Lotus is at a crossroads, as it needs to keep expenses low but it also needs to update its aging lineup before the public forgets it even exists. And when the British automaker was forced to stop selling the Evora in the U.S. because of noncompliant airbags, the company had to redesign its only U.S.-spec model or essentially die in the American market. And redesign it did, with the introduction of the more-powerful 2016 Evora 400.

With a hefty power boost and refreshed fascias, the new Evora 400 appears primed to do battle with the newly released 2015 4C and 2016 Cayman GT4. But the real test is whether the world will notice that the Evora 400 even happened, or if buyers will continue flocking to Porsche and Alfa dealers for their lightweight sports cars.

Updated 11/05/2015: Lotus dropped a new video showing its latest Evora 400 in action on the track. Being 92 pounds lights and 55 horsepower more powerful than the previous Evora, the new 400 version lapped the test track at Lotus HQ, Hethel in just 1 minute and 31 seconds — a full 7 seconds quicker than the previous model.

Continue reading for my full review to see what I think.

  • 2016 Lotus Evora 400
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    Six-Speed Manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    302
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.1 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    186 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    89900 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
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The large vents, the front splitter, and the LED running lights all make the Evora finally look like it belongs in this decade.

Oooh, now this is what I’m talking about. Lotus has ditched the old Evora’s front end, which wasn’t terrible, but lacked the aggression needed to be taken seriously. In its place is a front end that looks like it belongs on a sports car with the type of power the Evora 400 is working with. The large vents, the front splitter, and the LED running lights all make the Evora finally look like it belongs in this decade.

Around back, the Evora 400 gets similar treatment, as the taillights appear to be embedded deeper into the fascia, the three-element spoiler is more pronounced, the diffuser is better integrated with the bumper, and the entire fascia look flatter and broader than before. The new bodywork accounts for a Cd rating of 0.33 and up to 32 kg of downforce at 150 mph – the drag is 0.02 lower than last year, while the downforce is doubled.

Also new for 2016 are the lighter wheels and the design of the side-view mirrors.

Overall, the Evora just looks more modern, sporty, and aggressive; like it actually belongs in a competition with the Porsche 911.

Interior

2016 Lotus Evora 400 Interior
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2016 Lotus Evora 400 Interior
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2016 Lotus Evora 400 Interior
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If you like, you can opt for rear seats, which are now 280 mm wider than the previous Evora's and weigh 3.4 kg less.

On the inside, Lotus first focused on making it easier to get in and out of the Evora by narrowing the door sills by 43 mm and lowering them by 56 mm, and narrowing the door panels.

Once you’re in the cabin, you’ll find a new set of front seats that are 3 kg lighter than before, and a new lightweight magnesium steering wheel wrapped in leather. The entire cabin is laid out in high-grade materials, including Alcantara or Scottish leather, and each trim level of the Evora gets its own specific touches.

For the driver, a set of revised gauges greets you with white numbers on a black dials for easy reading, and the transmission buttons for the auto transmission are now on the upper-center dashboard for easier access. If you like, you can opt for rear seats, which are now 280 mm wider than the previous Evora’s and weigh 3.4 kg less.

In terms of tech gadgets, the Evora does come with a “high-end” entertainment system that features lightweight, slim door speakers and A-pillar tweeters.

Drivetrain

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
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Additionally, Lotus has added a revised switchable exhaust system that allows the driver to select between proper and peaceful, and loud and obnoxious, just the way I like it.

In the powertrain department, Lotus has massaged the Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter supercharged V-6 to the tune of 400 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque – a 55-horsepower and a 7-pound-feet boost over the last Evora S. This extra grunt gets the Evora 400 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and up to a top speed of 186 mph, which is a 0.3-second reduction in acceleration time and an 8 mph increase in top speed compared to the last model.

The 2016 Evora 400’s traction control system has three settings to help you dial it in for varying conditions: Drive, Sport, and Race. The latter two also increase throttle response.

