The Emira is an all-new mid-engined premium sports car that perfectly embodies the ongoing transformation of the Lotus business and brand. It features all the hallmarks that the automotive world has come to expect from a Lotus – striking design, thrilling dynamic performance delivering best-in-class ride and handling, outstanding aerodynamics and an unrivalled experience ‘For The Drivers’.
Building on the legacy of the Elise, Exige and Evora, the Emira represents a quantum leap forward for Lotus. Those instantly recognisable brand signatures and core values have been combined with a paradigm shift in levels of practicality, comfort, functionality and technology.
Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars commented: “The Emira is a game-changer for Lotus. It stands as a beacon of everything we have achieved to date in the transformation of the business, the embodiment of our progress. It is a highly significant milestone on our path to becoming a truly global performance car brand.”
The Emira has been developed on a new lightweight bonded aluminium chassis, technology pioneered by Lotus and which remains an intrinsic part of the company’s sports car DNA. That innovative vehicle architecture is wrapped with a bold and sculpted design using cues clearly developed from the Evija. Key dimensions of the Emira are length 4,412mm; width 1,895mm; height 1,225mm; and wheelbase 2,575mm.
First customer cars will start to be delivered around the world from next spring. Powering the Emira will be a choice of two petrol engines, both globally respected for their performance characteristics. At launch, the first cars will be available as limited-production ‘First Edition’ models powered by the much-loved and Lotus-honed 3.5-litre V6 which cut its Hethel teeth powering the Exige and Evora.
From summer 2022, the first new Lotus sports car engine for more than a decade makes its debut, with the Emira powered by AMG. The new-to-Lotus AMG unit is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘i4’ from the performance division of Mercedes-Benz.
Working with Lotus for the first time, AMG has come on board as technical partner on the Emira programme, with some fundamental changes made to the in-line four-cylinder set-up for its Lotus debut. Transverse-mounted and delivering rear-wheel drive, the unit has been modified with a new air intake system and new exhaust to suit the character of the Emira. The second engine is more familiar, the 3.5-litre supercharged Toyota V6 that is so loved by drivers of the Exige and Evora. Cars will be available with a manual, automatic and Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).
Across the Emira range, power output will between 360 and 400bhp at launch, with 0-62mph (0-100km/h) acceleration in less than 4.5 seconds and top speeds of up to 180mph (290km/h). Maximum torque will be 430Nm and CO2 emissions will start below 180g/km. The car has a target weight of 1,405kg in its lightest form, and prices will start at less than £60,000 (less than €72,000).
Manufacturing will take place at Lotus’ famous home in Hethel, Norfolk, following more than £100million of new investment in the company’s UK facilities. The highly skilled operations teams will be supported by new processes and technologies to enhance production efficiency, volume capability and overall quality.
Matt Windle added: “The Lotus Emira is the most accomplished Lotus road car ever to roll through the Hethel factory gates. Beautifully proportioned with a stunning design inspired by the Evija all-electric hypercar, it’s the perfect package. The Emira is a junior supercar with all the thrills and head-turning characteristics found in the greatest Lotus cars, but at the same time is an everyday sports car that’s high on comfort and functionality, packed with the latest technology demanded by the discerning driver.”
Lotus retailers around the world are now taking deposits for the Emira. A digital visualiser showcasing the car’s striking design is live at www.lotuscars.com. The Emira will make its public dynamic debut this coming weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (8-11 July).
Lotus Emira in detail
The Emira is the first all-new Lotus sports car to be delivered under Vision80, the strategic plan which is guiding the transformation of Lotus as it moves towards its 80th anniversary in 2028. It is a truly global model, engineered to sell in all major markets around the world. Acting as a catalyst to further enhance brand awareness globally, it’s spearheading the repositioning and expansion of the Lotus retail network ahead of the arrival of a family of new vehicles.
Pronounced ‘Eh-meer-ah’, the word features in numerous ancient languages and often translates as ‘commander’ or ‘leader’. It’s highly appropriate as this is the exciting new sports car leading Lotus’ last hurrah with internal combustion engines, before fully embracing electrification and a new era for the brand later in the decade.
