First test drive: Lotus Emira V6

Lotus? There was something there: seven Formula 1 world championship titles, the unforgettable Colin Chapman as founder, the cars with E like Elan, Elite, Esprit, Europa or most recently Elise, Evora and Excige. And of course the Tesla Roadster, which was like an Elise on speed and had been built 2500 times for Tesla at the plant in Hethel in the east of England.

After the early death of the company founder in 1982, the company found itself in turbulent waters, Lotus changed hands several times, but now, 74 years after the start, seems to be back on track. The new majority owner Geely, which also owns Volvo, has released 500 million pounds, 100 million of which has already flowed to Hethel in a factory modernization. 3,500 Emira sports cars are to be built there this year. Most recently, 1,500 units left the halls in 2021. So far, Lotus has only focused on sports cars, in the future they also want to turn to SUVs and sedans and only offer electric cars. The SUV Eletre has already been introduced, it will be built in China.

Farewell to the combustion engine

The Emira, which will be launched in August, is, to put it bluntly, the swan song for the combustion engine, but it should once again unite all the virtues that are essentially: uncompromising sportiness without completely neglecting comfort. The 4.41 meter long two-seater is a mid-engine vehicle, in the rear there is still space for a small trunk with 150 liters, similar to the Porsche Boxster. The engine, a 3.5-liter V6, comes from Toyota, as does the transmission (automatic or manual, each with six gears). “An incredibly robust engine,” enthuses Lotus. Using a compressor and a few other tricks, the British turn 280 hp into a remarkable 400, a performance that is impressive. From 0 to 100 km/h it takes only 4.5 seconds at full throttle, and the top speed is given as 288 km/h. The maximum torque is 420 Newton meters.

On test drives around Hethel.





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Lotus Emira

Only First Edition models will be produced this year, which are particularly well equipped and hardly lack anything, maybe a head-up display, which is not even on offer. The basic price for Germany is 96,000 euros, which should drop significantly if a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder from AMG comes behind the seats as an alternative in mid-2023. In addition, models with slimmed-down equipment are then to be marketed. The Emira i4 is always paired with an AMG dual-clutch transmission. Although it has 40 hp less, it has a slightly higher torque and a slightly lower weight. Both should be able to hold a candle to each other on the race track, and the top speed of the i4 is only slightly lower.

On a first test drive around Hethel and on the company’s own small racetrack, the Emira shows some strengths. On the road, it’s surprisingly comfortable for a sports car. Getting in is easy and the electrically adjustable seats are comfortable. Behind them is still some space for luggage, Lotus has calculated 208 liters volume.

The steering wheel is flattened at the top and bottom and feels good in the hand, the steering is precise with good feedback. The brakes are the best in the world, claims Lotus full-bodied. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but they’re not bad. There are also two suspension settings on offer, Tour and Sport, with the latter only being recommended for customers who actually want to go to the racetrack.

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