Autopian co-founder Beau Boeckmann is a sports car connoisseur, so running Porsche, Aston Martin, Ford, Lotus, Polestar, and many other dealerships is, naturally, a dream for him. And few moments in the dealership world are as exciting as when an all-new, driver-focused “product” rolls in from the factory. I know this because Beau’s excitement about the Lotus Emira, which had just recently been delivered to the dealership, was palpable. And the excitement only grew when we actually hopped into what will go down in history as the end of an era: Lotus’s final internal combustion engine sports car. And, at least for now, The End Of Lightness.
OK, to be clear: The Lotus Emira isn’t that light at over 3,100 pounds, but, for an electric car (Lotus plans to go all-electric in the relatively near future) with a reasonable range, that would be nothing. Plus, the Emira feels lighter than it is because Lotus engineers are absolute brainiacs when it comes to chassis tuning.
Here’s a look at my short drive with Beau in the new Lotus Emira (This is our new player, let us know how it works for you)
Lotus Cars is the sister company to Lotus Engineering, an engineering consulting firm that lives and breathes chassis dynamics. Seriously, check out the homepage for Lotus Engineering:
Suffice it to say that, when a bunch of vehicle-dynamics geeks get together to develop a car with their company’s logo, things tend to get good. Very good.
Autopian cofounder Beau obviously sells Lotus vehicles, so I was pretty concerned that I’d have no choice but to rag on a car that he would then have to market. But luckily, by the grace of car-gods in Hethel, Norwich, UK, the Emira is an absolute gem, and damn near every other automotive outlet agrees.
Beau introduces me to the new Lotus by showing it right next to an Evora, the vehicle’s predecessor. You can see the Evora below, just behind me as I’m listening to Beau explain why the new Emira is exactly what Lotus needed: A little bit of extra funding to actually make the car look beautiful both inside and out:
And I do mean inside and out. The old Evora’s interior was, per Beau, not amazing, and looking at it in the photo below, I’d say it’s only “fine.”
The Emira’s cabin is legitimately nice, plus it’s easy to get into and comfortable. One could legitimately daily-drive this car, and that’s saying something for a Lotus.
Actually driving the thing on the streets of Van Nuys was a little frustrating. The mid-mounted 400 horsepower 3.5-liter Supercharged Toyota-sourced V6 makes the car feel quick, and though it sounds fun when approaching its rather low 7,200-ish redline, by and large the engine is rather tame aurally. This meant we were tempted to keep the revs high all the time, though the biggest temptation was rowing through one of the most satisfying six-speed manual transmission shifters I’ve ever experienced. The way the thing just snicks into gear made us want to shift far more than we needed to.
But alas, the traffic in the valley, along with the low speed limit and the pothole-d streets (the car’s ride is remarkably good, it’s worth noting) meant Beau and I were basically doing the automotive equivalent of edging, hammering the pedal, then hitting the brakes, then hammering the pedal — never quite reaching nirvana.
The good news was that we were able to shift a lot, plus we saw the glorious supercharger bypass valve in action in our rearview mirror. The bad news is that we never really got to test out the car’s cornering limits, but that’s a good thing on public streets.
This is one of those cars that’s really begging for a “hot shoe” driver and a test track to really see what it’s got, but for the everyday driver, Beau and I got you covered. Check out the video above as I jokingly show Beau the ropes of how to write a car review. Some critical steps include:
- Driving like such a jackass on public roads that your partner hates you. Justify doing this by saying “I have to test the car’s handling limits.”
- Say things about the car’s handling that you don’t fully understand. Talk about steering feel, snap oversteer, and about how linear the brakes are.
- Never say “handles like it’s on rails.”
- Always write down your thoughts right after your drive. You will otherwise forget, and then your car review will be horrible.
- Take photos of the car so you don’t have to rely on press photos
There’s actually a lot more to car-review writing. Typically you want to interview an expert, you want to shoot some social media content, you want to score a “breakout story” in addition to the review itself, and on and on. But I’m just kidding around in the video, as this wasn’t meant to be a serious car review: Just a short, fun drive with Beau to give readers our first impression of a magnificent machine that represents the End Of An Era.