I own an 4.3 V8 Vantage. It's much more of a serious sports car than
seems to think, with a stiff suspension, great steering response (and feel!) and extremely good balance. It can be hustled along a twisty road with great satisfaction. I can't compare it to an Evora, as I've never driven one, but I can draw some comparisons to my Elise and through it the Evora.
-Only someone who has driven a Vantage would realize how much heft there is to all the controls. It is a very "manly" experience to drive one of these cars. The steering, clutch, shifter, throttle, brakes all take a relatively high effort to operate. Way more force is needed than the Elise, even the steering. I love that about the car, it's elegant and beautiful, which makes you think it would be overly refined or disconnected, but it's absolutely not. I find it more engaging to operate than my last Porsche.
-The sound of the V8 is epic. While I like the throaty sound of a V6, it's just no comparison.
-The Vantage has terrible sight lines. It has a very high cowl and you can't see any of the outside of the car. Lotus did such an incredible job with visibility. You can see the corners of the Lotus, with the nice low, curved windshield, it's so easy to place in a corner. The Vantage is more of an estimate.
-Adding to the difficulties in placement is the fact that the Vantage is really wide, unnecessarily so, IMO.
-The Lotus is going to be much more light on it's feet, the Vantage has 49% of it's weight over the front axle (it's mid-front engined with the entire engine behind the front wheels) and it's significantly heavier, so while steering response is very good, the Lotus will be more willing to change direction.
-The Evora 400 is a bit faster in acceleration than my Vantage, but on the road, it's probably pretty close. The torque from the V8, even in 6th gear, is pretty fun. I'm not sure what the powerband of the 400 feels like, but Elises are much more peaky than the V8 (of course).
-Surprisingly the V8 engine loves to rev. It's great to have a big engine that rushes to redline. The 4.7 has lost some of that, from what I understand.
-Not that you should care, but I get about 11 mpg out of the Vantage, it's not going to win over any Prius owners (yay). I suspect the supercharged V6 in a car that's 500 pounds lighter is probably better.
-Looks are subjective, of course, but IMO, there isn't a better looking car on the road than the Vantage. Everything is so cohesive, elegant and well proportioned. I just love looking at the thing. Another thing about the styling, for as beautiful as it is, people don't come over and gawk at it. I get alot more thumbs up and kids taking pictures of my Elise than I do in the Vantage. I actually like that it doesn't raise attention. I can just go on my (fast) way without being pestered.
-The quality of materials and workmanship in the Vantage are way more upscale than the Lotus. Everything down to how beautiful the paint finish is are items that Lotus just doesn't do.
-I wouldn't argue that it isn't a GT, but I WOULD
argue that most "sports cars" today are really GTs.
If I didn't have an Elise (which will need to be pulled from my cold dead hands), and I was looking at the two cars, I'd go for the Evora as I'm sure it's more driving experience focused. For me, I wanted something that would provide a different experience than the Elise.
There's a review that Jason Commisa did on the V12 vantage that really sums up the car nicely (albeit with much more power than mine):