Lotus is in the process of phasing out its Elise, Exige and Evora sports cars, and plans a new mid-engine model called the Emira that will replace all three of them. The car was previously referred to by its Type 131 code name.
Lotus on Tuesday released the first details on the Emira and confirmed the reveal for July 6. Sales won't start until 2022, meaning we'll likely see the Emira reach dealerships as a 2023 model. The good news is that the car will be sold in the United States, unlike many of Lotus' previous sports cars.
These spy shots shows a test mule for the Emira. You're essentially looking at the new mechanical package hidden beneath a makeshift Evora body. We can see that the wheel arches front and rear have been extended significantly, pointing to a widened track.
Teaser shots point to a design heavily influenced by the Evija electric hypercar. The first prototypes wearing the Emira's actual body should show up following the July 6 reveal.
The new mechanical package is a heavily revised version of the extruded and bonded aluminum platform that dates back to the original Elise launched in 1996. The platform in updated form is referred to as Elemental. Key changes include thinner door sills to make getting in and out of the car easier. Contrary to previous rumors, there won't be any support for electrification.
There will be multiple versions of the Emira, with both inline-4 and V-6 engines planned. The inline-4 will be a new unit but the V-6 is expected to be the Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter supercharged engine used in the Exige and Evora, which in its highest state of tune delivers about 430 hp. The inline-4 is expected to deliver about 300 hp.
As for pricing, former Lotus CEO Phil Popham in January said the car will have a wide price range to help boost its appeal, particularly here in the U.S. He hinted at a starting price of about 55,000 British pounds (approximately $75,000) and a top-end figure of about 105,000 British pounds. The only Lotus currently available here is the Evora which starts at just under $100,000.
Crucially, the Emira will be the last Lotus fitted with an internal-combustion engine as the company plans an electric future. New CEO Matt Windle previously worked with Tesla for a handful of years on developing the original Roadster, which some readers will recall was based on a donor Lotus chassis.
Lotus already has the limited-edition Evija coming later this year. The company is also working on a new platform called E-Sport designed for more attainable electric sports cars.
Beyond its sports car lineup, Lotus will offer what it refers to as lifestyle vehicles. The first of these is expected to be a crossover. It will be based on another new platform known as Evolution. This platform is thought to be related to the SEA platform from parent company Geely.