Captivating driving enthusiasts worldwide since its debut two years ago, the critically acclaimed and award-winning Lotus Emira V6 has secured its rightful place as the most accomplished Lotus sports car ever made. With striking design, astonishing performance and benchmark ride and handling, its supercharged 3.5-litre powerplant matched to a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions delivers a driving experience that could only be from Lotus.
Now, the appeal of this mid-engined two-seater is further enhanced by the addition of a four-cylinder engine which features state-of-the-art technologies to deliver incredible performance and remarkable efficiency. Supplied by technical partner Mercedes-AMG, the all-aluminium, turbocharged 2.0-litre unit is based on the world’s most powerful four-cylinder in series production.
Badged for launch as the Emira First Edition, it has been further developed by Lotus with new intake and exhaust systems, plus a bespoke calibration matched to new transmission shift-mapping. Developing 360bhp (365PS) and 430Nm, this makes it a perfect match to the Emira’s lightweight, strong, stiff, bonded and extruded aluminium chassis structure and aligns to the Lotus ethos of delivering higher performance by reducing mass.
It’s also fitting that, as the final mainstream combustion engine Lotus two-seater, the Emira is the most powerful four-cylinder from Lotus in a rich bloodline of iconic models including the Elise, Esprit, Europa, Elan and Elite. And, at 180bhp/litre, it also has the highest specific power output in the Emira range.
Like the renowned 400bhp supercharged V6, the four-cylinder car delivers all the performance and responsiveness that drivers expect – 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in just 4.4 seconds and a 180mph (290km/h) maximum speed – while bringing its own unique character to the Emira range. That character is enhanced by the inherent day-to-day usability and comfort of the smooth and rapid shifting dual-clutch transmission. It also offers the added advantages of lower fuel consumption and a target CO2 emissions figure of 208g/km (WLTP combined).
Mike Johnstone, Group Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer, Lotus, said: “The Emira V6 has already proved incredibly successful, with many thousands of orders received from around the world. Now, with the four-cylinder Emira joining the range, we’re adding a new dimension to the car’s breadth of capability and appeal, offering new levels of efficiency and accessibility while continuing to offer all the performance and agility that our customers expect.”
Gavan Kershaw, Director, Vehicle Attributes and Product Integrity, Lotus, said: “We’ve meticulously tuned the suspension settings for the 2.0-litre Emira to deliver the superb body and control that’s a Lotus hallmark without the car ever feeling harsh. We’ve calibrated engine and transmission mapping, in tandem with the Drive Modes, to create a refined and relaxed character in Tour, and with incredible launch performance, superb driveability, even quicker throttle response and kickdown in Sport and Track. We’ve also taken the opportunity to refine how the powertrain is linked to the traction and stability control systems to deliver the high-performance feel and connection that Lotus drivers expect.”
Like the Emira V6, the new 2.0-litre car is built in the Chapman Production Centre (CPC) at Hethel, named in honour of the company’s legendary founder and inspiration. However, it starts life at Lotus Advanced Structures in nearby Norwich, where sub-assembly of the lightweight aluminium chassis structure takes place. Combined, these world-class centres of excellence for sports car manufacturing are part of a £100 million investment by Lotus in its UK facilities. Customers in the UK have the option of collecting their Emira from Hethel and, as part of the experience, tour the CPC assembly halls where their car was made.
Powertrain: powerful, responsive, efficient
Designed solely for high-performance applications, the 1,991cc engine features a cylinder block produced using the advanced chill-casting process: compared to conventional sand-casting methods used in high volume applications, this results in a uniform, fine-grained structure which delivers the high strength and durability needed to withstand the high loads generated. Following motorsport practise, the block is also of closed-deck design for maximum stiffness, and instead of conventional cast iron liners, the cylinder bores use a patented low-friction coating to save weight. For the optimal balance of high strength and low weight, both the steel crankshaft and aluminium pistons are forged.
The cylinder head features four valves per cylinder and a 200bar direct injection system. Intake and exhaust cams feature variable valve timing, while on the exhaust side, the valves can be varied between high and low duration. The piezo injectors deliver fuel into the combustion chamber with very high precision, both in terms of the amount of fuel and the spray pattern, resulting in enhanced combustion with reduced emissions. For maximum power, the piezo injectors are joined by the port fuel injectors, mounted directly on the intake side of the cylinder head to deliver the correct amount of petrol needed at full load.
The turbocharger is a ‘twin-scroll’ design, meaning the turbine housing is split into two separate ducts, matched to corresponding ducts in the exhaust manifold. This minimises exhaust gas pulsation interference, helping to improve the efficient exchange of gases in the cylinders. It also ensures that boost pressure builds up more rapidly, and to further enhance responsiveness, the shaft joining the compressor and turbine wheel runs in ultra-low-friction roller bearings. To manage boost pressure most effectively, the wastegate is electronically controlled.
This combination of advanced technologies, together with intake and exhaust systems developed by Lotus and optimised with a unique in-house calibration, ensure this remarkable engine can deliver an astonishing balance of power, torque and efficiency throughout its full operating range. Generating 430Nm from 3,000-5,500rpm and 360bhp (365PS) at 6,600rpm before reaching a maximum speed of 7,200rpm, it ensures an authentic Lotus sports car driving experience while also being refined in day-to-day use.
Sending drive to the rear wheels is Mercedes-AMG’s acclaimed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) – a first use of the technology by Lotus and fitted exclusively to the Emira. Compared to the six-speed manual and automatic transmissions offered on the Emira V6, the DCT offers even quicker gearchanges with no torque interruption during shifting, enhancing efficiency and shift comfort. Drivers also have the choice of smooth, effortless changes if they leave the car in Drive, or ultra-fast dynamic changes if they control the transmission themselves using the shift lever in the centre console or steering wheel paddles.
Launch control enables the driver to set the car up for optimum acceleration from a standing start by maximising the available traction from the rear wheels and torque from the powertrain. This feature enables consistent, optimal get-aways – time and time again – allowing the driver to fully exploit the Emira’s exhilarating performance.
Vehicle dynamics: agile, intuitive, rewarding
The Emira’s light, stiff, bonded aluminium Lotus Sports Car Architecture gave the vehicle dynamics engineers the perfect platform from which to develop the car’s ride, handling and steering characteristics, all of which set the class benchmark, as every Lotus sports car should. With a torsional stiffness of 26,300Nm/ degree, the chassis contributes to the immediate, precise responses of every system. The Emira features race-derived, lightweight, forged aluminium double-wishbone suspension all round, which delivers the greatest control of the tyre contact patch throughout the suspension’s full range of travel, contributing to the Emira’s exceptional agility and responsiveness.
The introduction of the four-cylinder engine to the Emira range created the opportunity for Lotus to introduce a new, lightweight cast aluminium rear subframe to optimise the packaging of the powerplant within the chassis structure. It’s in place of the steel assembly used on the Emira V6 and contributes to a total weight saving of 12kg. The subframe also houses the new rear suspension.
The electro-hydraulic steering system delivers the pure, truly connected feel fundamental to Lotus sports car DNA, together with speed-dependent efforts, but without the losses created by an engine-driven pump. The immediacy of response to every input the driver makes is amplified by the seating position being almost in the centre of the 2,575mm wheelbase, thanks to the Emira’s mid-engine configuration.
The Eibach springs and Bilstein high-pressure monotube dampers are meticulously tuned to suit the Emira, and offered with different settings depending on whether the customer chooses the Tour or Sport chassis settings. Tour is optimised for road use, offering softer springs and dampers, while Sport is track-focused with stiffer springs and dampers, together with increased camber and toe angles to maximise grip. The anti-roll bar stiffnesses are also bespoke to Emira, and the component on the front axle is now lighter too.
A choice of specially-developed tyres is available on the four-cylinder Emira, which are asymmetrically sized to suit the exacting requirements of steering and traction – 245/35/R20 on the front axle and 295/30/R20 at the rear. Fitted as standard as part of the Tour chassis (and also available as an option with the Sports chassis), the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres deliver high performance with enhanced all-weather capability without any compromise to feedback. Offered exclusively as part of the Sports chassis, the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres are designed for extreme track use without compromising ride comfort. Both tyres have ‘LTS’ markings on the side wall to denote the Lotus-approved specification
The braking system provides stopping power commensurate with the new engine’s output, and features lightweight, two-piece, cross-drilled and slotted discs together with four-piston calipers on the front axle. The calipers can be finished in a choice of four colours at no extra cost.
Complementing the changes to the chassis hardware is a completely new calibration for the Electronic Stability Control system. There’s also an e-Diff function which can apply carefully modulated brake pressure to the rear wheels in order to maximise traction by the transfer of torque to the one with the most grip, which is particularly beneficial when accelerating out of slow corners. It also enhances dynamic performance and control in challenging conditions, such as roads covered in snow, rain or mud.
