First drive: 2015 Lotus Evora S in the UAE

First drive: 2015 Lotus Evora S in the UAE


The Lotus Evora has been available in the UAE for the past year now. And it’s been around in Europe since 2009. Then what’s new about the two Evora S cars we’re piloting here? Nothing really. Given our unfamiliarity with the British brand’s products, we asked for our first experience, and the local dealer obliged. The yellow one is an automatic, while the white one is a manual. Yep, manual.

They’re good-looking things, aren’t they? Both the cars are customised to some degree, with options from the brochure. The black roof, two-tone leather interior trim, larger wheels and even wheel colours are all extra-cost options.

Stepping inside can be a bit of a gymnastics act, given the high door sills that form part of the car’s chassis. But it’s still easier to get in and out of than the Exige’s impossibly small spider-hole cabin.

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Once inside, the Evora gives off a sense of minimalism, even though every inch is covered in indulgent leather. There’s a glove-box, but no cup-holders. There’s a back seat and a boot, but neither will fit anything more than babies. There’s an acceptable a/c, but its control-knobs are hard to twist with sweaty fingers. And there’s a simplistic Alpine touchscreen, but we didn’t play with it because we were too busy driving.

Powered by a 3.5-litre supercharged V6, its angry exhaust grunt doesn’t sound anything like the Toyota block it’s derived from. Making 345 hp and 400 Nm of torque, that juice is sent to the rear wheels via either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.

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Getting to try the ultra-rare manual version is like winning the lottery. The ball shift-knob and pedals, all solid aluminium, hark back to exotic cars from the 1990s, before everything became automatic. Expectedly, the clutch is very firm, and while the biting point isn’t clear, it’s so big that it’s easy to get moving without stalling, unlike the aforementioned all-or-nothing exotic cars of old. The shifter is also somewhat firm, requiring deliberate effort to bang through the gears, and it even makes the click-clack sounds of a metal shift-gate underneath the leather shifter-boot.

Of course, the bigger seller is the IPS version, which is Lotus-speak for the ‘Intelligent Precision Shift’ automatic gearbox. It adapts to your driving style, like most modern automatics, and comes with paddle-shifters for manual control. The P-R-N-D lever is replaced with buttons. Shifts are fairly quick, and the slight lumpiness in throttle response in first gear will have you thinking it’s a dual-clutch doohickey rather than a traditional slushbox. And to avoid sudden engine-braking, it blips the throttle during downshifts to rev-match, making for noticeably-smoother gear changes in “sport” mode.

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Neither car feels as quick as you’d think, as there is no massive low-end kick like you’d feel in some turbo’ed rivals. Instead, the supercharged engine releases its juice linearly, building up to a solid punch at higher revs. In a way, that makes it easier to drive fast on curvy roads without getting caught out by too much torque on exiting tighter corners.

The serious sports-car character continues with all the controls. The hydraulically-assisted power steering is firm and sharp, with decent feedback emanating from the chunky steering wheel. The firm brake pedal, although not as strong as you’d expect at partial tip-in, stops very well once more pressure is applied, as the “AP Racing” steel brakes behave almost like ceramic brakes.

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It rides firmly, but is reasonably compliant, no worse than any Porsche 911. There’s no adaptive shocks and such to play with, but it’s perfectly balanced as it is, between comfort and agility. External noises are on the high side though, as with most sports cars, and a fair amount of it is from the engine, even when cruising in top gear. Oh, and rear visibility is virtually non-existent, so the rear camera is a life-saver. Be sure to tick that option.

The Lotus Evora S is a compelling sports car, thoroughly modern yet retaining the kind of character that’s disappearing in a world of Corvettes and 911s with electric power-steering and sanitised responses. It’s basically an entry-level supercar, with all the quirks of a supercar and none of the maintenance costs. Whether you will like this car or not depends on your tolerance level for quirks.

For prices and specs, visit the Lotus Evora buyer guide.

What do you think?



  1. One of the pure and rare breed of sports cars that still sticks to its lightweight and simple engineering philosophy. However, price can be a fate deciding factor for these Lotuses in this region where the market does not understand the brand and would rather settle for something else. Alfa 4C faces the same issue, probably even worse.

    It’s a pleasure to see bright colored Lotuses parked in front of the showroom

  2. Since when do we put babies in the Boot?!

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