While the latest sales figures confirm that British motorists are, for the most part, obsessed with SUVs and hatchbacks, we also remain a nation keen to show off in fast cars. No clearer is that than in the sales of sports cars, with top-selling models like the Porsche Cayman and Jaguar F-Type proving to be eminently popular with buyers. Clearly, sports cars remain as fashionable as ever, and now the class is set to gain a new contender, in the Lotus Emira.
For those not familiar with the Lotus brand, you might be surprised to learn that this British company has long been the definitive sports car maker – even more so than Porsche. Sales have always been pretty small in number, though, which is why they’re a rare sight on UK roads. But if all goes according to Lotus’s plan, that’s set to change with the Emira, which fills the gap left by the company’s recently retired Elise and Exige sports cars. It’s intended to give the Cayman and F-Type, and others, a real run for their money.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, but Lotus has a few tricks up its sleeve. Firstly, the new Emira is built from lightweight aluminium. It weighs less than its rivals at 1.4 tonnes, which for a car with an infotainment system, digital instrument cluster and no shortage of interior creature comforts, is pretty good. And secondly, the car will be powered by a choice of two proven engines supplied by mainstream companies; the first being the 2.0-litre engine from Mercedes-AMG’s A45 – itself a popular model on cinch – and the second being a Toyota 3.5-litre six-cylinder (in V6 form, if you’re wondering).
Emiras using the former engine will be the lower-priced, less powerful version, with Lotus stating that prices will open from “less than £60,000”. Competitive. Even these base-level cars will still have 360hp, which is enough to keep anyone this side of Lewis Hamilton properly entertained. On paper, statistics for the bigger-engined Emira include a zero-to 62mph time of under 4.5 seconds and a 180mph top speed, where it’s safe (and legal) to do so. You’ll even be given a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes, so the Emira offering is rather broad.
Still, Lotus’s biggest claims for the Emira relate not to its power but its handling. We’re told to expect something capable of really shaking up its rivals, which ought to make the job of choosing between them even more fun. One for the cinch to do list. If we’ve tempted you to upgrade your ride, allow us to direct attention to this Porsche 718 Cayman that’s on cinch for £39,995, or this Jaguar F-Type V6 that’s up for £32,950.
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