Exterior design: aerodynamically beautiful
The Emira’s design language is a development of the sculpted surfaces and technical detailing which debuted on the all-electric Evija hypercar, and brings unrivalled supercar desirability to the sports car segment. Strikingly beautiful, timeless and unmistakably Lotus, its perfect proportions and athletic, taught, shrink-wrapped form are the very embodiment of Lotus sports car DNA.
The front is dominated by the full-LED headlights – each with a double ‘blade’ daytime running light signature – and purposeful, angular bonnet ducts. The latter guide airflow over the car, reducing drag, and reinforce the Emira’s performance potential while making a direct visual link to the Evija.
Sculpted doors feature deployable handles, also cutting drag, while the dramatic form pressed into the outer skin blends seamlessly into the intake ducts integrated into the muscular rear haunches. These feed air, via the water-cooled charge cooler, to the engine’s intake system, and also help to cool the engine itself.
The rear of the car features two distinctive gloss black vents, allowing air to flow out from the wheel arches. Beneath, also finished in gloss black, is the rear diffuser, into which the two exhaust pipes and rear number plate are neatly integrated.
As a result of meticulous development using cutting-edge computational fluid dynamics simulations, and further refinement in the wind tunnel, the Emira doesn’t need any active aerodynamic features, and creates passive downforce that’s perfectly balanced between the front and rear axles at all speeds. The result is enhanced grip and handling characteristics which remain constant, precise and predictable.
The Emira can be specified in a range of 13 colours, each one created to en the visual impact of the Emira’s dramatic, purposeful form: Hethel Yellow, Magma Red, Vivid Red, Dark Verdant, Seneca Blue, Atlantis Blue, Meridian Blue, Osmium Silver, Nimbus Grey, Shadow Grey, Zinc Grey, Mist White and Cosmos Black.
The optional Black Pack sees a contemporary gloss black finish applied to the roof, cantrails, mirror pods and the Lotus wordmark on the rear clamshell. The exhaust finishers are satin black. The 20-inch, ultra-lightweight forged wheels feature a diamond-cut finish as standard, with silver or gloss black available as options, completing the distinctive look.
Emira inside: driver-focused and pure
Luxurious, spacious and unmistakably driver-focused, the Emira’s interior is beautifully crafted and effortlessly combines rich materials and the latest technologies to deliver levels of comfort, usability and practicality which set new standards for Lotus sports cars.
Ahead of the flat-bottomed steering wheel is a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster, while in the centre of the cockpit is a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, which features integrated navigation* All of the content was designed in-house, making it simple and intuitive to use, while enhancing the driving experience. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity is standard*.
The 10-channel, 560W premium audio system was developed for the Emira in partnership with KEF and features the renowned British brand’s signature Uni-QTM technology, which combines tweeter and mid-range into a single, acoustically-optimised unit. Beautifully 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.
The 12-way power-adjust heated seats offer both incredible support for spirited driving as well as superb comfort on long drives, and are offered in Nappa leather in either black, red, ice grey or tan, or in black Alcantara with a choice of contrast stitching in either yellow, red or ice grey. These same materials are also offered on the steering wheel, as an option, with the top dead centre band and stitching available in yellow, red or ice grey. Black Alcantara is also used for the headliner, further enriching the cabin. Behind the two seats is 208-litres of storage, with the rear luggage compartment offering a further 151 litres.
Lotus Emira i4 First : UK and European Pricing*
Lotus Emira: Technical Specification
Powertrain and performance:
* Subject to homologation
|Front suspension||Double wishbone|
|Rear suspension||Double wishbone|
|Dampers||High pressure monotube|
|Steering||Electrohydraulic; rack and pinion|
|Front brake disc diameter (mm)||370 x 32|
|Rear brake disc diameter (mm)||350mm x 32mm|
|Calipers||AP Racing 4-piston with braided hoses|
|Width including door mirrors (mm)||2,092|
|Width with mirrors folded (mm)||1,895|
|Track front / rear (mm)||1,626/ 1,608|
|Weight (DIN) (kg)||1,446|
|Rear luggage compartment capacity (litres)||151|
|Cabin luggage capacity (litres)||208|
|Fuel tank capacity (litres)||52.5|