Our disappointment with Lotus stems not just from the way in which they’ve been mismanaged by their new owners, DRB-Hicom, but also the way in which its PR spin-doctors tread such a dangerously insincere line that it’s difficult to see how trust can ever be restored.
Yesterday represented another chapter in that case history, as the car maker announced the new Lotus Evora Sports Racer – essentially a more highly-specified Evora with a unique colour scheme.
The Evora ‘Sports Racer’ is available in a choice of four colours: Aspen White, Carbon Grey, Nightfall Blue and Ardent Red, with contrasting accents of gloss black across the roof, front splitter, rear diffuser and side sills. Further black elements include black rear badging, black door mirror pods and gloss black forged wheels with a choice of either red or black brake calipers.
Inside, the black leather Premium Sports seats are trimmed with red contrast piping and stitching, while the dash, doors and centre console receive a liberal dose of Slate Grey SuedeTexTM with red contrast stitching.
Venom Red leather seats with black contrast piping and stitching is also available, while the interior is complemented by gunmetal dashboard panels, as normally standard in the Evora S.
All cars are fitted with a ‘sports pack’, which provides a switchable sports mode for the engine with sharper throttle response, an increased rev limit and sportier settings for the Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) system, plus a sports diffuser at the rear and cross-drilled brake discs.
The Evora Sports Racer is available in 276bhp (normally aspirated) and 345bhp Evora S form, priced at £57,900 and £65,900 respectively, which represents a discount of £6,450 and £7,150 from a standard Evora configured to a similar specification.
Sounds good, so why the disappointment?
It’s been nearly a year since I visited the factory in Hethel and saw the revised Evora models, which were due to be launched at the Goodwood festival of Speed in July. I was immediately captivated by how ‘right’ they looked and at the time former-CEO Dany Bahar was determined to bring down the Evora’s price to offer serious competition to the Porsche Boxster.
Although Lotus has released just a single image of the Evora Sports Racer, it shows little of what made the revised Evora look so accomplished. And made us remark at the time that “..we’d be happy to pay more than a Porsche” if the Evora looked like this.
By failing to join up the story, Lotus leaves us to assume that its new Sports Racer is merely a parts-bin special, formed from what’s currently available in their workshops. For most of the year Lotus has been unable to maintain production due to grievances with its suppliers – it resorted to building cusomer orders where parts were available and therefore newer models, such as the Exige S were placed on the back-burner.
But this is what Lotus has unfortunately become in recent years, full of PR bluster but lacking the narrative to explain to its customers what’s actually going on. Clearly they’d like you to forget about the revised Evora – which DRB-appointed COO Aslam Farikullah decided in a Grolsch-like moment “wasn’t ready” – even though it was completing road trials back in May.
A further glance at the spec sheet of the ‘new’ Evora Sports Racer shows a combined fuel consumption of 30.3 mpg with CO2 emissions of 217 g/km. Compare that with the latest 271bhp Porsche Cayman, which achieves 36.7 mpg and 180 g/km (with PDK) and is priced at £41,616 – some £16,284 less than the Evora.
Perhaps you can understand why it’s so painful watching Lotus die in such an ignominious manner.