Lotus Cars, a company built around making a car as light as is possible inside the rules the company has to follow, is going electric. There is still one last gas-powered gasp in the company, though, and it’s this. The all-new Emira, the brand’s first new model in a decade, powered by one of two boosted gasoline engines in a car that is as pared down as possible.
“It just felt right,” said former Formula One World Champion Jenson Button after a 30-lap stint on the Lotus test track as part of the car’s launch. Lotus calls the car its most accomplished yet, and a milestone in the company’s transformation. Of course, Lotus has been posting milestones in various transformations for what feels like its entire existence, so let’s take a look.
It’s styled like the Evija, the electrified Lotus hypercar that we’re expecting to launch soon. That means a minimum of aero add-ons, but still impressive performance. It actually generates downforce at speed, even without active bits and big wings, helping cut weight and boost handling.
The chassis is a new Lotus sports car architecture. Bonded and extruded aluminum like the Elise, but built in an all-new facility and with new and more occupant-friendly dimensions.
Top of the line is the 3.5L supercharged V-6 that has been part of the family for years, while the base engine is a 2.0L turbo-four that comes from Mercedes-AMG. Power ranges from 360 hp in the four to 400 in the V-6, and the lightest version of the car is just 1,405 kilograms.
Chassis settings offer a choice of Tour for everyday road use, meaning a slightly more comfortable ride, and Sports, which is stiffer for more capability and more feel. Sports can be had with an optional Lotus Drivers Pack.
Automatic, manual, and dual-clutch transmissions will be offered. Lotus hopes this move will boost appeal for the car, even that brand’s buyers now appreciate not having to operate a clutch.
On the inside, this is finished like no Lotus before it. 12-way power seats, a 10.25-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital dash, and a 10-channel Kef audio system. It will even have bottle holders capable of holding a 500 ml container in the doors.
USB ports, push-button start, and adaptive cruise (along with other modern driver aids) are fitted. Lotus says that this one is designed for drivers both short and tall, and gives driver and passenger more space. There is even cargo space behind the seats (and another tiny trunk behind the engine).
Pricing starts under £60,000 in the U.K., which converts to just over $100,000 here. Order books are open and deliveries start next spring.