Automaker has to abide by America’s tough emissions rules

After a short hiatus from the U.S. market, the Lotus Evora is expected to make a nice comeback, albeit in a slightly different form from the ones being offered in Europe today. A report from Automotive News is pointing at a May 2016 return for the Evora 2+2. The only caveat is that it’s going to be a detuned, entry-level version of the V-6-powered Evora 400. Before anybody starts slamming their fists on the table, it’s important to know that the decision to bring a detuned version of the Evora hinged primarily on Lotus having to meet America’s emissions requirements.

So it’s not all bad. Lotus is just trying to follow the rules, even if it comes at the cost of offering an Evora with less power. The upside is that it’ll have better fuel economy. Just as important, the Evora has since been updated from the last iteration that was sold here to ensure that it complied with the stricter airbag regulations.

Now, about that engine. Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales intimated to Automotive News the company’s goal of dropping its carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. by three percent per year over a five-year period. For Lotus to make that work, it would have to offer a detuned version of the Evora 400, which would entail dropping the sports car’s supercharger entirely. Doing so would reduce the V-6 engine’s power, but it would also improve fuel economy and in turn, help the company achieve that five-year emissions goal it placed on itself.

Granted, Gales admitted that the supercharger-less Evora is just one of the options he’s looking into. But it is a scenario that’s more realistic than removing the supercharged V-6 entirely and replacing it with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. That door is less likely to be opened because the company doesn’t see the short- and long-term benefits it could have on the Evora.

For now, this news is a matter of taking the good with the bad. The good news is that the Evora’s vacation from the U.S. market is over. The bad news is that it’s really not going to be the Evora 400 that Europe and other markets currently have. But I’m sure American customers would learn to accept that, especially if the U.S.-spec Evora, especially if it comes at a much cheaper price than the $90,000 price tag of the Evora 400, and if it will also come with a roadster variant in 2017.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

There’s a lot to make out of this news and hearing about it brought out a lot of conflicting emotions. I can’t help it either because not only am I fan of the Evora 400, but more importantly, I was looking forward to seeing how that car could translate into this market.

I get it though. Lotus is doing what it has to do to abide by the emissions regulations. After all, it is in the business of making money and if that’s what it’s going to take for that to happen, then so be it. Besides, Giles acknowledged that even with the U.S.-spec Evora being less powerful than the Evora 400, there’s already a lot of interest in the car, as shown by the 250 orders the company has already taken from U.S. customers. That represents a significant chunk of the 400 Evora models Lotus is targeting to sell in America annually.

Ultimately, none of this is going to matter if sales numbers of the U.S.-spec Evora trends up. Detuned or not, it’s still the Evora and it’s still going to have sports car looks and sports car performance. If people are really concerned about losing power at the expense of better fuel economy, then maybe the Evora isn’t the car for them. And for what it’s worth, those who aren’t too impressed with the U.S.-spec Evora can wait a few more years for the two-seater Elise to arrive. That’s a different story altogether, but according to Lotus, a 2020 timetable is on the cards provided that it arrives with an all-new model.

Lotus Evora 400

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
- image 617786

Read our full review on the Lotus Evora 400 here.

Source: Automotive News

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