Lotus Emira is a daring slice of old-school engineering magic

It has been a really very long time since we ultimate took a tricky check out a Lotus. That’s the company’s newest model, the Lotus Emira, a two-seater, mid-engine sports activities actions vehicle that holds the excellence of being the ultimate ever combustion-engine model to depart the famed Norwich, UK-based producer.

(Image credit score rating: Lotus)

It’s the tip of a protracted and storied legacy, one which stretches all one of the simplest ways once more to 1948 and takes in various the best and most worthwhile freeway and race cars of all time. Lotus has persistently punched above its weight, parlaying the experience it gained on the observe into beautifully honed cars for the freeway, together with sharing that know-how with the broader world via a worthwhile consultancy enterprise.

(Image credit score rating: Lotus)

The Emira is every a full stop and a sign of points to come back again. As a small agency, Lotus usually needed a much bigger affiliate to take care of it via monetary highs and lows, and for the upper part of the twenty first century, it was majority owned by Malaysian vehicle producer Proton, sooner than which it had been owned by Fundamental Motors. In 2017, Chinese language language producer Geely stepped in to take a substantial chunk of the company, together with it to a portfolio that options Volvo, Polestar and Lynk & Co.

(Image credit score rating: Lotus)

Geely has grand plans for the mannequin. Previewed ultimate 12 months, the forthcoming Lotus Eletre electrical SUV ensures to be basically probably the most radical vehicle inside the agency’s historic previous, breaking with customized in every conceivable method attainable to hurry up product sales and worldwide recognition of the Lotus establish. The Eletre shall be in-built China, whereas future sports activities actions cars will proceed to be made in Norwich.

Lotus Eletre, photographed for Wallpaper* by Leon Chew (Image credit score rating: Leon Chew)

The Emira’s origins return to the tip of the ultimate century. The first Lotus of the trendy interval was the 1996 Elise, a clever, stripped-down two-seater constructed spherical a modular aluminium chassis. This primary flexibility enabled Lotus’ sports activities actions vehicle platform to accommodate utterly completely different physique sorts, engine configurations and suspension set-ups, allowing the Elise to endure regular evolution all by way of its prolonged life. Mild, nimble, and an attention-grabbing and demanding drive, the model lastly accomplished manufacturing in 2021.

(Image credit score rating: Lotus)

The model new Emira has a direct DNA hyperlink to the Elise, nonetheless it’s further of a non secular successor to Lotus’ further GT-centric cars, typified by the Excel and Eclat once more inside the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, and in newer years by the Europa SE, which debuted in 2008. The ultimate was one different refinement of the evergreen Elise and Exige fashions, swapping Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s famed fetish for featherweight engineering for barely further insulation, thicker seats and points like cupholders. These refinements have been rather more in proof inside the 2010 Evora, which had a great deal of character nonetheless fell far in want of what luxurious sports activities actions vehicle shoppers had come to rely on.

Lotus Emira: delicate years ahead of its predecessors

(Image credit score rating: Lotus)

Once more to the Emira. Abandoning combustion in a compact sports activities actions vehicle would seem like a foolish endeavour, have been it not for the reality that everyone else has to do it as successfully. Correct now, basically probably the most convincing electrical sports activities actions cars are of the ‘hyper’ choice, with multi-million-pound value tags to associate with their completely bespoke and intensely space of curiosity nature. Lotus is in on this recreation as successfully, with its forthcoming Evija, a halo model restricted to solely 130 fashions with a value of spherical £2m.

The Emira shares quite a few seen DNA with its significantly dearer electrical sibling. Every cars are on a quest for lightness, a extra sturdy ask for the battery-stuffed Evija. It counters this lifeless weight with some extreme aerodynamic parts, along with ducts and vents that transfer via the entire physique of the auto to generate downforce.

The Lotus Evija, an all-electric hypercar (Image credit score rating: TBC)

The Emira has a novel remit, in any case, with its normal engine (a Toyota V6 that generates spherical 400hp) positioned behind the driving force. The dramatic air intakes are nonetheless present, nonetheless, albeit not pretty as pronounced, giving your entire bundle an actual supercar-style profile. It seems to be like as dramatic as any Italian thoroughbred costing a minimal of twice the worth, which is a way of fulfilling the distinctive Lotus ethos of enthusiast-driven affordability.

Contained within the cabin, a diehard Lotus driver might be forgiven for feeling a bit disorientated, for the Emira is delicate years ahead of its predecessors with regards to match, finish and top quality. There are clear units, an merely accessible touchscreen, and accoutrements like heated seats. It’s a step up for the company, and one which transforms the Emira from a hard-edged occasional-use toy to the type of vehicle you need to make the most of each day with out compromise.

(Image credit score rating: Lotus)

Although there are placing comparisons to be made with Lotuses of outdated (as compared with the robust and readiness of a model similar to the 2014 Exige S, the Emira seems like a Bentley), the rest of the sector has moreover moved on significantly. In scale, value and worth, the Emira is pitched up in opposition to Porsche’s Cayman, the gold customary for the wise fashionable sports activities actions vehicle. As in contrast, the Emira doesn’t pretty have the Cayman’s all-round competency, to not point out its barely muted image, nonetheless the Lotus is a daring varied.

(Image credit score rating: Lotus)

The go-kart-like traits of earlier Lotuses have been dialled once more significantly, nonetheless the low driving place, responsive steering and short-throw gearbox all provide a further visceral, analogue driving experience than most people have flip into used to. It’s moreover refreshing to see that top tempo and acceleration cases are higher than ample, barely than giant numbers within the hunt for bragging rights. The Emira is quick, little doubt about it, nonetheless it’s the best way you get there that points.

These observations have been all taken from our experience of the ‘First Model’ model, which bumps up the specification to include a great deal of Nappa leather-based and Alcantara, along with electrical heated seats, a KEF-powered stereo and 6 distinctive colours, along with zinging Hethel Yellow and Seneca Blue.

(Image credit score rating: Lotus)

For now, the V6 is matched solely with a handbook 6-speed, with an computerized alternative on the market rapidly. There’s moreover a model new, smaller, engine inside the works, this time sourced from Mercedes-AMG (a break in customized for the company), with a decrease value to match.

We love the Lotus Emira. It doesn’t try to beat the supercars at their very personal recreation, and results in a extraordinarily fascinating class of all its private, a dynamically pure and visually distinct vehicle that is actually worthy of the badge.

Lotus Emira First Model, from £77,795, LotusCars.com (opens in new tab)