What We Learnt About the Lotus Emira at its Singapore Preview

Posted by James Wong
25 Apr 2022

Hot-blooded car enthusiasts got in a tizzy last week as the Lotus Emira made its way to Singapore in a rare, early preview before its official appearance in Q3 2022. 

The range-topping Emira 3.5 V6 First Edition with a manual gearbox was displayed, albeit as a pre-production model, so some parts of the car still appear a little unfinished. But it gave OneShift a good indication of what’s to come. 

The Internet already has all of the basic information you require of the Emira, so we’ll share with you the lesser-known details instead. Here we go. 

 1. The Emira replaces the Elise, Exige and Evora. 

Lotus says it’s a one-size-fits-all car, good for the track and for daily use. With the Elise and Exige discontinued, it’s the only two-door sports car you can buy from Lotus for the foreseeable future, as upcoming cars are an SUV and a four-door saloon. The clearances front and rear are so good, there’s no need for a lifter for urban driving and parking. Interior space is also genuinely good for two passengers, although the “2nd row” has been removed in favour of luggage space, so you can no longer antagonise your extra passengers…  

2. It will be the last Lotus to run on good old gasoline. 

Yep, all future Lotus models will be EV only, and likely built from its factory in China. 

3. In this age of electric steering everything, the Emira comes with good old hydraulic power steering. 

A conscious decision in favour of driver interaction over reducing emissions, it’s something we really look forward to trying. 

4. Dampers and aero are all passive. 

Again, going old-school, dampers are non-adjustable, perhaps because they already work so well if we could expect the usual Lotus wizardry. There are no active aero parts either, although there are a lot of wind-cheating slats and slippery body curves inspired by the Lotus Evija.  

5. The 2.0-litre turbo is Mercedes-AMG sourced, while the 3.5-litre V6 is Toyota-sourced.

The entry-level Emira uses AMG’s M139 engine, which also happens to be the most powerful four-cylinder engine in production in the world. The higher-end Emira uses the Toyota-sourced 2GR-FE V6, which is a familiar block from its predecessors. Interestingly, the M139 will likely be as powerful as the 2GR-FE, so chances are there isn’t much between them in terms of speed.

6. The manual gearbox is only available with the 3.5-litre V6. 

But if you wanted a manual gearbox, you’re only left with the V6. It’s a lovely 6-speed with exposed linkages for a bit of theatre for your passenger. 

7. The automatic gearboxes for the 2.0-litre and 3.5-litre are different. 

The M139 is paired with AMG’s eight-speed DCT that’s developed to fit the rear-wheel drive platform of the Emira. The 2GR-FE has a 6-speed torque-converter auto from Aisin/Toyota. We’ll reserve comment until our drive to tell you how they feel, but the DCT does seem like the sportier gearbox on paper. 

8. Even though the Emira is built on a bonded aluminium chassis as Lotuses before, it’s much easier to get into this one. 

I tried the Exige Sport 350 for a couple of days and had issues getting out of bed after a while. I don’t think the Emira will have such issues, for ingress and egress is as easy as in a 718 Cayman. Quite an achievement, considering the limitations of the aluminium chassis which requires larger sills and reinforcements. 

9. There are 12-way power and memory seats. 

OK, memory only for the First Edition, but this is a new level of luxury for Lotus. 

10. The 340W sound system is by British brand KEF. 

This too, a First Edition goodie, which will make lounging in a Lotus more palatable and even enjoyable. 

11. Nappa leather in a Lotus? Yes. 

First Edition things - proper luxury in a Lotus. Never seen those words in the same sentence, ever. 

12. The Drivers Pack gives a choice of Tour or Sport suspension. 

First Edition gives you the Drivers Pack, which gives Track Mode on the ESP and displays, switchable exhaust sound and Tour or Sport suspension. Tour provides Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres, while Sport has more hardcore Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. 

13. ‘Very limited’ units have been allocated for the Singapore market. 

Lotus didn’t divulge a number, but best get yourself to the showroom to reserve one if you’re already set on an Emira. 

14. The car will come with a 3-year unlimited mileage factory warranty. 

Perfect for border openings: drive all you want into Malaysia or Thailand, I guess that’s the idea!

15. There are only 4 cost options for all variants. Keeping it simple, sir. 

They are the transmission (for V6), the Black Pack (gloss black bits), an Alcantara steering wheel or a leather steering wheel in contrast stitching with a TDC (top dead centre) marker.

16. The rear luggage compartment can fit two medium-sized golf bags, tested and verified by Hethel. 

Apparently, Lotus Singapore got so many questions about this they sent a text to Hethel to check whether it could fit. They’ve even got a screenshot to prove it. 

17. All Emiras are rear-wheel drive only. 

True to the spirit of a drivers’ car, all power is sent to the rear wheels, and there is no AWD option.


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