A lot of Lotus
It’s the end of an era for Lotus. The coveted Hethel-based sports car brand founded by the late great Colin Chapman has made the decision to transition towards an all electric future. Ben Selby reports.
That said, Lotus’ internal combustion is not going out quietly. Say hello to the Emira, the last petrol powered Lotus, and it is “fab”. The Lotus Emira brings the lineage of driver focused sports cars such as the Elise, Exige, and Evora, full circle. This last old school Lotus is available as either a mid-mounted supercharged 3.5L V6 or 2.0L turbocharged four cylinder, the latter of which is co-developed by Mercedes-AMG. My test drive Emira was the former, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Buyers can also option a six-speed auto for the V6 and an eight-speed DCT for the four pot.
In terms of looks, Lotus has made the Emira look stunning. A combo of 20-inch v-spoke forged alloys, numerous ducts and intakes and the wide low stance of a textbook mid-engine sports car make the Emria look epic from all angles.
Being the First Edition Emira, you get features like a tyre pressure monitoring system, two-piece brake discs with branded callipers, a premium KEF audio system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a 10.25-inch touch screen infotainment system and 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster. Lotus also throws in a “Drivers Pack” as standard, with Sports suspension and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
Slide inside and in typical Lotus fashion, it wraps itself around you. The leather and suede sports seats are comfortable and hold you firmly in place. The driving position is perfect, as is the way everything is laid out.
So, what’s the Emira like to drive? Well, in two words, utter magic. Even around town, the supercharged V6 makes a range of lovely noises from burbling to a raucous six pot soundtrack at high rpm, something which one becomes rather addicted to after the first five minutes. You can even see the throttle cable moving in the rear view mirror every time you stand on the pedal.
Whether in Sport or, if you dare, Track mode, the Emira enters its happy place. Throttle response is sharp and the hydraulic power assisted steering is so precise, giving some non power assisted feel.
The six-speed manual transmission is a peach. A quick assertive throw not too far from that sports steering wheel and you can relive the process of supercharged induction and brisk acceleration again and again.
Its 298kW may not sound like much, but given the size and relatively low weight of the Emira, this thing is spellbinding on the straights and hangs on like a cat on shag-pile carpet in the corners.
What a last hurrah for Lotus’ internal combustion the Emira is. I really didn’t want to give this one back.
LOTUS EMIRA 3.5L V6 FIRST EDITION
Price: $199,990 starting price
Engine: Supercharged 3.5L V6 Petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top Speed: 288km/h
0 to 100: 4.3 seconds