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Emira Deposit Holders Test Drive Reviews

sl_austin

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Hi all, incoming first-time Lotus owner here from Austin, TX. Born and raised in Germany, but I came here as fast as I could (in '94). Got into cars only a few years ago, ~2016, spent most play time before racing bicycles/triathlon. Currently own a '17 Giulia, and heavily tuned '17 124 Spider. Spent years at a local track (Driveway Austin, for anybody local) before it closed late last year, learning how to drive and race cars, and the occasional outing to COTA. My Lotus experience is limited to a track outing in a friends Evora at COTA. Loved just about everything about the car, when I first saw the Emira I knew I had to have one. Put my deposit down with Lotus of Austin when the show car was here around Thanksgiving last year.

Two days ago, I was able to take a test drive in the demo that is making its rounds amongst the dealerships. The dealership in Austin is located among a major highway (N183). The test route was bland and just highways: north on 183, east on 45, turn around back to dealership. It allowed for some high(er) speed bursts, but no real opportunity to test the brakes, or handling in turns. The drive was too short to really assess the car, please keep that in mind when (if?) reading through the following impressions. For reference, I'm 54, 5'9", 165 pounds.
  • Appearance, ingress and egress, visibility: The car is a stunner, from every angle, no news here. Every time it returned from a test drive and the next driver got in, folks would gather around it, it's hard to not get drawn close. Getting in and out of the Emira was a complete non-event, one of the easiest sports cars to get in/out of. Ride height is appropriately low, but not so low as to significantly impact getting in/out. Visibility is great, incl. through the small rear window. I had solid visuals of everything around and behind me at all time, and quickly adjusted to knowing where the front end and left/right tires were relatively to the drivers position.
  • Engine and drive train: The exhaust note is nice yet mellow, even in sport mode it is comparably faint. I'm confident aftermarket options will come available to fix that ;). Power generation is nice and linear, pull is solid, quite usable to make decisive moves/overtakes. Broad power band is nice, but not as hard-pulling as a GT3 or 488.
  • Brakes: one of the open questions, for me. They worked (of course), but it felt like they may need to heat up to work properly. Highway driving is not going to do that, and the test route did not provide for harder braking or trail braking into turns. I couldn't get an answer from the reps on what pads they use. FWIW, my reference are Brembo calipers and rotors with Ferodo DS2500 pads, during the test drive the Emira's brakes felt less aggressive. For all I know, whatever pads are on may not have been bedded in properly. Given the pedigree of the car and Lotus, I'm confident though that my limited impressions are not representative. Also, pads are an easy upgrade, if need be.
  • Suspension and handling: Steering feel is great, the car will immediately go where you point it, with minimum body roll. I did not feel the sport suspension to be overly stiff, but then the highway roads were rather smooth. The few bumps and uneven spots were compensated for nicely, to the point that it felt that for frequent track duty, a set of aftermarket coil-overs may be necessary.
  • Seats, steering wheel, and pedals: the seat is comfortable and highly adjustable. I was able to quickly dial in my position. They do feel like they are geared more towards GT usage, the lateral support was ok but not great. Through a higher speed sweeping turn over an overpass, taken more aggressively at higher speed, with the alcantara fabric my bottom remained planted, but the seats did not support me well laterally. The car had only minimum body roll, but the lateral pull on my torso made it feel like more. Could be due to my 30" waste line, but regardless, for track duty a set of proper bucket seats may be needed. The steering wheel felt perfect, contrary to other test drive reports on this forum I did not have the impression that it was too big in tube diameter. I have small hands, and at all times and during turns had good grip, at 3 and 9 o'clock position. For the pedals, clutch and brake are close together, with the clutch more to the right/closer to the brake than I would have expected. It felt natural after a couple of shifts.
  • Overall: what a great car. Usable power everywhere, great handling, stunning looks, without being over the top. I'm curious how the brakes perform when at operating temperature and when pushed. As presented, to me the Emira felt more like a gentleman's GT sports car than a track-focused scalpel, but my expectation may well have been driven by my only other Lotus experience in an Evora at COTA, and the track/GP heritage of the brand. Can't wait for the call to place my final order.
Cheers from Austin, SL
 
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TomE

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Interesting write up. A shame they couldn't have a test route that gave you more chance to experience the handling and brakes.

From riding in a press Emira being driven by one of the development drivers, the brakes were very impressive, with even more stopping power than my Evora - which is already very good. There was similar feedback from people doing the academy days at the factory, so I wonder if as you suggest they need more initial bedding in or warming up.

I think your conclusion about it being a GT sports car is correct and is where Lotus have pitched it. In theory it's a replacement for the Elise, Exige and Evora, but in practice it's a more daily-useable Evora. The track-focused version of the Emira will come later.
 

VL3X

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Hi all, incoming first-time Lotus owner here from Austin, TX. Born and raised in Germany, but I came here as fast as I could (in '94). Got into cars only a few years ago, ~2016, spent most play time before racing bicycles/triathlon. Currently own a '17 Giulia, and heavily tuned '17 124 Spider. Spent years at a local track (Driveway Austin, for anybody local) before it closed late last year, learning how to drive and race cars, and the occasional outing to COTA. My Lotus experience is limited to a track outing in a friends Evora at COTA. Loved just about everything about the car, when I first saw the Emira I knew I had to have one. Put my deposit down with Lotus of Austin when the show car was here around Thanksgiving last year.

Two days ago, I was able to take a test drive in the demo that is making its rounds amongst the dealerships. The dealership in Austin is located among a major highway (N183). The test route was bland: north on 183, east on 45, turn around back to dealership. It allowed for some high(er) speed bursts, but no real opportunity to test the brakes, or handling in turns. The drive was too narrow to really assess the car, please keep that in mind when (if?) reading through the following impressions. For reference, I'm 54, 5;9", 165 pounds.
  • Appearance, ingress and egress, visibility: The car is a stunner, from every angle, no news here. Every time it returned from a test drive and the next driver got in, folks would gather around it, it's hard to not get drawn close. Getting in and out of the Emira was a complete non-event, one of the easiest sports cars to get in/out of. Ride height is appropriately low, but not so low as to significantly impact getting in/out. Visibility is great, incl. through the small rear window. I had solid visuals of everything around and behind me at all time, and quickly adjusted to knowing where the front end end left/right tires were relatively to the drivers position.
  • Engine and drive train: The exhaust note is nice yet mellow, even in sport mode it is comparably faint. I'm confident aftermarket options will come available to fix that ;). Power generation is nice and linear, pull is solid, quite usable to make decisive moves/overtakes. