Lotus Evora evolves
Lotus has released its first new Lotus since the
Elise ten years ago, the top-shelf Evora coupe. Amongst other
firsts, the new Evora is powered by a V6 engine. The Evora is also
Lotus’ first two-plus-two seating configuration since 1992.
The new Evora was released last year (2009) and the initial build
projection is for 2000 Evoras to be built each year once production
The development of the Evora has been rigorous, over a 27 month
period, racking up a total of 920,000 development kilometers.
The first prototype was built in late 2007, with traction testing
done at the Bosch Lapland facility and wet handling at the UK Mira
test facility. Brakes were developed using Italy’s renowned Stelvio
Pass for testing, while hot-weather testing was done in Arizona and
The engine is sourced from Toyota, being the 2GR-FE VVTi 3.5 liter
V6, which in the Evora develops 206 kW of power at 6400 rpm and 350
Nm of torque at 4700 rpm.
While the main engine components are shipped in to the UK factory
from Toyota, fuel, exhaust and clutch systems were all developed by
Lotus. The ETCS-i Lotus throttle control unit is managed by a Lotus
T6 engine management system, while a Lotus-developed AP Racing
clutch and flywheel are used, along with a unique exhaust system.
The EA60 six-speed manual transmission originates from the Toyota’s
Avensis diesel, with Lotus offering two sets of ratios - standard
and optional sports ratios - the latter employing the same first and
second gear ratios, but closer ratios for third to sixth.
No automatic transmission is available yet, but Lotus is developing
a six-speed paddle-shift unit, which is due for release in 2011.
Acceleration is brisk, without being ‘supercar’ with a 0-100 km/h
time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 261 km/h, with either set of
It is a fairly frugal car, despite 3.5 liters, with a combined fuel
consumption figure of 8.7 L/100 km. This is due in no small way to
the lean all-up weight of 1382 kg.
The brakes are four-piston calipers with ventilated rotors (350 mm
diameter on the front and 332 mm at the rear), which are also
cross-drilled on the Sports Upgrade Pack. The braking package also
features ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and hydraulic
Lotus says that under emergency breaking the Evora has achieved a
2.5 second, 36.8 meter stopping performance from 100 km/h.
An electronic differential lock, traction control and stability
control are standard, while steering is a hydraulic power-assisted
set-up made by TRW and developed by Lotus.
Suspension is a lightweight forged aluminium double-wishbone design,
with Eibach coil springs and Bilstein dampers tuned by Lotus ride
and handling engineers.
Lotus claims the body is two times stiffer than that of the Elise
and uses Lotus’ first Low Volume Versatile Vehicle Structure, a
chassis that will be used in other upcoming Lotus models.
The Evora uses lightweight composite body panels bonded to the
chassis, contributing stiffness to the safety cell around the cabin.
At the front and rear of the cabin, composite clamshells are bolted
to the chassis, which Lotus says enables easy removal for repair.
The chassis structure itself weighs a little more than 200 kg, and
features a front sub-frame made of extruded and bonded aluminium
bolted to the main chassis tub.
One of the main problems with the Elise has been the difficulty of
getting in and out of the car over the wide sill and the cramped
quarters inside - and the limited seating capacity of two seats.
With the Evora, Lotus has enlarged the space in the cabin to 95th
percentile American man (1.86 m) in the front seats and a fifth
percentile American woman (1.52 m) in the back seats at the same
time. Not quite two plus two legless midgets, but the rear seats are
obviously not built for large adults for long distances.
While the nose section is fixed, taken up with cooling vents and
radiator (except for an opening hatch to access the windscreen
washer reservoir and brake fluid reservoir), the rear hatch opens to
reveal a 160 liter boot - which Lotus says can accommodate a set of
Standard equipment includes keyless entry with alarm and
immobilizer, remote hatch locking, air-conditioning, a
height-and-reach-adjustable steering wheel, Recaro black leather
seats, heated/powered door mirrors, cast-alloy wheels (18-inch
diameter front, 19-inch rear), an Alpine audio system with
CD/MP3/WMA compatibility, auxiliary input and iPod docking.
The switchable sports mode is activated via a sport button on the
dash. It sharpens throttle response and increases the engine rev
limit from 6500rpm to 7000rpm. Traction control is adjusted to
permit an increased slip and yaw angle before activating, and it
also removes the understeer recognition component of the stability
The price? Expect something around 18-20 million baht.
Last week’s Quiz bike
Last week I mentioned motorcycles. I asked which automaker built this one? It
was Chrysler (Dodge) with the Viper’s V10 in the middle. It does have four
wheels, so if you want to be pernickety it isn’t a motorcycle, but it sure isn’t
a car either!
