Jay Leno Gives the 2020 Lotus Evora GT a Fond Farewell

Now that it’s going electric, Lotus is waving goodbye to its current crop of sports cars. Which in the US, amounts to its one and only model: the Lotus Evora GT. But before it leaves, Jay Leno wanted to give it a proper send-off. One that shows what exactly the 2020 Lotus Evora GT is all about.

The 2020 Lotus Evora GT is designed to be a super sports car

A blue 2020 Lotus Evora GT on a road in the mountains
2020 Lotus Evora GT | Lotus

Underneath its supercar-like body, the 2020 Lotus Evora GT has a powerplant of rather humble origins. Mounted in the middle is a 3.5-liter V6 from the Toyota Camry. However, it’s been tweaked rather heavily for Evora Duty.

Unlike in the Camry, the 2020 Lotus Evora GT’s engine is supercharged. It also has several internal modifications and a water-to-air intercooler, The Drive reports. So as a result, it makes 416 hp and 317 lb-ft, Autoweek reports.

The rear 3/4 view of a blue 2020 Lotus Evora GT with the black slatted rear window on a mountain road
2020 Lotus Evora GT rear 3/4 | Lotus

Those figures, though, are with the standard 6-speed manual; the optional automatic adds 15 lb-ft, Roadshow reports. However, as Jay Leno and others have described, the stick is where it’s at. And not only because the manual has a faster 0-60 mph time: 3.8 seconds to the automatic’s 3.9 seconds, Automobile reports. But we’ll get to that shortly.

Not only does the 2020 Lotus Evora GT make more power than a Camry, but it’s also significantly lighter than one. Thanks to an aluminum chassis and heavy use of carbon fiber, the manual car weighs 3175 pounds, Autoblog reports. The optional Carbon Pack, which adds a carbon-fiber roof, rear decklid, and diffuser cuts 71 pounds off, Car and Driver reports. Lotus also offers lightweight forged wheels and a titanium exhaust for the 2020 Evora GT.

The black-leather-and-Alcantara-clad front seats and dashboard of a blue 2020 Lotus Evora GT
2020 Lotus Evora GT interior | Lotus

Admittedly, the 2020 Lotus Evora GT isn’t exactly a luxurious sports car. It has manual seats and climate controls, no ADAS options, and an aftermarket Alpine touchscreen audio head unit, Road & Track reports. Though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, Automobile reports. And heated power-folding mirrors are available, too.

However, it’s not “particularly spartan” either, Motor1 reports. There’s plenty of Alcantara and real metal trim, along with leather-and-Alcantara Sparco sport seats. And while the interior is a bit cramped, the Evora GT offers good front visibility, Autoweek reports.

For Jay Leno, the 2020 Lotus Evora GT is “the most satisfying” car to drive

You could sum up Jay Leno’s thoughts on the 2020 Lotus Evora GT in one sentence: “This is a driver’s car.” R&T described it as a “’ [n]ew, [o]ld NSX.’” Considering the status the original NSX enjoys, that’s high praise, indeed. And it’s praise worth detailing.

Jay Leno describes the 2020 Lotus Evora GT as “about as analog a car as you’ll find in the modern era.” That’s not just true of the infotainment and safety tech, but also of the driving aids. It might not have blind-spot monitoring, but it does have ventilated AP Racing brakes with ABS as well as adjustable traction and stability control. And that’s all that it really needs.

Reviewers describe the shifter’s throws with words like, “short,” “heavy,” “mechanical,” and “satisfying.” The magnesium steering wheel is “perfectly weighted,” Roadshow reports, and it “clearly telegraphs exactly what’s happening where the tires meet the road.” That’s in part due to the old-school hydraulic-assist steering.

Then there’s the handling, which is Lotus’s hallmark. “The more you drive it,” Jay Leno says, “the more you love it.” While the 2020 Lotus Evora GT doesn’t have adaptive dampers, it does have Bilstein shocks with Eibach springs, Roadshow reports. And combined with the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, they give the Lotus an almost-comical level of grip. It’s “as poised as a McLaren 720S for 60 percent off,” R&T reports.

Is it worth the cost?

Admittedly, the 2020 Lotus Evora GT isn’t perfect. While it has rear seats, they’re really not meant for adults. Rear visibility is laughably poor, Automobile reports, and the interior has some creaks and rattles, Car and Driver reports. The performance tires contribute to some elevated road-noise, though while the ride is firm, it’s very smooth, Autoblog reports.

Plus, there’s the price. The 2020 Lotus Evora GT starts at $96,950. With the Carbon Package and titanium exhaust alone, that price climbs to $114,950.

A yellow 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 drives through a city at night
2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 | Porsche

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For roughly the same price, you can get a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. In fact, as a daily-driver, Car and Driver prefers the GT4, as it’s more comfortable while offering similar handling prowess. Plus, it offers more features and a decent front trunk.

However, the 718 Cayman GT4 doesn’t have any rear seats; and the Evora GT does have a trunk. And the Evora GT can keep up with a significantly pricier McLaren, Hagerty reports. But, more to the point, even the GT4 doesn’t offer the Lotus’s “pure exhilaration and visceral detail and feedback,” Car and Driver reports.

For Jay Leno, at least, that makes the six-figure price tag worth it.

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