Lotus Emira breaks cover to rave reviews from F1 champion
- Lotus’ final non-electrified model is a £60,000 supercar challenger
- First cars to be delivered next Spring, built at Hethel
- Two petrol engine variants including a new two litre unit from AMG
Lotus has officially unveiled the Emira, which according to the brand, is the ‘most accomplished Lotus ever made.’
The Emira is expected to be the final Lotus to be solely powered by internal combustion, and comes with two petrol variants. These include a new-to-Lotus turbocharged i4 from AMG, while the popular 3.5 litre supercharged V6 that has powered the Exige and Evora to much acclaim will be the range topper for the first edition models.
Power will range from 360 to 400 horsepower depending on the engine, with an acceleration speed of 0-100km/h in under 4.5 seconds, and a top speed of 180mph.
Lotus’s first brand-new series-production model in over a decade carries clear inspiration from the recently announced Evija hypercar and will be available in manual, automatic and dual clutch transmission to ensure a wide global appeal.
A lightweight bonded aluminium chassis will keep the weight down to 1,405kg in its lightest form.
Cars will be delivered to customers around the world from Spring 2022, with the first models utilising the 3.5 litre V6, before the two litre AMG units are introduced in the summer. Prices will start at £60,000 (€72,000).
Each model will be produced at Lotus’ famous Hethel base, which has benefited from over £100m in investment.
Highlights of the Emira include a shrink-wrapped cabin that tapers to the rear, sculpted doors and vents, exit vents integrated into the bonnet and vertical all-LED headlamps.
One of the first people to test drive the new model was 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button, who was left massively impressed by his experience.
He commented: “You always expect a Lotus to have good mechanical grip through the low-speed corners but there was plenty of downforce in the high-speed corners too. That means the feeling of great balance is the same no matter how you’re driving it. It’s exceptional and I’m a big fan.
“The overall position of the gearstick in relation to the wheel, the pedals, everything was where it should be and that gives you great confidence from the start. I love the infotainment system too, which has everything you need and is really simple so you can get back to the important part, which is the driving.
“The Lotus purists will love it, and the thing that people new to Lotus will love is the premium quality of the interior. When you’re in there you’re immersed in the seat and cockpit, and there’s a lot of lower back support so it will be comfortable for long journeys. That’s going to surprise people.”
Button was also surprised at the price mark for the car, which comes in significantly cheaper than its rivals despite it’s supercar performance levels.
“I’m still in shock at the price. Starting at under £60,000 it’s fantastic and means so many people are going to have the opportunity to experience it first-hand. It’s being called a junior supercar but it would give a lot of supercars a run for their money, and it’s more comfortable than most of them!”
Lotus claim that the Emira should be usable every day, but we’ll take that at face value until we’ve loaded our supermarket shopping into its 151 litre boot!
As Button mentioned, lots of work has gone into the interior, which is described as a ‘huge step-change’ for the brand. The dashboard has a wrap-around feel which blends into the door trim, while the seats echo the desire for usability, with plenty of support for longer travels.
The car’s infotainment system includes a 10.25-inch centrally mounted touch-screen, and an additional 12.3-inch TFT driver display behind the steering wheel. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come as standard. A 10-channel premium sound system comes from British brand KEF, while other cabin features include central cup holders, a phone storage slot, sizable door bins and USB and 12v ports.
Other items of note include keyless go, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, electric folding door mirrors, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming rear view mirror, curtain airbags, launch control and a stolen vehicle tracker.
“The Emira is a game-changer for Lotus,” says Lotus Cars Managing Director Matt Windle. “It stands as a beacon of everything we have achieved to date in the transformation of the business, the embodiment of our progress. It is a highly significant milestone on our path to becoming a truly global performance car brand.”
Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.