New Lotus Emira: What we've all been waiting for from the British brand
26:57

New Lotus Emira: What we've all been waiting for from the British brand

Sports Cars
Speaker 1: This feels like a fresh star. Lotus has survived. It's made it through the gold room. And now there is new money, new branding, a whole new factory with state of the art machinery, promising tighter tolerances and greater efficiency. This is everything that we've been promised in the [00:00:30] past, but this time it's actually happening. And now there is a new car to justify all this. The Avaya was the Vanguard. This is main event. This is the new and mirror stunning. Isn't it go on how much? A hundred thousand pounds, 150,000 pounds. Nope. [00:01:00] This will start from less than 60,000 pounds. Now we'll come back to the design in a bit, because first I want to find out more about what's under the sleek skin. Lot says that it's for the drivers. Well, this is the man that should know Gavin Kershaw. One of the most skilled drivers you are likely to meet, but also officially lots do rector attributes and product integrity. Speaker 2: Um, thank you so much for talking us around this. We're [00:01:30] standing in the back of the car because a, we don't want kind of, you know, get in front of the lovely in front of it, but, um, where to start as we're in the back, let's start with drivetrain. Should we? And the various options. So the engine we've got the three and a half lit of V six. Yes. And then a straightforward turbocharge straightforward. Yes. From Speaker 3: AMG. So yeah, as you said, perfect partnership for us, um, a, the V six that everyone loves with the supercharge and calibration to meet all the new missions [00:02:00] targets and talk delivery. So every one is a fan of the bigger engines and then embracing the turbocharge, I four S super powerful, lots of talk, lots of engagement, free reving everything at the Lotus engine should be. And it just yeah. Opens up every market for us and who prefers what markets and link those to the gearbox options Speaker 2: As well. So this is the M 1 39 engine. That's a, in a 45 Speaker 3: AMG. Yes. Yes. So the hardware then our own exhaust systems, clean air intake, [00:02:30] engine calibration, and the way that we make, want to make it sound feel and respond to throtle inputs. Yeah. So that's what, you know, we do so well working with the engine suppliers to make it Lotus Speaker 2: In terms of gear boxes. We've got three options, two with, with one six, and then one with the, the, Speaker 3: Yep. So the six speed manual with the LSD and no LSD, um, auto, and then the D CT with the I four, obviously calibrated to how way we want the gear changes to be, and the speed of shift, things like this, [00:03:00] but it's, it's a perfect balance for that style of engine versus what the style of engine when driving of V6. So, you know, it's, they're both really, really impressive, Speaker 2: Um, in terms of power and talk. I know you're not giving specifics. I mean, we, we know we know what that mg engine can producing sort of other applications over time, potentially potential. But what, what what's being said at the moment, Speaker 3: The range for the Amira will be 360 to 400 horsepower. So it's not too different. Um, but it's the way it's delivered and also [00:03:30] CO2 ratings and things like this. And again, certain countries wanting certain demands from their engines. So yeah, it's, it's a nice power range and talk range deliver under 4.5 seconds to 60. So high performance still, and, you know, it's, it's with the weight of the car, just 1400 kilos, that power and talk range is exactly what we are about, you know, the whole package. Yeah. Speaker 2: So underneath this, we've got the same extruded bonded aluminum technology technology. We, that we sort you, which [00:04:00] I've always said is, you know, there's no reason to change it. It's still fantastic, isn't Speaker 3: It? Yeah. I think that it's a misconception that just because we use the same technology, the bonding technology and extrusions, it's a new car to us, it's a new platform. It's a new, you know, it's a proven technology. So a steel body mono co isn't a copy of the, an next one. It's. So just cuz we use the same materials, it lends itself perfectly to what we wanna do, bending stiffness torsion and the weight and also for us weight distribution and how we manage [00:04:30] it. Couple that with the front sub frame, which is obviously produced in-house along with the chassis and the rear sub frame out of metal that we are actually producing our own chassis and up frames just in nor it's, uh, transported here to Lotus, Speaker 2: Um, in terms of suspension. Cause I know there are a couple of options there as well. We've got fundamentally now Bush bones, Speaker 3: All round, double Bush rounds, all round caught over