2012 Lotus Evora S GP Edition Review

Faster? No. But it sure looks it.

2012 Lotus Evora S GP Edition Review
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How does the Lotus Evora S GP Edition differ from the normal model? Red, black and gold paint for starters; the same colors as Kimi Raikonen’s Lotus F1 car. And don’t forget the gold wheels.

FAST FACTS

1. A 3.5L supercharged V6 makes 345 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque with a 4.3 second 0-60 mph time.

2. Lotus only sent 15 of these cars to North America, a few are still available through dealers.

3. Priced at $90,790 it costs less than a fully-loaded Evora S, plus you get the custom paint, wheels, tires and interior.

Enjoy it while you can, because you’re also probably never going to see one in person.

Boy racers be damned, this might be the only car that can wear gold wheels without looking tacky. Those combined with its red mirror caps and front lip look stunning with the gold lines laid out like tasteful brushstrokes.

It’s both ostentatious and a purist’s machine at the same time. It draws stares from just about anyone, as well as respectful nods from racing fans who realize it’s a tribute machine.

COCKPIT LIGHT ON COMFORT

 

The interior gets special touches too, although they’re less flashy than the body’s attention grabbing gold. The Lotus GP logo is embroidered into the headrests of the sport seats and most surfaces are covered in leather or synthetic “SuedeTex” material.

Flowery descriptions have to end here because unlike some other automakers, Lotus isn’t worried about building a car for comfort.

2012 Lotus Evora S GP Edition side

Referring to it as a “2+2” is more of a cruel joke than an honest description. Average size passengers will be cramped if they fit at all.

2012 Lotus Evora S GP Edition steering wheelLotus’ grasp of ergonomics is weak as well. For example, the power mirror adjustment is in the most awkward position imaginable: behind the door pull handle. 

Pedal positioning can prove to be problematic as well. The front, left wheel well soaks up valuable foot space and pushes the pedals close together. Large-footed drivers might find that frustrating, but it also makes heel-toe shifting easier. Finally, the rear window is almost too small to use.

Ingress and egress are no easy task either and require a degree of acrobatic skill few are likely to possess. Despite that, they’re deceptively comfortable once you climb in.

MORE SPECIAL THAN IT LOOKS

 

2012 Lotus Evora S GP Edition 03

The GP Edition comes standard with the $550 backup camera and the $3,100 Technology Package, which means you get a 7-inch LCD screen with Navigation, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and parking sensors. It also means suffering through the same Pioneer touch screen system Subaru sticks in its BRZ sports car.

Is that really such a crime? Complaining about lame electronics in a Lotus makes less sense than skinny-dipping in half-frozen water. If you’re really looking for in-car entertainment in a Lotus, shut up and drive.

2012 Lotus Evora S GP Edition gold wheelsEven on broken city streets, the ride is remarkably tolerable for a low-slung, mid-engined sports car. You’ll hear the tires rolling over every bump, seam and tar strip, but you won’t really feel them.

In fact, you won’t feel much of anything because the odds are good that you’re in stop-and-go city traffic. In this case, swoop, dodge and signal until you’re on a smooth, open road where the car can really come alive. You won’t regret it.

STICK SHIFT TAKES PERSUASION

 

2012 Lotus Evora S GP Edition 07

This GP Edition has the same motor and gearbox found in any other Evora S. In other words, it’s a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter, supercharged V6. Max output is 345 hp at 7000 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque.

At just 3,178-lbs, the Evora S is much lighter than most modern sports cars. Given the power to weight ratio, 0-60 mph is dealt with in 4.3 seconds, while its top speed is quoted at 178 mph.

Lotus offers buyers a six-speed automatic mated to wheel-mounted paddle shifters, or a six-speed manual. Saddled with the stick, you’ll soon see that it isn’t the industry’s slickest. Shifts feel light and looser than you might expect and require deliberate handiwork for effective use. It isn’t as refined as an Audi or Honda gearbox, but missing out on being the industry’s best doesn’t make you its worst either.

SPORT BUTTON MEANS BUSINESS

 

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“Sport” buttons are losing their punch faster than f-bombs on cable TV as automakers slide them into everything with a gas pedal. But pressing the same-named button a sports car like this delivers an outstanding performance boost. Throttle response sharpens and butterfly valves open in the exhaust to deliver a thrilling vroom. It also raises the car’s redline. Finally, it sets the traction and stability control systems to be less intrusive, which will help most drivers find faster laps at a track than would normally be possible.

The centrally mounted sport exhaust makes beautiful music, and eggs you on to keep pushing it higher and higher. The engine is smooth and revs up quite quickly, which is a little funny when you consider it’s closely related to what you’d find in a Toyota Camry. At high speeds, the car stays planted, with its rear diffuser providing much needed aerodynamic down force.

It is also ideal on the back roads. Show it twists and turns and it is at its happiest. Thanks to its lightweight, sophisticated fully independent suspension layout, along with a light and precise steering, it’s a joy to drive.

THE RIGHT SHOES MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

 

2012 Lotus Evora S GP Edition 04

The Evora S uses different wheel sizes in the front versus the rear—19-inches at the front, and 20 at the back. Pirelli P-Zeros are among the industry’s best tire of choice for this car, and wrap those gold wheels as standard equipment. A $2,750 option on the standard Evora S, the gold color is exclusive to the GP.

Thankfully, you don’t need to find yourself an Evora S GP Edition to get these thrills, as you can always equip your Evora S with the Sport Package, including a titanium exhaust, rear diffuser and the sport mode.

THE VERDICT

 

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It goes without saying that a buyer of a Lotus has to be a member of the “hard core” auto enthusiast camp and that’s no different for the GP Edition Evora S.

Getting your hands on one will not be easy. Only 15 made it to North America, and they were all 2012 models. Scouring the Internet, you can find the GP Edition for sale at mostly Lotus franchises. There is even one with no mileage available in South Carolina, and at $90,790 the dealer is still asking for the original MSRP.  Thankfully, you can spec out your own Evora S from just $76,100.

LOVE IT
  • Supercar looks
  • Performance and handling
  • Surprisingly comfortable ride
  • GP Edition is plenty unique for no extra cost
LEAVE IT
  • Useless back seats
  • Rearward visibility
  • Not easy to get in and out of, unless you’re a gymnast

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  • Paul

    Drove one a few weeks ago. Simply brilliant. Rocket ship GT performance and comfort. Stunning to look at.

  • http://www.alldoggy.com Mitch Cumstein

    On my second one. After owning it, (totaled) I had to have another. Nothing else even feels close to it. An alive feeling in driving that you can’t find anymore. My other cars now feel heavy, flexible and with numb steering.