Lotus Cars has unveiled the latest version of its flagship model, the Evora 400, described officially by the company as all-new and in reality incorporating over 60 percent new components.
A new aluminum chassis underpins the vehicle and together with lightweight composite bodywork help shed 22kg of weight off the new Evora compared to its predecessor. In conjunction with an additional 65hp liberated from its midship-mounted V6, it translates to supercar performance with a rated top speed of 300kph and just 4.2 seconds needed to complete the century sprint.
The ‘400’ designation on the new Evora’s moniker is a reference to the outputs of its Toyota-sourced engine measured in horsepower. Lotus took the same 3.5-litre V6 from the outgoing Evora S and strapped on a supercharger to not only boost power from 345 to 400hp, but also stretch its torque output to 410Nm produced between 3,500 and 6,500rpm.
As before, the Evora continues to be offered with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions, both six-speeders. The manual gearbox, which comes with a Torsen LSD as standard, benefits from a new clutch disc and a low inertia flywheel that Lotus claims to ensure swift and tactile gear changes. Meanwhile, the torque converter automatic gets steering-mounted paddle shifters and revised control software.
Externally, the new Evora 400 stretches 35mm longer than its predecessor, measuring at 4,394mm length-wise. The sculpting of its bodywork are motivated primarily by aerodynamic concerns. Enlarged side intakes, the distinctive three-element wing, and composite rear diffuser all help to contribute added down force at speed, as does an approach angle reduced from 11.5 to 10 degrees – watch out at the sharp ramps and speed bumps!
The engine’s additional outputs comes with the requirement for additional cooling, and as a result, despite maintaining the same frontal cross-sectional area of 1.91m2 as before, the new Evora’s drag coefficient has went up from 0.33 to 0.35. The positive spin, however, is that all the diligence spent on honing the new car’s aerodynamics has resulted in the wind being able to press the 400 twice as hard to the ground compared to the previous Evora S. At 240kph, the Evora 400 generates 12kg of down force on its front axle at 20kg on its rear, compared to 6 and 10kg respectively with its predecessor.
Scheduled to hit the European market this August and North America shortly after, the new Evora 400 will be hand built at the Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk. Lotus is anticipating healthy demand for the new car, and expansion plans are already in place to increase weekly output from 45 to 70 cars by September 2015. Helping to achieve this is a boost of production headcount from 300 to 450 men and women as well as improvements in production efficiency to reduce overall build cycle time of each vehicle by 10 percent.