Automotive

Lotus Emira kicks off new generation of small, spunky performance

Lotus Emira kicks off new gene...
Jenson Button puts the Lotus Emira to the test
Jenson Button puts the Lotus Emira to the test
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The Emira's rear vents aren't quite as dramatic as those on the Evija, but they sure look like they'll get the job done
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The Emira's rear vents aren't quite as dramatic as those on the Evija, but they sure look like they'll get the job done
Like Lotus models dating back to the Eleven (XI), the Emira starts with "E"
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Like Lotus models dating back to the Eleven (XI), the Emira starts with "E"
Like the Evija, the Emira has a set of vertical headlamps with LED blades
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Like the Evija, the Emira has a set of vertical headlamps with LED blades
You can almost see Lotus designers swiping and slashing their pens along the Emira's flanks
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You can almost see Lotus designers swiping and slashing their pens along the Emira's flanks
Elise, Exige and Evora production winds down this year with Final Editions, paving the way for the 2022 Emira launch
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Elise, Exige and Evora production winds down this year with Final Editions, paving the way for the 2022 Emira launch
Derived from the Evija, the hood vents next to the headlamps guide airflow and improve aerodynamics
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Derived from the Evija, the hood vents next to the headlamps guide airflow and improve aerodynamics
The Emira will be powered by buyer's choice of Toyota V6 and Mercedes-AMG I4 engines
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The Emira will be powered by buyer's choice of Toyota V6 and Mercedes-AMG I4 engines
Lotus dials the driver in with a mix of digital and manual controls
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Lotus dials the driver in with a mix of digital and manual controls
Lotus has worked to elevate the Emira's fit and finish enough to make it a comfortable everyday commuter as well as an all-out weekend pleasure tourer
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Lotus has worked to elevate the Emira's fit and finish enough to make it a comfortable everyday commuter as well as an all-out weekend pleasure tourer
The Emira rides on 20-in wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tires; Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires come with the optional Drivers Pack
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The Emira rides on 20-in wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tires; Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires come with the optional Drivers Pack
The intakes on the sides feed air into the engine
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The intakes on the sides feed air into the engine
Jenson Button puts the Lotus Emira to the test
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Jenson Button puts the Lotus Emira to the test
View gallery - 12 images

Twenty-five years ago, in the heyday of small, light, affordable roadsters, the Elise debuted as a more attainable, everyman's breed of Lotus that became known as much for the market-pioneering, world record-pushing cars for which it laid the foundation as for its own impressive attributes. The Elise and its Exige and Evora siblings step aside this year and leave the spotlight to the all-new Emira, the last Lotus destined to be powered by internal combustion. The Emira continues in the Elise tradition of small, agile, ultralight performance but puts on a more modern mini-Evija set of clothes over top a comfortable, everyday-driver interior.

The hard-top Emira leaves the past behind and wears the design language of Lotus' future, benefiting from a trickle-down of modern cues from the 2,000-hp Evija hypercar. That's apparent the second it noses into the garage, flashing its dual-tiered LED headlamp blades and large, sharply carved hood vents.

Like the Evija, the Emira has a set of vertical headlamps with LED blades
Like the Evija, the Emira has a set of vertical headlamps with LED blades

The Emira profile shows an Evija-like combination of dramatic curves and highly defined edges and creases, packing them into its 174-in (4,412-mm) length. The Emira's rear-end gets filled in compared to the Evjija's network of caverns but still wears a pair of prominent vents for shedding air.

Lotus will offer two engines with which to fill the Emira's mid-mounted bay, starting with the well-known 3.5-liter Toyota supercharged V6 currently getting things done in the Exige and Evora. In mid-2022, it will add a new Mercedes-AMG-built 2.0-liter turbocharged I4. Both units will fire power to the rear wheels through buyer's choice of manual, automatic or dual-clutch transmission. With between 360 and 400 hp on tap, the Emira range will be capable of sprinting from standstill to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than 4.5 seconds and hitting a top speed around 180 mph (290 km/h). Lotus promises that the car's aerodynamics promote a precisely balanced downforce at all speeds.