Additionally, Lotus has added a revised switchable exhaust system that allows the driver to select between proper and peaceful, and loud and obnoxious, just the way I like it.

All summed up, Lotus means serious business folks.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 3.5-liter V-6
Output 400 HP
Torque 302 LB-FT @ 3,500 - 6,500 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.1 seconds
Top speed 186 MPH

Suspension And Brakes

The footwork is handled by a set of new, lightweight forged aluminum wheels measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches in the rear. These rims are lighter by 7.3 pounds, and they are wrapped in a set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

Stopping duties are the responsibility of two-piece, cross-drilled and ventilated disc brakes measuring 14.5 inches by 1.25 inches up front and 13.8 inches by 1.2 inches out back.

Prices

On the U.S. market the new Evora 400 is priced from $89,900 - excluding local sales taxes.

In the UK the model is priced from £72,000. A list of optional features is presented below:

Automatic transmission £2,000
Alcantara or Leather trim £2,500
Metallic paint £900
"Black Pack £1,250
Lightweight forged alloy wheels £2,000
Cruise control and yellow or black brake callipers £300 each

Competitors

Porsche Cayman GT4

2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 Exterior
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Porsche has oficially unveiled the 385-horsepower Cayman GT4, see it at TopSpeed.com.

Porsche or Lotus? To avoid being bashed by one fan or the other, I will avoid telling you which I would prefer. The newest model to wear the iconic Porsche crest is the Cayman GT4, which sports a 911 Carrera S-sourced 3.8-liter boxer-six that cranks out 385 ponies and 309 pound-feet of twist. This affords the mid-engine coupe a 4.2-second 0-to-60 sprint time and a top speed of 183 mph.

The 2016 Cayman GT4 will hit your bank account for $84,600 before options, putting it right in line with where the Evora 400 should be priced. So, I ask you again, Porsche or Lotus? You decide…

Read more about the Porsche Cayman GT4 here.

Alfa Romeo 4C

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C High Resolution Exterior
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Size and output-wise, the 237-horsepower 4C fits somewhere between the Evora and the Elise, but Jean-Marc Gales of Lotus is keen to point out that the 4C’s carbon tub is only eight pounds lighter than the Elise’s aluminum tub which, is now 17 years old.

With a huge power advantage, the Evora 400 wouldn’t have a very hard time leaving a 4C behind in terms of top speed, but in the 0-to-60 sprint, the 4C is actually even with the Evora 400. Additionally, with a base price of just $53,900, the 4C will likely have a huge price advantage.

Read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C here.

Conclusion

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
- image 617794

Lotus has been in a sticky situation since Dany Bahar essentially hijacked the company and ran it into the ground. Fortunately, in the caring and intelligent hands of Jean-Marc Gales, the company looks to have itself in order, and the Evora 400 is just one example of how Gales’ knowledge can help resurrect this iconic brand. I just hope that its image isn’t too tattered to make a complete comeback.

  • Leave it
    • * Are buyers willing to bypass a Porsche for a Lotus?
    • * Lotus is standing on very shaky ground right now

Updated History

Updated 09/07/2015: Lotus announced that the first Evora 400 sports cars left Lotus’ Hethel headquarters and are now on their way to dealerships across the UK and mainland Europe.

Updated 08/03/2015: The guys over XCar made a very cool review for the recently launched Evora 400. Check out the video to learn if this could be a nice alternative to Porsche cars.

Updated 07/02/2015: The new Evora 400 went into production at the company’s plant in Hethel. Evora 400 deliveries for European markets will commence in August 2015, while in North America deliveries will begin in early 2016.

Updated 05/18/2015: Lotus announced prices for the new Evora 400 which will be put on sale later this August. The model will be priced from $89,900 - excluding local sales taxes.