damper, um, straight through anti Rollbar, front and rear typical Lotus, you know, from the leases Xs of auras. So well proven, [00:05:00] you know, you gonna look around the pit lane of any race circuit and that's what you wanna see underneath your body work. We've changed where some of the characteristics we want, the way that the steering fields ride compliance, things like this. Um, so we've been able to revisit lots of things that we've been working on, um, simulation and prove that out in the actual vehicle as well, Speaker 2: Wheel sizes, obviously I've noticed you previously see on sort before it was 1920 and now we've got 2020 in terms of front rear Speaker 3: [00:05:30] Diameters. Yeah. We went to a 2020, we've always had normally an inch stagger, but it is something that the design group were always challenged about that they, they like big wheels obviously and keeping the proportions of the car versus the height we we gave into Russell obviously. Um, but the, the big thing for us is that we have, we've worked with Goodyear and Michelin to develop our own tire. So we could claw back some of the ride characteristics that you lose when you go to that lower profile, um, wet grip performance, dry grip performance. [00:06:00] So they're completely bespoke for us, lots of iterations of tire testing, wet, dry, cold weather, and you know, having a, a tool like that to play with, to start with really allows you to make a, a 19 each tire behave like a 20 and a 22, like a nine. So yeah, fantastic. Speaker 2: Um, as standard is the touring or touring setup, Speaker 3: Is that right? Yeah. So we wanted to introduce two different chassis setups. It's not unusual for [00:06:30] Lotus. Um, touring is still hugely capable in any row condition, even on the circuit, the, at this, but the, your biased is towards, let's say commute stroke, B road enjoyment, the way it rides over and a little bit of tire noise that linked with, uh, like an all season, the good, the Goodyear tire, the Goodyear tie. Yeah. And then the sport where you can move the spring rates, damper rates up and body control to, uh, maximize the cup two. So [00:07:00] really you can tell the customer's daily usage, what they're gonna do. So we try and make it. So the car looks the same. The wheels are the same, all this, but it's actually there's guys knowing I use my car once a month on a track day, or I really enjoy fast driving or actually I'm gonna use it around the center of London or a city and transport people in it. So we've got the perfect balance for that. And then you can link in some packs as well, drive a pack with additional modes and things like this. Speaker 2: Um, [00:07:30] you mentioned weight 1400 kilos is a, is a lightest possible Speaker 3: Yeah. Sniffer of 1400. Yeah. So 14 five. Speaker 2: Yeah. So it's not, it's not lightest anymore. That's obviously heavier than it was in, in a VRA. It's not, it's, it's a more, more normal. It's a bigger, I suppose it's a, yeah, absolutely. What are the challenges for you then in terms of making it drive still drive like a Lotus still have that Lotus feel to it, Speaker 3: To be honest, the way, you know, it's, it's moved such a small amount that increasing, [00:08:00] you know, it's the footprint of the am mirror is bigger than Lotus has been before. So that actually gives you stability. It gives you the impression of a lower center of gravity anyway, and you don't have to be so stiff to take the roll angle in that we are very intelligent about if we have to increase mass through componentry, like headlight te years, keeping that mass as centrally as possible. So not putting it really extremes, keeping it low and evolution of ion technology and safety requirements. [00:08:30] You are always playing that battle. So yeah, we've increased a little bit, but it hasn't the increase in footprint that increased the weight as well. Just put the, a car into a new level of, um, cornering ability and security feel. Yeah. Speaker 2: And just how much fun is it strive? Speaker 3: It's, it's brilliant, you know, and it's, I love it because having worked at Lotus of the time, there's only set times in loaders, careers, where you get to do a whole new car and that's not just the design [00:09:00] aspect, but it's going to Sweden driving the snow driving we're handling work with tire engineers and just chewing the fat area about how good can we make? How much can we press it here? And what if we done this and its that excitement and just seeing the benefits of that gain every time and not being shackled by the hard points that you had before or anything like that. So it's always the pleasure of starting with fresh sheet and having the track at hethel, you know, this time round just being able to absolutely, you [00:09:30] know, destroy, you know, times that you'd been around the car. Um, obviously, and also