Road Test Review – 2024 Lotus Emira First Edition – The End Of An Era

When Lotus unveiled the 2024 Emira sports car, it represented the end of an era for the company. The Emira was designed to be a successor for the Evora GT but it could also be considered a spiritual successor for the Elise. When the U.S. last saw the Elise, it was better known for being an ultra-lightweight thrill machine that sliced flab at the cost of creature comfort and refinement. Tightening safety regulations ended its run in the U.S. with the Evora being the lone solider for Lotus in our country.

But can the Emira successfully walk the proverbial tightrope and replace two models at once, or has its commitment to achieving balance eliminated some of the sharpness and raw personality that made its predecessors popular with Lotus buyers and loyalists.

Emira Styling Is A Step Forward

Lotus wanted to make the Emira stand out in a crowd and that becomes readily evident when you look at the styling of the car. Unlike the Evora GT which had cruder edges and styling only a mother could love, the Emira’s designers clearly browsed the fashion pages when they were crafting the car. There are subtle references to the Evija EV hypercar in select places and the front end gets sloping airways that are flanked by sleek LED headlights.

The rest of the body is beautifully sculpted with the curves and sweeps giving the car a seductive profile. First Edition models like our Dark Verdant (aka green) tester get 20-inch alloy wheels which fill the wheel arches nicely. The rear gets slender taillights with the sculpted rear bumper also getting two large exhaust tips. First Edition models also get extra trim pieces but the look as a whole is a vast improvement over the Evora and when paired with certain colors, it makes the Emira look like a bespoke piece of rolling jewelery.

Emira Interior Sees The Light

Slip inside the Emira and you’ll discover a cabin that has been vastly improved. The Evora’s awful seats have been thrown in the dumpster and are replaced by new thrones that have improved bolstering and enhanced levels of comfort. The space also pitches the useless rear seats and the Emira now only has room for two. That’s fine with us since the reduction in seats allowed Lotus to improve legroom and cut weight from the car.

Higher quality trim is also used in the interior with suede inserts contrasting leather-adorned trim panels. The control layout is ergonomically sound and the switchgear is sourced from older Volvo models. The aforementioned switchgear is solid and will be a noticeable improvement from the Evora GT’s Ford-sourced components. A 10.2-inch infotainment system is new too and while the software is not the sharpest in the industry, it gets the job done and it doesn’t hurt either that Lotus gave the Emira wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. The Emira lacks a frunk, but buyers can store cargo in the trunk which has enough space for some golf bags and small items (including a haul of jams and jellies from a local apple orchard.)

Rear visibility is predictably bad but at least the front and side windows do a good job of letting you know what’s going on and the rear backup camera is pretty good too especially when parking into tight parking spots.

V6 Is Still The Way To Go For Performance

Lotus will eventually offer Emira buyers two engines to choose from with a base four-cylinder sourced from AMG giving the Emira a form of entry model. For now, all Emiras coming to the U.S. will be powered by the Evora GT’s carryover 3.5-liter Toyota-sourced V6. This engine has been a persistent presence in Lotus’s history and is a reminder of a time when Toyota-sourced engines defined the bulk of the company’s lineup.

The supercharged engine goes beyond being a mere throwback though, and has benefitted from upgrades that help push power to 400 horsepower. Going for the six-speed automatic allows the engine to make 7 extra lb-ft of torque due to its traditional torque converter but while the transmission did a good job going through the gears during our three days with the Emira, we highly recommend going for the manual since it not only matches the Emira’s personality better, but also allows the engine to perform at its full potential.

Lotus says that the V6 allows the Emira to make the sprint to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and while that’s not all that earth-shattering in an era where some of its rivals can do the same deed much faster, it does show that the Emira is not fooling around when it comes to delivering good amounts of performance. Besides, the Emira’s real talent is in delivering good handling anyway with the steering in our tester delivering crisp feedback and sharp responses. Bodyroll is also reduced though it won’t hold a candle to the Exige and its slot car-like behavior.

Value Quotient

Pricing for the 2024 Lotus Emira starts at $99,400 for a base model equipped with the six-speed manual. Our First Edition tester arrived with the optional automatic and other extras that helped push the price past the $100,000 barrier. This pricing puts the Emira firmly in the race against rivals like the Porsche 718 Cayman and the Alpine A110 with the latter being an international market exclusive.

When viewed as a whole, the Emira is an interesting middle ground option for performance car buyers. While it’s not as refined as the Porsche, the interior’s simpler theme is a refreshing departure from the 718’s button heavy cabin and the amount of comfort on hand is impressive as well. That said, you do have to deal with less practicality and the Emira’s attempts at being a jack of all trades sometimes prevent it from reaching its full potential in any one particular category.

But if you’re willing to look past all that, we highly recommend the 2024 Lotus Emira just make sure to bypass the automatic to get the full Lotus experience that can only be provided by the venerable six-speed manual. As mentioned, the Emira is the last ICE model Lotus will build with the future being defined by EVs like the Eletre SUV.

Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.

Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.

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