Well known for their super-light track-focused sports cars, British manufacturer Lotus has been on an all-out electric hypercar mission as of late. Having recently showcased their EV capabilities with the 2000HP Evija hypercar they’ve turned things down a notch to hit one more home run in the name of internal combustion-engined ‘purity’.
They’re not going to leave the purist for dead just yet, unveiling an all-new mid-engined premium sports car dubbed the Emira that is set to perfectly embody the short term transformation of the Lotus business and brand. With a striking design, lightweight body and stonking 400HP AMG-derived turbo 4-cylinder. The emotion that you find in an internal combustion engine is here for now.
Lotus Emira Technical Specifications
Price: From just under £60,000
Engine: AMG-derived 2.0-litre turbocharged, 3.5-litre supercharged V6 from Exige
Power: 360 to 400 hp at launch
Accleration 0-100km/h: less than 4.5 seconds
Weight: 1,405kg in its lightest form
When you think Lotus, names like Elise, Exige and Evora come to mind. Known for their tight handling, revvy engines and track provenance these cars scream character and provide a driving experience like no other. The new Emira looks to build on the legacy of cars past and present while at the same time representing a quantum leap forward for Lotus. Those instantly recognisable brand signatures and core values have been combined with a paradigm shift in levels of practicality, comfort, functionality and technology. In layman’s terms, this is a Lotus you can drive every day.
Lotus has always represented an ‘exotic’ guise for a vehicle that costs a mere fraction of its visual counterparts. And the Emira looks to do the same, carrying the new design language first showcased on the award-winning Evija hypercar. It’s beautiful, timeless, memorable, and modern but we love the fact it’s not trying to do ‘too much’. Too many manufacturers are throwing outrageous designs at the drawing board in the hope of causing a kerfuffle.
“The Emira captures the visual drama of an exotic supercar, with great proportions, wide footprint and a cabin that sits low down between muscular haunches. Add in that it’s practical enough to be useable every day, of the highest quality and accessibly priced, and it’s undoubtedly a compelling and seductive alternative to the existing sports car competition,” said design director Russell Carr.
Built on the new Lotus Sports Car Architecture, the Emira uses the same pioneering Lotus bonded extruded aluminium chassis technology that debuted on the Elise. The brand has pulled and stretched the accomplished chassis to create an entirely new dimension fabricated in an all-new facility – Lotus Advanced Structures – in Norwich, just a few miles from Hethel.
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Chassis and Powertrain
While still pushing the boundaries of technology, the rest of the chassis reads like a technological throwback for the purists. There are two petrol engines available, a Lotus-engineered 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit from technical partner AMG, and the much-loved and characterful 3.5-litre V6 from the Exige and Evora. Each is calibrated by Lotus to provide a unique and distinctive character for maximum driver engagement with 360-400HP on tap.
“The 2.0-litre is the world’s most powerful production in-line four-cylinder unit mated to AMG’s acclaimed DCT with paddle shifts and driving modes. It’s high-performance, hugely efficient thanks to cutting-edge technology, and delivers low emissions and linear performance,” said director of vehicle attributes Gavan Kershaw.
Going one step further in the name of ‘Purity’ the car only has two defined chassis and suspension settings. Tour which is tuned for everyday road use, and Sports that is available with the optional Lotus Drivers Pack and provides a slightly stiffer suspension set-up for enhanced dynamic capability and feel. We can’t believe we’re actually writing this but the Emira has HYDRAULIC STEERING! It’s the only way to provide maximum feedback to the driver.
“The Emira has a wider track than any recent Lotus road car, enhancing stability, delivering exceptional road-holding and the sensation of a very low centre of gravity. It is a true Lotus sports car that builds on the legacy of the Elise, Exige and Evora,” he said.
While you could theoretically drive the older model Exige and Elise every day it’s not something we’d exactly recommend. The older generation vehicles sought to, in Lotus technical terms “place the driver at the centre of the experience”. This loosely translated to “we took the radio out for weight loss”. This was fine by us, but the fact remains that you cut a lot of potential customers out of your most hardcore models by removing and cutting weight at the expense of everyday driving comfort.
What’s new about this next-generation Lotus sports car is immediately obvious. There’s been a huge step-change across all aspects of the cabin, from the contemporary design and quality of materials to the increase in storage space, exceptional fit and finish, attention to detail and abundance of integrated technology.
Examples include the positioning of the gearstick on manual cars, which echoes that of the iconic Esprit, and the semi-exposed gear linkage visible at the base of the centre console on V6 manual cars, as on the Elise and Exige. The two seats have been designed to combine exceptional lateral support for high-speed cornering with total comfort for long-distance journeys.
There’s technology not seen before in a Lotus found throughout the cabin. Most striking is the 10.25-inch centrally mounted touch-screen, with an additional 12.3-inch TFT driver’s display behind the steering wheel. All content is exclusive to Lotus has been designed and developed by an in-house team. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated as standard. Taking things to the next level in the sound department is the availability of a 10-channel premium sound system from the highly respected British brand KEF.
Lotus retailers around the world are now taking deposits for the Emira, and the first customers will take delivery next spring. A digital visualiser showcasing the car’s striking design can be found via the link below featuring the six exterior paint colours available at launch – Hethel Yellow, Shadow Grey, Magma Red, Nimbus Grey, Dark Verdant and the launch finish of Seneca Blue.
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