The 2022 Lotus Emira is notable for many reasons, especially since it will be the automaker’s final offering with an internal combustion engine. The Emira borrows some styling from the all-electric Evija hypercar, but under the slinky skin, it’s the same lightweight, mid-engined formula that made its Evora predecessor so popular. We were lucky enough to get some private time with the Emira, and it’s even nicer in person than in photos.

Foremost, it’s much smaller than it appears – which shouldn’t be surprising given it’s slightly shorter overall than the Evora. It’s slightly wider too, with a wheels-at-the-corners stance wholly appropriate to a compact sports car. The Emira’s styling is also more thoughtful and mature than the slightly boy-racer Evora, thanks to gorgeous curves plucked from the Evija. We especially like the boomerang-shaped bonnet vents and jet-fighter side intakes, and the full-width LED taillight panel looks fantastic on the sport’s car’s graceful rear haunches.

Gallery: 2022 Lotus Emira At Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca

The Emira will come with a carryover supercharged 3.5-litre V6 with somewhere around 400 bhp (298 kilowatts), sourced from Toyota and mated to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. There will also be a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four with 360 bhp (268 kW) – we suspect that number might be underrated, given the AMG-built engine makes 382 ponies in the Mercedes CLA 45. A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox will be the only transmission offered with that engine.

Lotus is targeting a curb weight of around 1,360 kilograms (3,000 pounds), which is impressive given the Emira’s longer list of standard features. A digital instrument cluster and tablet-style touchscreen display are standard, borrowed from parent company Geely, and interior fit and finish seems much improved over the already pleasant Evora.

Gone are the days when Lotuses had exposed aluminium floors and thinly padded seats, that’s for sure – although the exposed shift linkage is a cool tribute to minimalism. The Emira will also come with a comprehensive list of optional active safety equipment, including automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Although we weren’t allowed to drive the Emira in our brief encounter, we did watch Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button hoon it around Laguna Seca, and he seemed to enjoy his time behind the wheel, commenting on both its impressive performance and gorgeous sound. That supercharged V6 sounds wonderful on the track, unsurprising given its stirring soundtrack in the Evora. If it’s good enough for an F1 champ (and Lotus coachbuilder), then it’s good enough for us.