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New Lotus Emira: Mercedes-AMG four-cylinder version to debut at Goodwood

The Emira range will double in size with the arrival of a turbocharged variant courtesy of Mercedes-AMG

It’s Lotus’ 75th anniversary this year and the firm will have quite the presence at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed with the Evija, Eletre and Emira all in attendance - the latter will also be shown off in four-cylinder guise for the first time.

Lotus says customer deliveries of the four-cylinder Lotus Emira will begin later this year, the new version joining the existing V6 model. With a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive setup the Emira goes up against the likes of the Alpine A110 and the Porsche Cayman in the sports car segment.

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“It’s a bespoke rear-wheel drive variant of the transmission developed by Lotus in collaboration with AMG. On top of that, the gearshift strategy has been defined by the Hethel team as part of the car’s performance attributes. It is unique to the Emira,” explains Gavis Kershaw, director of Attributes & Product Integrity and long-standing chassis guru at Lotus.

Lotus Emira pricing and specs

Both versions of the Emira available to order now are in First Edition specification, with the four-cylinder 360bhp version priced from £77,795, and the 3.5-litre supercharged V6 car, with 395bhp, available from £81,995.

Features such as 20-inch lightweight forged wheels with three colour options, 12-way adjustable heated seats, rear parking sensors, climate control, cruise control, keyless start and selectable drive modes are standard. There is also Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity along with a premium audio system.

First Edition buyers also receive three option packs thrown in, including the Driver’s Pack, which gives customers the choice of two suspension options and tyre choices. Softer Tour suspension comes with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres, while the Sport suspension option comes with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. 

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The standard-fit Design Pack adds privacy glass, Alcantara headlining and a choice of brake caliper colour, plus Lotus-branded mats. The Convenience pack adds front parking sensors, a reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers and auto-dimming mirrors. Options include the £1200 Black pack which brings lots of black detailing, and an £1,800 six-speed paddleshift automatic gearbox for the V6 model.

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Customers are also offered seven no-cost interior colour choices with either Nappa leather or black Alcantara (the latter with different coloured stitching). Six exterior paint colours are available, with more to be added throughout 2022. 

The First Edition models will eventually make way for ‘entry-level’ models using both engines. Lotus has already confirmed a starting price of £59,995 for the four-cylinder, although we’ve seen prices for the Emira shoot up since that announcement was made.

Lotus Emira engines and performance

The V6 version of the Emira is powered by a supercharged version of Toyota’s 2GR-FE 3.5-litre V6 engine, which produces 395bhp and 420Nm of torque. That torque figure rises to 430Nm in the automatic version. 

Lotus says this is enough for a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds, or 4.2 seconds with the automatic model. The top speed is 180mph, while power goes through the rear wheels in all versions.  

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Joining the 3.5-litre V6 version of the Emira, the four-cylinder version of the brand’s last ever combustion car uses the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine as the Mercedes-AMG A 45 hot hatch. In the Lotus, it develops 360bhp, a little down on the output of the A 45. Drive goes to the rear wheels via an eight-speed DCT automatic gearbox with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. 

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Performance figures have not been confirmed, but the four-cylinder model will almost certainly be lighter, certainly so compared with the automatic version of the supercharged V6 car, and its power deficit stands at only 25bhp.

More can come from this Mercedes engine - it develops up to 415bhp in the ‘S’ version of the current A 45 superhatch. As such, it could eventually supersede the V6 as the most powerful option. 

Lotus Emira design, platform and chassis

The Emira is the first all-new model to launch under Lotus’s new Chinese owner, Geely. It’s also the first car to emerge from the brand’s Vision 80 plan, devised under previous CEO Phil Popham to re-establish the brand before its 80th anniversary in 2028. 

The sports car mixes Lotus’s traditional lightweight engineering approach with cutting-edge technology. It’s underpinned by the brand’s fresh Sports Car Architecture, which is a further evolution of the bonded aluminium chassis structure that made its debut on the original Elise, but with different dimensions, so it will weigh from as little as 1,405kg.

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The Emira makes use of double-wishbone suspension at all four corners, with two suspension setup options, depending on whether you want your car to be road-biased or track-biased. The steering is hydraulic, rather than electric, which should please purists. 

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It was penned by Lotus’s chief designer Russell Carr, and blends cues from the all-electric Evija hypercar with nods to previous models. The Emira is 4,412mm long and 1,895mm wide – around 20mm longer and 10mm wider than the Evora. At the front, vertical LED headlights sit at either side of a bonnet that incorporates exit vents to help channel airflow over the car.

The rear brings elements from the Evija – in particular, the deep scallops in the bumper – along with an integrated spoiler that harks back to the first Elise. On the whole, the car has a complex, aggressive stance, delivering on the traditional Lotus approach of “functional aesthetics”.

New 2022 Lotus Emira: interior and equipment

The Emira’s interior marks even more of a change for Lotus, and it’s arguably here where owner Geely’s more lofty ambitions for the brand become evident. 

The driver-focused dashboard features a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates Android and Apple integration. There’s also a flat-bottomed steering wheel and extensive use of double stitching, including across the top of the fascia. The use of common Geely switchgear in the Emira appears minimal.

Lotus says the cabin packaging offers more space than in its previous models, which is better able to accommodate both short and tall occupants. There’s significantly better storage too, with door bins that can hold half-litre bottles, a pair of cup-holders with a smartphone storage slot between them, an armrest between the seats and USB and 12V charging ports.

There’s also 208 litres of luggage space behind the two seats, and a further 151 litres in the boot behind the engine. Lotus says the second of these load bays can hold an aircraft cabin-compatible bag or a set of golf clubs.

Matt Windle, Lotus’s recently appointed managing director, called the Emira “the most accomplished Lotus road car ever”. It will be built at the established facility, which has been going through an extensive refit as part of a £100m investment. “The Emira is a junior supercar with all the thrills found in the greatest Lotus cars, but at the same time it’s an everyday sports car that’s high on comfort and functionality,” Windle said.

Now read more about the new, all-electric Lotus Evija hypercar…

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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