LOTUS is following up its flagship £2m Evija electric hypercar with its more attainable sports car, the Emira. A replacement for the much-loved Exige and Evora, it is set to give rivals such as Porsche and Maserati a headache.
It is built on a new Sports Car Architecture platform that sticks to the classic mid-engine rear-wheel-drive layout that so many drivers love. Continuing technology that Lotus pioneered, it features a lightweight bonded aluminium chassis that contributes to a target weight of 1,405kg when in its lightest form.
The svelte two-seater coupé takes clear design inspiration from the flagship Evija and emphasises clean aerodynamic surfaces that form a crucial part of how this car should perform.
Unlike many of its competitors, there are no active aerodynamic aids on the Lotus Emira, with designers instead opting for clever design to create passive downforce for a perfect balance between the axles.
Richard Hill, Lotus’ chief aerodynamicist, said: “At Lotus, development of any new sports car is never focused solely on either aerodynamics or vehicle dynamics. It’s about creating that unique harmony of natural forces that is ‘Lotus dynamics’ – a sprinkling of magic dust that creates a thrilling driving experience that’s unrivalled in the automotive world. The Emira has that magic and more.”
Lotus will equip all versions of the Emira with 20in wheels fitted with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres, with the option of specifying Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber as part of a Drivers Pack that will add stiffer suspension.
Buyers will have the choice of two engines from launch, with the supercharged 3.5-litre V6 from the Exige and Evora appearing in a range-topping First Edition model.
Lotus will also use a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine supplied by AMG, the performance division of Mercedes-Benz. Geely Holding Group, which owns a majority share of Lotus, also has a 9.6% stake in Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler.
The four-cylinder has been specially tuned to suit the Emira and features a bespoke air intake and exhaust system. Buyers will have the choice of manual, automatic and dual-clutch transmissions with the Emira.
Depending on the engine, Lotus says that power outputs will range between 360 and 400bhp. Thanks to the car’s relatively light weight, acceleration will be brisk, with 0-62mph taking less than 4.5 seconds and top speeds of up to 180mph.
A modern interior appears to have more creature comforts than past stripped-out Lotus models. A 12.3in digital instrument display lies ahead of the flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel. Much of the car’s functionality will be done through a 10.25in central touchscreen that includes a bespoke infotainment system developed in-house and will offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Its raised centre console emphasises the ergonomics for the driver. Cars equipped with a manual transmission will feature a semi-exposed gear linkage. It also retains some practical elements, such as door bins that can accommodate small drinks bottles and a mobile phone holder between the two cupholders.
Luggage space was often something of a moot point in Lotus cars. Still, the Emira boasts a rear boot compartment measuring 151 litres (or enough for a standard flight suitcase or a set of golf clubs) and an additional 208 litres of space behind the seats for items like a soft bag.
The Emira will be manufactured at Lotus’ home in Hethel, Norfolk. An investment of over £100 million has brought in new production processes to improve volume capability and boost overall quality.
It will make its public debut at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed, and Lotus plans to start shipping the first customer cars in summer 2022. Pricing is set to start at under £60,000.
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