The "mostly" U.S. version of the "midsize" Lotus Evora was shown today at the LA Auto Show and it looks exactly like the one that debuted at the 2008 British Motor Show back in June. It's just missing its side marker lights. The Evora follows the '70s Lamborghini Urraco, Maserati Merak, Ferrari 308GT4 and its follow-up the Ferrari Mondial in being a mid-engine 2+2 sports car. It's arguably the best looking of that quintet, though.
Two adult American males fit up front and there's still room in back for a couple of kids, while power comes from a Toyota-sourced 3.5L V6 producing 276 hp. With a curb weight of just 2,976 lbs., that should be plenty to scoot this puppy along. Expect 0-60 in 5 seconds, a top speed of 160+ and 30 mpg.
As cool as all of that is, the interior is what will blow you away, especially if you've ever served time in an Elise or Exige. There's leather all around, a proper nav system, an advanced touch-screen multi-media system and, get this, actual human beings can get in and out of it without requiring ridiculous flexibility. The Evora will be built on a new assembly line in Hethel at the rate of 2,000 annually for worldwide consumption. To Lotus's credit, they designed it from the get-go to meet safety and emissions requirements around the world so all they have to do is put the steering wheel on the proper side.
Talk of a supercharged S model and an even larger Esprit-successor is likely true. And Lotus executives have confirmed that a convertible variant with a power-retractable roof is in the works. Production of the standard Evora will begin in October of 2009, with sales in the U.S. beginning in late November or early December. Six-speed manual-equipped models will be available in the beginning, with an automatic (with paddle shifters) coming to market in April of 2010. But for now, we're happy with just the Evora. Twice as stiff as an Elise and a little extra room for passengers and cargo sounds just about perfect. One additional note: Although this upsized Elise went by the codename Eagle during development, there's apparently no truth to the rumors that the upcoming convertible version will be called the Bald Eagle.