The 2022 Lotus Emira Will Be The Last Lotus Powered By An Internal Combustion Engine
Watermarked photography by Alex Lawrence // Press photography courtesy of Lotus
This is the 2022 Lotus Emira, the last of the hallowed Hethel-based manufacturer’s vehicles to be powered by an internal combustion engine. Following in both the aesthetic and philosophic footsteps of the company’s Evija hypercar, Lotus is pushing the Emira as less of an end-of-an-era sports car, and more of a bridge to the company’s future—in PR speak, it is “spearheading the repositioning and expansion of the Lotus retail network ahead of the arrival of a family of new vehicles.”
With that said, “last hurrah” also made an appearance in the Emira’s press release. And although the company’s plan for that future family of vehicles regrettably includes oxymoronic-sounding projects like a Lotus SUV, the Emira is a strong signal that Lotus will not let its sports cars suffer as a result of this upcoming expansion in scope. This is still a lightweight sports-focused car that cares more about what a driver feels during an apex than its ideal conditions 0-60 time. It’s still seemingly a Lotus as we know it.
The Emira (pronounced ‘Eh-meer-ah’) certainly looks like a new era for the brand compared to the outgoing Evora, Elise, and Exige, but it is mechanically familiar. Like its predecessors, the Emira features the brand’s Toyota-sourced V6 power plant, and can be ordered with in a manual transmission, which are underpinned by a bonded aluminum chassis (similar to the Elise and Exige, but this one is a new design, called Lotus Sports Car Architecture, and is built at Lotus’ brand-new Advanced Structures facility).
In addition to the supercharged 3.5L V6, the Emira will also be available with a turbocharged 2.0L inline-four sourced from technical partner AMG (that AMG), and tuned by Lotus engineers. More details are forthcoming in regards to which transmissions and engines can go together (there are manual, automatic, and dual-clutch automatic transmissions available on the Emira), but for now Lotus is saying the power output for the Emira is 360-400bhp, with max torque at 317lb-ft. We can presume that the 3.5L will be the most powerful option, with Lotus saying that this supercharged motor will “feature as a ‘First Edition’ range-topper.” The 0-62mph time is said to be “less than 4.5 seconds,” and the top speed will be “up to 180mph.”
Weight is quoted as 1405kg (~3097lbs) “in its lightest form,” which isn’t shockingly featherlike, but also impressive considering this is a car that Lotus wants to sell outside of the Exige owners’ club, and one that they have developed from the get-go as an everyday-usable sports car. To that end, the interior has been substantially improved from past Lotus cars from a design, quality, and functionality perspective, and there is even enough cargo space for a set of golf clubs. There are also two cup holders, which each carry more symbolism than the Emira’s bevy of accident-avoidance safety gizmos. The Emira comes will have two settings for the chassis and suspension—the self-explanatory and ubiquitous “Tour” mode, as well as a “Sports” mode when ordered with the Lotus Drivers Pack option.
Construction of the Emira will take place in a brand-new factory in Hethel, the result of a £100 million investment by the brand into its future. The cars will be built in a hybrid system of handmade and automated processes, but for all the new robotic arms laying down perfect beads of adhesive and even coats of paint, Lotus also says that the Emira launch has created more than 200 new jobs at the company.
Deliveries will begin next spring, with a base price of less than £60,000 (~$82770).