Driving the 2021 Lotus Evora GT is a medieval experience compared with other modern mid-engine sports cars. Yet that’s exactly what’s special about the lone Lotus model currently sold in the U.S.—at least until the Evija hypercar arrives. Nor is it likely owners will see another one at their local Cars and Coffee. While Porsche’s 718 Boxster and Cayman are fantastic to drive and more well-rounded, the Evora GT is more rewarding to masochists, er, drivers who prefer a rawer experience. With a 416-hp supercharged V-6 that sings above 4500 rpm and primary controls that sync with an excellent chassis, the action behind the wheels is visceral. While the Lotus’ interior isn’t loaded with luxuries, and its lofty starting price can climb even higher with options, the 2021 Evora GT is a machine made to excite the senses rather than make sense.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Evora GT features a mid-mounted, supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 416 horsepower and either 317 or 332 lb-ft of twist; cars with the six-speed automatic transmission get the additional torque. Power is funneled to the rear wheels, with the manual gearbox adding a limited-slip differential for improved traction. The Evora GT we tested wore dazzling Cyan Blue paint and was equipped with a manual gearbox. It launched from zero to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and raced through the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 111 mph. Its Toyota-sourced V-6 is smooth and torquey, and its supercharger emits a thrilling howl once the tach needle swings past 4500 rpm. While we appreciated the shifter’s scintillating mechanical feel, the clutch-pedal effort felt heavier than we’d like. Our GT tipped the scales at just 3112 pounds, which is 100 pounds less than the last Evora we tested. The expensive Extended Carbon pack not only reduced its weight with several carbon fiber body panels, it also added aerodynamic downforce for improved high-speed cornering grip. We loved how chatty its steering feedback is, and how effortlessly the car knifed around corners. The Evora GT rides on 19-inch wheels up front and 20s out back that are wrapped with a set of super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. This setup helped our tester generate at 1.04 g on the skidpad and stop from 70 mph in just 148 feet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA lists two different city and highway ratings for the Evora GT. With the automatic transmission, it’s expected to earn 17 mpg city and 24 highway. Models with the manual gearbox are associated with the same city rating but a higher highway estimate of 26 mpg. We haven’t had a chance to run the Lotus on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, so we can’t evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Evora GT can hold either two or four occupants, depending on whether you choose to equip it with the optional rear seat. But don’t be misled: it will find squeezing into the Evora’s rear compartment as impossible as jamming themselves into a child seat. At least the cabin is covered in faux suede and features aggressive Sparco carbon-fiber front seat standards. The dashboard design isn’t cutting-edge, but it mixes physical switchgear with a cool-looking instrument cluster. While the cockpit prioritizes the driver—as every true sports car should—the Evora’s innards can be customized via Lotus’s Exclusive program. This allows owners to select non-standard paint colors and special leather upholstery. Unfortunately, the Evora’s cramped cabin and thinly padded front seats are not comfortable for long periods of time. The build quality inside is also questionable, with squeaky trim pieces and flimsy doors. True to its all-about-the-driving nature there’s only a little cargo area underneath the rear hatch, no front trunk, and a dearth of interior cubby storage.