Lotus Emira: the best for last
Thanks to the financial fertilizer of the Chinese giant Geely, British sports car manufacturer Lotus is booming again. By the time the Brits become an e-brand, they will secure another athlete, as is the habit of old fathers.
One must admit the English, or rather the English. You have the strength. Queen Elizabeth has just celebrated her 70th anniversary, and at Lotus, models such as the Elise and Evora were produced longer than the then prime minister could remain in office. The new Hethel model deserves attention. Especially when it is the last of its kind.
Because before the athletics with Lotus fully immersed in the adventure with battery cars, they will use a strong injection of cash from the Chinese Geely Group for the last conventional sports car, which as Emira is to inherit blessed Elise, as well as always underestimated Evora just after the holidays. Prices for the ornate “First Edition” start at € 96,000 but are likely to fall well below € 90,000 in the medium term with leaner equipment and a smaller engine.
It looks great inside and out
It is a two-seater, two-seater 4.4 meters long and 1.2 meters flat, which at first glance looks much better than competitors like the Porsche Cayman or even the Toyota Supra. Drawn with the same high-speed lines as Eviya’s electric hypercar, Emira draws more eyes than all the other teenagers in the fast lane. And the feast for the eyes does not end after boarding.
In addition to the neat cockpit and cabin, which was delightfully lined for the first time, high-quality, the bare metal of the 3.5-liter V6 engine shines behind the seats, captivating with a click of the throttle. While few cars can seriously challenge Emir, you have to constantly look in the rearview mirror and get excited about the seductive game of mechanics.
Vmax: 290 km / h
Built on a completely new platform, the Emira has the most classic sports car layout of all, with a front engine and rear wheel drive, and in between, a gearbox, which in this case is manual and as crispy as chips straight out of a bag.
Since Emira, like every Lotus, also focuses on lightweight construction and therefore weighs only 1,400 kilograms, it is accordingly agile: 400 HP and 420 Nm are enough for a 3.5-liter compressor, which was purchased for Evora, for a 0 to 100 W sprint. 4.3 seconds and a speed of 290, and the four-cylinder AMG announced for 2023 will not be slower with 365 hp and a few cents less.
Above all, however, the engine is enough for a sudden heart palpitations, which begins with pressing the start button hidden under the flap and only slowly descends when leaving the last glance at the bold minus and the engine hidden under the glass, while the Air flickers both in the ears and in the exhaust or the brakes creak when it cools down.
Emira in sport mode
Meanwhile, Emira is pure emotion. Yes, you can also drive the coupe on the highway or drive it like a gran turismo on a long leash on winding country roads, just as you can settle for just a salad at a steakhouse. Or you can take a solid T-Bone and order maximum medium to stay with the metaphor. Just like it melts into the gourmet’s tongue, Emira feels when you switch to Sport mode and want to know it on the B-Roads Cotswolds.
The controls are precise and direct, the undercarriage is taut, the brakes are neat, and there’s a barrel organ in the neck that has a lot of guts. So Emira devours corner after corner, storming the peaks and chasing a few straights, and the driver becomes insatiable. Because there is no such thing as stopping. More like a second aid, ideally “rare”, that is on the racetrack, set in track mode, with even greater sharpness and appetite for turns.
With keyless access system
Light, uncompromising and thirsty for gas – the Emira follows the classic advantages of the Lotus in many respects, but at the same time surprises with some extremely everyday and otherwise obvious innovations: This time not only a decent 150-liter trunk behind the mid-mounted engine and 200 liters of storage behind the seats, but even a place for drinks in the door.
Where radio itself was an option when the Elise launched 25 years ago, the British now have digital instruments, including a touchscreen infotainment system and comfort-enhancing features such as a keyless entry system. Even the cruise control with distance control is building a Lotus recently. And most of all, the noticeably larger door now allows humane entry without gymnastic bends.
After the Emir, only the E models
Of course there is a bit of melancholy mixed with enthusiasm for Emira. While it may be the best Lotus to date, it will be the last of its kind. Because there are only electric models after it, including an SUV for the first time. Not only are they not sports cars, they are also notoriously overweight because of their batteries.
But there is one consolation: the English have the strength to survive. And if Emira lasts half the time of Elise, we’ll be able to enjoy the last Lotus of its kind for the next decade.