Exterior design: delivering exotic supercar appeal in the sports car segment
The Emira is the first Lotus sports car to carry the new design language first showcased on the award-winning Evija hypercar. It’s a contemporary look with sculpted surfaces and technical detailing, delivering exotic supercar appeal in the sports car segment. A new and more premium approach for Lotus in terms of forms and materials, it is also a leap forward in fit and finish.
Led by Russell Carr, Design Director, Lotus, the creative team has succeeded in designing something beautiful, timeless, memorable, modern and that looks like a Lotus. Its optimised proportions and athletic shrink-wrapped body visually describe Lotus’ legendary agile driving characteristics.
Russell commented: “The Emira captures the visual drama of an exotic supercar, with great proportions, wide footprint and a cabin that sits low down between muscular haunches. Add in that it’s practical enough to be useable every day, of the highest quality and accessibly priced, and it’s undoubtedly a compelling and seductive alternative to the existing sports car competition. The Emira is re-introducing our brand to a new global audience while still offering all the thrills to engage the most ardent driving enthusiast.”
The influence of the Lotus Evija is plain to see through the fluid surfaces and crisp feature lines. The lineage is even more obvious on the prominent leading edge of the bonnet, shrink-wrapped cabin that’s tapered to the rear, sculpted doors and vents cut into the muscular rear haunches. The unique-in-class exit vents, integrated into the bonnet to guide airflow over the car and optimise aerodynamics, are also derived from the Evija.
Vertical all-LED headlamps are standard across the range, with a wing-inspired twin blade design also familiar from the Lotus hypercar. The bonnet houses the current iteration of the iconic Lotus roundel, its first appearance on a new Lotus sports car and slightly larger than on previous models.
Looking at the Emira in profile, the sculpted section cut into the door leads air flow towards the intake ahead of the rear wheel. This serves a dual purpose, providing air for the engine but also to cool it. The Emira name badge is visible from the side, integrated into the C-pillar. All wheels are 20-inches in diameter; as standard they will be fitted with a Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyre, while a Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 is a cost option available in conjunction with the Lotus Drivers Pack. Both tyres have been specially developed for the Emira by their manufacturer.
At the rear, the Lotus wordmark dominates the integrated bumper, above a body coloured panel that’s clearly inspired by the rear of the Evija. At each end is an exit vent for air from the wheel arch. Each corner has a flat C-shaped LED light cluster linked by a slimline high-level brake light. Below is a black section housing twin exhaust pipes either side of the number plate and with an air diffuser underneath to aid downforce.
Efficient aerodynamics has been at the heart of the Lotus brand since the company was founded in 1948. It is a philosophy inextricably linked to delivering outstanding performance whether a car is on the road or race track. Simplicity is at the core of the Emira – there are no active aerodynamics as clever engineering means they’re not needed. It is the only model in its class to create passive downforce that’s precisely balanced between the front and rear axles at all speeds, perfectly tuned to the weight distribution and suspension geometry of the car. It means as downforce increases with speed, generating exceptional grip through corners, the handling characteristics remain constant, precise and predictable.
Richard Hill, Chief Aerodynamicist, Lotus Cars, commented: “At Lotus, development of any new sports car is never focused solely on either aerodynamics or vehicle dynamics. It’s about creating that unique harmony of natural forces that is ‘Lotus dynamics’ – a sprinkling of magic dust that creates a thrilling driving experience that’s unrivalled in the automotive world. The Emira has that magic and more.”
Chassis and powertrain: advanced new platform mated to high-performance engines
The Emira is built on the recently announced new Lotus Sports Car Architecture. It uses the same pioneering Lotus bonded extruded aluminium chassis technology which debuted on the Elise. However, for the Emira, every dimension is different to any previous Lotus chassis and it is fabricated in an all-new facility – Lotus Advanced Structures – in Norwich, just a few miles from Hethel.