Updated 03/04/2015: The new Lotus Evora 400 made its world debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. With this occasion Lotus also announced that the model will be offered for the North American market as a 2016 model year, while European customers will be able to enjoy it starting August.

Updated 02/18/2015: Lotus unveiled the first official details on the new Evora 400 - aka the fastest and most powerful production Lotus ever. Click past the jump for the official details.

Updated 11/14/2014: According to the British magazine AutoCar, a heavily revised version of the Evora will be unveiled in March 2015 at the Geneva Motor Show. The model will be changed both on the exterior and the interior, but most importantly will deliver about about 15 percent more power and less weight.

Spy Shots

February 12, 2015 - First testing session

2016 Lotus Evora 400 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Lotus Evora 400 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Lotus Evora 400 Exterior Spyshots
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Press Release

The new Lotus Evora 400 is the latest pure and focused supercar from Lotus, combining high performance with the legendary Lotus benchmark handling. It is faster and dynamically more capable than the previous Lotus Evora leading to greater agility and a more involving drive.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
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Maximum speed is 186 mph (300 km/h) and acceleration 0-60 mph is just 4.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds). This enables the new Lotus Evora 400 to lap the challenging test track at the Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, a scintillating SIX seconds faster than the previous model.

Over two thirds of the Lotus Evora 400 is new, including its supercharged and charge-cooled mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 400 horsepower and 410 Nm of torque. A new aluminium chassis incorporates a new interior and the lightweight composite body has changed significantly both front and rear.

Following the core values of the company, not only is the new Lotus Evora 400 faster than the previous model, it is also 22 kg lighter, achieved through careful and clever design and attention to detail. This weight reduction is even more impressive considering that the supercar has more power and a higher standard specification than before.

In describing the remit for the new Lotus Evora 400, Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus plc, states, “A requirement for all Lotus cars is to be a benchmark for handling, to be the quickest car from A to B and to provide the driver with a pure and involving driving experience. 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. It delivers supercar looks allied to supercar performance.”

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
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Jean-Marc Gales continues, “We have always said that to make a car better, you must make it faster and lighter. We have achieved this, of course, but we didn’t stop there, as the considerable number of changes in the interior, chassis, engine and body design have warranted emphatically, the title of a new Lotus Evora.

“Our dealer network stands at 168 worldwide, which is still growing to reach 200 dealers by the end of 2015, while our sales volumes have increased by over 50% in the last 10 months. The new Lotus Evora 400 will make its mark as a significant milestone in the history of Lotus. Looking to the future, the Lotus Evora 400 will remain core to our product line up for many years to come, with more exciting derivatives planned within the next few years.”

The new Lotus Evora 400 will enter production for European markets in the summer and deliveries will commence in August this year. North American markets will receive the Evora 400 as a 2016 model year presentation in the Autumn.

Combined production for all Lotus models, the Elise, Exige and Evora, will increase to 70 cars per week by September 2015 and an additional 150 highly skilled operators and craftsmen and women will be recruited in the next four months to accommodate this rise in production.

Prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

The Lotus Evora 400 in more detail:

Supercar Performance

Fastest production Lotus ever, laps Hethel SIX seconds faster than previous model
Aerodynamic downforce of 32 kg at 150 mph (242 km/h)

Engine power has been increased from that of the Evora S; a respected 345 hp (350 PS; 257.3 kW) to 400 hp (406 PS; 298.3 kW) at 7,000rpm. The supercharger fitment ensures strong bottom-end torque and the figure has also been increased to 302 lbs ft (410 Nm) achieved between 3,500 to 6,500 rpm. This translates into even more strident acceleration for a 0-60 mph time of just 4.1 seconds (0-100 kph in 4.2 seconds).

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Traction slip thresholds (‘Drive‘, ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings) can be altered via a driver-selectable switch, which allows the driver enhanced vehicle control before intervention is required. Both ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings increase throttle responsiveness.

