Final Internal Combustion Lotus Takes a Victory Lap

This is the Lotus Emira (pronounced “Eh-meer-ah”), the all-new mid-engined sports car from the company that lives by the commandment, “To go fast, add lightness.” It looks like it has everything we’ve come to expect from Lotus: striking design, exotic supercar appeal, speed, technology, and barnacle-like grip. The only real question is: Will this be the last Lotus as we know it?

Winds of Change

Lotus, like anybody else that can do simple math and understand the direction the cultural winds are blowing, knows the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered. They’re a blast, no two ways about that, but they’re poisoning our atmosphere and roasting the planet. So ICE has got to go. And you know Lotus is on the same page.

Look no further than their recent Evija hypercar. It has world-challenging performance numbers, and it’s an EV. The Evija also has more than a passing resemblance to the Emira we’re looking at here. It has the same deep scallops heading towards the tail, the same familiar tail treatment – there’s a lot of the Evija in the Emira, but not in the engine department.

No, in the engine room, you will find some old-style yet thoroughly inspiring powerplants that should move the latest Lotus down the country lane with surprising speed and purpose. Lotus flatly states that this is the “exciting new sports car leading Lotus’ last hurrah with internal combustion engines, before fully embracing electrification and a new era for the brand later in the decade.”

So this is it. From here on out, Lotus will be making EVs, and we better figure out how to deal with that reality. However, while we’re on the subject, let’s take a deeper look at the engine offerings for the Lotus Emira.

Lotus Emira
The sculpted section cut into the door leads airflow towards the intake ahead of the rear wheel. This serves a dual purpose for the Lotus Emira, providing air for the engine but also cooling it. Photo: Group Lotus.

Lotus Emira: Engine & Powertrain

The first Emiras will be powered by your choice of two petrol engines. The initial “First Edition” models will be powered by the much-loved and Lotus-honed 3.5-liter V6 found in the Exige and Evora. Not a bad plant at all, but the next engine up is even better news. From the summer of 2022, the Emira gets an AMG turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder plant. Yes, this would be the first new Lotus sports car engine in more than a decade, and yes, it’s that AMG, the performance division of Mercedes-Benz. Gulp!

The AMG crew have ushered in some fundamental changes to the in-line four-cylinder setup for its Lotus debut. It’s transverse-mounted and rear-wheel drive (of course), and has a new intake system and new exhaust. Both mills will be available with a manual, automatic, and Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).

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Lotus says that power output will be between 360 and 400 bhp, with a zero to 62 mph time of less than 4.5 seconds and top speeds of up to 180 mph. Sweet. Max torque will be 430 Nm and, with a target weight of 3,097 lbs. in its lightest form, all those figures seem just Jake.

Essential Foundations

The chassis, a lightweight bonded aluminum deal that Lotus has been working with for decades now, is all-new for the Emira. The whole package is no bigger than it needs to be: length 4,412 mm; width 1,895 mm; height 1,225 mm; and a wheelbase of 2,575 mm. As described by Lotus, the Emira has two defined chassis and suspension settings. Tour is for everyday use, while a Sport mode is available with the optional Lotus Drivers Pack. Hydraulic steering is standard on every Lotus Emira.

The Lotus Emira is standard with 20-inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tires. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are optional with the Lotus Drivers Pack. Both sets of tires have been specially developed for the Emira, according to Lotus.

Standard advanced safety systems include adaptive cruise control, anti-collision system, fatigue alert, road sign information, vehicle speed limiter, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist.

Lotus Emira interior layout.
According to Lotus, both seats provide lateral support for high-speed driving and total comfort for long-distance trips. A four-way power seat is standard, while the optional premium sport seats offer 12-way adjustments for both drivers and passengers. Photo: Group Lotus.

Lotus Emira: Pricing & Availability

And best of all? The retail prices should start around $75,000 or so for the Lotus Emira. Not cheap, but, as with all things Lotus, that is a lot of bang for your buck. Lotus retailers worldwide are now taking deposits for the Emira, with the first deliveries scheduled for next spring.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.

Photos & Source: Group Lotus

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