the things like driving the Ava now as well. Yeah. You know, you, you want that certain characters, you know, Russell's brought some of the design language into the car, but you want the way that that steering feels in this to fill in the Ava and things like that. So it's keeping that whole DNA in the business Speaker 2: Steering. We haven't haven't mentioned the, the steering yet, cuz it's Speaker 3: Steerings hydraulically, you know, which is a massive thing, isn't it, it's a huge statement. And you know, and it's not backward, we've done it for all the right reasons [00:10:00] that we want the car to be engaged in intuitive confidence, inspiring. And also all the nuances that make a Lotus, a Lotus and the way it controls the road feels your control with the tire is that steering wheel and the, the way the effort's built up in the hydraulics and you know, our competitors and other people are getting close. But I think the litmus test is when people drive load us, they realize what they're missing and you know, we are not prepared to miss that yet. And obviously technology isn't getting better and better and [00:10:30] better and we'll embrace it when we need to. But this is the decision was this has to be all of the core values O and steering is one of them. Speaker 2: Yeah. Thank you very much. Pleasure. Speaker 3: I can't Speaker 2: Wait to drive it. Right. We're gonna talk to Russell now about sort of, by the way, it looks Speaker 1: So leaving behind the viewing garden, which sounds like something from the Chelsea flower show and heading inside to the more artificial light of design studio two, we set up again to find out a bit more about the looks of this Lotus from the company's [00:11:00] design director, Russell Carr Speaker 2: Russell, you must be, you must be delighted with this. It looks absolutely stunning. I mean it's, it's clearly son of Ava, isn't it? Um, but yeah. Talk, talk me around the, the design. Speaker 4: Yeah. We're very pleased with this obviously. Um, but we're always a little bit reserved in design. There's always something else we'd we'd like to do, but yeah, obviously Avi is very much the inspiration for this car we want is create a baby super car and using IVI, which was always our halo product. Our [00:11:30] statement of intent. Why wouldn't we use some of the cues when we come to design this car? I think everyone buying an affordable sports car, like this is once little bit of the, the halo effect of, of a hypercar. And when we're standing at the rear of the car here, I think you can really see that sort of baby super the car look really broad across the shoulders. And that's really accentuated by the taper we get in the cabin. And as you know, with Lotus, we always like to try and blend form and function together. So things are there for a reason. And this [00:12:00] taper obviously helps reduce drag on the car. And it also allows more air to get to this back surface the spoiler. Um, and that's really important. You know, aerodynamics is always a key value for Lotus and this car creates down force, uh, little bit of down force front and rear, which is really unusual in this class. So, uh, Speaker 2: Cause there, there are no active aerodynamics are, it's no Speaker 4: Active arrow. This is a very pure car. Yeah. Uh, we aim to get it right first time without any sort of enhancement at all. So, but uh, yeah. Really important to get the aerodynamics [00:12:30] right on the car. Yeah. Speaker 2: And Whil around the back of the car. This is, this is the setup we have for the, uh, four cylinder engine. What you'll see looking through here, but it'd be slightly different if you've got the V6. Is that right? Speaker 4: That's right. Yeah. So this is the four cylinder. Um, so we, the engine is largely covered on the four cylinder and it's to do with thermal management, not the, I present to understand all that. So some small vents at the front, if you go for the sixth cylinder, the, uh, the charge cool is on show. And some of the other key elements of the engine are on show with a [00:13:00] very sort of minimal cover around it. So we sort of showcase the engine. So kind of quite a nice last horah for a combustion engine. Cuz of course this is our last, uh, petrol car that we're gonna produce before we go fully EB. Speaker 2: Yeah. Um, moving further down, we've got L E D lights, Speaker 4: L E D lights. Yeah. And this very strong signature on here, this sort of C shape signature, depending which side of the car you're obviously standing on. But when you see the car from around the distance, it's something very memorable. And that's what we're always looking. When we are designing, we want to create cars, obviously beautiful. [00:13:30] We want something that's modern and we want something that's memorable and also recognizable as a Lotus. But in terms of memorable features, that's