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It’s hard to look at any Lotus and find genuine fault. But after the excellence of the Lotus Elise, the Lotus Evora lacked some soul in the eyes of some enthusiasts. Now though, the Lotus Emira rights those wrongs, bringing one more engaging and visceral Lotus experience before everything goes electric.

The last combustion engine Lotus

The Lotus Emira is, regrettably, the last gas-powered Lotus sports car. But it goes out with a bang. There are two options available, and both provide a mighty punch for this compact sports car.

The four-cylinder Lotus Emira uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine good for 360 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. It shifts that power through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, and gets from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 4.2 seconds.

Meanwhile, a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 chucks out 400 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. That’s still the Camry V6 that powered the Evora, but with a host of extra Lotus-derived engineering to eke out some added performance.

Lotus steering is once again a highlight

Blue Lotus Emira Press Release Photo Front Three Quarter
Blue Lotus Emira | Lotus

If the Lotus Evora GT had any downfalls, it was the steering feel. What started as a magically mechanical experience ended up feeling disconnected, at least by Lotus standards, by the time the Evora GT arrived in 2018. Small suspension geometry changes and differences in weight contributed to the bizarre sensation from the final Evora GT models.

The Lotus Emira, on the other hand, rights that wrong. Hydraulic power steering is a welcome sight, when even BMW’s M cars use electric power steering. That means more response from the road below, and a wonderfully communicative driving experience. This is a sports car that rewards quality drivers. Understanding how to place the car on the road, weight transfer, and trail braking is the key to getting more out of the Emira. And while cars like the Porsche 911, BMW M2, and even Mazda Miata deliver the goods, none can hang with the visceral experience of the Lotus Emira.

Why does that matter? Because for sports cars, understanding the road below is part of the draw. Speed is one thing, but feeling the road allows drivers to get the most out of every corner. Not only does hydraulic power steering add to the experience, but it allows for greater confidence in a wide range of driving scenarios. Electric power steering, while simpler, numbs the sensation of road texture and grip, making every corner an educated guess rather than a precise decision. That runs against everything sports cars are supposed to be about, and I admire Lotus’ dedication to purity.

How much is the Lotus Emira?

The rear 3/4 view of a gray 2023 Lotus Emir by a track paddock
2023 Lotus Emira rear 3/4 | Lotus
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With a starting price of $77,100 for the base six-cylinder Lotus Emira, it’s on-par with competitors like the aforementioned 911 and BMW M2. Both of those cars are more serviceable GT cars than the Lotus, but that’s the point. Lotus has always been about distilling the experience of driving down to the bare basics. The Emira is stunning to look at, delightfully fast, and wonderfully communicative without being harsh. If you’re considering a new sports car in 2023, the Lotus Emira is one for the ages.