Are you looking for the most visceral and purest driving experience? Well, you’re not finding that in most modern cars. Certain high-dollar Porsches with high-revving 4.0-liter flat-six engines fit that bill but they’re a little digital at times too. What about a Mazda MX-5 Miata or the Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ, you ask? They’re awesome but still not as raw. If you’re asking what else is left, I have one more suggestion for you: the Lotus Evora GT. The second to the last internal combustion vehicle for the British brand gives you that old-school experience, and you don’t have to select a drive mode.
Lotus Evora GT: Feeling Everything
The Lotus Evora GT isn’t for everyone. This car is all about pure driving fun, nothing more, nothing less. That means handling and precision take priority over everything else including ride comfort. It shows too because the suspension is so stiff you feel every surface on the road. On smooth sections, you’ll find imperfections you never thought existed and that’s only amplified by the low seating position. Keep in mind that the Evora GT has a softer setup than previous iterations so imagine how stiff those were.
What do you get for all that stiffness? Incredible handling and body control. As expected of a vehicle wearing the legendary Lotus badge, the Evora GT dives into corners gleefully and cuts through them like a sharp knife going through butter. Body roll…what body roll? This mid-engine beauty doesn’t have any! It’s planted and possesses incredible amounts of grip. It’s hard to get it to slide around and rotate because the car sticks unrelentingly even when you feed in more power.
Unlike many of its rivals, the Evora sticks to hydraulic steering and it’s all for the better. This system is borderline telepathic and goes where you point the car. Additionally, you get exceptional amounts of feel and it’s quick, too. The downside? Maneuvering in tight spaces is a pain because it gets so heavy at low speeds, making it a chore to park the vehicle, especially in a parallel spot.
Aural Drama Comes Standard
As with previous Evora versions, the GT uses a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V-6 paired to either a six-speed manual transmission or an automatic with the same number of gears. The stick is the one to get here because it’s so mechanical and so satisfying to use. Sometimes, you shift because you want to feel the connection it creates between you and the rest of the vehicle, not because you need more power or want the revs to drop. Short throws add to the gearbox’s incredible precision and ease of use. The only downside? You need to deal with a heavy clutch with a bite point near the end of its travel, further emphasizing this as a weekend car, not a daily driver.
Regarding that engine, it’s the same one found in older Toyota Camrys, Highlanders, and Avalons. Here, it gets a supercharger bolted onto it, resulting in 416 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque (332 lb-ft with the automatic). Between its prodigious power, instant response, and shrieking Banshee-like note, rawness comes standard in the Evora GT. Mashing the accelerator rewards you with never-ending torque accompanied by a sweet engine note and lots of supercharger whine. Open up the active exhaust system for maximum aural drama, perfect for waking the neighborhood up. You can also choose between Normal and Sport mode but why choose the former? Turn things up to 11, you want rawness, right? Right?!
Tech, What Tech?
Consumers these days expect their cars to get every gadget available. But if you’re the opposite of that, you’ll feel right at home in the Evora GT. You won’t find any driver assistance features in this vehicle nor will you get a massive display. Instead, you get manual climate controls and an aftermarket Alpine unit with a touchscreen barely larger than an iPhone 13 Pro Max. It’s slow to respond, too and has clunky controls, so use it only while you’re stopped. Thankfully, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which simplifies things by allowing you to use your virtual assistant to make calls, change your media, and text people. However, you need to plug it into the sole USB port in the glovebox so your passenger is SOL if they need to charge. You can also opt for an extra subwoofer on the audio system, which sounds decent.
Good for Two
Although the Evora GT has a 2+2 configuration, treat those rear seats as a shelf for your bag and other belongings. Children barely fit back there due to the nonexistent head- and legroom. You also have a trunk behind the engine but it barely fits a small bag. Unlike other mid-engine sports cars, the Evora doesn’t have a frunk since other vehicle components live under the hood.
In terms of seat comfort, average-sized adults will be fine. However, these Sparco buckets have thin, hard seatbacks that sacrifice comfort in favor of maximizing support and keeping you from sliding around. The cushions keep your leg in place since its sides curve upwards. Unfortunately, they also make entering and exiting even harder because you essentially need to crawl out of the car. Additionally, it’s a hassle finding your ideal seating position due to the steering wheel’s lack of adjustability.
Lotus Evora GT: The Last of Its Breed
The Lotus Evora GT is best described as a sports car with a lot of flaws. No, it’s not as refined or as precise as a modern Porsche or even the latest Chevrolet Corvette but it has a unique, lovable character. Between the car’s rawness and mechanical nature, driving it brings you back to the days when fun mattered more than outright numbers. The Lotus Evora GT puts a big grin on your face every time you get behind the wheel. You look for any excuse to drive it and experience the exhilaration over and over again. This car reminds us to have fun and embrace our crazy side from time to time and for that, I thank it. I hope Lotus captures the same magic in its upcoming electric vehicles and allow people to enjoy driving again. If you’re fortunate enough to nab one of the last examples, you’ve got yourself one of the most visceral modern cars ever.