Unveiled at the 2008 British Motorshow, the Evora is another ambitious Lotus. The design of this car was hard to gauge at first- seeming a little safe at the initial viewing, It also needs to be judged in the flesh perhaps, rather than in photos. The last time Lotus diversified their range this much- it nearly killed them off. The ’70s saw massive success for Lotus in Formula 1, winning successive titles, and moving their road car business from its kit-car origins, into proper car manufacturing. They went a bit crazy though, producing front engined 2+2 shooting brakes, mid-engined supercars, and even the 2+2 coupe that I owned- the Eclat. The range was a stretch too far for Lotus, and the cars were very under-developed and unreliable. History may repeat itself, but clearly Lotus are aiming to avoid those mistakes- claiming the Evora to be the most tested Lotus ever in its history.
It is currently a totally unique design in regards to it being mid-engined but having more than 2 seats. The last car of this layout was a Ferrari, the Mondial. That car was styled by the Pininfarina Studio, who managed to hide the central cabin length of such a layout. Lotus have designed the Evora internally of course, under the direction of Russell Carr, and have achieved a fantastic result with their own attempt to hide similar bulk. They are so proud, they even released a package drawing- which gives an idea of just how hard this problem was. The rear passenger is very cramped though, and as always there seems to be no thickness to the seats- we all did package drawings like that as students! The key part of the attack on the cars bulky centre and rear section, is maximum plan shape in the glasshouse. We can see this feature very prominently in the released top view photographs. The wrap around visor windscreen also lengthens the cabin visually. Overall, I think this design is very successful, and has a rare elegance not often seen on new cars. The front end in particular is very clean. Some recent amateur shots though, may show that at certain angles the bulk of that mid-mounted V6 was nearly impossible to hide.
Russell Carr, Head of Lotus Design, led the Evora’s design team with Steven Crijns, Design Manager responsible for the exterior and Anthony Bushell, Senior Designer, responsible for the interior.
“A cornerstone of the design’s success was working closely with the technical team to develop a package that allowed us to get the proportions correct,” says Head of Design Russell Carr, “The asymmetric wheel sizes, the short rear overhang, long front overhang and cab forward visor screen all contribute to giving the car visual movement and an agile stance. This is incredibly important to us because we want the car’s aesthetics to communicate its driving characteristics”