The car has two defined chassis and suspension settings. Tour is tuned for everyday road use, delivering the optimum blend of Lotus dynamic performance and handling with a more comfortable ride. Sports is available with the optional Lotus Drivers Pack and provides a slightly stiffer suspension set-up for enhanced dynamic capability and feel. Hydraulic steering provides excellent feedback for the driver.
Two petrol engines are available, a Lotus-engineered 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit from technical partner AMG, and the much-loved and characterful 3.5-litre V6 from the Exige and Evora. Each is calibrated by Lotus to provide a unique and distinctive character for maximum driver engagement.
Gavan Kershaw, Director of Vehicle Attributes, Lotus, commented: “The 2.0-litre is the world’s most powerful production in-line four-cylinder unit mated to AMG’s acclaimed DCT with paddleshifts and driving modes. It’s high-performance, hugely efficient thanks to cutting-edge technology, and delivers low emissions and linear performance. On top of all that, it’s been tuned in-house by the hugely experienced Hethel engineers to deliver that distinctive Lotus experience.”
He added: “The Emira has a wider track than any recent Lotus road car, enhancing stability, delivering exceptional road-holding and the sensation of a very low centre of gravity. It is a true Lotus sports car that builds on the legacy of the Elise, Exige and Evora.”
Interior design: a huge step-change for Lotus
Lotus car interiors have always been famed for putting the driver at the very centre of the experience, with pure ergonomic design and instruments carefully placed for the most intuitive use. The Emira follows these principles to the letter to create a modern cockpit environment with the essential controls to hand and minimum distraction.
What’s new about this next-generation Lotus sports car is immediately obvious – the huge step-change across all aspects of the cabin, from the contemporary design and quality of materials to the increase in storage space, exceptional fit and finish, attention to detail and abundant advanced technology now integrated.
The wraparound nature of the dashboard as it blends into the door trim creates a cossetted feeling that makes the driver feel at one with the car. The raised gear shifter only enhances that emotion. There are a high number of soft-trimmed surfaces, showcasing premium British craftsmanship that conveys ultimate sportiness. They blend perfectly with modern technical finishes to create a premium experience for the driver – ‘technology with soul’ – and there are details added in tribute to the heritage and sporting success of Lotus. Examples include the positioning of the gearstick on manual cars, which echoes that of the iconic Esprit, and the semi-exposed gear linkage visible at the base of the centre console on V6 manual cars, as on the Elise and Exige. Adding to the sense of theatre is the protective red cover over the start/stop button.
The two seats have been designed to combine exceptional lateral support for high-speed cornering with total comfort for long distance journeys. There is four-way electric adjustment on the standard seat, with the option to upgrade to a premium sports seat with 12-way electric adjustment for both the driver and passenger. All seats are unique to the Emira. The dramatic supercar-like low stance of the car has been achieved while matching best-in-class ingress/egress and headroom.
Also unique to the Emira is the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel with metallic spoke detail and integrated controls. The interior features ambient and wraparound lighting as well as map lights.
Features available on the Emira include keyless go, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, electric folding door mirrors, rear parking sensors (with front sensors as an option), auto-dimming rear view mirror, curtain airbags, launch control (as part of optional Lotus Drivers Pack), and a stolen vehicle tracker.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) available on the Emira include adaptive cruise control, anti-collision system, fatigue alert, road sign information, vehicle speed limiter, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist.
An everyday sports car that sets new standards for practicality, comfort and functionality
Richard Moore, Executive Director, Engineering, Lotus, commented: “Lotus customers around the world have rightly come to expect outstanding dynamic performance from our sports cars, and they will undoubtedly get that with the Emira. Like every great Lotus it has that element of theatre, for example, the visible gearshift mechanism on manual cars and the exposed throttle actuator in the V6 engine bay.”
He added: “What will surprise and delight sports car customers the world over is the level of practicality, functionality and comfort which sets new standards for Lotus.”
From the very first discussions Lotus wanted the Emira to be an ‘every day’ sports car, delivering a usability and practicality to support that with levels of comfort and desirability for total comfort over long-distance cruising. To that end, it sets new standards for Lotus and is better than ever for the tallest and shortest drivers. There is more space between the occupants as well.
