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Lotus Evora S Sports Racer

A bundle of extra equipment helps add value to the Evora’s mix

Buy a Lotus Evora S Sports Racer and you’re guaranteed to enjoy driving it. Unfortunately, the Porsche does everything better and costs less. But if you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll get a lot of kit and unique looks with the Evora – plus a very evocative badge on the front of your car.

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Lotus has endured some tumultuous times of late. However, despite the financial dramas, it has been producing superb-handling cars for more than six decades. So, if any car can rival the Porsche Cayman S for driver thrills, it’s a Lotus.

While the company’s Exige S is similarly priced, it’s too hardcore in comparison. The Evora sits at a price point between the Cayman and 911, but with its mid-mounted V6 and rear-drive layout, it has much in common with the newcomer.

In response to feedback that the Evora is too expensive, Lotus has launched this Sports Racer special edition. It’s offered in normally aspirated and supercharged S guises, and adds a raft of standard equipment with the aim of delivering more value for money.

To keep up with the Cayman S, you need to opt for the 345bhp Evora S – and that means a hefty £65,900 price. But you do get a lot for your money. For starters, there’s a gloss black treatment on the roof, front splitter, side sills and rear diffuser to help the car stand out. Also included inside are full leather, cruise control, rear parking sensors and heated seats – all of which is optional on the Porsche.

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You have to clamber across the thick sill to get in, but the seats are comfortable, while the low roof and narrow windscreen deliver a cosy feel. Rear visibility is dreadful, though, so it’s good there’s a standard reversing camera.

The Lotus doesn’t feel as upmarket or as solidly built as the Porsche, but you do get the sense of being in a bespoke cabin, despite the fact it comes with a fiddly aftermarket stereo and a few bits of Ford-sourced switchgear.

Yet it’s the driving experience for which Lotus is famous and, true to the brand’s ethos, the Evora feels light and at one with the road – even though it’s actually 86kg heavier than the Porsche, at 1,436kg. The steering needs a little more input than the Cayman’s, but it’s accurate and naturally weighted. And while you feel more movement at turn-in and under braking, as the engine is mounted higher than in the Porsche, body roll is well controlled.

The Lotus corners with similar enthusiasm to the Porsche, but it doesn’t feel as composed at speed, and doesn’t have as much traction as the Cayman. The ride isn’t as polished, either. Over expansion joints you can feel imperfections vibrate through the bonded chassis – although on smoother surfaces it’s well damped and tyre noise is hushed.

Better still, the standard sports exhaust has been tuned to make the Toyota-sourced V6 engine sound great. And with a smooth supercharger-assisted power delivery, performance is closely matched to the Porsche. The manual gearbox could be smoother, but it’s accurate enough, while the brakes deliver strong stopping power.

On the right road, the Evora raises a big smile. It’s just harder to justify as an ownership prospect, and this could hold it back as an all-rounder against the Cayman.

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