If the names, Eletra, Emira and Evija don’t come up in casual car-guy conversation, you might want to reconsider who you are hanging with. Lotus, the once moribund auto manufacturer, has struggled mightily for years, justifying its existence to only a small group of die-hard enthusiasts. Those whose memories stretch all the way back to the 60’s when Colin Chapman hung light-weight bodies on small displacement engines. Chapman’s creations were designed for very spirited driving. Remember the word, “spirited”
Producing some wonderful, but undersold, sports cars along the way, Lotus (like Alfa Romeo) isn’t high on the list of cars enthusiasts would consider in 2023 when shopping for fun. That’s about to change.
Not just “spirited” any more more, Lotus is in the grip of full-on transformation, propelling itself into the ranks of very serious automotive performance, and not just sports cars. Their new line-up speaks for itself, as does Jensen Button with the included videos of him driving the new Evija and Emira.
The Lotus supercar, I was invited to a kick-the-tires look-see for automotive journalists days before Covid became a household word. The event was cancelled, never got to see the Evija up close, but the stats speak for themselves; 2000 HP, 3700 pounds, all electric, 0-60 in under 2 seconds, Lotus internally labels the Evija the Type 130, as only 130 will be produced.
The Evija is a world-challenging car, much like the new Aston Martin Valkyrie, and the brand steps into very different territory with the Evija, leaning into their glorious racing history. Four electric motors make nearly 2000 HP horsepower, though probably bringing no real-world driving capabilities to the street. Undoubtedly going to be a weekly dusted, garage kept only machine, prices are believed to start at $2,300,000.
Can it compete?
2.9 seconds from 0-60 should wake up the likes of Urus, Panamera, and the soon to be released, Ferrari’s Purosangue. Yes, people will want the first ever Ferrari SUV, especially configured with a refined version of the 812 Superfast’s V12. Just don’t show up at your Ferrari dealership with cash, expecting to snag one. Ferrari simply doesn’t have to sell their cars to just anyone, especially something brand new, without a person’s proven track record of Ferrari purchases. Not so with Lotus and even without 12 cylinders, the Lotus Electra is serious contender for top dog in the SUV arena.
The Eletra boasts a range of 370 miles, tops out at 160 mph, and looks terrific, to boot. Faster to that 60 mark than a Macan Turbo S, or a Lamborghini Urus, the Eletra is loaded with tech the others don’t have.
And that fancy tech? The Lotus Eletra boasts huge gains in technology over its automotive rivals by using the world’s first LIDAR system in a production car. LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth. Basically it creates a 3D map of the world around the vehicle, helping it pick out objects, road surfaces, turns, elevation changes, all with a much refined navigation system.
And Lotus says the Eletre is manufactured with self-driving hardware when it leaves the factory, with the understanding that shortly, it will have the capacity for full autonomous driving, which, to me, is counterproductive to the whole of the driving experience.
For those asking why an SUV from Lotus, ask Ferrari why they are building the Purosangue; it’s for the money, plain and simple. Bentaygas, Macans, Cullinans, Aston’s DBX, are huge cash cows for their companies, pleasing investors, and supplying capital for sports car development. Lotus wants in on the success of others in the SUV arena, and more than welcomes the accompanying cash.
Exotic looks meets everyday usability.
Sadly reportedly to be the last gas powered sports car they produce, Lotus promises their next sports machine will be all electric. But for now, the Lotus Emira is miles ahead of anything in its class on sheer looks alone. Small, light, and exotic, the beautiful looking body dares you to jump inside to test its very quick acceleration and handling.
if the Emira catches on with enthusiasts shopping for an alternative to a Porsche Cayman, the exotic Emira is going to be a serious challenger.
My last test drive of a Lotus was in a 400/410, driven with the stick and automatic, and the car was simply flawless. Fast, comfortable, the manual trans was one of the best I’ve driven, and the new Emira is supposedly twice as good. Watch Jensen Button with the Emira on a wet track.