2013 Lotus Evora S

The standard Evora debuted back in 2009, combining the ultra-sharp handling Lotus has long been known for with a degree of comfort and practicality heretofore lacking from the automaker's offerings. To expand the Evora range, Lotus recently created the Evora S - a supercharged variant that is intended to appease one of the few complaints some voiced about original car - insufficient power for an exotic sportscar.

The Evora S and its less powerful Evora stablemate are the only 2+2 sports cars on the market with a mid-engine configuration - further adding to the intrigue created by the vehicle's unique styling.

The Evora is designed to compete with Porsche's Cayman on the performance side, but will be slightly more practical thanks to its available four-passenger capacity. Lotus says the Evora's cabin is the most comfortable it has produced to date, with easier ingress and egress than any of its other models. Leather seats from Recaro, a closing glove box, and storage bins and even cup holders are all be standard equipment.

Where the Evora and Evora S start to differ is in the power department. Thanks to the addition of a supercharger to the 3.5-liter Toyota-sourced V6, the S variant increases its horsepower from 276 to 346. Torque is also upped to 295 lb-ft.

The net result of the power boost is a zero-to-60 time of 4.6 seconds, and the S also gains 10 additional miles per hour on its top speed of 172 mph. Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

When it comes times to shift gears, the Evora S comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but for the latest model year Lotus has also added a new option: the IPS transmission. The IPS, or Intelligent Precision Shift, is centered around a six-speed automatic gearbox that also features Lotus-developed transmission control.

This transmission features the ability to drive as a standard automatic, or to reach behind the steering wheel to utilize paddle shifters for added control. On the IPS-equipped Evora S 'sport mode' also increases shifting firmness.

In addition to boosting the horsepower, Lotus has also made several other performance upgrades, including the addition of a stiffer more race-minded suspension tune and cross-drilled rotors for reduced brake fade.

As for cosmetic changes, the most drastic comes in the form of an all-new rear splitter which is significantly larger and more channeled than the found on the standard Evora. Looking closely at the splitter it is also clear that the Evora S swaps dual exhaust tips for a single, centered and large chrome exhaust tip.

The Evora S also comes with a sport pack as standard, centered around a 'sport' button which allows the driver to control throttle response and activate the exhaust by-pass valve. The sport button also raises the instantaneous rev limit and changes the dynamic stability control settings resulting in a total experience change.

The front wheels are 18 inches in diameter, surrounded by tires sized at 225/40-18, while the rears are 19s with 255/35-19 rubber. The forged aluminum wishbone suspension will use Bilstein shocks sitting inside Eibach springs to provide the Lotus-signature impressive handling capabilities.

The options list includes Bi-Xenon headlamps, three wheel choices (18 inch up front, 19 inch out back), power-folding exterior mirrors, a Tech Pack with a high-zoot Alpine Mobile Media System, Bluetooth, cruise control, rear parking sensors, an even higher-end Alpine/Lotus IMPRINT audio system, reverse camera, and full leather trim.

Key Competitors
At the price point of the Evora S, a number of diverse performance machines are available. These include the old-school Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, which is defined by its potent pushrod V8, the Porsche Cayman S, which offers stellar steering and quick reflexes, and the 650 horsepower Ford Shelby GT500.