So to this week. In 1971, what was the heaviest private car in current
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
Depreciation after 12 months
It is difficult (read well-nigh impossible) to quantify depreciation
of new cars after they appear on the local secondhand market, but with the much
greater number of vehicles in the UK, it is possible to get some worthwhile
The car which depreciated the least in the UK was the Honda Jazz, and is one
vehicle which also holds it head up high in Thailand.
In this survey it uses the value of cars, as if they were being sold privately,
in good condition with 16,000 km on the clock and compares this to their cost as
new, 12 months earlier.
Small cars showed they are certainly the safest bet for the least depreciation,
taking 35 of the top 40 places in the index.
The 10 best performers of 2009:
1 Honda Jazz (08 on)
2 Fiat 500 (08 on)
3 SEAT Ibiza (08 on)
4 Hyundai i10 (08 on)
5 Mazda 2 (07 on)
6 Kia Picanto (04 on)
7 VW Fox (06 on)
8 Suzuki Swift (05 on)
9 Toyota Aygo (05 on)
10 Mitsubishi i (07 on)
Unfortunately, we do not get many of these vehicles in Thailand, but the basic
message is there. Size does matter - and the smaller the better!
The biggest losers of 2009:
1 Maybach 62 (03 on)
2 Maybach 57 (03 on)
3 Rolls-Royce Phantom (03 on)
4 Bentley Arnage (98 on)
5 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti (05 on)
6 Mercedes-Benz SL Class AMG (02 on)
7 Bentley Cont. Flying Spur (05 on)
8 Aston Martin DBS (08 on)
9 Bentley Continental GT Coupe
10 Ferrari F 430 (05 on)
Most of these vehicles can be found in Thailand, often in the ‘grey’ market, but
I suppose that if your piggy bank is big enough to hold the millions of baht
necessary to buy one of these, you don’t care about depreciation, or fuel
consumption or taxes. I’ll have the AMG Mercedes-Benz SL (after saving up), and
in the meantime I’ll just have to keep the Daihatsu Mira running for the next 50
Scandinavian electric car-maker to
produce Think in the US
The Think people have recommenced production of its electric
micro-car in Finland, and now the Scandinavian EV maker has continued its
global expansion by announcing it will also produce the Think City in the US
from early 2011.
Indiana’s Elkhart Country was named as the location of Think’s North
American production facility in a joint announcement by Indiana governor
Mitch Daniels and the Olso, Norway-based company.
about a Think?
Think says its $US 43.5 million investment in building improvements and
equipment in the US will create up to 400 jobs by 2013, with stateside
production expected to start early next year.
Before then, however, the Think City - which made its US debut at the Detroit
motor show in January this year and is claimed to be one of the world’s first
highway-capable urban EVs - will be launched in the US later in 2010.
Think says its all-electric City can travel at highway speeds for more than
160km on a single charge, giving it market-leading range, drivability and
The City hatchback employs technology developed by Think over 19 years, becoming
the world’s first EV to meet European CE certification and EU homologation
While the Think City initially will be imported to the US, the Elkhart County
assembly plant will have a production capacity of more than 20,000 vehicles a
year. (Now that’s what I call optimism!)
Think joins Indianapolis-based lithium-ion battery maker EnerDel in choosing
Indiana for a North American manufacturing location. EnerDel’s parent company
Ener1 is a 31 percent equity stakeholder in Think.
Think last month resumed production of the City at the Finnish assembly plant
owned by Valmet Automotive, which also produces the Boxster and Cayman
sportscars for Porsche and is Think’s newest shareholder and industrial partner.
Sorry, you can’t buy it!
How do you get the world to talk about your supercar? Well, Lexus
(Toyota in a party dress) says the way is to tell the world “You can’t buy
The Wall St Journal reports that the Japanese car maker has opted to
hand-pick LFA buyers rather than take the traditional route of selling to
anyone with the cash to buy one.
According to the blurb and hype, Lexus wants the buyers to be good
ambassadors for the brand, parking outside all the right restaurants and
cruising along the right boulevards, rather than keeping a low profile.
What they are happily ignoring, is people with that sort of money have more
than one car and might instead take the Ferrari to dine at Enzo’s Pizza
Apparently, buyers will have to lease the car for the first two years,
before being offered the chance to buy it outright. The Journal says Lexus
will ask prospective owners to apply to an authorized Lexus outlet if they
are interested in the $US350,000 Japanese supercar.
The Lexus is powered by a 4.8 liter V10, matched to a six-speed dual-clutch
transmission. This will produce 413 kW of power and 480 Nm of torque, which
Lexus claims will propel the car to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
The whole LFA concept is merely a marketing exercise to give the Lexus brand
some additional cachet. I’m not putting my name forward!
Lexus LFA - Not For Sale