certainly one of them. And then as we move down here, you obviously got the, the classic diffuser at the back and that's been very much part of Lotus car since the Elise first appeared, uh, 25 years ago. And then another thing connected with, uh, combustion engines is, uh, two very large, uh, exhaust, uh, finishes here. And the detailing inside here is a, a nice [00:14:00] designer touch in here. The perforations you see inside there, they've got a sort of triangular plectrum shape, which is like the center of the Lotus badge. So, uh, if you're an avid car cleaner, as I know some people are and get their cotton buds out, you can, you can view the average time you work on the car. Speaker 2: Everyone's gonna notice that now. And then obviously brought the, the vents here. You can see the tars through there, which again, sort of evokes the Speaker 4: Yeah. Very much. Yeah, very much trying to capture the spirit of Ava on the back. But whereas [00:14:30] the, the ova, the, these vents running through the car, these are for alleviating the pressure in the wheel arch. So, uh, that gives some benefit cuz you get build up of pressure, which creates lift, which we obviously don't want, we want to create down force, but also it's just really cool seeing the tire on the back of a car. I grew up, you know, looking at pictures of portion nine, one sevens and things like that. So yeah, I've got a bit of a obsession with seeing tires on the back of car and uh, I think a few other people do as well. Yeah. Speaker 2: Let's have a move around to the side of the car. Shall [00:15:00] we? Yeah. Love seeing the via there. It's really cool. Seeing two of them together, isn't it? Um, let's deal with wheels first perhaps for we've got the, um, profile here. These are the forged items. Speaker 4: Yeah. So these are the forged wheel wheels and these are in the by color. So the diamond cup front face. So we also have a cast wheel as well. And what from a design point of view is a little bit different for us. For Lotus. We have got 20 inch wheel, front and 20 inch wheel rear. Uh, typically we [00:15:30] normally have stay AGA wheel sizes, but for us what's really good visually with that. It gives us a nice big wheel and tie Esher at the front, which helps lower the car and gives the car a little bit more presence from the front, a little bit more bite on the road. And fortunately it also works really well from the dynamics point of view, which is obviously really important for us. Speaker 2: Yes. Gar has been talking about that. So, um, um, taking us down side Harbor, we've got intakes there and there's another one sort of hidden slightly in the SI just down there as well. Speaker 4: That's [00:16:00] right. So we talk about, you know, this car having baby super car looks and certainly baby super car or a super car is really about a blend of sculpture and technical detail. And so we've got technical detail, it's all functional in here. Sculpture on the side is something quite extraordinary. You know, there's a lot of shape for this kind of class of car. Um, and this particular shape and this feature line that leads down here helps guide the air into this, uh, side intake that gives general engine bay cooling and also feeds [00:16:30] the induction of the car. And of course all this skull ultra as well, what we do in design is playing with light, light and shadow and it helps give the car a lightness, keeps it looking athletic. You know, we want to create cars that look shrink wraps and very, you know, uh, essential, no wasted space at all at all on there because we want the cars to look agile basically. So that's how we play with the light and shadow. And as you said yet, down the bottom, we've got a, another intake which feeds to the, the brakes at the back of the car. Speaker 2: [00:17:00] Yeah. Um, this car has got the black pack on it. So you've got the black roof here. Obviously you can get it with a body color roof. Is, do you have a preference? Do you think gonna, I think at the Speaker 4: Moment I prefer the black pack, but obviously as a designer, I'm always changing my mind. So it looks really good. It looks really good in one color as well. You can argue one color unifies the form as well. So that's positive, but uh, this certainly plays a really strong connection with a via when you have the black roof as well. So you [00:17:30] read it more like a, a canopy almost on the car. Speaker 2: Right. I see. Think the profile might be my favorite angle of the car actually. I think it's, um, it's really, that's Speaker 4: Good. We did a lot of work on there trying to tune the screen angle, the header, et cetera. And of course the horn is on the car, which you've heard me go on about before, when we, we work hard on those really important visually to give the car power and uh, visual strength. But also when you're inside the car, you actually see those as well. And it could be just the, the of seeing the [00:18:00] light dance across the surfaces, but it's also, you can help position the car by, by seeing the corners of the vehicle as well. So it's really important. Absolutely. Speaker 2: And then we'll move round to the here as well. Probably the most sort of direct link, I'd say with a via here simply because of this here, which has obviously got the grills under there, which is, is so distinct, isn't it? Speaker 4: The face. Yeah, very much. That's the signature from it via and that's something we [00:18:30] wanted to keep, but again, it's a, a very sort of functional detail on the car, which it makes it, you know, very, uh, appropriate for Lotus and what it is is we're we're, we we're taking air in through the center here. We've got the main radiator in the center and then we evacuated out through the surfaces. Okay. So on the current cars, the Elise, the Xie, um, the AOR, we have these two big extraction vents on the top, whereas this we've got this boomerang form, which as you say, um, mimics [00:19:00] IVA. And fortunately this is also not only just a more elegant solution visually, but it's also a more elegant, efficient solution as well because it actually, he works better than the, the current one, which is a, a happy coincidence or it's through much research as well. Absolutely. We've always Speaker 2: Got the, the new badge on the front with a new, new identity. Speaker 4: I should say that. Yeah. So importantly, the badge is larger than we've ever done before, cuz we're proud of our, our, our company. Um, [00:19:30] and also it's the new corporate identity. So the final production badge will be a little bit more, uh, jewelry, like have more finer detailing than one we're showing on there. But the, the, the actual design of the logo is the same. Um, and then on the front, the other important things really as well are obviously connection with a via are the style of the, the lights. So unlike Avaya, these are, these are full L E D. So the Avaya was a mixture of laser and L E D, but these ones are full L E D and that's available on all models. So [00:20:00] you don't pay extra for that. You get that, um, on all the variance of, uh, this particular car and where the connection with Ava is very strong. Is these two blades, all nice, like wings off an aircraft that give this signature that you'll see coming down the road, two lights. So as I've said before, it's like a warrior putting on their paint, but something very distinctive, Speaker 2: Obviously from around the front of the car, looking through the windscreen, you can see the interior and you, you were saying it's, it's kind of, it's like a via, [00:20:30] it's an interior invites you to, to look at it from, from outside as well. Yeah, I think Speaker 4: That's really important to me. You wanna be drawn into it. You wanna, your eyes wanna be drawn around the car. You want different aspects to see on the exterior of the car, but you also wanna be drawn into the interior. The interior's been really important program for Lotus because I think everyone knows us for doing really exciting, you know, exteriors, but sometimes maybe our interiors are a little bit too pure, too focused and on this car because [00:21:00] the intention is to be very dramatic looking supercar looks, but to be everyday usable, obviously the interior plays a really key part of that. So we thought about storage. We thought about where you're gonna put your cups inside the car, which seems amazing. So it's a car you can use every day. You can take it to work. You can take it maybe to the airport, you on a business trip or obviously take it on touring holiday or whatever as well. So, and Speaker 2: So we've got two screens Speaker 4: In there, two [00:21:30] screens. So we've got a 10.25 in the center and they're in 12 point, uh, three in front of the driver. And as you expect with any car, now you can get all your infotainment through there. So you've got your navigation. You can listen to your music, your telephone, et cetera, and obviously normal driving functions as well. But also, so some of the stuff, which there's about how the car's performing. So really just what you'd expect elsewhere, but we've done some really, I think really interesting graphics on there. Very clear, very sort of precise what [00:22:00] you'd expect from a Lotus, a car that's for the driver, something which is very pure and easy to read. Speaker 2: And in terms of obviously we've got different gearbox options, which we've talked about out there. So, um, I love the, the floating sort of transmission tunnel, but then that changes quite dramatically when you've got the, the manual gear shift. Speaker 4: Yeah, that's right. So we've got a floating transmission tunnel, as you said, which is really part of the