Test: Lotus Emira i4 – AutoWeek

Test: Lotus Emira i4 – AutoWeek
Test: Lotus Emira i4 – AutoWeek

The AMG four-cylinder is hardly less powerful than the Emira with supercharged V6, how about that?

Last year the model was launched with the familiar supercharged V6 from Toyota and now the British are adding a version with the four-cylinder turbo engine from the Mercedes-AMG A45; 405 hp in one case, 365 in the other. Torque and top speed are identical at 430 Nm and 290 km/h respectively, at least if we compare the two automatic models. The V6 sprints two-tenths of a second faster from 0 to 100 km/h, no significant difference. The question is therefore what justifies the considerable (and also expensive) effort to develop a new engine variant. The answer is actually quite logical: first, the V6 engine was faster to implement because the entire rear end had to be redesigned for the AMG engine. The V6 partly uses the existing construction, or at least the basic concept of the Lotus Evora. Secondly, for markets where a large engine capacity and high CO2 emissions are heavily punished by tax, a model with a smaller engine under two liters and acceptable consumption figures, at least on paper, is a must.

Is the Emira really the last conventional Lotus?

You could safely call the Emira ‘Colin Chapman’s last legacy’ and the four-cylinder is really the last traditionally motorized version. Everything that sees the light of day after the Emira in Hethel is fully electric. We should note that the model series for which larger numbers are planned, such as the SUV Eletre and the announced further models (a Porsche Taycan-like sedan, the Emeya, and a smaller SUV), will soon be built in China by parent company Geely. It has invested in a factory in China that exclusively produces Lotus models.

Is the Lotus Emira i4 just as powerful and as much of a hustler as the Mercedes-AMG A45?

No, something has been adjusted. It is the engine that Mercedes-Benz supplied until recently in the A45: the two-liter without the modifications of the S version with 421 hp. Until recently, the M139 engine in the compact Benz delivered a power of 387 hp, in the British it has to make do with 22 hp less. As mentioned, that is enough for acceptable performance and the power source does not sound like that of an AMG. Lotus has succeeded in creating a sound by adapting the manifold and exhaust system to create a sound that you clearly associate with a Lotus purely by hearing alone. At low speeds you hear a bassy growl. The higher the speed, the more metallic the engine will sound, with tinny undertones. A really nice sound. Then there are the exhaust pipes with perforations in the shape of the Lotus emblem, as we already know from the version with V6. British attention to detail.

Does the four-cylinder Emira drive just like the V6?

The driving characteristics are almost identical to those of the six-cylinder, although Lotus has made fundamental changes to the steering and the rear. The fully mechanical steering of the V6 has made way for an electro-hydraulic system, in which an electric motor drives the hydraulic pump. This helps prevent damage to the steering when you hit a curb. This can pay off on the sometimes particularly narrow British roads.

But the four-cylinder is of course lighter, so that certainly makes a difference?

The steering feel and feedback are still ultra-direct. You would think that the four-cylinder is significantly lighter than the Toyota V6 and that is true. However, almost all the weight saved is offset by the use of the eight-speed DCG and the greater need for engine cooling, which required Lotus to adapt the cooling system. The factory specifies a weight of 1,446 kilos according to the DIN standard, the ‘lightest V6 version’ weighs 1,405 kg according to Lotus. We assume that this figure corresponds to the basic version with manual transmission. The fully equipped Emira V6 First Edition that we went out with earlier weighed 1,482 kg, and that model was also equipped with a manual gearbox.

And inside?

Inside, everything is identical to the six-cylinder variant. At least, almost everything: the selector lever of the automatic transmission now offers the option of manual shifting, but that is completely useless in practice. Instead of moving the lever forward or back to change gears, you have to push it to the right to upshift and to the left to downshift. This feature could easily have been omitted; After all, there are aluminum shift paddles on the grippy steering wheel. The feeling they give when shifting is not optimal, but at least better than with the V6 with automatic transmission.

So is the four-cylinder better and more fun?

With the modern turbo four-cylinder and dual clutch transmission, the Emira has much more of the character of a contemporary sports car. You have to sacrifice some emotion compared to the V6, but you get more character in return.

Lotus Emira 2.0

Engine 4 cyl. in line, turbo, placed transversely amidships

Engine capacity 1,991 cc

Max. power 269 kW/365 hp

Max. torque 430 Nm

Number of gears 8, dual clutch automatic

Rear wheel drive

Dimensions (lxwxh) 4.41 x 1.90 x 1.23 m

Empty weight 1,446 kg

0-100 km/h 4.4 s

Top speed 290 km/h

Avg. consumption go

CO2 emissions go

Price €127,030

All data according to factory specifications

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Test Lotus Emira AutoWeek


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