Struggling Lotus has lately sounded a lot like Mark Twain, repeatedly insisting that reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, despite plenty of reason for concern, including management shake-ups and the collapse of an ambitious, and ultimately unrealistic, product development program.
But Lotus is showing at least some signs of life, the latest coming with the unveiling of its all-new, mid-engine Evora 400. The latest update of the Evora line is more than just a cosmetic update, insists the maker which is based in Hethel, Norfolk. It claims that “over two-thirds” of the Lotus Evora 400 is new, including its supercharged 3.5-liter V-6.
“The Evora 400 is the fastest road-going Lotus that we have ever produced, possessing performance that can only be matched by cars costing significantly more,” boasted Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Gales. “It delivers supercar looks allied to supercar performance.”
With that mid-mounted V-6 making 400 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, Lotus claims the new Evora 400 can launch from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, with a top speed of 186 mph. It also reports the new model has been lapping the test track at its headquarters six seconds faster than the previous Evora.
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The new model retains the underlying philosophy of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, adds CEO Gales. “We have always said that to make a car better, you must make it faster and lighter.”
The Evora 400’s new aluminum chassis and composite body weigh in almost 50 pounds lighter than the outgoing Evora, despite the additional power, at a base weight of 3,119 pounds.
Other key changes with the new 2-seater include the addition of a limited-slip differential, a significant increase in downforce and revised spring and damper settings, Lotus notes. The Evora 400 gets more powerful, two-piece, cross-drilled and ventilated brakes. And it rides on new Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires – 19 inches up front and 20 in the rear.
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The exterior visual changes are modest, with new front bumpers and fascia, with larger cooling grilles and new daytime running lamps. There’s also a new rear bumper, a composite rear diffuser and a three-element rear wing.
Lotus claims it has made ingress and egress much easier than with the notoriously awkward old Evora. The seats are more supportive and lighter. There’s now an optional rear seat, as well. The entire cabin has been upgraded with Alcantara and other premium materials and Lotus promises the HVAC system has also been upgraded.
The British maker plans to launch production of European models over the summer, with deliveries to begin by August. U.S. buyers will have to wait until autumn 2016, however.
Production figures for the Evora weren’t released, but Lotus says that for all of its models it aims to be rolling out 70 cars by week by September of this year. It also claims to be rebuilding its skeletal dealer network.
Prices for the Evora will be announced closer to the start of sales.
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