Lotus’s first all-new series-production car in 12 years is a final “celebration of the glories of combustion” before the storied British firm enters its electrified future.
Taking the name Emira, which means ‘commander’ in several ancient languages, it will be revealed on 6 July. Along with the Evija electric hypercar, the new Emira, developed under the Type 131 codename and designed to revive the spirit of the Esprit, will kick-start a major product offensive from Hethel under its ongoing Vision 80 revival plan.
Future models from the Geely-owned firm will be based on one of four new platforms, including a premium one that will spawn its first SUV and one for electric sports cars. It had been rumoured that the Emira would be a hybrid but, as first reported by Autocar, the new Porsche 911 rival will be offered with a choice of two petrol engines: a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit sourced from an as yet unnamed new partner and the supercharged 3.5-litre Toyota V6 used in the Evora.
The Emira will be built on Lotus’s lightweight aluminium Sports Car platform (known internally as the Elemental), a heavily reworked version of the Evora’s base, and have styling influenced by the Evija. The Emira will be the final petrol-only Lotus, with all future models to be either hybrid or fully electric.
The move into EVs has been started by the Evija, which is based on Lotus’s new Hypercar architecture.
The third platform will be the Premium architecture (dubbed the Evolution), used for a range of “lifestyle vehicles” designed to sell in higher volumes, including that first SUV.
Although development of this platform has been led by the UK, the cars it spawns will largely be made at a new Lotus plant in Wuhan, China.
The final platform is the Electric Sports Car architecture (codenamed the E Sports) that’s being jointly developed with the Renault Group’s sports car arm, Alpine.
New Lotus boss Matt Windle said this platform will be “flexible and modular” and that the first car based on it will be “an exciting new sports car icon for the Lotus brand”. Windle added the aim is for the EV to be “the same weight as our latest combustion engine sports cars”.
Windle emphasised that Lotus will remain committed to a focus on performance throughout its transformation under the Vision 80 plan. This will be one of the brand’s core values, alongside intelligent technology and sustainability.
Lotus promises that its cars will continue to be developed with a focus on innovative thinking, lightweight design, advanced aerodynamics and “exceptional” ride and handling qualities.
The firm will also ramp up the technology it offers in its models, including electrified powertrains and new user interfaces, while pledging that all new systems will still centre on simplicity.
Lotus has also announced plans to revamp its retail operations, with redesigned showrooms and a new ‘multi-channel’ strategy that includes an increased online sales presence.