Lotus Position

Lotus cars have picked up somewhat of a reputation for being exciting but lacking the refinement that defines supercar status. Chris Buchanan drives the new breed of Lotus

Lotus cars have picked up somewhat of a reputation for being exciting but lacking the refinement that defines supercar status. Chris Buchanan drives the new breed of Lotus. The inimitable Jeremy Clarkson has an ongoing laugh with Lotus that he can actually fit into and drive their cars, which is where I thought I would start after taking delivery of the Lotus Evora 2+2. My seven foot Kiwi mate actually managed quite well getting his gargantuan frame in to the passenger seat but would have found it nigh impossible to actually drive the car with his knees round his ears. Suffice it to say that the Lotus is not exactly the perfect car for a seven foot frame but then not many cars are.

I left the Bryanston showroom lower to the ground than I’ve ever been before in a car of any kind, surrounded by an interior of stitched leather, plush carpeting and a very attractive controls layout which included air conditioning and all the extras you’ll find in a luxury vehicle.

My expectation of a kart in drag was completely unfounded, as was my bracing for an unusually hard ride on Johannesburg’s infamously badly potholed roads. The Evora is solid and every part a supercar as far as build and feel are concerned – less so as far as ride is concerned because it handles the excuse for roads with exceptional aplomb. This is no bone jarring ride where a kidney belt comes standard. The chassis, while stiff enough to induce confidence, is surprisingly forgiving.

The 3.5 litre V6 power plant is shoe horned into a miniscule cavity behind the driver and sounds fantastic as it propels you to 100kph in 4.5 seconds. Sport mode, available in the Lotus Sport Pack, heightens throttle response and adds a bit of a growl through the exhaust, as well as adds stability through the traction control.

All of the above combine to render sublime performance and kart-like handling. If you point the car in a direction, it will go there. It will then exit the corner without so much as a twitch with all the power you have the balls to muster on a quiet suburban road.

And it does all this with every person you encounter staring at you as though you were from another planet. Most of the other supercars are pretty much clichéd in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, so when something as rare as an Evora pulls up outside the school drop off zone, even teenage petrol heads, who think they’ve seen everything, leer at you.

It is definitely unusual in the looks department and deceptively large when you are in the car, problem is, be careful what you wish for if your mid-life transition is what’s fuelling your desire. When I said it was low, I meant it, so the reason it is so nimble is also the reason you have to develop a technique when getting in and out of the car.

This may not be classified as a supercar in a recognisable definition but it is most certainly a car that punches way above its weight.  For my money it certainly has attained supercar status in the way it performs, its handling prowess and its drop dead looks.

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