At long last, Lotus has finally introduced its first all-new sports car model in over a decade. Say hello to the Lotus Emira. If you’ve been following Lotus since DRB-HICOM sold it off back in 2017, you’ll know that Geely, who owns a 51% stake in Lotus Cars, has every intention to make it a global high-performance sports car brand.
The first car Lotus announced post-acquisition was of course the Evija, which is an insanely powerful RM16 million hypercar with 2,000 PS. At first glance, you can tell that Emira’s design is inspired by the Evija, but it’s a lot less complicated because there’s no active aerodynamics, not even an adaptive rear wing. That’s a good thing.
Design cues like the vertical LED headlights with dual LED DRLs and sculpted bonnet appear very much to be inspired by the Evija, and the cab-forward profile gives it a more modern appeal, albeit with some McLaren vibes to it. Like a number of premium cars lately, the door handles are flush against the body, but this is so the side intakes don’t receive turbulent air flow.
In case you can’t tell from its proportions, the Emira is still very much a mid-engined car, and you can see the engine cover right through the sloping rear glass. At the back, you’ll be greeted with the nice wide haunches, wraparound LED tail lights, big exhaust pipes and integrated diffuser. The Emira ships with 20-inch wheels as standard, wrapped with specially developed Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
Now, the car rides on an all-new bonded aluminium monocoque structure, so it’s rigid even though there’s no bolts or rivets used to join the crossmembers. But more importantly, it’s lightweight. Lotus said the lightest version of this car will weigh around 1,400 kg, which is about 150 kg heavier than the Evora.
However, the footprint is more or less the same. The Emira is longer (4,412 mm vs 4,395 mm), lower (1,225 mm vs 1,229 mm) and wider (1,895 mm vs 1,848 mm), but the wheelbase length (2,575 mm) is the same as the Evora. Judging by the photos below, it shouldn’t be too hard to get in and out of the car, but we’ll see.
The shocker this time around is the interior design of the Emira. There’s a widescreen touch display in the middle with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, ambient lighting on the doors and cubby holes, a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, new multifunction steering wheel design, and a mix of materials like Alcantara and leather that make the cabin look a whole lot more inviting.
There’s even a 12-way adjustable function for the front seats, 10-channel premium sound system from British audio brand KEF, and a bunch other conveniences like electric folding side mirrors, keyless entry, and stolen vehicle tracker. There’s a floating centre console for automatic variants, but Lotus said manual models will get the good old semi-exposed gear linkage like we’ve seen on the Exige.
By the way, the Emira is and will be the final Lotus sports car model with an internal combustion engine. It’s not a hybrid, too, in case you were having doubts. The first engine that will be available is the same Toyota 2GR-FE engine taken from the Exige and Evora. It has a displacement of 3.5 litres, and is supercharged to make up to 400 hp and 430 Nm of torque. This will allow it to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in under 4.5 seconds, and reach a top speed of 290 km/h.
By mid next year, a second petrol engine will be available, and that is a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine supplied by Mercedes-AMG. Yes, that’s right. Everyone’s favourite four-pot engine will be used here in the Emira, but it will be specially tuned to deliver that characteristic Lotus trait, of course. This engine will be paired with AMG’s dual-clutch transmission as well. Both engines are transversely mounted, sending drive exclusively to the rear wheels.
Admittedly, it is quite surprising that Lotus is using AMG’s engine here, and not Volvo’s Drive-E engines as have been speculated before. But Geely and Daimler have spent many years working together on different ventures, including reimagining the smart brand, so it makes sense. Geely founder Li Shufu (or Eric Li) also holds a substantial stake of close to 10% in Daimler AG that is worth billions of euros.
Lastly, the safety features. The Lotus Emira will get curtain airbags, plus several advanced driver assist systems like adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, fatigue alert, road sign info, lane departure warning, lane change assist, and more.
The car will be built at a brand new facility in Norwich, called the Lotus Advanced Structures. Pricing is said to start under £60,000, which is close to RM350k after conversion. That could easily balloon up to RM700k with Malaysian duties and taxes included. So, would you pick this over the Porsche Cayman? What do you think? Let us know your thoughts, below.
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