Replacing no fewer than three models while serving as a company's final car with a combustion engine is no easy task, but the first new Lotus with a combustion engine in more than a decade promises to be up for the job. The Elise, Exige, and Evora are all being retired to make room for the Emira, a new mid-engined sports car serving as a swan song for the combustion engine in Norfolk.
It slots (way) below the all-electric, £2.2-million Evija hypercar and aims to go up against the likes of Porsche 718 Cayman and Alpine A110. At 4,412 millimetres (173.7 inches) long, 1,895 mm (74.6 in) wide, and 1,225 mm (48.2 in) tall, it's substantially bigger than the Elise/Exige and also a smidge larger than the Evora.
Gallery: 2022 Lotus Emira
At the same time, the Emira has a bigger footprint than its German and French rivals. The same holds true for the wheelbase, stretching at 2,575 mm (101.3 inches), which is actually longer than that of a Porsche 911 (992 generation). By now, you are probably concerned about weight what with Lotus being all about shaving off fat as much as possible. In its lightest form, the sports car tips the scales at 1,405 kilograms (3,097 pounds).
In terms of engines, the tried-and-tested supercharged 3.5-litre V6 of Toyota origins soldiers on in the Emira, having been used extensively in the now-defunct Exige and Evora. The novelty underneath the bonnet is a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine from AMG, which also supplies V8 engines to Aston Martin.
It's the M139 unit found in the latest-generation AMG 45 models in which it delivers up to 416 bhp in the range-topping 45 S versions of Affalterbach's compact cars. Much like in the AMGs, the most powerful four-pot installed in a production car will work exclusively with an eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission in the new Lotus. Go for the Toyota-sourced powertrain and you'll get to pick between manual and automatic gearboxes.
Without revealing how much power each engine will produce, Lotus says the Emira will offer between 355 and 395 bhp, with a maximum torque of 430 Newton-metres (317 pound-feet). The quickest and fastest of the bunch will hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in less than four and a half seconds and top out at 180 mph (290 km/h).
Conceived as a fully fledged global model, the Emira (pronounced "Eh-meer-ah") is a gorgeous rear-wheel-drive coupe looking far more sophisticated than the ageing models it replaces. It has the technology to back up the modern styling, including slinky LED headlights similar to those of the much more expensive Evija.
It's the interior where the Emira truly shines compared to its predecessors thanks to a high-tech dashboard. It accommodates a 12.3-inch fully digital driver's display joined by a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. The list of amenities includes everything from cruise control and ambient lighting to 12-way electrically adjustable seats and automatic windscreen wipers.
The Emira is easily the most feature-packed Lotus ever made, equipped with front and rear parking sensors, electric folding mirrors, curtain airbags, keyless go, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. It even has a stolen vehicle tracker, and if the Lotus Drivers Pack is added, there's a launch control system as well. The optional kit also comes with a stiffer suspension setup and replaces the standard Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s for the 20-inch wheels fitted to all versions of the sports car.
The British-built Emira is scheduled to go on sale from summer 2022 and it will carry a starting price of less than £60,000 in the UK and less than €72,000 in European markets. A fully loaded "First Edition" with the supercharged V6 will be available at launch to serve as the flagship variant.