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Opinion

Opinion: Lotus should reinvent the Emira’s wheel

One small change would make a big difference to the promising new Lotus

Published: 13 Jun 2022

The Lotus Emira has a brilliant interior, but the steering wheel is awful. It was too much to expect a new Lotus to truly nail a genius interior first time round. We got a mid-engined sports car that doesn’t require hip dislocation to climb into, solid materials, a decent driving position and a touchscreen to make a Volkswagen designer weep with jealousy. But then they got to the steering wheel. And someone got carried away.

I can see why they went for a square. The screen behind the wheel is rectangular, so the square wheel allows a good view of the digi-instruments. 

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It also looks futuristic and racey, giving the Emira a link to the Evija hypercar’s F1-style helm. 

Lotus Emira steering wheel

Plus, Ferrari and Aston Martin have done good things with square wheels in recent years. Lotus fancied following suit. But the Lotus Emira’s steering wheel is dumb. 

It’s stupidly thick, which means all that trouble the engineers went to with ye olde hydraulic steering has been spoiled. Difficult to enjoy world class steering wheel if you need hands like Salad Fingers to hold onto the wheel. 

It’s also fixed in the wrong place. Have a look: the central boss around which the wheel rotates is way offset to the bottom. So, when you’ve got half a turn of lock on, your knees bash the wheel rim as your feet operate the pedals. This doesn’t happen in cars where the steering wheel rotates in a fixed circle. Like, just off the top of my head, a Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0. 

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And the buttons are all wrong. They’re touch-sensitive and too easily clickable, so you negotiate a roundabout and set off down the next road only to discover you’ve accidentally selected a G-force meter instead of the nav, and the radio volume is making your ears bleed. 

Difficult to enjoy world class steering wheel if you need hands like Salad Fingers to hold onto the wheel

It’s all very… un-Lotus. The marketing department was allowed to rule the steering wheel committee, and they’ve made a complete dog’s dinner of it. 

It wouldn’t be a tricky fix. Add a ‘Clubsport wheel’ choice to the options list. Slender, round, fixed in the middle and wind the button sensitivity down to minimum. It’s all very well that the Emira is the last Lotus with a petrol engine, but it shouldn’t be the first Lotus that’s unpleasant to steer through a corner as well.

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