Emira calls – BusinessWorld

VELO EMIRA 1 image4
VELO EMIRA 1 image4

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Lotus celebrates its last petrol-powered sports car with the all-new Emira


The name alone sounds like royalty — an elegant name given to the latest of a long and illustrious line of world-beating sports cars from Hethel, a small historic village in Norfolk, England.

It’s also the last of a legendary line of petrol-burning Lotuses — each one a legacy of Colin Chapman, the genius engineer/designer whose initials adorn the logo of the cars. All future Lotuses will be purely electric-powered.

“The Emira is an absolute game-changer for Lotus. It’s a hugely significant milestone in our path to becoming a truly global performance car brand. It’s a new sports car — our first in many years — and what an offering it is from Lotus!” exclaimed Lotus Cars Managing Director Matt Windle.

The mid-engined Emira looks more like a supercar than just another new sports car. There are traces of its predecessor, the Evora, as well as newer design elements from Lotus’s upcoming Evija electric hypercar.

The Emira measures 4,412mm x 1,895mm x 1,225mm (LWH). It’s less than an inch longer and a hairline (2mm) taller than the 11-year-old Evora but is a substantial three inches wider. It also mirrors the Evora’s 2,575mm wheelbase (including that car’s ultra-light extruded and bonded aluminum construction).

Just as in the Exige and Evora, power comes from the same 3.5-liter Toyota Camry V6 engine turbocharged to the tune of 394bph and mated to a manual or automatic transmission. Available for the Emira next year is a turbocharged four-cylinder Mercedes-AMG engine developing 355bhp (mated exclusively to AMG’s dual-clutch automatic). Performance targets are zero to 100kph in under 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 290kph.

Lotus, now owned by Geely, is targeting prices under £60,000. Price-wise and performance-wise, the two-seater Lotus Emira V6 matches up with the two-seater Porsche 718 Cayman GTS.

Driving purity comes from a hydraulic power steering system and rear-wheel drive — a snub to modern sports cars’ electric power steering and all-wheel drive. Tires are bespoke-compound Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport as standard or Michelin Cup 2 as options.

Inside, the Emira’s fully lined cockpit is easily the most luxurious — and most spacious — ever from Lotus. There is space for a bag in the trunk and a couple of small suitcases behind the seats. There are even cupholders and storage bins on the console and door panels.

The hour-long live-action unveiling was centered on the iconic Hethel test track and culminated in a high-octane lap of the north circuit by an Emira.

Former Formula 1 World Champion and Lotus customer Jenson Button was the evening’s special guest. A video of him putting the Emira through its paces on the Hethel track was played, with Jenson delivering his exclusive “first drive” review live to the audience.

“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! The Emira is exceptional and I’m a big fan,” he shared.

The Emira premiere was broadcast live via the Lotus website and social media platforms. In a nod to global travel restrictions, Lotus had invited scores of international Lotus “superfans” to be involved in the premiere. Exactly 131 of these owners and enthusiasts were selected to be part of a high-tech real-time “fan wall” which appeared on the box’s TV screens. The number “131” reflects the Lotus type number allocated to the Emira before it was officially named.

Lotus retailers across the globe — from China and Japan to North America and Europe — staged parties in their showrooms, inviting valued customers and Emira prospects to watch the event live. In addition, highlights from the broadcast played through the next week on billboards internationally — at London’s busy Liverpool Street station, where the train line from Norwich ends in London, and in downtown Los Angeles.

Guests were also treated to a parade of historic Lotus cars on the test track, including an Elan S3 and Colin Chapman’s own Esprit Turbo.

As well as providing a platform for the Emira’s debut, the event was designed to turn the spotlight on Hethel itself — upgraded as part of a £100-million-plus investment in Lotus UK operations. Guests took part in a walking tour of the site to see the transformation, which includes the all-new production line and paint shop where the Emira will be built, starting later this year.

Just two days after its global reveal, the Emira stunned attendees of last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the car turned a wheel in anger in public for the first time. Lotus is the “Featured Marque” at this year’s GFOS event, which means the “Central Feature” — the giant sculpture outside Goodwood House — will celebrate Lotus.

As the event closed, Matt Windle commented: “What an amazing night we’ve had and what a fantastic way to launch the Emira. We have a sensational new sports car — the most accomplished Lotus ever — and we’ve unveiled it at a rejuvenated Hethel, a site still changing every week because of our investment. Together they are the perfect illustration of the ongoing transformation of Lotus.”

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