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Lotus unveils its last petrol-fueled sports car on the cusp of an all-electric future

The Emira’s just your average everyday, era-ending coupe.

British automakers Lotus have just unveiled their last petrol-powered vehicle ever, capping off a 73-year legacy built on the ever-reliable, if recently outdated, internal combustion engine. It’s the end of an era as you know it for the marque, even as they look to an all-new, all-electric future – a future where there’s elbow room for thousands of premium saloons and sports-utility vehicles to come off the production line in tandem with their sports cars.

(Related: Lotus reveals the company’s very first all-electric hypercar)

But first, the Lotus Emira. The sports car, which could house the first new Lotus sports car engine in more than a decade (depending on which engine you pick – there are two to choose from), is swathed in an all-new, cutting-edge lightweight aluminum chassis to boot. In other words, it’s got everything you’d expect from a Lotus performance vehicle, though recognizably novel. In short, it embodies the brand’s evolution, while sending off the marque’s petrol-fueled legacy.

Apart from the all-new turbocharged 2.0-litre engine (supplied by Mercedes Benz’s AMG performance wing) that ships later, earlier customers can expect the more familiar 3.5-litre V6, the very same engine powering Lotus’ previous makes, the Exige and Evora.

Lotus-Emira-Interior-3

Design-wise, you might think of it as the littler, petrol-powered brother of the Lotus Evija, an electric hypercar two years in the making. Only 130 examples of what might be the world’s most powerful production car – 1,973 hp from four independent motors attests to that fact – will ever be made, which is what makes the Emira’s lifting of design cues from the Evija so alluring. Said design cues include feature lines on the leading edge of the car’s bonnet, and aerodynamically-optimised exit vents.

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Interior-wise, the cockpit environment’s been brought forward to match modern sensibilities (read: comfort) while retaining an immersive driving experience, including Emira-only seats that’ve been designed for maximal lateral support during tight turns, in tandem with all-day comfort.

The new chassis remains as sleek as ever, thanks to the brand’s commitment to outstanding aerodynamics. Passive downforce, which increases with speed, is generated between the front and rear axles, ensuring grippy, predictable cornering. Combine that with a century time below 4.5 seconds, and a top-end of 290 kmh, and you’ve got an exhilarating supercar all wrapped up with a pretty bow.

(Related: Meet the McLaren GT, a surprisingly pragmatic supercar)

Says Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, in a press release: “The Emira is a game-changer for Lotus. It stands as a beacon of everything we have achieved to date in the transformation of the business, the embodiment of our progress. It is a highly significant milestone on our path to becoming a truly global performance car brand.”

Production remains at Lotus’ HQ in Hethel, Norfolk, after their recent £100million (S$186 million) makeover. It’s also the first sports car to be delivered by the marque following their fresh-off-the-press game plan that’s seeking to reimagine the luxury brand as we know it. Think a repositioning of the British automakers’ core ethos, while expanding its retail network and appealing to new customers with a family of new offerings.

For more on the Lotus Emira Coupe, head to Lotus’ website.