The last time we got an entirely new Lotus model was 2009 when they launched the Evora. That’s 11 years without a truly new car from our friends in Hethel. But with the launch of the Emira, Lotus not only have a new model but are showing us a glimpse of an all-new Lotus brand.
Whilst fans of the brand have championed each and every iteration of the ageing Lotus range (myself included), the sports car buying public has often looked elsewhere to get their kicks. Whilst the Elise, Exige and Evora arguably drive better than most cars in the segment, most buyers want more than just great dynamics. That’s where the Emira is looking to turn the tide for Lotus.
The Emira was launched on a wet and windy day at their factory in Hethel, Norfolk. I was there and watched as they unveiled their last ever car with an internal combustion engine (yes, every new Lotus after this one will be electric). The rain managed to stop just long enough for the reveal to go ahead and the Emira, resplendent in its new Seneca Blue paint, rolled out of the smoke and into the world.
I was flabbergasted at how good it looked. The pictures just don’t do it justice. It’s meant to be a Porsche Cayman rival but it looks good enough to rival the best supercars on the planet. The proportions are just right. The lines are organic and flowing. Nothing on the car looks heavy handed or superfluous. It looks all-new and somehow looks just like a Lotus should.
Inside it feels almost nothing like a Lotus but in a good way. There are proper TFT screens for the dials and the infotainment. The car feels expensive and usable. Just a like a Porsche does. But the seating position, view out and sporting feel are pure Lotus.
I had a brief chat with Clive Chapman (son of Lotus founder, Colin Chapman) and he was equally enthused about the Emira. He even went as far as to say that it was a car that his father would have loved. The perfect endorsement.
Under the stunning bodywork is an evolution of the extruded aluminium architecture pioneered by Lotus more than 26 years ago. It has been finessed to allow easier access to the cabin without sacrificing rigidity.
Powering the Emira is either a Toyota-derived V6 or a turbo inline 4 from AMG. Exact power outputs from both have not been revealed yet but the fastest version should come with around 400bhp.
Best of all the Emira will start from around £60,000 when it starts to arrive with customers in 2022. Making it possibly one of the best value cars on the sports car market. For Lotus, the future looks bright!