Having gotten by with an ageing but dynamically fabulous line-up for years, it’s all change for Lotus. We discovered a few months ago that 2021 would be the last year of production for the Elise, Exige and Evora, and now, Hethel has fully revealed what’ll be replacing this trio: the Emira.
Built around an all-new bonded aluminium mid-engined platform, it’s described as “Lotus‘ last hurrah with internal combustion engines”. Generously, the British company is giving buyers two different ways to celebrate the joys of suck, squeeze, bang and blow.
Option A is an ‘M139‘ inline-four turbo engine sourced from Mercedes-AMG, which is hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. A little too new school for you? Perhaps sir or madam would prefer the 3.5-litre supercharged V6 carried over from the Evora and Exige. You can have this as either a conventional automatic or a manual with Lotus’ famed exposed gear linkage.
Each will be fitted transversely and drive the rear wheels exclusively. Specific performance figures aren’t available just yet, although Lotus says the Emira will produce between 355bhp and 395bhp depending on the version, dispatch 0-62mph in under 4.5 seconds and be capable of hitting up to 180mph.
With a “target weight” of 1405kg in its lithest form, it’s set to be marginally heavier than an Evora. A length of 4112mm and a width of 1985mm meanwhile give the sports car a similar footprint to its predecessor. It looks completely different, though, sharing more in common with the styling of the Evija electric hypercar.
Strangely for Lotus, the press release isn’t exactly chock full of chassis detail. We do know, however, that the company has managed to avoid electric power steering, sticking with a more natural-feeling hydraulic setup. It’s also been revealed that there’ll be two suspension setups available - the comfort-oriented ‘Tour’, and the more focused ‘Sport’ with its stiffer ‘Lotus Drivers Pack’ option.
The latter also unlocks the cost option of sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres for the 20-inch wheels. Otherwise, the Emira gets Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersports.
Inside, the Emira enjoys an all-new cabin complete with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It’s certainly a far cry from the ancient interiors of the cars this thing replaces.
We don’t have a firm starting price for the Emira just yet, with Lotus merely noting that it’ll start at under £60,000. Porsche 718 Cayman money, in other words. It’ll be built at a brand new facility in Hethel, with first deliveries kicking off during summer 2022.