JOHANNESBURG - Lotus Cars has pulled the plug on the Elise, Exige and Evora. The company has, however, hit the go switch on an all new car that seems to have its sights set squarely on the manic Porsche 718 GT4. Called, Emira, it’s an all-new mid-engined premium sports car, which they say perfectly embodies the ongoing transformation of the Lotus business and brand. ‘For The Drivers’, as Lotus puts it, the Emira isn’t the lightweight, plastic-fantastic kind of car that we know and love, it’s a grown up, heavier, 21st century take on Colin Chapman’s “add lightness” philosophy.
Building on the legacy of the Elise, Exige and Evora, the Emira is said to represent a quantum leap forward for Lotus. Those instantly recognisable brand signatures and core values have been combined with a paradigm shift in levels of practicality, comfort, functionality and technology, according to the manufacturer.
Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars says: “The Emira is a game-changer for Lotus. It stands as a beacon of everything we have achieved to date in the transformation of the business, the embodiment of our progress. It is a highly significant milestone on our path to becoming a truly global performance car brand.”
The Lotus Emira has been developed on a new lightweight bonded aluminium chassis, technology pioneered by Lotus and which remains an intrinsic part of the company’s sports car DNA. The body is heavily inspired by the company’s all-electric Evija hypercar. Key dimensions of the Emira are: length 4412mm, width 1895mm, height 1225mm, and wheelbase 2575mm.
In some markets, the car will reach customers as early as next year, however, Lotus South Africa has not confirmed when the Emira will be landing in Mzansi. Powering the Emira will be a choice of two petrol engines: a Mercedes-AMG-derived 2.0-litre four-cylinder that powers the A45 S hot hatch or the familiar Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6 with supercharger that we’ve grown to love in the Evora S over the years. First Edition models will be powered by the V6, then the 2.0-litre will make its debut later in 2022.
Working with Lotus for the first time, AMG has come on board as technical partner on the Emira programme, with some fundamental changes made to the in-line four-cylinder set-up for its Lotus debut. Transverse-mounted and delivering rear-wheel drive, the unit has been modified with a new air intake system and new exhaust to suit the character of the Emira. Cars will be available with a manual, automatic and Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) in some markets depending on your engine choice.
Lotus says that the Emira launch model will come with 298kW and that it can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds on to a top speed of 290km/h. Lotus anoraks might not like the car’s weight, as the company says the Emira will tip the scales at 1405kg in its lightest form, which is almost the same weight as a Lotus 7 and a Lotus Elise 111R combined. In the UK, the car goes on sale now, with deposits already being taken, and the company is asking £60 000 (around R1.1 million) for a base model over there.
Manufacturing of the all-new Lotus Emira will take place at company’s infamous home in Hethel, Norfolk, following more than £100 million of investment, which has been poured in to ensure its highly skilled operations teams will be supported by new processes and technologies to enhance production efficiency, volume capability and overall build quality.
Matt Windle concludes: “We believe that the Emira is the most accomplished Lotus road car ever to roll through the Hethel factory gates. Beautifully proportioned with a stunning design inspired by the Evija all-electric hypercar, it’s the perfect package. The Emira is a junior supercar with all the thrills and head-turning characteristics found in the greatest Lotus cars, but at the same time is an everyday sports car that’s high on comfort and functionality, packed with the latest technology demanded by discerning drivers.”
A digital visualiser showcasing the car’s striking design is live here and the vehicle will make its public dynamic debut this coming weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (8-11 July).