The glass area has been designed to provide good all-round visibility for daily use. Acknowledging that some owners will drive their Emira in a spirited way, and even on a circuit, the view forward – particularly of the haunches – supports highly accurate placement of the car through corners.
Access to the car’s infotainment system is via a 10.25-inch centrally mounted touch-screen, with an additional 12.3-inch TFT driver’s display behind the steering wheel. All content is exclusive to Lotus has been designed and developed by an in-house team. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated as standard.
Also exclusive to Lotus is the availability of a 10-channel premium sound system from highly respected British brand KEF. This is the company’s first ever automotive partnership and features its signature Uni-Q™️ technology, a unique configuration which dispenses with separated tweeter and mid-range, instead combining both into an acoustically idealised single unit. Finished with a distinctive bespoke speaker fret design, Uni-Q covers the entire mid and high-frequency sound spectrum from a single point in space, delivering a more coherent, hyper-realistic sound experience.
Storage is vital in sports car and the Emira’s cabin has been exceptionally well thought out. It has twin central cup holders with a phone storage slot between them, and door bins that can accommodate a 500ml bottle. Practicality also comes from the glovebox, trinket tray ahead of the gearstick, armrest between the seats with USB and 12v ports, plus a console net for bottles or documents.
Luggage or other large items can be stored behind the two seats (208 litres) or in the boot to the rear of the engine. This space (151 litres) will take a standard-sized flight case or a set of golf clubs.
Built at Hethel in an all-new manufacturing facility
Lotus sports cars have been built at Hethel since 1966. Following more than £100million of UK investment by Lotus, production of the Emira will take place in all-new state-of-the-art factory. The Emira will remain ‘Handmade in Hethel’, supported by new processes and technologies that will enhance efficiency and build quality – a genuine ‘best of both worlds’ solution.
An all-new paintshop features robotic application – a first for Lotus that will improve quality, capacity and process repeatability. It includes many innovative technologies such as a combined primer and clearcoat line. There is a new semi-automated body assembly system, with robots being used to apply adhesive. Vehicle bodies are transported around the main assembly area on Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). Emira production actually begins at Lotus Advanced Structures (LAS), an all-new facility in nearby Norwich where chassis fabrication and front-end assembly takes place. The launch of the Emira has created more than 200 new operations roles at Lotus.
Digital visualiser online at www.lotuscars.com
Lotus retailers around the world are now taking deposits for the Emira, and the first customers will take delivery next spring.
A digital visualiser showcasing the car’s striking design is live at www.lotuscars.com featuring the six exterior paint colours available at launch – Hethel Yellow, Shadow Grey, Magma Red, Nimbus Grey, Dark Verdant and the launch finish of Seneca Blue. Seven interior colours are available – Black Nappa leather, Red Nappa leather, Grey Nappa leather, Tan Nappa leather, Black Alcantara with grey stitch, Black Alcantara with red stitch and Black Alcantara with yellow stitch. There are five wheel choices – cast 10-spoke, gloss black 10-spoke, silver forged V-spoke, gloss black forged V-spoke and diamond cut forged V-spoke) – with four brake caliper colours – black, red, yellow and silver.
Lotus Emira range technical specification
|Price range||Starting at less than £60,000 (less than €72,000)|
|Dimensions||Length 4,412mm; width 1,895mm (mirrors folded); height 1,225mm; wheelbase 2,575mm|
|Petrol engines||2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder / 3.5-litre V6|
|Transmissions||Manual, automatic and DCT|
(0-62mph / 0-100km/h)
|Less than 4.5 seconds|
|Top speed||Up to 180mph (290km/h)|
|CO2 emissions||Start below 180g/km|
|EU DIN kerb weight||1,405kg in its lightest form|
|Connectivity and infotainment||10.25-inch touch-screen; integrated navigation*; Apple CarPlay / Android Auto; KEF Uni-Q premium audio system
* not available in all markets
|Key technology and features||Keyless-go; cruise control; rain-sensing wipers; electric folding door mirrors; powered seats; all-LES exterior lights; adaptive cruise control; anti-collision system; fatigue alert; road sign information; vehicle speed limiter; lane departure warning; rear cross traffic alert; lane change assist.|
Jenson Button delivers his verdict after exclusive world-first test drive
“It’s exceptional and I’m a big fan” – the words of former F1 world champion Jenson Button after more than 30 laps of the Hethel test track during the launch celebrations for the all-new Lotus Emira.
