It took some time for Lotus to bring its newest Emira sports car to U.S. shores. The Emira is the highly anticipated replacement for the Evora and is the last production Lotus to have gasoline-fed engines. The new Lotus Emira is the final breed of small, two-seat Lotus sports cars that follows the same formula as its forebearers like the Elite, Elan, Europa, Esprit, Elise, Exige, and Evora.
Lotus Emira: New Turbo Powertrain
Lotus was among the early hypercar adopters of full electrification with the breathtaking Evija EV. Its next electric car, the Eletre, is all set to join the burgeoning electric SUV segment, which makes the Emira the swan song of Lotus’ fossil-fueled past.
The Emira is available with two engine choices. First is the familiar supercharged 3.5-liter Toyota-sourced V6 with 400 horsepower and 317 lb-ft. of torque. It has a rear-wheel drivetrain with a choice between a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic gearbox. However, the Emira First Edition deserves a second look if you want to get your hands on the last petrol-powered Lotus. “First Edition” is the branding Lotus is using for the official launch of the new all-aluminum two-liter turbo four-cylinder for the Emira range.
Whereas the V6-powered Emira is ideal for long drives, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger from Mercedes-AMG suits the occasional track day. Based on the German automaker’s high-performance M139 four-cylinder engine (currently the most potent four-cylinder in series production), it’s the same powerplant in a Mercedes-AMG SL 43 or C63 S E Performance. The engine produces 360 horsepower and 317 lb-ft. of torque for the Emira, making it the most powerful four-cylinder in Lotus history.
“The Emira V6 has already proved incredibly successful, with many thousands of orders received from around the world,” said Mike Johnstone, Group Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Lotus. “Now, with the four-cylinder Emira joining the range, we’re adding a new dimension to the car’s breadth of capability and appeal, offering new levels of efficiency and accessibility while continuing to offer all the performance and agility that our customers expect.”
All turbo four-cylinder Emiras are rear-drive and make use of a Mercedes-AMG eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the first time Lotus has used such a transmission. Compared to the six-speed manual and automatic transmissions of the Emira V6, Lotus said the Mercedes-AMG DCT offers quicker gear changes with no torque interruption during shifting.
Four-Cylinder Engine: Key Specifications
Hallmarks of the new turbo two-liter (1,991cc) supplied to Lotus by Mercedes-AMG include a cylinder head with four valves per cylinder, a 200 bar direct injection system, intake and exhaust cams with variable valve timing (while on the exhaust side, the valves can be varied between high and low duration), and a combination of piezo injectors and port fuel injectors. The turbocharger is a twin-scroll design, meaning the turbine housing is split into two separate ducts, matched to corresponding ducts in the exhaust manifold.
The block was produced with something called an “advanced chill-casting process” versus traditional sand-casting methods. As described by Lotus, the chill-casting process provides better durability and strength for high-performance driving. Inspired by motorsport, Lotus also said the block has a “closed-deck” design for greater stiffness, while the cylinder bores use a patented low-friction coating to save weight.
How Fast Is The Four-Cylinder Lotus Emira?
The four-cylinder Lotus Emira will hit 62 mph in 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 180 mph. Launch control is standard for the four-cylinder Emira.
Lotus Sports Car Architecture
Shoehorning a high-strung Mercedes-AMG four-cylinder into the Emira necessitated crucial changes to the car’s bonded aluminum chassis. Underneath Emira’s svelte body is a cast aluminum rear subframe that enables the architecture to weigh 26 lbs. less than the V6’s steel frame. Suspending the stiffer chassis are forged aluminum double wishbones with bespoke-tuned Eibach springs and Bilstein monotube dampers. Furthermore, the Emira has electro-hydraulic steering (from the Evora) for a more precise steering feel.
The Lotus Emira is available in a Tour or Sport chassis configuration. The former has softer spring and damper settings to deliver grand touring comfort, while the latter has stiffer dampers and increased camber angles to maximize handling and cornering. The standard tires for the Tour chassis are Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport rubber, while the Sport has Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires that offer relentless grip on the racetrack.
“We’ve meticulously tuned the suspension settings for the two-liter Emira to deliver the superb body control that’s a Lotus hallmark without the car ever feeling harsh,” said Gavan Kershaw, Director, Vehicle Attributes and Product Integrity at Lotus. “We’ve calibrated engine and transmission mapping, in tandem with the Drive Modes, to create a refined and relaxed character in Tour, and with incredible launch performance, superb driveability, even quicker throttle response, and kick down in Sport and Track.”
We like how the Lotus Emira inherited some styling cues from the megabuck Evija super EV. It has sculpted doors with intake ducts that integrate into the car’s bulbous rear fenders, an aerodynamic touch that negates the need for active aero bits that could ruin a clean-sheet or well-sculpted design. Moreover, the full LED headlights and double-blade DRLs add a modern touch to Emira’s distinct sporting appeal.
With 13 paint colors and an optional Black Pack that adds gloss black panels like the roof and wing mirror pods, the Emira will draw stares like any typical European-bred sports car.
Intimate Cabin Design
Credit goes to Lotus for imbibing Emira with a simple yet modern cabin. It has a flat-bottom steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation and smartphone connectivity. The 12-way power-operated seats are configurable in Nappa leather or Alcantara with contrast stitching, while the standard 10-channel KEP audio system delivers your favorite driving music.
And unlike some hopelessly impractical sports cars, the Emira offers 208 liters of cargo room behind the rear seats and an additional 151 liters in the toasty luggage area.
Lotus Emira: Availability & Starting MSRP
Lotus said the four-cylinder Emira will start at around $99,000 (before destination), with the V6 starting at about $106,000. The Emira V6 will arrive first near the end of 2023, while the turbocharged model will arrive in early 2024. The 13 colors available for the Emria include Hethel Yellow, Magma Red, Vivid Red, Dark Verdant, Seneca Blue, Atlantis Blue, Meridian Blue, Osmium Silver, Nimbus Grey, Shadow Grey, Zinc Grey, Mist White, and Cosmos Black.
To learn more about how Lotus engineers leverage the brand’s high-performance nature to design key safety systems on cars like the Emira, take a listen to this episode of the AutoVision News Radio podcast.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.