Being around my dad and me for so many years, our infatuation with driving has rubbed off on my mother. Every day she sends me pictures of cool cars she sees on the street, often asking me what sort of engines are under the hood or how fast they can go. She even drives a . So when I pulled up in Road & Track’s long-ish term Evora the other week, she was more than excited to get a closer look.
Enamored with the car’s sleek profile, she couldn’t contain herself.
“Oh, that’s beautiful!”
Considering the Evora’s styling, it’s no surprise she’s a fan. Though The Evora has been around since 2008, the updated 400 has a sharper front fascia, an updated interior, and a reworked rear end. The tub also has been revised with narrower sills, making it less of a contortionist act to get in and out. After staring for a few seconds, her mind fell back to reality.
“How much does that thing cost?” With a starting price of $94,900 and an as-tested price of $112,565, it’s not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve driven cars twice as expensive that don’t provide even half the enjoyment. It's so much fun to drive that it took second place in our 2017 Performance Car of the Year event.
Fortunately for her, somebody needed to go pickup the take-out we ordered for dinner—it was the perfect opportunity to let my mom experience the car. As we walked up to it, she noticed just how low the Lotus was.
“Oh, is this one of those cars you have to fall into? I really don’t like doing that.”
I’ve brought all sorts of cars in the past to my parents’s house for them to check out, many of which were sports cars. As you’d expect, lots of them had low floors, wide door sills, and bucket seats. My mom isn’t a fan of having to put effort into getting in and out of a car.
“Kind of,” I replied. “This is actually Lotus’s most luxurious car, if you can believe it.” She laughed as she made her way past the door and into the lightly padded shell buckets.
Of course, the Evora is Lotus’s only road car for sale Stateside. Europe is lucky enough to also have the barebones, ultralight Elise and track-purposed Exige in its showrooms. I told her to ignore the cheap, aftermarket-looking radio in the dash. Before I go through the convoluted starting procedure–it involves pushing a button on the key, turning a key, and pushing a start button–I ask her to row through the gears to feel what I think is one of the best shifters in the industry right now.
“It feels like metal sliding into more metal. It’s nice!”
While she hasn’t driven a car with a manual transmission in more than a decade, my mom still advocates for having three pedals whenever possible, because she understands how important it is for the driving experience. Particularly now that paddle shifters rule the world. She’s great.
I took the long way to our destination in town to give my mom ample opportunity to experience this masterpiece Lotus has built. Of course, being in the passenger seat, she could only experience so much.
“The ride is really rough. And it’s so loud.”
In truth, the ride was a little bit on the stiff side, but not as bad as she makes it sound. It’s a fixed suspension—no electronic adjustment stuff going on here—that comes to life once you take a few corners. What she wasn’t able to feel was the fantastically communicative steering, wonderful pedal setup, and phenomenal AP Racing brakes. As for the noise, well, she’s spot on there. There isn't much sound-deadening, and the engine sits directly behind the cabin.
A few seconds later, I find a wide open road, and get on it. The wonderful sound of supercharger whine builds rapidly. I reach the top of second gear, then let off.
“You really shouldn’t be driving like this, Brian. Especially in something this flashy.”
“We’re going 62 in a 55, mom.”
But with the speedometer’s reading out of view, I couldn’t fault her for thinking we’d just done some very illegal speeds. Any speed in the Evora is an event, something that requires your full attention. It’s the opposite of isolated. It's in your face, ready to obey your next input at a moment’s notice. The looks alone are enough to tell you that. But spending some quality time in the car really drives the point home.
As we reach some more corners, my mom starts to laugh. “These seats really hug you in!” The stiff suspension and lack of sound deadening fade into memory, as we carve through some wonderfully deserted upstate New York back roads. This car is a joyous experience no matter which seat you’re sitting in. It’s amazing a car like this, in the year 2018, can be purchased new. Whereas most cars have an extra layer of padding to keep you from feeling anything, the 400 keeps the driving experience simple, direct, and alive.
“Why don’t more people buy these? I never see them on the road. Is it because of the ugly ‘90s radio?”
We get the food and go back home, and we get out. My mom immediately asked my dad why he wouldn't consider buying one instead of another Porsche. Since I'd take the Evora over any new Porsche on sale today, I'm wondering the same thing.