The Lotus Emira with the 4-cylinder from the Mercedes A45 AMG, what does it look like?

Are you wondering why the new English sports car “only” displays 364 hp while a Mercedes A45 whose engine it uses announces 421 hp? Lotus admits half-heartedly, it is so as not to overshadow the Emira V6its big sister whose deliveries began in France almost two years ago, in August 2022. As its original Toyota 3.5 l 6-cylinder equipped with a compressor displays 405 hp, it would have been unwelcome for the new arrival equipped with a small 2 l turbo offers more. But, rest assured, the 364 hp are all the more sufficient to bring this Lotus to life because, true to the brand’s DNA, it is not too heavy. – 1,446 kg announced compared to 1,486 kg for the V6. Thus, in terms of performance, the new addition is hot on the heels of its elder sibling, going from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, compared to 4.2 seconds for its V6 sister. To put the debates into context, an Alpine A110 GT or S (300 hp) claims 4.2 s for the same exercise.

The Alpine A110 in the viewfinder

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©Lotus

The comparison is not accidental because English has many points in common with French. Behind a spectacular line, the Emira is a strict 2-seater, houses its four-cylinder turbo in a central rear position and is available only with a double-clutch automatic transmission. Thanks to its larger size (4.41 m compared to 4.18 m on the A110), the Lotus is more spacious on board and has the advantage of offering, behind the seats, accommodation capable of accommodating jackets and small bags. It’s practical, especially since the Emira offers more spacious storage (glove box, door bins), can boast a better finish, without forgetting a much more modern central screen. On the other hand, the Lotus is satisfied with a single trunk at the rear – the front hood does not open like on the Alpine- and the volume is not very large (151 dm3).

You need involvement behind the wheel

But not enough to scare a sports coupe enthusiast who would fall under the spell of this Englishwoman with a strong temperament. Because this Lotus is not one of those sanitized cars that you drive without thinking about it. Here, getting behind the wheel requires getting involved. It starts with the driving position, with a footrest that bears its name badly, requiring you to have your left leg not enough… on the left for my taste. Add to that a seat – electrically controlled in this First Edition version – which is difficult to adjust to find a pleasant posture, and the first contact turns out to be a bit rustic. Once the four-cylinder is awakened via a button protected by a red latch like at Lamborghini, we find a smile again. The 2 l delivers the aggressive sound expected of a sports carand it is even more marked in Sport and Track modes, thanks to resonances coming from the speakers and a few (light) backfires coming from the exhaust. The sound is more spectacular than elegant, four cylinders oblige – and has nothing to do with that of an A45 AMG – especially as it is punctuated by the noise of the turbo, very present on board. Moreover, everything is audible on board the Emira, between the rolling noise and the air at 130 km/h.

To hell with comfort, long live the sensations!

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©Lotus

Unlike cars that isolate you from the road, this Lotus lets you experience it to the fullest. Especially here with the sports suspension which spares you nothing from the defects of the road at low speed and is barely more tolerant on the road. Clearly, if we do not intend this Emira for circuit use – where it performs, as we were able to see on Lotus’ private track at the Hethel factory in England – it is better to be satisfied with the standard suspension.

Behind its central engine architecture, the Emira offers a biting front end and is all the more balanced and predictable as its steering provides perfect information on the state of the road. It must be said that like a McLaren 750S, this Lotus retains hydraulic steering assistancemuch more “informative” than the electric directions to which we are accustomed. In return, you have to hold the steering wheel well, because the steering has a nasty tendency to “copy” the road., taking you to the right or left depending on the condition of the road! Suffice to say that you have to concentrate on the small winding and bumpy departmental roads, where, at least, the good damping protects against unwanted body movements, pinning the four wheels to the ground. The most demanding will regret that the rear axle is too locked to the ground and does not slide easily. But this Emira delivers intense driving pleasure, the four-cylinder turbo providing solid boosts, if not to enthuse with its temperament. More typical of “torque” (430 Nm) than “power”, the 2 liter is more comfortable at mid-range than when approaching the red zone located at 7,200 rpm. Besides, it is better not to wait until the last moment to shift gears because the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox, also from AMG, sometimes lacks responsiveness.

Not for everyone, unfortunately

But we forgive this Lotus its faults all the more easily as it is one of those endearing sports cars where “something” happens at the wheel. What we had somewhat forgotten with the arrival of electrics. Unfortunately, the latest thermal Lotus is not available to everyone, it costs €96,815 in this first version available First Edition, very well equipped it is true. This is barely less than its V6 sister (€99,470), knowing that the two Emiras are also penalized by a nasty penalty…

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