theme where you had a little bit of inspiration from the S one spree where you have this rising line that comes off the door card and then into [00:22:30] the IP and a high center console. And as you say on this one, it's floating, we have the D C T option and you have this very distinctive, open loop gear selector. But if you select a manual box, you can actually see the mechanism below the, the upper surface of the center console and it's then incase sort of mesh cage. So it's on, on, uh, show, but again, it's really celebrating the fact, this is a combustion engine car, and one of the last ones there, but it's got a little bit of theater to it [00:23:00] and Speaker 2: You've got the sort of the, the cool flip up cage over the start stop button as well, which is nice. Speaker 4: Yeah, it's a, it's a requirement because it's a start stop button and we have to it so that you don't accidentally initiate it when you don't want it. So we put this flip cover on there and it's made out of metal. So like the paddles, if you have a D C T option, unlike the gear shift, if you have a manual option, it's a nice material. Uh, something that feels very reassuring to use cold touch and all [00:23:30] things that we love to talk about in design. Speaker 2: Um, two seat options, is that right? So you've got a four way adjustable and a 12 way adjustable seat. Speaker 4: That's correct. So the car's always a two seater, um, behind the seats, we've got space for a couple of cabin bags, which compliments the additional luggage bay at the back of the car in the boot Speaker 2: 208 liters and Speaker 4: 151 lit you know, more than I do. There we go. All I know is we spent a lot of time making sure in the back of the car, we could fit a cabin bag. Yeah. Or you can fit [00:24:00] golf clubs. I can't remember what size set we can fit in the back of it as I'm not, uh, a gold fist. And then as you rightly said, the seats, we have two options. So you can have, I think a four way and a, uh, 12 way electric adjust. So again, something people probably wouldn't expect in a Lotus, but you know, this car about having two personalities, really, you know, if you are, have the ability and the inclination, you take it on the track and this is gonna really deliver on track, but if you just like a [00:24:30] beautiful car and hopefully people think this is a beautiful car, um, you can just enjoy driving it normally. Speaker 4: And you know, it, it can suit your everyday needs and it doesn't demand anything over you. If you want to drive it in that man manner, you know, it's gonna be a very easy car to drive good visibility. And as I say, you know, lots of storage inside the CARF are putting good, good sound system as well, and a great sound system as well. So that's something really exciting. We're working with ke which some people might know have an extremely good name for domestic audio. [00:25:00] Um, and this is the first time that they've done a program with an automated company. So we're very lucky for our upgrade system. We've got ke as a partner, so they have this uniq, uh, speaker, which I believe, and I'm not an expert on this. I think it combines, uh, the tweeter in the midrange. So apologies if I got that wrong into one, but it really gives, you know, a special sound. So, um, and because we've worked really hard on this car in terms of NVH, you will actually really be able [00:25:30] to heal the sound system when you want, when you want to as well. Speaker 2: Russell, thank you very much, indeed. Nice. Thank you. Speaker 1: This color, by the way, is Seneca blue, one of six initial colors that will be available. And the name Amira in case you're curious means commander or leader other things. Well, in terms of dimensions, the length height and will base are almost identical to a Avara, but the Amer is about 150 millimeters wider. What to conclude then? Well, in my opinion, they have nailed the looks. [00:26:00] It has super car presence for a sports car price and dynamically. Well, it's a Lotus. So you just know that it will well, there is even the option of a manual gear box to stop purists like me from grumbling, Speaker 2: But perhaps the most exciting thing, perhaps I think that gives me most confidence is actually this interior, because it looks like it's from a major manufacturer, even on this prototype, there's a quality to it that I haven't seen in a recent Lotus in any Lotus, [00:26:30] I don't think before. And it makes me think that this really could be the new dorm that we've all been hoping for. The factory that we saw at the beginning being brought up to production readiness, the money going into that, the money going into the dealer network, the money being put behind finance packages. It all me confidence in what is Lotus's future. It's very, very exciting.

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