2016 Lotus Evora 400 First Drive

We get our first taste of the new second generation Lotus Evora

By Shahzad Sheikh

The 2016 Lotus Evora 400 has just had its launch in the region and is now on sale in the Middle East. This is NOT, as you might be thinking, another ‘performance’ variant of the Evora to extend the currently available range of the British sportcar maker’s Porsche rival. In fact this car replaces all previous Evoras, and is an all-new car with a heavily revised chassis.

Click below to watch our video of the new 2016 Lotus Evora 400 on track

Lotus says that this Evora is more than 70% new with only the glasshouse being carried over from before. It’s extensively restyled at the front with larger air intakes for cooling, and a new front splitter which works with the rear diffuser to increase downforce. The body panels are now even lighter-weight composites.

The most obvious difference is when you open the door and realise what the revised chassis actually translates too – easier ingress and egress and more space inside the cabin. Those door sills, that previously proved such a burden for some to negotiate, are now 56mm lower and 43mm narrower. The door panels are also thinner and they’ve even found more space in the footwell.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 First Drive

Plus the front seats now have an extra 30mm of rearward travel, and despite my tall frame I had to pull the driver’s seat forward from its rearmost setting to be comfortable. They claim more room for rear passengers too, but really what they mean is more storage space.

The Norfolk firm touts this as the fastest Lotus road ever. It still has the Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre supercharged V6 but power is up 16% from 345bhp to 400bhp (hence Evora 400), with torque up from 295lb ft to 302lb ft.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 First Drive

As the car now weighs 1425kg (1395kg for the manual) which is 42kg lighter than the previous Evora S, that’s good for 0-100kph 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 280kph (you’re rewarded with an extra 20kph if you go for the manual!). The Evora 400 is actually 7 seconds faster around the manufacturer’s own test track at Hethel than the Evora S. Overall we’re talking BMW M4 level performance and money – but this car feels much more special.

You also get improved brakes discs from AP Racing, a limited slip differential, climate control and an updated infotainment system with satellite navigation. Options include cruise control, Alcantara or leather trim and metallic paint. The suspension has been improved with reduced body roll and less bump steer.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 First Drive

Prices start from AED399,950, expect to pay just over AED420k once you’ve specced it up with the nicer interior and paint, as well the fancy wheel option.

We only had handful of laps of the short Hill Circuit at the Dubai Autodrome to get a quick first impression of the car, which you can see in the video above, but we hope to bring you a full more in-depth review very soon.

First impressions reveal that Lotus has taken what was already a very visceral car and made it even more intuitive. This is a car that eschews neck-snapping acceleration for handling finesse.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 First Drive

It’s a momentum car that encourages you to work at it to get the best from your driving experience, relying not on outright grip, but on its intuitive balance and it’s almost telepathic adjustability. There’s a delicacy of poise on the limit exploiting an enhanced traction control system that is linear and playful, rather than abrupt and scathing should you step over the edge of grip (a place it actually encourages you to take in on your way around the circuit.

It’s a car that instantly flatters and looks after you, that provides an incredible amount of satisfaction and challenges at far less than ‘kill-you-dead’ speeds and yet invites you to keep coming back for more, to keep learning and experimenting.

2016 Lotus Evora 400 First Drive

Fantastic (hydraulically-assisted) steering and dependable brakes are a given, but what did take me by surprise was the vastly improved automatic which not only responds better, but now more fervently bangs in the changes when demanded.

I’m not a huge track person myself, but this is one car that I would happily have spent many more laps in, had time and circumstances permitted. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to find out what it’s like in the real world on regular roads. Stay tuned for that soon!

2016 Lotus Evora 400 First Drive

2016 Lotus Evora 400 – The Specs

Price: AED399,950 ($109k)
Engine: 3.5, V6 S’Charged, 400bhp @ 7000, 261lb ft @ 3500
Performance: 0-100kph 4.2seconds, 280kph (300kph for manual), 9.7L/100km
Transmission: Six-speed manual or auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1425kg (1395kg for manual)

Let us know what you think of the 2016 Lotus Evora 400 in the Comments below

10 responses to “2016 Lotus Evora 400 First Drive”

  1. Rushil Roshan says:

    The car looks fantastic but it would be great if Lotus made their cars little longer and wider.

    • M Mustafa Khan says:

      Always loved the brand and what they’ve come out with, yep every single one of them but the Evora is way up there, not just for Lotus, but as a car in general. But given the choice, I’d still go for the Espirit. Never driven a Lotus but vicariously felt through the words of aficionado Shahzad Sheikh. And if it helps, I have a few of the model replicas of it 😀

  2. Sameer says:

    Need 4 Speed

  3. Mohamed El says:

    Great article! I always concern about quality. Fortunately, Evora is prefect to me to have the best quality engine in the world to be last forever among mid-engine competitors like 4C, and Cayman. Love this Evora, what a beautiful name (smiled).

  4. Jameel says:

    I have an Evora! I love it to pieces. I’m extremely excited to see the new 400 and 410 sport on the road!

  5. Nijeesh says:

    The new facelifted Evora 400 looks a bit more refined than its predecessor. It is really interesting to note than the exterior has become a bit more edgy ( hopefully to satisfy aerodynamics) and the interior has been left simple to use with a touch of future integrated. Overall feels like a car we can look forward to enjoying on the track!

  6. Partha says:

    There is only one thing I remember when I see “Lotus” – it makes me want to do exactly what it says: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMPsqjW7d_g

    great piece, BTW – love how your passion filters through…

  7. Oommen Jacob says:

    Redefined Lotus Evora evolves .. Leaves enthusiasts stunned..

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