The Lotus Emira has landed in Tokyo: Our first impressions

As we were scrolling down our Facebook feed, we stumbled upon a post from Lotus Japan announcing that the Emira was going to be exhibited over two days in Daikanyama, a fancy car meeting spot in Tokyo. The Emira had first been revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon the previous weekend; a golden opportunity for Lotus Japan to get everybody excited for the beginning of a new Lotus era. Daikanyama was its last public showcase spot before being shipped away to continue its world tour, so there was no need for us to read that Facebook post twice: we were going to see the Emira.

On that Sunday morning, we left early before even having time to make ourselves some coffee. Not so surprisingly, we weren’t the only ones who had decided to arrive ahead of time: a small crowd had gathered around the covered-up Emira. We grabbed some coffee from the Starbucks next door and walked around the parking lot where 5 or 6 Exiges and Elises were already parked. They were later joined by several Evoras and a 2-Eleven, all standing out brightly amongst the black and white crowd of sedans and SUVs.

To the excitement of all, the cover of the Emira was lifted, attracting the attention of both car enthusiasts and passers-by on their way to brunch. After a little while, the original crowd started dispersing. Cameras in hand, we started taking a closer look at the Emira.

And suddenly, it hit us: the Emira blended perfectly into the cosy chic area of Daikanyama. In between a bookstore, a Starbucks and a trendy brunch spot, the Emira belonged in a way that an Exige or an Elise would have never been able to. In fact, the Emira made a point that it could not have made at the Tokyo Auto Salon: Lotus isn’t standing out anymore, it is blending in. Not that Lotus is throwing its beliefs out the window, drivers still remain a top priority, but this time, Lotus will be offering style and creature comforts like other sports coupes from its competitors which will surely help attract a wider audience. From what we can observe so far, progressives are nodding “yes,” while purists are crying “no!”

So, here are a few thoughts that crossed our minds as we carefully observed the Emira in person for the very first time.

3 things to pay attention to:

  • The badges. While the front Lotus badge seems to have gained in size, the Lotus lettering at the rear is now made of metallic lettering, replacing what used to be stickers on the Exige and the Elise. Not exactly “light is right” but it does nonetheless nicely complete the upscale look of the Emira. As for the First Edition badge, it can be found on both sides of the car near the C-pillar. With the many special editions that have been created for the previous Lotus cars, we look forward to seeing what’s in store for the future of the Emira.
  • The design. At first glance, the sophisticated and refined looks of the Emira stand out the most; a major design change from the lean, sharp silhouette of the Exige and the petite, light silhouette of the Elise. The flowing lines of the Emira is where the major difference lies, giving the overall body a supercar-like look. However, it doesn’t take long to get used to the appearance of the Emira precisely because it exhibits strong Lotus design characteristics. While the bonnet is very much inspired from the new design direction led by the Evija, the Emira still carries a front grill shape, as well as honed, wide rear haunches that are reminiscent of previous cars.
  • The gear knob. Lotus lovers will be happy to find that Lotus has kept the same spherical, metallic gear knob in the manual version of the Emira; a satisfying detail that adds up to the sportiness of the interior alongside the bright red start button cover. With the same 3.5L supercharged V6, driving sensations should hopefully feel familiar.

3 things to get used to:

  • The interior. While we could not access the interior of the Emira, we were able to glance through the window. Overall more reminiscent of the Evora, it is a major change of environment when compared to the Exige or the Elise. Though it is no iteration of those said models, drivers who have enjoyed the spartan interiors Lotus used to offer may feel out of place in this new, modern atmosphere. However, the fancy, comfortable interior seems to remain relatively distraction-free; a very “Alpine-like” approach to say the least.
  • The weight. The Final Edition Elise weighed 922 kg, the Final Edition Exige weighed 1,138 kg and the Evora weighed 1,361 kg. The Emira? It weighs 1,458 kg, making it about 500 kg heavier than an Elise. Essentially, it is safe to say that the Emira is the new Evora.
  • The price. The Emira is estimated to cost around ¥13,350,000 (approx. $117,000) placing it around the same price range as the Evora, or a top spec Exige. The $7,777,000 (approx. $68,000) price of the Elise is already long gone, with no signs of future Lotuses exhibiting such a generous price tag again. While the new design of the Emira will be attracting new audiences, we are curious to see how the Lotus fan base will react to this price shift.


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