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It’s been a long time coming, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that the new Lotus Emira could finally be the start of the British brand’s new era. That’s because the all-new Emira is just that, all-new, and combines traditional Lotus engineering techniques such as a bonded aluminum chassis, a mid-engine setup offering two powertrain options – the Toyota’s supercharged 3.5-liter V6 and that of Mercedes-AMG. A45’s two-liter four-cylinder engine – plus a set of technologies that bring Lotus into the 21st century.

The new Emira is a direct rival to the Alpine A110 and the Porsche 718 Cayman, falling between the two mid-engined cars in terms of focus and performance on offer with two very different engine options on offer with three very powerful transmissions. different. With First Edition models priced between £ 60,000 and £ 80,000 (full specifications for the Emira to be confirmed in September) set to hit the road in spring 2022, the new Emira marks the start of the next chapter. from the colorful story of Lotus. It will also be the last pure internal combustion engine sports car the company develops from scratch, before Lotus turns to its intensive electrification program, which will also see it working alongside new technical partners like Alpine. .

> Highlights of the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Powertrain 1 – Toyota-derived 3.5-liter V6, Supercharged

The first powertrain the new Emira will use is Toyota’s familiar 3.5-liter supercharged V6, rated at around 400bhp (in its most powerful form, it produced 430bhp in the Exige). It will be available with both a six-speed manual transmission (with exposed gear linkage as in current cars) or a six-speed torque converter automatic with a limited slip differential also installed.

Despite its humble origins in all forms of commonplace Toyota wagons in other markets, it’s a very different proposition now, having proven to be an effective and vocal sidekick in everything from cruising Evora GT410 to hardcore Exige. Cup.

Changes to the engine from the Evora and Exige applications include work on the intake and exhaust system to improve throttle response and give it a more textured vocal range to eliminate on-off noise generated by outgoing models.

The V6-powered car will be the top end of the Emira range, starting at around £ 75-85,000 and competing with more serious sports cars such as the Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 and the BMW M2 Competition.

This engine is not expected to last, however, with the proposed EU7 emissions regulation expected in 2027 signaling the end of the V6 for European and UK Lotus customers, although it may continue to be offered in other territories with controls. less stringent emissions. It is for this reason that Lotus turned to a second technical partner, Mercedes-AMG, to offer an alternative energy source.

Lotus Emira V6 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
Engine 6 cylinders, 3456 cc, supercharged 6 cylinders, 3995 cm3
Gearbox 6 speed man / 6 speed automatic PDK 6-speed man / 7-speed
Power 400bhp @ 7000rpm (est) 394 hp at 7,000 rpm
Couple 315lb ft @ 3500rpm (est) 310 lb ft @ 5,000 rpm
Weight 1405kg (min) 1405kg
Power-to-weight 289bhp / ton (est) 285 hp / ton
0-62 mph 4.0sec (est) 4.5sec
Top speed 180 mph (east) 182 mph
Price + £ 75,000 £ 64,480

AMG-derived 2.0-liter four-cylinder powertrain

Lotus turned to new technical partner AMG to supply the Emira’s second mid-engined powertrain, with the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from German brand A45. As in their applications within AMG, this engine will only be available with AMG’s dual-clutch transmission.

Using the more powerful M139 from the A45 models, the four-cylinder engine is around 50 kilos lighter than the V6, and although initially it will only produce 360 ​​hp in the Emira Lotus, does not rule out more derivatives. powerful in the future.

However, this engine is also under close scrutiny from proposed EU7 emissions regulations, which could mean it may not be available for the European and UK markets as well. But, the partnership between Lotus and AMG means that other options are available for Lotus if the Emira requires a new engine; although the new four-cylinder hybrid engine for the upcoming C63 is fine, Lotus has no plans to offer an Emira hybrid. Or rather, it’s not yet in the product plan.