The Emira rides on 20-in wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tires; Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires come with the optional Drivers Pack
The Emira rides on 20-in wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tires; Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires come with the optional Drivers Pack

The Emira's evolution of Lotus' bonded extruded aluminum chassis was developed at the new Lotus Advanced Structures facility a few miles down the road from the company's Hethel HQ. The new Sports Car Architecture gives drivers two suspension and chassis settings, starting with a standard everyday "tour" mode that strikes a balance between sporting performance and soft, comfortable driving. The "sports" mode that comes with the optional Drivers package stiffens the suspension up for sharper response and handling at speed.

It may be a driver's car, but Lotus makes plenty of help available to each driver with a features set that includes adaptive cruise control, anti-collision and lane change assist. Other handy available features include launch control, keyless ignition, rain-sensing wipers, and front and rear parking sensors.

Lotus has its sights set on a target base weight of 3,098 lb (1,405 kg).

Lotus dials the driver in with a mix of digital and manual controls
Lotus dials the driver in with a mix of digital and manual controls

Inside, Lotus focuses attention on making the Emira a more comfortable commuter, providing extra elbow room between the fully adjustable driver and passenger seats with lateral support. The cockpit envelops the driver with a boxy wraparound dashboard design, raised shifter, 12.3-in TFT digital instrument panel and 10.3-in infotainment widescreen. An available 10-channel KEF premium sound system delivers an audiophile-grade soundtrack. The 151-L trunk can handle a set of golf clubs or suitcase, and an additional 208 liters of storage space can be found behind the two seats.

Lotus dealers are taking Emira deposits now, and Lotus will build the car at its all-new Hethel production facility, with deliveries to begin in (Northern Hemisphere) spring 2022. Pricing is set to start under £60,000 (approx. US$82,775) and under €72,000 (US$85,000) on the mainland. The Emira will make its public world premiere at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed, which starts on July 8.

Source: Lotus

View gallery - 12 images
10 comments
10 comments
czechster
Looks like a Corvette.
akarp
lol, I think you mean the corvette looks like a lotus.
Mark T.
You can buy a Tesla Model S for that kind of money and get a much faster, superior vehicle to carry your golf clubs around. Alternatively, for the same money, you can nearly buy two Tesla Model 3 AWD vehicles that are still faster than the Lotus.
madsci
mini-vette
McDesign
Yeah, still too big, too powerful, too heavy, too complex for a Lotus - it's trying to fit into another niche.
Elise/Exige still for the win.
guzmanchinky
Very good looking car. But, is it a good idea to buy one? I don't know how reliable they are but everything else British seems to always top the least reliable lists. For that same money and desired purpose I think I'd choose the Corvette at this time...
EJ222
@guzmanchinky

IDK about Lotus, but Jags are fairly reliable now.


But yeah, I agree with what others are saying. This doesn't feel like Lotus minimalism, it feels like every other big $75k+ luxury coupe on the market. Why get this over, say, an F-Type or a Maserati or even a Corvette?
STEF BUTLER
This will be a great car. From a design perspective it puts that mid engine Corvette to shame. I saw the Chevy at a local dealer in this color and was really dissappointed. Nothing really matched up. The lines all over the place. The build quality ghastly. Crooked stitching in the cabin and 19 recalls.... LOTUS handling is like no other. You won't know until you drive one. Truly impresive. Good for them getting the backing to start over. Also, the Mercedes and Toyota drivetrains will be bulletproof. For some it's not about horsepower and speed in a straight line. (If you want that, get a Hellcat. Fast in the straight, corners like a van.)
VincentWolf
Look like they stole the design from GM and it's ridiculous because it's not an EV.
Chris__
Why is everyone bringing up GM? No one cross-shops a lotus with a corvette! And no-one changes their mind about buying a lotus due to reliability fears! Gimme a break... HOWEVER... will this appeal to lotus buyers is the question. It's got the looks but otherwise no differentiation from all the bloated, techy modern sportscars it will compete with