The Lotus Evora GT Is the Last Classic Supercar
There's more to a modern Lotus than nostalgia. Not much more, though.
There I was, howling up the Pacific Coast Highway, white-knuckling a tiny steering wheel at… 50 mph. I could feel every imperfection in the road through my butt and back; couldn’t see a damn thing behind me through a thick set of louvers. With the windows down and tachometer high, the Alpine stereo was handily overpowered. It sounds like a scene from 1985, but no, I was just out test-looping a brand-new Lotus Evora GT. What a car. What an unforgivingly committed car. I love it.
The Evora GT is an old-school supercar, plain and simple. There’s a loud engine behind your head, a manual transmission, brutally stiff suspension, and minimal comforts. What makes the Evora GT such a sweetheart among car reviewers is also what makes it poser-proof. It’s incredibly satisfying to drive when you’re driving for driving’s sake; it makes you feel very present. But for buzzing around town, getting groceries, or going out to eat, yeah, no, it’s not comfortable. The purity of purpose is what makes it so charming.
The Evora GT is regularly celebrated as a hardcore driver’s car, among the last of its type. In fact, the TL;DR of my review from the last time I drove one of these (2019) was: “The ultimate execution of ‘car built for driving,’ if a little rough around the edges.” And yeah, I don’t really have anything new to add except now I can say, two years later, yep I drove it again and it’s still incredible.
At the risk of sounding like a walking embodiment of car journalist clichés, what really tickles me about the Evora is the ways in which it’s kind of junky. Well, no, that’s not what I exactly mean – though when it comes to final-finish it does feel a lot more like it was built by elves in a shed than, say, a Porsche Cayman (which comparatively feels like it was wrought from a single piece of marble).
But I love that the gauges are just simple dials, barely augmented by digitization. The dash is largely devoid of buttons. The climate control system is just a knob goes from “H” to “C,” as the gods intended. There are not really any gimmicks. And of course, there are three pedals at the driver’s feet.
So I basically just described “any old car,” and you’re about to write me off as another gasoline-drunk luddite. There’s more to the Evora than nostalgia, though. The shifter also feels very chunky and important. Steering’s communicative. Power is abundant. The exhaust note is lovely. And the awesomeness of those characteristics is amplified by the fact that there’s no heads-up display, radar driver assistance, or other in-your-face tech insulating you from the road.
And on top of all that, I did learn one additional layer of appreciation for the Evora by driving it a second time – everybody loves looking at it. I lost track of how many times I read “what is that?” on the lips of pedestrians as the Daytona Blue Evora GT you see in these pictures buzzed by. There were so many smiles and thumbs-ups thrown the Evora’s direction, it made me feel almost as warm and fuzzy as the supercharged song from the car’s Toyota-sourced V6 engine.
I think that had a little to do with the color’s vibrance (these photos don’t do it justice, apologies) but largely stemmed from the fact that the Evora GT looks fast and serious without being all mean and aggro. It’s very “let’s go fast together!” energy, whereas a Lamborghini projects a bit more, I don’t know, something like “F you, I got mine” vibes.
So, should you buy an Evora GT? I’ll help you answer that based on your situation:
You’re extremely rich and you really like driving. Hell yes, you need an Evora GT immediately.
You could maybe, some day, barely afford one and you truly love driving. Hm. It might be worth saving up, honestly. The Evora is about the same price as four new Miatas, but it’s easily four times as cool.
You’ve got plenty of money and you want everybody to know it. Nah, get a Volkswagen Urus.
You want to upstage all your car club friends with 911s. Eh. They might pretend to be jealous but they’ll still be able to brag about how much more comfortable they are after long drives.
You don’t give a damn what your car club friends think and you want an incredible driving experience. Yeah, now you’re getting it.
You want a sports car you can take to work and the track. I would advise caution, and probably a Porsche Cayman. But if you’re real brave…
You want track car you can take to work if you really need to. Now we’re talking – you sound like a future Lotus customer.
You don’t have twisty roads to drive but you love hard-charging in a straight line. Evora’s quick off a stop, but if you can’t enjoy the benefits of its stiffness this car will get old fast.
You want to take epic trips across great driving roads. I keep forgetting to add “GT” to the end of the Evora’s name because the idea of this being a “grand touring” car is comical. You could pack light enough to stuff a week’s worth of clothing in the tiny luggage compartment, but no way will your passenger be able to have their backside vibrated for hours on end without complaining.
I think I’ve made it pretty obvious that, while the Evora GT is a little more work to drive than a modern Porsche or Lamborghini, in some ways it’s more fun. It’s definitely more distinctive, and that alone counts for a lot in an age when there’s so much two-liter turbocharged sameness in our world. I don’t know how much longer we’ll have access to rambunctious and simple cars like this, but for now, the Lotus remains a loveable rogue and effectively the last classic supercar.
Here’s the rest of the roll of photos I shot while I had this thing to myself: