Lotus Emira V6 First Edition Drive Review : Hot Yoga

By davidkhoo, 10 April 2023

Lotus Emira 3.5 V6 First Edition Drive Review : Hot Yoga

Singapore - How do we know when a test-car is special and by that, we mean beyond just ‘acceptable’ and really, really exceptional?

Well, that’s easy, because we’re generally very reluctant to return it…

Don’t laugh, because you’d be surprised to learn this doesn’t happen very often, even in spite of how many cars we go through in a year!

Both Lotus aficionados and petrolheads the world over have been waiting with bated breath for the first wave of Lotus Emiras to hit the streets.

In a world fixated on electrification, the Emira represents a poignant and defiant reminder of how we remember soulful driver’s cars to sound, smell and scintillate.

It is the first new Lotus sportscar to be delivered under ‘Vision80’, as the brand moves towards its 80th Anniversary in 2028.

The pre-launch hype built-up around Lotus’s poshed-up manual, mid-engined sportscar whipped the driver die-hards into a frenzy, only to see it delayed – not just for Singapore, but globally.

And while the early-adopters who booked the Emira were prepared to adopt the lotus position and be patient, the government was more into action than meditation.

The first cars made landfall in Singapore hot on the heels of a landmark change to vehicle taxation earlier this year.

This had the effect of imposing a punitive progressive ARF impact on high-OMV cars, with exotic cars bearing the brunt of the increase both upfront, as well as with regards to the cap on ARF rebate.

Happily enough and in spite of its Evija-inspired striking exotic looks (which incidentally, grab more eyeballs than your favourite yogini), the Emira has attracted only a marginal increase, with the well-equipped Emira V6 First Edition listing for S$498,800 before COE.

The Emira seems to be quite a polarising force of nature, with some Lotus purists taking offence at how plush it is in relation to the stripped-out, kit-car vibe of the Elise/Exige/Evora.

Personally, we really grooved with the Emira, because it proves that Lotus can clean-up nicely, yet still combines daily-drive sensibilities with the sublime, dynamic-drive thrills we’ve come to associate with the brand.

Built on the new ‘Lotus Sports Car Architecture’ with a lightweight bonded aluminium chassis, the Emira isn’t just a ‘basic’ evolution over the Elise/Exige/Evora.

Rather, it is a full-on revolution that leaves the die-hards in the dust… and in tears over the loss of innocence.

With the Emira (and especially in the test-car’s fiery Magma Red), Lotus has moved the game forward and really come into its own to form the stuff of serious exotic fantasies, especially against more expensive machinery from Porsche and Maserati.

The cockpit ergonomics are spot-on and the controls intuitive, with a central 10.25-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch driver digital instrument panel the main points of interaction.

A rocker switch toggles between Drive Modes, although we feel it’s a shame you can’t customise individual settings.

You might remember the ‘open-worked’ transmission tunnel from the Exige Sport 350, which affords occupants a peek into the inner workings of the shifter’s machinations, but it’s been covered up in the Emira.

This not only comes across as less ‘kit-car’, but more importantly, is safer without worrying about loose objects or small fingers accidentally getting caught in it.

There’s a lot of buzz over the Emira having the choice of AMG’s turbo’d 2.0-litre, but as far as we’re concerned, the charismatic, Toyota-sourced supercharged 3.5-litre V6 that is mated to the 6spd manual has plenty going for it.

We reckon a car with the Emira’s street cred and road presence deserves a ‘proper’, large cc engine (relatively speaking that is!) for that creamy, full-bodied experience and accompanying soundtrack (yes, supercharger whine and all!).

From the moment you first turn the wheel (and not just in anger, I should add), you’ll delight in how much feeling shines through, simply because the Emira still uses hydraulic steering.

You don’t realise how much modern cars have desensitised you to the art of driving until you slide into a lean and lithe machine as unadulterated as the Emira, adopt the Lotus position and really begin to open your chakras.

Some folks might find the Elise/Exige/Evora too basic and too raw for their sensibilities.

While the Emira ups the posh factor to take the fight to the Porsche 718 crew, it doesn’t lose any of the engaging dynamics that endears it to Lotus enthusiasts.

There’s proper sportscar weighting to the steering, stopping and shifting, without any over-padded over-assistance to numb you from the fast driving.

The shifts are positive and precise, with a short-throw action that is a thrill to operate so you’ll gladly stir the sweet honey-pot to work your way up and down the 6spds of the manual transmission.

The brakes offer stupendous stopping power, although we felt they were a little too bitey to manage smooth heel-toe downshifts in, even after a few days with the Emira – hopefully, one gets accustomed to this over a longer period.

Anyone who knows Lotus will appreciate it is all about the handling and not just straight-line prowess.

The Emira is a natural athlete that aids and abets the committed driver in challenging the laws of physics.

The feel from the steering and seat-of-pants provides ample communication to inspire confidence, with the 1.4+-tonnes kerbweight endowing the Emira with a defiant lightness of being that sticks it to overweight machines that rely on big power figures to ‘feel light’.

The supercharged engine is plenty flexible, as it demonstrates a voracious vigour for tackling all manner of tarmac, with the rising whine of the supercharger adding to the Emira’s mechanical symphony.

Despite its swoopy, sculpted silhouette, there’s great visibility from inside-out to accurately place the Emira, which also means it can be daily-driven with ease without worrying about big blind-spots.

Driving the Emira hard is an intensive, hot-yoga workout that is especially satisfying because it is so rewarding.

It certainly isn’t for those who expect the car to help them shine, but it’ll certainly help those who help themselves by putting in the hard work to attain motoring nirvana!

Lotus Emira V6 First Edition

Engine 3456cc, V6, supercharged
Power/rpm 400hp/6800rpm
Torque/rpm 420Nm/2700rpm
Transmission 6spd manual
0-100km/h 4.3secs
Top Speed 290km/h
Fuel Consumption 11.3l/100km
CO2 258g/km
Kerbweight es. 1405kg

Related Articles