[NOTE] In the video above filmed by our colleagues at Motor1.com Italy, please activate the English language captions found in the player under: Settings->subtitles->auto-translate->English.

When the Lotus Emira was first shown a couple of years ago, it was presented as the last Lotus with an internal combustion engine before the arrival of the new electric models, starting with the Lotus Eletre SUV.

To celebrate that transitional moment in the brand's history, the Emira was initially offered with a 6-cylinder V-engine, mated to a manual gearbox. This was intended to give even more value to its 'mechanical heart', and a more compact engine was introduced at a later stage, also considering how important lightness was for the Lotus brand.

Now it is time to drive that Emira. It is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo with 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, 365 PS and 430 Nm. This is a four-cylinder supplied by Mercedes-AMG, which is also found under the bonnet of the Mercedes A 45, CLA 45 and GLA 45 (reaching 421 PS in the respective S versions).

In this article and the accompanying video I tell you how the Emira 2.0 4-cylinder performed on the roads around Lotus' headquarters in Hethel, England.

Click to read more:

Exterior | Interior | Driving |  Trivia | Prices

Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder: Exterior

The full name of this new Lotus Emira is Lotus Emira I4 Turbocharged DCT, where I4 stands for inline 4 cylinders. I mentioned weight earlier, so I'll tell you straight away that the manufacturer claims 1,446 kg for this new engine, 12 kg less than the Emira with the 3.5-litre V6 engine.

The Emira with the 2.0 engine has an aluminium rear subframe to which the rear axle is anchored, which is lighter than the steel one used for the 6-cylinder version and optimises component positioning.

Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder - Photo
Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder - Photo

The little difference in weight between the two Emiras is therefore due to the presence of the lubrication and cooling circuits of the 4-cylinder 2.0 turbo engine and to the weight of the 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox itself, which is heavier than the 6-speed manual gearbox that equips the Emira V6 (whose engine, in itself, is heavier). 

The body dimensions of the Emira remain pleasingly compact even with the new engine, and are comparable to those of a sports hot hatch. Just like the Mercedes A 45 AMG with which it shares the engine and gearbox. The Lotus Emira is in fact 4.41 metres long, 1.23 metres high, 1.90 metres wide and has a wheelbase of 2.58 metres.

Based on these collected, toned-down proportions, the designers have given the Emira shapes that suggest the car is larger, as all modern supercars are now, unfortunately.

With a double advantage for the Emira: people turn to look at it like other more expensive and powerful sports cars, and those who drive it can also enjoy it on more 'normal' roads, where the gathered dimensions are very comfortable. The body lines are athletic, with recesses that put tension on the surfaces while maintaining a certain elegance, a nice balance.

Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder - Photo

Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder: Interior

Entering the cabin of the Lotus Emira you are greeted by sports seats that are comfortable even after a few hours of use, with a philosophy more GT than extreme sports car, also confirmed by the space behind the backrests, you can put some extra luggage in it, in addition to the capacity of the 151-litre rear load compartment (slightly less than that of a Fiat 500).

Between the driver and passenger is a high console that leaves the manual gearbox linkages in view on the 3.5 V6 engine, or a storage compartment on the 2.0 4-cylinder Emira. In the centre of the dashboard are the climate controls and the 10.25-inch infotainment system touchscreen.

The steering wheel is not circular, it has an ergonomic polygonal shape in the grip that allows better access to the 12.3-inch instrument display. The judgement is also positive with regard to outward visibility, which instils confidence when you want to pick up the pace while driving. The glazing in fact extends far towards the base of the windscreen and follows the descending beltline of the doors, also taking advantage of the viewing angle offered by the successful positioning of the rear-view mirrors.

Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder - Photo

Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder: Driving

What characterises the Lotus Emira with the 4-cylinder 2.0 turbo engine is the presence of the 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with a lever that has to be pulled twice to engage the gear, otherwise it shifts from parking P to neutral, whereas in other cars with automatic transmissions this is now done in a single movement (same for reverse). 

There is no function for engaging the gear from position P via the levers on the steering wheel, as happens on Alfa Romeos, Ferraris or Maseratis, for example. On the move, then, if you want to shift manually using the lever on the tunnel, you have to move it left and right to go up and down a gear, and not forwards or backwards as on other cars.

I will close this commentary on the gearbox by pointing out that the sensation at the touch of the paddles on the steering wheel is not very consistent or solid, and that in automatic operation it would be useful to have a quieter shift logic when you have chosen the engine and exhaust mapping in Sport, to avoid the electronics 'pulling the gears too much' when it is not always necessary.

The gearbox of Mercedes-AMG origin born for front-engined and front-wheel drive cars is adapted to the central engine positioning and rear-wheel drive of the Emira.

Adaptation can also be perceived in terms of sound from the engine itself, because of the turbo whistle you hear behind you as you drive, which incidentally brings to mind the turbocharged Lotuses of the past, such as the Esprit. 