A film of his exclusive world-first test drive was played to the on-site audience and tens of thousands of viewers from around the world watching the livestream on the Lotus website and social channels.
Jenson commented: “You always expect a Lotus to have good mechanical grip through the low-speed corners but there was plenty of downforce in the high-speed corners too. That means the feeling of great balance is the same no matter how you’re driving it. It’s exceptional and I’m a big fan.”
Finding the right position when behind the wheel for the first time is key for every driver, not just the professionals, and Jenson said once he’d done that the Emira “just felt right”. He added: “The overall position of the gearstick in relation to the wheel, the pedals, everything was where it should be and that gives you great confidence from the start. I love the infotainment system too, which has everything you need and is really simple so you can get back to the important part, which is the driving.”
The everyday useability of the Emira didn’t pass him by either, thanks to the high levels of comfort, functionality, technology and practicality. “The Lotus purists will love it, and the thing that people new to Lotus will love is the premium quality of the interior. When you’re in there you’re immersed in the seat and cockpit, and there’s a lot of lower back support so it will be comfortable for long journeys. That’s going to surprise people.”
Jenson said one element of the car had stunned him. “I’m still in shock at the price. Starting at under £60,000 it’s fantastic and means so many people are going to have the opportunity to experience it first-hand. It’s being called a junior supercar but it would give a lot of supercars a run for their money… and it’s more comfortable than most of them!”
Jenson is a long-time Lotus fan and customer of the all-electric Evija hypercar. In March this year it was announced that Lotus Engineering, the consultancy division of the business, is collaborating as Technical Partner to JBXE, Jenson’s Extreme E race team. A Chief Engineer with expertise in electric powertrains joined the team for the second round of racing in Senegal last month, helping JBXE to finish on the podium for the first time.
In May there was news of further collaboration when bespoke British coachbuilder Radford – with which Jenson is involved – announced its first limited-edition project would be a modern rework of the iconic Lotus 62 sports car, created using Lotus technology.
Receiving its world premiere at Hethel, Norfolk, on the evening of Tuesday 6 July, the design of the Lotus Emira is beautiful, timeless, memorable and modern. Above all, it looks like a Lotus, with optimised proportions and an athletic shrink-wrapped body which visually describes Lotus’ legendary agile driving characteristics.
Led by Russell Carr, Design Director, Lotus, the lead exterior and interior designers of the Emira are Daniel Durrant and Jon Statham. Combined, they have close to 40 years of experience in the Hethel design studio and have worked on countless other projects. Those have been both for Lotus and for clients as part of the consultancy services offered by Lotus Engineering.
The Emira is the first Lotus sports car to carry the new design language showcased on the award-winning Evija hypercar. It’s a contemporary look with sculpted surfaces and technical detailing, delivering exotic supercar appeal in the sports car segment. A new and more premium approach for Lotus in terms of forms and materials, it is also a leap forward in interior refinement and technology.
Delivering Exotic Supercar Appeal In The Sports Car Segment
Q&A with Daniel Durrant
At Lotus: Senior Designer, worked at Lotus for 12 years
On Emira: Overseeing design and development of the exterior
Lotus CV highlights:
(2014) – Lotus Exige LF1 Special Edition
(2015) – Lotus Evora 400 exterior programme
(2017) – Lotus Exige 430 Cup
How did it feel when you were selected for the role on the Emira?
I was thrilled to have my theme selected for the Emira. I have worked on many Lotus programmes in the studio, so to take the lead exterior design role was an amazing opportunity and a huge responsibility. I am a Lotus fan and our products are very special.
When did you start work on the Emira?
My first sketches were done back in 2018.
Where did your inspiration come from?
