LotusEvora400_Interior_005

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Colin Chapman, the founder of lotus cars, had a car creation focus unlike many other car builders.

He was primarily interested in building lightweight, good handling racecars. That same approach carried over to his many production sports cars. Luxury features and lots of room were secondary considerations. But his multiple Formula One championships and Indianapolis 500 wins with his racecars reinforced his production car design philosophy.

But with the introduction of the new Evora 400, the basic design look and handling approach remains, but with a recognition that comfort is also important. No question the exterior design is a standout—low, sweeping lines all nicely integrated with a large spoiler on the back end. Upfront, the hood goes downward with three openings below the large, covered headlights. With its rear mounted sideways, alongside with its engine and transmission package, the overall length remains short.

And speaking of power, there is plenty to go around with this lightweight package. Lotus essentially uses aluminum in the chassis and anywhere else it can to achieve a high power-to-weight ratio. A supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 producing 400 horsepower provides plenty of thrust. And in somewhat of a shock, but a concession to the market, besides the classic 6-speed manual transmission, an optional 6-speed automatic is available. With that combo, the 0-60 time is a quick 4.1 seconds with a top speed of 172 mhp with the automatic transmission and 186 mph with the stick shift. With its large wheel and tire combo and fully independent suspension handling still stays supreme. Surprisingly, the ride over bumpy or pothole-filled roads is reasonably absorbing and comfortable.

But the real shift in approach is found inside. Unlike many of its Lotus predecessors, getting in and sitting in the high bolstered seats is easy. And there is a fair amount of room for even taller people. A leather-lined interior greets the occupants. A small, touch video screen is in the center of the dash to handle stereo, Bluetooth, and other functions. Multiple clearly marked dials take care of the automatic climate system.

Big buttons below the climate dials let you punch in the automatic transmission park, drive, and reverse gear choices. But for more control of your destiny, paddles behind the steering wheel can manually shift the gears. Another set of power choices includes settings for sport and race, and as one could envision, the ride stiffens, the steering tightens, and gears are held longer when these controls are activated. Besides the analog speedometer and tachometer in the dash pod, there are two small video screens, which can provide data on fuel mileage, tire pressures, and other information.

And believe it or not, there are two rear seats with shoulder harasses behind the front seats. Admittedly, the front seat driver and passenger would have to move far forward to accommodate adults or even keiki in that arena. In reality, the rear seats provide storage and luggage space since the “trunk” in front is small.

With this model, the essence of a Lotus has been kept with the Evora 400—low slung, high performance, great handling and excellent styling. But this time around, the driver and passenger can enjoy the ride.