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Lotus installs its most powerful ever 4cyl in the Emira

V6 gets playmate in the form of a Merc-derived 2.0-litre turbo with 360bhp

Published: 13 Jul 2023

We were promised a cheaper, four-cylinder version of the Lotus Emira last year, and at last, here it is: the most powerful four-pot Lotus ever built. Gets your attention immediately, doesn’t it?

Based on Mercedes’ record-breaking, all-aluminium 2.0-litre turbo, Lotus has taken the liberty of making some adjustments before bolting it into the Emira. We’re talking new intake and exhaust systems, bespoke calibration and new transmission shift-mapping, among other things.

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It’s mated to an eight-speed DCT (a first for Lotus) also borrowed from Merc, the thinking being that drivers can take manual control when the road ahead gets twisty and revert to auto mode the rest of the time.

The engine’s a twin-scroll turbo, meaning the turbo housing is split into ducts matching those in the exhaust manifold to limit gas population interference and aid efficiency. It also helps build boost pressure more quickly, claims Lotus, improving responsiveness.

And the cylinder block is forged from a chill-casting process as opposed to a more conventional sand-casting method, resulting in a stronger and more durable structure suited to - let’s face it - being ragged along your nearest B road many times over.

The 2.0-litre produces 360bhp at 6,600rpm, making it the most potent 4cyl Lotus sports car ever. Not bad when the back catalogue includes the Elise, Esprit, Europa, Elan and Elite.

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There’s launch control that’ll help propel the Emira to 62mph from a standstill in 4.4 seconds, all the way to 180mph. Peak torque hits 317lb ft between 3,000 and 5,500rpm. Emissions are pencilled in at 208g/km; fuel economy remains TBC.

Oh, and this being Lotus there is of course a weight-saving: 12kg over the more muscular V6.

“We’ve meticulously tuned the suspension settings for the 2.0-litre Emira to deliver the superb body and control that’s a Lotus hallmark without the car ever feeling harsh,” explained Gavan Kershaw, Lotus's director of vehicle attributes and product integrity. “We’ve calibrated engine and transmission mapping, in tandem with the drive modes, to create a refined and relaxed character in Tour, and with incredible launch performance, superb drivability, even quicker throttle response and kickdown in Sport and Track.

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“We’ve also taken the opportunity to refine how the powertrain is linked to the traction and stability control systems to deliver the high-performance feel and connection that Lotus drivers expect.”

You can order an Emira i4 in First Edition spec now, although it’s way more expensive than the £71,995 that was touted in March 2022: the asking price has ballooned to £81,995, while the supercharged V6 has gone up to £85,995 in that time.

Inflation’s a pest, ain’t it?

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