Its top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h) propels the Evora 400 to the upper segment of supercar performance expectations. The benchmark lap time at the Lotus Test Track at Hethel, has been slashed by a phenomenal SIX seconds due to higher engine power, revised spring and damper settings, a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) and a downforce figure of 32 kg (70 lbs) at 150 mph (242 km/h). This downforce equates to 12 kg, 26 lbs front; 20 kg, 44 lbs rear, achieved by the Evora 400’s flat-floor, lightweight composite rear diffuser, three-element rear wing and airflow management strategy.

Despite the luxury fittings and equipment expected of a modern supercar, Lotus remains true to its lightweight, dynamic remit and the new Evora 400 tips the scales (unladen) at just 1,415 kgs (3,119 lbs; auto: 1,419 kg, 3,128 lbs), which amounts to a reduction of 22 kg, or 48 lbs (automatic option: 23 kg / 50lbs) from the outgoing Evora model.

Powertrain

Limited Slip Differential (LSD) as standard for the manual transmission
Supercharged and charge-cooled 3.5-litre V6 engine produces more power and torque

The new Lotus Evora 400 is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine but with a new supercharger, water-to-air charge-cooler and engine management system. Its power output has increased by 16% from 345 hp (350 PS / 257 kW) to 400 hp (406 PS / 298 kW). Torque has increased from 400 Nm / 295 lbs ft to 410 Nm / 302 lbs ft with maximum torque available from 3500 rpm to 6500 rpm.

The power increase of 55 hp comes from supercharger enhancements (volumetric capacity has increased from 1.32 L/rpm to 1.74 L/rpm), the application of a new charge-cooler and engine management upgrades.

While meeting legal pass-by and race track requirements for NVH, sonic changes have been made to the post-cat exhaust system. It features revised muffler internals and a switch that can be driver activated, which allows the exhaust to flow more freely, reducing back pressure under higher engine loads and where conditions allow. A by-product is an unique supercar soundtrack through the three-inches wider, central exiting exhaust pipe.

New engine mounts, which are 5.6 kg lighter than in the previous Lotus Evora, and a revised rear sub-frame have enabled better engine control and improved vehicle dynamics.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 Interior
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A number of manual gearbox enhancements have greatly improved shift quality including a new clutch disc and a low inertia flywheel that ensure swift and tactile gearchanges. For the automatic transmission option, a new shift strategy has been developed, with gearchanges made using the lightweight aluminium paddles mounted to the steering wheel. For the manual version, a Torsen-type limited slip differential (LSD) has been fitted as standard to the rear axle, which gives a more involving drive and better traction, to produce better lap times.

An additional benefit arising from the improved efficiency is a reduction in CO2 exhaust emissions from 229 g/km to 225 g/km (automatic: 220 g/km down from 224 g/km), which equates to a lower tax band in many markets (subject to Type Approval).

Brakes and Tyres

Lightweight cast and forged wheel options
New, larger and more powerful brakes

Braking comes from new, more powerful, two-piece, cross-drilled and ventilated brake discs, which are 370 x 32 mm front and 350 x 30 mm rear diameters (previous Evora: 350 x 32 mm front and 332 x 26 mm rear).

2016 Lotus Evora 400 Interior
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Finally, lightweight forged aluminium wheels, 19” on the front and 20” on the rear, are 3.3 kg lighter than the forged wheels on the previous Evora and are now shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres (235/35x19 91Y front; 285/30x20 99Y rear), which not only increase vehicle stability and grip levels but also enhance the overall quality of the class-leading dynamics package.

