Lotus has revealed the Type 131, known as the Emira, and its new sports car is an interesting follow-up to the all-electric Evija. We use the word interesting because, contrary to some rumors that have swirled about its nature, the Emira will definitely use conventional gas powertrains—no electrification here. Moving forward, all vehicles from Lotus will be EVs.
Its gas-burning nature will make the new Emira more like every other Lotus ever made before it, including the long-running Elise, Exige, and Evora. Still, the Emira will share some design elements with its all-electric stablemate, including the large hoop-like elements out back and the stacked headlights up front—both reinterpreted from the Evija. The latest announcement by Lotus includes a very typical teaser that’s light on details but big on hype. That said, we have gleaned some information about the Emira from the bits and pieces that have trickled out of Hethel so far.
For one, like the Evora, the Emira will have usable space inside, making it a semi-practical choice for day-to-day use. Whether that’s spacious by Lotus standards—or spacious by everyone else’s standards—remains to be seen. But the Emira will be especially important because it’s not a supercar. Its pricing is set to span from the high-$60,000 mark to the low $120,000 range. Ever-hopeful Lotus is hoping to build a total of 5,000 cars a year, and we’re thinking the Emira will be the volume sportscar in the Lotus line (and hopefully a profitable one). After all, even with Geely’s stake in it, the British brand’s finances have always been tenuous.
As far as where its engines will be sourced … well, that is an open question at this time. The company promises “an exciting new powertrain partnership” for at least one of the Emira’s engine options, so the company’s recent powertrain partner—Toyota—may be fully or partially kicked to the curb. Recall that the current Evora GT uses a supercharged Toyota-sourced V-6 that makes a stout 416 hp and up to 332 lb-ft of twist.
There are other Lotus models in the wings, too. For one, the $2 million Evija is almost through its development process, with the company claiming 80 percent of that program is finished. And more vehicle lines are being developed. The company promises a total of four platforms from which various models will spawn: Hypercar, Sports, Premium, and E-Sports, per Lotus.
Lotus claims that the four platforms will be developed exclusively for Hethel within the Geely constellation of brands, although the underpinnings may be available to non-Geely brands through Lotus Engineering’s consultancy business. The Emira will be built on the Sports platform, and like its recent predecessors, this platform will utilize the signature aluminum extrusions used by the platform of the Exige and Evora. That said, Lotus promises it’s a new platform, not a revision of the outgoing one.
The Evija is built on what’s known as the Hypercar platform. Meanwhile, the Premium platform seems very different from the sports cars the company currently makes. Lotus also promises the chassis will be used to build upscale, active lifestyle vehicles for global consumption. While the company doesn’t say it in as many words, it’s likely planning to move into the SUV space—something the company has been talking about for ages. Meanwhile, the E-Sports platform will spawn the fruits of the company’s previously announced partnership with Alpine.
Lotus will officially unveil the Emira on July 6.
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