Primary Navigation Mobile

Lotus Emira verdict

2021 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 54.5

Written by CJ Hubbard Published: 8 September 2023 Updated: 10 October 2023

Should I buy one?

Simply put, the Lotus Emira is brilliant. Yes, there are a couple of problems with the car’s technology suite and the automatic gearbox on the 2.0-litre model is dopier than a bulldog – but all is forgiven when you drive it. Just sidestep the cheaper engine and go for the V6 with a manual gearbox.

If you want a toy that’s as stunning to look at as a supercar yet costs an enormous amount less, the Emira has got to be worth considering very seriously. It has the performance to deliver on the promises made by that appearance, too, though it’s really the involvement and enjoyment to be had threading your way through a sequence of challenging corners that underlines the appeal of this car. This is a driving enthusiast’s machine, through-and-through.

The problem Lotus has here is therefore less about the car it has built than the strength of the competition. The Alpine A110 is even more compact and approachable, and works very well on British roads. The Porsche 718 Cayman, meanwhile, is also outstanding to drive, offers a surprising degree of practicality and a higher impression of quality. We reckon it would be easier to live with as your only car, too.

The character of each of these rivals is surprisingly different, so each is likely to suit a different kind of buyer. Neither of the others feels quite as special as the Emira, however. So while it might not be the most rational choice, nor the one to go for if you need to use your car every day and for all kinds of tasks, it certainly offers a wow factor few other current cars can muster.

What we like

The driving dynamics are sensational, the V6 engine is punchy and the overall quality is a massive leap forward for Lotus. Plus the Emira’s junior supercar looks turn heads wherever you go.

What we don’t like

The Sport chassis option is firm at low speeds, the four-cylinder’s automatic gearbox is woeful and the Emira simply isn’t as practical as its rivals. Quality and – let’s face it – reliability remain big question marks at this stage, too.

Review contents