British car manufacturer Lotus unveils first new sports car in 12 years following £100m investment

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Photo credit: Lotus

Lotus has unveiled the stunning Emira – the British marque’s first all new series production sports car in 12 years. The car will be built at a new factory in Norfolk, part of a £100m investment in the car manufacturer’s UK operations.

Building on the legacy of the Elise, Exige and Evora, the Emira is an all-new mid-engined premium sports car that embodies the ongoing transformation of the Lotus brand and has created more than 200 new operations roles at the company.

Lotus say the Emira represents “a quantum leap forward for Lotus. Those instantly recognisable brand signatures and core values have been combined with a paradigm shift in levels of practicality, comfort, functionality and technology.”

Following more than £100million of UK investment by Lotus, production of the Emira will take place in all-new state-of-the-art factory in Hethel where they have been built since 1966. The Emira will remain ‘Handmade in Hethel’, supported by new processes and technologies that will enhance efficiency and build quality. The company say it’s “a genuine ‘best of both worlds’ solution.”

The all-new paintshop features robotic application – a first for Lotus that will improve quality, capacity and process repeatability. It also includes many innovative technologies such as a combined primer and clearcoat line.

There is also a new semi-automated body assembly system, with robots being used to apply adhesive. Vehicle bodies are transported around the main assembly area on Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs).

However, Emira production actually begins at Lotus Advanced Structures (LAS), an all-new facility in nearby Norwich where chassis fabrication and front-end assembly takes place.

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars commented:

“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.”

The Emira has been developed on a new lightweight bonded aluminium chassis, technology pioneered by Lotus and which remains an intrinsic part of the company’s sports car DNA. That innovative vehicle architecture is wrapped with a bold and sculpted design using cues clearly developed from the Evija.

Powering the Emira will be a choice of two petrol engines, both globally respected for their performance characteristics. At launch, the first cars will be available as limited-production ‘First Edition’ models powered by the much-loved and Lotus-honed 3.5-litre V6 which cut its Hethel teeth powering the Exige and Evora.

First customer cars will start to be delivered around the world from next spring.

Mr Windle continued:

“The Lotus Emira is the most accomplished Lotus road car ever to roll through the Hethel factory gates. Beautifully proportioned with a stunning design inspired by the Evija all-electric hypercar, it’s the perfect package.

The Emira is a junior supercar with all the thrills and head-turning characteristics found in the greatest Lotus cars, but at the same time is an everyday sports car that’s high on comfort and functionality, packed with the latest technology demanded by the discerning driver.”

Pronounced ‘Eh-meer-ah’, the word features in numerous ancient languages and often translates as ‘commander’ or ‘leader’. It’s highly appropriate as this is the exciting new sports car leading Lotus’ last hurrah with internal combustion engines, before fully embracing electrification and a new era for the brand later in the decade.

The Emira will make its public dynamic debut this coming weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (8-11 July).

Lotus retailers around the world are now taking deposits for the Emira. A digital visualiser showcasing the car’s striking design is live at www.lotuscars.com.

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