It came from all over. The Evija was a strong reference point, and Lotus has a rich technical and visual library to draw from. I like the shapes seen in military fighter jets. There’s often a softness to their overall surface forms but with taught creases. Shapes found in nature can also be a great inspiration – an attacking shark nose or the muscular haunches seen on a pouncing cheetah, for example.
Can you describe the exterior of the car in five words?
Sculptural, athletic, agile, elegant, alive.
What’s your favourite part of the car?
I think that the sculpture around the body side air intake is my favourite. The surfaces are incredibly three dimensional and designed to channel the airflow into the bodyside duct. There aren’t many cars in the world with this amount of form and drama in them, technical and beautiful. We always intended the Emira’s design language to be that of a baby supercar.
What has been the biggest challenge on the Emira?
It’s been finding the right balance of sportiness and sophistication from a visual perspective. It needed to look light, focused and agile without ever looking too aggressive or intimidating. It also needed to look premium without being too conservative. From a technical perspective, the sensor positions and ADAS radar module were the trickiest parts to incorporate. The front end is extremely low to the ground – just as a Lotus should be – but this creates challenges when it comes to positioning them. These components are very small but devilishly awkward.
Can you describe what the design process has been like?
As a team we followed the regular Lotus design process, going from theme sketches, scale models and eventually to a full-size clay model. We tried many design ideas through the process before the final theme was chosen, and the technical and aerodynamic package evolved along the way as we honed the design. We always wanted close visual and philosophical harmony with the Evija. It was important that both products looked related to each other, but also performed technically in their own way given they’re very different cars. Overall it’s been rewarding and, as with anything that’s worth doing, challenging at times. Getting to this point, where the car is going into production, is very satisfying.
Why do you think the Emira is important for Lotus?
It shows that we can appeal to a broader range of customers while retaining the spirit of what makes it a true sports car.
What’s next for you in Lotus design?
It’s on to the next project which, of course, I can’t tell you anything about. It’s going to be exciting though.
Q&A with Jon Statham
At Lotus: Interior Design Manager, worked at Lotus for 24 years
On Emira: Overseeing design and development of the interior
Lotus CV highlights:
2000 – Lotus Exige Mk I
2002 – Lotus Esprit facelift (lead exterior designer)
2006 – Lotus 2-Eleven (lead exterior and interior designer)
2016 – Lotus Exige 430 and Evora 430
How did it feel when you were selected for the role on the Emira?
I consider it a privilege to work on such an important car for Lotus. To be involved in the full development programme, from initial sketches to production, has been challenging and rewarding in equal measure.
Why do you think the Emira is such an important car for Lotus?
I see the Emira as a big step forward on many levels. We’ve had a massive push on quality, technology, functionality, useability, desirability – it’s all there. It has a contemporary interior with good proportions. It isn’t too hardcore and will have broad appeal whilst still being ‘For The Drivers’.
Where did your inspiration come from?
The Lotus Evija has obviously been a massive inspiration for the whole team, but there are also elements of the S1 Esprit in there.
Can you describe what the design process has been like?
I feel really proud of my small team and how effective we have been. Jennifer Andriamamonjy’s interior theme was the one chosen and manages to blend sportiness with modernity and quality. Harvey Rabenjamina has worked really hard on steering wheel and seat design. A shout-out to our digital modellers and studio engineer Josh Router also deserves a mention. Together we have worked quickly and efficiently, all pulling in the same direction.
What has been the biggest challenge on this project?
We started work on the car in November 2018 and from the outset we knew that interior packaging would be the tricky element. We wanted the Emira to have outstanding ergonomics to make it as engaging as possible, and to do that while finding space for all the components was the challenge.
What is your favourite part of the car?
Above all else, I’m very proud of the cohesive nature of the interior design. It just exudes quality. I also think the instrumentation graphics are spot-on and perfectly suit the character of the car. Lotus has created its first ever digital design team to develop the HMI and we’ve worked closely with them. I’m really happy with the results.
What is next for you?
I have learned a lot from this programme working in what is effectively a new team. It will be good to take this experience into the next programme.