Exterior Design

The new Evora 400 exudes a visual appeal that is perfectly in line with its supercar status

New front end:
Bold, purposeful front end and bumper design that incorporates larger cooling apertures and attractive daytime running lamps
New rear end
New rear bumper, lightweight composite rear diffuser and three-element rear wing
Two new lighter weight wheel designs (both forged and cast options)
New door mirror design

The overall effect is of a car with a more aggressive stance, that appears lower, wider and more planted on the road, despite no increase in width compared with the previous Evora. The overall length has increased by 35 mm (1.4 inches) to 4394 mm (173 inches). The approach angle has been reduced from 11.5 degrees to 10 degrees to aid aerodynamic downforce.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
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Lotus Head of Design, Russell Carr, was adamant about providing the new Evora 400 with an unique signature.

“We were certain that a more focused and purposeful frontal aspect was essential for a modern supercar,”he outlines. “However, we were also sure that to alter greatly the profile of the recognisable, award-winning, mid-engined Evora design would have been wrong intrinsically.

“Our ambition was to create a high quality innovative design. This was significantly assisted by an integrated digital design process that allows us to translate computer data rapidly into physical models, using our state-of-the-art milling and 3-D printing facilities.”

The front of the car features an evolution of the traditional ‘Lotus mouth’ that balances perfectly the needs for both form and function. The large side intakes not only give the car more road presence but also fulfil the technical requirements to cool the 400 hp engine and increase aerodynamic downforce.

At the rear, a wide and powerful look is combined resourcefully with aerodynamic efficiency.Sharp corner features maximise the width perception and give clean airflow separation. The distinctive three-element wing and new lightweight composite rear diffuser contribute to the impressive 32 kg of downforce at 150 mph.

While there is no increase in frontal area of the Evora 400 (at 1.91m²), thesmall increase in Cd, from 0.33 to 0.35, is due largely to the cooling requirements driven by the huge increase in engine power. However the aerodynamic downforce is greatly increased – it is approximately double that of the previous Lotus Evora at any speed. For example, at 150 mph the downforce is 32 kg (12 kg on the front and 20 kg on the rear) for the Evora 400. The previous Evora S generated 6 kg front and 10 kg on the rear.

Interior Design

New and revised interior
Improved cabin occupant entry and exit

2016 Lotus Evora 400 Interior
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A comprehensive round of changes has resulted in an all new interior for the Lotus Evora 400. Designed elegantly and functionally to be both lightweight and of high quality, the interior is a perfect match for the striking exterior of the car.

The high-tech aluminium bonded and extruded chassis has been redesigned to improve both entry to and exit from the new Lotus Evora 400 cockpit. The sills are 43 mm per side narrower and 56mm lower than the previous Evora. The substantial changes to the chassis have been achieved without degradation of either torsional stiffness, which remains at a rigid 27,000 Nm / degree, or bending stiffness of the chassis.

Ingress, egress and cockpit space are further improved with the introduction of higher quality, lighter weight and narrower door inner panels.

All new front seats are lighter (by 3 kg each) and provide greater support for both driver and front passenger. As an option, rear passengers are also catered for, with the rear seats being 280 mm wider than the previous Lotus Evora; weight has been reduced in the rear seats by 3.4 kg.

As a hand-crafted sports car, the bespoke feel is carried across three new trim levels, including trim upgrades in full Alcantara, or Scottish leather, with each featuring specific trim detailing. Apart from the materials used, the new door casings, centre console and more space in the rear support a determined approach to improve both accessibility into and egress from the car‘s cabin.

Both comfort and ergonomics have been improved dramatically, with a new HVAC system that provides greater airflow and operator control, within an all-new dashboard layout.

As befits a driver orientated car, the cabin features a lightweight forged magnesium steering wheel with a red race-inspired position stripe and a revised instrument cluster that possesses simple clear dials (white on black graphics). Switchgear haptics and ergonomics have also been improved significantly, the latter through location to the upper-central dashboard and,for the first time, a new engine start-stop button has been fitted to the Lotus Evora 400.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 High Resolution Exterior
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A high-end in-car entertainment system is standard, with the latest, lightweight and slim-line door speakers being fitted within the new door casings, while A-pillar incorporated tweeters improve the sound reproduction quality.

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