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Lotus Evora won't reach roads in the United States until 2010

Wed, 11 Mar 2009

The guys in Europe will have first crack at Lotus's first all-new production car in more than a decade. Assembly of the Evora is under way, with deliveries of the 2+2 mid-engine coupe beginning in May.

North American will have to sit tight until the Evora lands here early next year.

Like its smaller and more extreme Elise/Exige brethren, the Evora is built on an extruded and bonded aluminum chassis. Sitting midship is a 3.5-liter V6 churning out 276 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Lotus claims 0 to 60 mph will take about 5 seconds and a top speed of more than 160 mph.

In addition to the 2+2's interior configuration, the Evora also will be available as a two-seater with the rear seating area used for additional cargo space. Other Evora offshoots in the pipeline include an automatic-transmission-equipped model, a convertible and a rumored S version with a supercharged V6 with more than 300 hp.

Lotus calls the Evora its practical model with its larger dimensions, plusher interior surroundings and four-seater capabilities, but you would be a fool to think it is without the company's hallmark handling pedigree. The double-wishbone suspension features Bilstein shock absorbers paired with Eibach springs, and the car rides on Yokohama Advan Sport tires. Four-piston brakes are supplied by AP Racing.

The interior boasts a standard Alpine stereo, air conditioning, power windows, front leather Recaro sport seats, a flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped magnesium steering wheel and a leather-wrapped shift knob and handbrake cover.

Optional entertainment packages add an upgraded sound system with a subwoofer, more powerful amplifiers, an iPod connection and touch-screen navigation. A rearview camera also is offered. Performance enhancements are available through a Sport pack that boosts the Evora's throttle response and redline and add a sports traction-control mode, a sports diffuser, a titanium exhaust, cross-drilled brake discs and an additional oil cooler.

Pricing details for North America will not be available until the fall, but expect a base price in the low-$70,000 range when the Evora arrives next year.

By Jonathan Wong