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Reviews

Is the Emira the Last Great Lotus?

I love and hate the Lotus Emira. I love that it’s one of the last bastions of lightweight, mid-engined, manual-transmission sports cars. I love that it’s beautiful—genuinely a baby Ferrari in every aspect. And I love that it’s raw and emotional, with no particular compromises made for refinement beyond a nice interior.

I hate that the Emira is being discontinued in 2027. And I hate that it could be so much more than it already is.

In all my miles with the Emira, I learned two things: I want to badly love it, and it is bizarrely flawed. This was the realization when we filmed my review of the Lotus Emira for Motor1’s YouTube channel—the first of a new series of revamped videos that we’ve been working on behind the scenes.

This tester was a Touring, the softer of the two chassis options. I drove the Sport chassis last year and thought it was on the wrong side of hard-edged and was distinctly un-Lotuslike. The Sport made regular attempts at my life and wasn’t communicative of its ultimate capability. It was brilliantly responsive and knife-edged but at the expense of ride quality and feel. And I thought the popularly praised hydraulic steering, while positively shouting with information about the road, didn’t actually say much about what the tires were doing and how much grip was left.

It pains me to criticize the Emira, not because of any particular affinity for Lotus, but because it’s the last of a minuscule class of cars. All that’s left are alternatives like the Porsche Cayman and the Chevy Corvette, though neither are lightweights and the latter doesn’t even get a manual transmission. But the Emira has always felt somewhat unfinished.

Did the Touring fix all of this? Well, kinda. Watch me explain it on video in detail while I flail my hands and yell at you, the audience. And kindly let us know what you think of our new review format. It’s okay, you can be mean.

Read the full article here

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