What is it? The Lotus Evora S Sports Racer, a fully loaded version of the 345bhp supercharged sports coupe. It costs £65,900, £4400 more than a standard Evora S but boasting considerably more standard equipment. Technical highlights? Essentially, ‘SR’ means that the bespoke paint job and virtually the entire optional extras catalogue have been applied wholesale, and at a substantial discount. The main body colour choice is limited to a quartet of bold hues: red, white, blue and a dark charcoal grey. The glossy black elements are reserved for the roof, front splitter, swept-back door sills, rear diffuser and, arguably best of all, the Pirelli P Zero Corsa-shod forged alloys (19in front, 20in rear). The otherwise optional Sports Pack is included, which adds a sports exhaust, cross-drilled brakes and a Sport button that sharpens throttle response and keeps the exhaust valving open for a throatier note all the time. The Tech Pack brings a satnav, upgraded stereo, a reversing camera and tyre pressure monitors to the all-singing kit-fest. What’s it like to drive? To begin with, its steering can feel a little light and soft-edged, and its turn-in isn’t razor-sharp. But it is extremely accurate – and so calmly yet finely resolved is its feedback that it gives you the time and confidence to push hard while simultaneously dodging the potholes with unerring precision. Even now, I can think of no car that amasses serious speed on any kind of road with such a polished fusion of supple control, consistency of grip whatever the surface and benign adjustability around an essentially neutral balance. The Toyota engine generates a proper tug from modest revs, so going very fast seems trivially easy, an impression heightened by the almost ridiculously good ride and general levels of refinement. Even the interestingly multi-layered exertions of the V6 behind your head never get rowdy. Yet the way the Evora feels so compact, grips with so much force and lets go with such grace and transparent progression is little short of miraculous. Stopping power and pedal feel are superb, too. In a straight line, the Lotus feels fiercely rapid. On a demanding road, it feels all but invincible. How does it compare? To a standard Evora, very favourably. The Sports Racer is surely the pick of the range now. The Evora’s key rival is the new £48,783, 321bhp Porsche Cayman S, though its price will draw much closer to the Evora once it’s similarly optioned. But for those who want a fast British car that combines handling and ride like no other, the Evora SR stands alone. Anything else I need to know? Sports Racer treatment can also be applied to the base, naturally aspirated 276bhp Evora. And for all its mid-engine exotica, its tiny rear seats have child seat-friendly ISOFIX mounts.
|Engine||V6, 3456cc, supercharged|
|Max power||345bhp @ 7000rpm|
|Max torque||295lb ft @ 4500rpm|
|0-60||4.4sec (claimed 0-62)|
|Top speed||178mph (claimed)|