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Lotus Emira points to British firm's future. Image by Lotus.

Lotus Emira points to British firm's future
New Lotus sports car debuts with Toyota V6 or Mercedes-AMG power.
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What's all this about?

This is the all-new Lotus Emira, the latest model to come from the British firm since it was taken over by Chinese firm Geely. It sits somewhere between the Elise and the Evora in size, measuring 4,412mm long and 1,895mm wide, and has a traditional two-seat, mid-engine coupe layout, while a kerb weight of as little as 1,405kg means the Emira stays true to company founder Colin Chapman's philosophy of 'adding lightness'. However, the Emira is also a showcase for the future direction of Lotus, so it's packed with more tech than the Elise has ever had, while the car's styling is a clear nod to the all-electric Evija hypercar revealed in 2019, and a taster of the company's next generation of sports cars.

Does that mean it's electric?

Nope, although Lotus has already confirmed that this will be the final pure combustion-engined car that it will build. Power will initially come from a version of the Toyota-sourced supercharged 3.5-litre V6 that's already been seen the Exige and Evora, while a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes will be offered.

That V6 will be offered at launch, but Lotus has confirmed that a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit sourced from Mercedes-AMG will also be used. AMG has been confirmed as a technical partner in the Emira project, and it will provide the 2.0-litre engine found in the A 45 S hyper hatch. It will be tailored to suit the Emira's character with a new intake system and exhaust, while it will come exclusively with a dual-clutch auto driving the rear wheels.

Elsewhere, the Emira uses Lotus' Sports Car Architecture, which is a cutting-edge evolution of the platform used by the Elise. This features bonded aluminium construction, while a hydraulic power steering set-up is designed to deliver the best feedback possible. There will be two suspension options available to buyers: the standard Tour setting will deliver Lotus' traditional sharp handling with a softer edge for road use, while the Sports setting is offered as part of the optional Lotus Drivers Pack and is firmer for track driving. Both options come with 20-inch wheels, with the latter adding sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

All sounds good, but won't the new tech add weight?

Technically yes, but Lotus needs to offer buyers something more than a basic cabin to attract new buyers. To this end, the interior features some hi-tech upgrades, including a 12.3-inch driver's display and a smaller 10.25-inch central infotainment screen. At least this demonstrates that the cabin is still focused on the driver.

The cabin is said to offer more space than any production Lotus, so tall occupants will fit just as easily as small passengers, while more storage has been added, too. Other mod cons include cup-holders and a smartphone slot, USB and 12V sockets - there's even a boot behind the engine bay that's big enough to fit a carry-on suitcase. Driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, lane assist, fatigue detection and road sign recognition will also be available.

Prices for the Emira start from around £60,000, with deliveries due to start in spring 2022.

Liam Shard - 6 Jul 2021

2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.

2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.2021 Lotus Emira. Image by Lotus.    - Lotus road tests
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