Car of the Year 2011: No. 14 Lotus Evora

Driver’s Delight

Lotus has always built cars for serious drivers possessing a disdain for excess and a willingness to sacrifice space, amenities, and brute force in deference to a lightweight, elemental means of going fast. With the Evora, Lotus makes a foray into daily-driver territory, expanding its waistline with available 2+2 seating and building a car with more creature comforts than the spartan Elise and Exige. Of course, comfort is relative, and drivers expecting Mercedes-Benz levels of opulence will be fumbling for the ejection-seat button. Conversely, drivers who find the Porsche 911 a bit soft around the edges will delight in the Evora’s razor-sharp handling and work-for-your-reward engine that delivers its best performance when pushed. A welcome addition to the Lotus lineup, the Evora is a must-drive for real gearheads. —Robert Ross



Take It With a Twist

Wolf Zimmermann, chief technical officer for Lotus, has acknowledged that his company “hasn’t been successful in recent years….We want to do a new interpretation.” The Evora may well represent his reinvention of this British company that has always specialized in small, lightweight sports cars with the power-to-weight ratio of a cheetah. The Evora is larger and better cushioned than previous models, and it easily accommodates 6-footers. Yet it has retained the breed’s supernatural agility, and thus offers more fun per corner and horsepower than any vehicle on any planet with twisty roads. Some judges complained that the car had no room for golf clubs. To them, we suggest giving up golf. —Paul Dean


Configuration Mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car Engine 3.5-?liter V-6 Transmission 6-speed manual Power 276 hp at 6,400 rpm Torque 258 ft lbs at 4,700 rpm Curb weight 3,047 pounds Zero to 60 4.9 seconds Top speed 162 mph Base price $65,500 Lotus, www.lotuscars.com

Penske Luxury

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