With four-piston brake calipers from AP Racing providing stopping power up front, deceleration occurs with little effort.

The 2020 Lotus Evora GT weighs in at 3,175 pounds, according to the company, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of 264-hp per ton. Put in perspective, that's the same ratio an NA Miata would have if Mazda gave it 285 hp. As a result, the Evora GT is fast, nimble, and incredibly balanced. Plus, my fiancé finished our half-day in the canyons still feeling fresh and comfortable.

Form Matches Function

Despite being a much better-than-expected companion on multi-hour stints, everything about the 2020 Lotus Evora GT's exterior screams hardcore performance. From its micro-USB-shaped exhaust tip to its integrated spoiler, its appearance is distinctly exotic without going too far into the extreme.

This test car had a number of carbon-fiber elements integrated into its design to keep that theme going. The rear bumper, seatbacks, and instrument binnacle are all made from the stuff, and for a design Lotus has only upgraded gradually since it introduced the Evora more than a decade ago, the car still looks up to date.

Perfect Price Point

The 2020 Lotus Evora GT delivers a lot of value at its sticker price, especially since it's a more exotic alternative to its staider competitors. The Evora GT starts at $98,945, but of course our test car had some optional equipment. Its attention-grabbing Exige Orange paint alone adds a hefty $5,900, black-painted brakes cost $350, and the subwoofer and amplifier ring up for $500. As-tested price: $105,795.

Lotus says the Evora GT will run from 0-60-mph in 3.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 188 mph, slotting it right between a Porsche 911 and 911 Carrera S; its starting price falls right between those competitors as well. Still, for all of the Lotus' surprising refinement, buyers will likely find the Porsche to be a bit more comfortable for daily use whereas the Evora GT still exhibits more focus on weight saving for the sake of performance—but it's still a livable daily driver.

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Indeed, for as raw and capable as the 2020 Lotus Evora GT is in the canyons, it impressed by also being much more of an all-around companion than you would expect from its angular bodywork and, perhaps, your preconceived notions about what a Lotus is. As Lotus builds momentum with the Evija hypercar, it's good to see its priorities haven't shifted away from its more accessible models, either. In that sense, the Evora GT achieves its mission of succeeding as an everyday exotic.

2020 Lotus Evora GT Fast Facts

  • 0-60 mph: 3.8 sec
  • Top speed: 188 mph
  • Standard carbon-fiber components
  • Power-to-weight ratio: 264-hp per ton
  • Steering: hydraulically assisted rack and pinion
  • Brakes: servo-assisted two-piece cross-drilled and vented rotors with AP Racing four-piston calipers; 370-mm discs in the front, 350-mm discs in the rear
  • Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gallons
2020 Lotus Evora GT Specifications
ON SALE Now
PRICE $98,945 /$105,795 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.5L supercharged DOHC 24-valve V-6/416 hp @ 7,000 rpm, 317 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
LAYOUT 2-door, 2+2-passenger, mid-engine, RWD coupe
EPA MILEAGE 17/26 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 173.0 x 73.0 x 48.1 in
WHEELBASE 101.4 in
WEIGHT 3,175 lb
0-60 MPH 3.8 sec
TOP SPEED 188 mph