Even the steering and brakes are typically Lotus. The steering wheel makes you feel the road without filtering, with hydraulic power assistance and a solid, consistent, rather 'masculine' response; and the brake pedal response is also quite nasty, with a short stroke and plenty of support under the foot, to force braking and modulate the release in cornering entries.

And it is there, between the bends, that you appreciate another strength typical of a Lotus. The Emira's set-up has characteristic angles (toe-in, camber, caster) that are exhilarating in sporty driving, guarantee precision in trajectories and are matched by two suspension settings. Springs and shock absorbers are Eibach-Bilstein and can be ordered in Tour configuration with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres (more effective for coping with roads with less than perfect asphalt even when driving sporty) and in Sport configuration with more specialised Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres for frequent use on the track and on roads with few irregularities. 

Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder - Photo
Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder - Photo
Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder - Photo
Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder - Photo

In my test I only drove with the latter set-up, both on the track and on the road, and I confirm that it is a choice to be considered for those who like to do track days or know that they often drive on even asphalt. On more undulating and winding roads that are typically found in the hills or mountains, I recommend the Tour set-up instead, which is more pleasant for driving while having fun on less 'smooth' tracks and doing more kilometres without tiring in terms of comfort. 

With a button on the centre console you can switch between three driving modes: Tour, Sport and Track. The engine and gearbox performance, the exhaust sound level and the sportiness of the traction and stability controls go up and up until they are switched off in Track (but with a button you can also switch them off in the other modes). 

Engine delivery is more convincing in Track, where there is less response lag from the 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder following pressure on the accelerator. Maximum torque is 430 Nm at 3,000 rpm, power is 365 PS at 6,600 rpm, for 4.4 seconds in 0-62 mph and 170 mph top speed. 

Interesting is the weight distribution of the Lotus Emira, shifted towards the rear a little like that of the Porsche 911, even though it is more comparable to a Porsche 718 Cayman in terms of mechanical layout: more than 60% of the Emira's weight is on the rear and less than 40% on the front (for a Porsche Cayman, the distribution is around 55%-45%), which makes the car agile in changes of direction and increases traction under acceleration, coming out of bends.

In addition, the centre of gravity of the 4-cylinder 2.0 Emira is shifted down a little compared to the 3.5 V6 Emira. Not substantially, but in more committed driving it does change the character of the car a little when setting trajectories, making the 4-cylinder Emira perhaps a little quicker through the bends or on the track lap time.

Also take into account the greater shifting speed of the dual-clutch gearbox compared to the manual gearbox of the V6 Emira, which also has a fairly heavy clutch pedal - another nuance that together with the rest of the features that distinguish the two Emira's engines - such as the more involving sound of the V6 engine - will determine customers' choice, as opposed to the weight or price difference (more on this later), which is not so great between the two. 

Lotus Emira 2.0 four-cylinder turbo: Curiosity

In the driving impressions section, I reminded you how the Lotus Emira's weight distribution is shifted towards the rear, a bit like on the Porsche 911. The Lotus Emira's dimensions, however, are closer to those of a Porsche 718 Cayman, also equipped with a 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder.

The 718 Cayman (and the 718 Boxster) will be replaced by a new 100% electric model, just as the Emira will be the last Lotus with a combustion engine, so we are dealing with sports cars that have an important significance in motoring history, witnessing an epochal handover.

Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder: Pricing

The price of the Lotus Emira with the 4-cylinder 2.0 engine starts at £81,495, while the Lotus Emira 3.5 V6 starts at around £89,755. 

As mentioned earlier this is not an obvious difference, the Emira's aim of winning more customers in new markets is more related to the tastes of those who prefer a more modern engine and automatic gearbox pairing, more familiar when compared perhaps with hot hatch sports cars that have had this type of propulsion for years.

It is a price list that compares with that of the rivals we have already mentioned: for a Porsche 718 Cayman S with the 4-cylinder 2.0 turbo and PDK gearbox you need at least £64,000, and you exceed £77,656 for a 718 Cayman GTS PDK with the 4.0 6-cylinder engine, or £97,000 for a Porsche 911 Carrera.

But among the sports cars comparable to the Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder there is also the Alpine A110, which in the S version with the 1.8-cylinder 1.8 turbo 300 PS starts at £67,490 and weighs 200 kg less than the Lotus.

Gallery: Lotus Emira 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

Lotus Emira I4 2.0 Turbocharged DCT

Length 441 cm
Height 123 cm
Width 190 cm
Weight 1,443 kg
Cargo Volume 151 litres
Engine 4-cylinder 2.0 turbo petrol
Transmission 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive Type Rear-wheel drive with mechanical self-locking differential
Output 365 PS @ 6.600 rpm
Maximum torque 430 Nm @ 3.000 rpm
Speed 0-100 KPH 4.4 s
Maximum speed 170 mph