Lotus Emir Alpine A110S Porsche 718 Cayman S
Engine 4 cylinders, 1991 cc, turbo 4 cylinders, 1798cc, turbo 4 cylinders, 2497 cm3, turbo
Gearbox 8 speed DCT 6-speed DCT PDK 6-speed man / 7-speed
Power 360bhp @ to be confirmed 288 hp at 6,400 rpm 345 hp at 6,500 rpm
Couple 300lb ft @ TBC 236lb ft @ 2000rpm 310lb ft @ 2100rpm
Weight 1405kg (min) 1114kg 1355kg
Power-to-weight 260bhp / ton (est) 263bhp / ton 259 hp / ton
0-62 mph 4.5sec (est) 4.4sec 4.6sec
Top speed 170 mph (east) 161 mph 177 mph
Price

Frame

All Emira models are supported by the same extruded aluminum chassis developed by the 25-year-old Elise. This new bonded aluminum chassis houses the two transversely mounted powertrains, has a wider track than the Evora and double wishbones and coil spring shocks at all four corners with anti-roll bars front and rear. back. Two very distinct chassis configurations will be offered regardless of the powertrain – Touring and Sport – the latter being available as part of an optional driver package that lowers the ride to the top and includes shocks, springs and dampers. Improved anti-roll bars. And for the skeptics out there, not a single piece of suspension carried over from the Evora.

This package will also be optimized for different tires, with standard Touring models fitted with bespoke Lotus Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport rubber and Driver’s Pack cars fitted with a Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s sticker.

Being taller (in most directions) than the Cayman and Alpine – it’s not far from the current dimensions of the Porsche 911 Carrera – and without the latter’s featherweight, the Emira won’t be as flexible. than its French counterpart, weighing in at 1405 kg at its lightest, an increase of nearly 300 kg. This corresponds to the weight of a Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0, but weights are yet to be confirmed for the four and six cylinder Lotus models.

There will be no roadster or targa-top variant, however, with Lotus favoring ultimate dynamism over an open-top experience.

Adding weight is not part of Lotus’ DNA and great effort has been put into keeping gain as low as possible. So although 60 kg of new technology has been added to the car, it weighs only 11 kg more than the Evora 400.

Lotus has remained steadfast in its application of purely hydraulic steering, joining McLaren as one of the very few manufacturers to have resisted the installation of electric steering in favor of its cleaner feel, despite admittedly minimal compromise on fuel consumption. fuel. For this, Lotus designed and developed its own brand new steering rack to retain its distinctive feel and texture in a car fitted with 20 inch tires.

As with any modern performance car, there are switchable drive modes, but these are limited to the throttle and gearbox mapping (the latter only on cars with the dual clutch or gearbox). automatic obviously), due to the passive chassis and hydraulic steering. And also Gavin Kershaw’s philosophy that the weight of the chassis and steering and its response rate shouldn’t need to be adjusted if you want to go faster if the engineers did their job right in the first place. Which is refreshing to hear.

Design and interior

Interior ergonomics and exterior design are another clever mix of Lotus elements, but redesigned for a new generation. The coke bottle silhouette isn’t far removed from the Evora, but is interspersed with an Evija-inspired side air intake that breaks the bodywork.

In fact, Russell Carr and his design team took inspiration from the Evijia hypercar, a project they had already embarked on when they were given the green light to start work on the Emira in 2018.

Look at the two cars side by side and you can clearly see a very close relationship between the two, such as the hood where the closed lines in the openings are integrated into the skin, and the new vertically stacked LED headlights and the shifting tops. wheel are also directly from the Evija.

The interior is simple, elegant and a huge step forward in terms of quality, with a finish to a level never seen from a car built in Hethel, which is due to the impressive new production facility in which the ‘Emira will be produced.

Inside there is a high double-layered center console similar to the Alpine A110, topped with sharp digital interfaces (the electrical architecture is taken from parent company Geeley) and minimal controls. Key functions like climate and volume controls are still physical switches or buttons, as is the engine start button which sits under a flip-up cover much like a Lamborghini.

The Emira was shown in more detail at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with final specs and details to be revealed by the time it arrives at dealerships in spring 2022. From what we’ve seen, the Emira represents more than just a new faith in Lotus, but also a faith in the sports car – and just in time.

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