The 2023 Lotus Emira Sends Internal Combustion out With a Bang

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Lotus’s new EV, the Evija, is right around the corner. But before it goes electric, the British automaker is giving internal combustion one last hurrah. That send-off is the 2023 Lotus Emira, a mid-engine sports car in the brand’s best tradition. However, the Emira isn’t just a swan song; it’s also a preview of what comes next.

The last internal-combustion Lotus sports car comes in two different flavors

2023 Lotus Emira front 3/4 | Lotus

Up until now, Lotus’s modern cars, from the Evora to the non-US-market Elise, have all used Toyota engines. And that’s also the case with the rear-wheel-drive 2023 Lotus Emira. However, that’s not the only kind of engine the Emira offers.

Initially, the 2023 Lotus Emira will only come with a 3.5-liter supercharged V6, Roadshow explains. It’s the same supercharged V6 engine the Evora GT uses. Like the Evora GT, the V6 Emira offers two transmissions: a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. And the former comes standard with a limited-slip differential.

The other 2023 Lotus Emira engine, though, doesn’t come from Toyota. Instead, it’s AMG’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Motor1 explains. And like the Mercedes-AMG products it comes in, the 2.0-liter engine only comes with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.

An overhead rear 3/4 view of a blue 2023 Lotus Emira
2023 Lotus Emira rear 3/4 overhead | Lotus

Besides having a stick, the V6 Lotus Emira also has more power than the 2.0-liter model. Although AMG has tuned its engine to over 416 hp, in the Emira it ‘only’ makes 360 hp, MotorTrend notes. And to be fair, the Emira’s supercharged V6 is detuned from its Evora GT levels, too, but only slightly. Instead of 416 hp, it makes 400 hp. However, it matches the Evora GT’s 317 lb-ft of torque, Car and Driver reports.

That being said, the 2.0-liter Emira might be the quickest model. Lotus claims that the mid-engine sports car goes 0-62 mph in under 4.5 seconds, though it doesn’t specify which version. For comparison, the manual Evora GT goes 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds. But while the V6 Emira makes more power, MT claims it’s also about 110 pounds heavier than the 2.0-liter model. Plus, DCTs shift faster than manuals.

It may honor the old, but the 2023 Lotus Emira also has plenty of new

The black seats and dashboard of a UK-market 2023 Lotus Emira
2023 Lotus Emira interior | Lotus

Speaking of weight, Lotus claims the lightest version of the 2023 Emira weighs 3,097 pounds. That’s thanks to its aluminum chassis, another Lotus sports car hallmark dating back to the Elise S1. Yet another sports nod is the Emira’s hydraulically-assisted power steering; the tech typically provides more feedback than electric assistance.

However, the Emira isn’t focused solely on the past. And nowhere is that more evident than in the interior, MT says, which distinctly lacks “a faintly DIY vibe.” The new Lotus sports car has a 12.3” TFT configurable gauge cluster and a 10.25” center touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, keyless entry, and multiple 12V and USB outlets are also standard. Though the Emira only has two seats, it has a front trunk, a rear cargo area, behind-the-seat storage, and fairly large door bins. And yes, it has cupholders.

Plus, the 2023 Emira is the first Lotus to offer active driver-assistance features, Car and Driver notes. Its optional ADAS package includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, road-sign recognition, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic emergency braking. Also, the Emira is the first road car to offer a KEF audio system.

How much will it cost?

As of this writing, Lotus hasn’t released official pricing for the 2023 Emira. But based on the UK pricing, the US-market Emira will likely start at roughly $80,000. And yes, the Emira is coming to the US; deliveries start in fall 2022.

Besides the two engine options, the Emira will also be available in two trims, Road & Track explains. The Tour model, designed around daily road use, has softer springs and Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tires. In comparison, the Sport model has stiffer springs and grippier Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Those tires are also available as part of the optional Drivers Pack, which includes launch control.

After the 2023 Emira, Lotus won’t make any more ICE cars. But on paper, the mid-engine sports car seems like one heck of a goodbye.

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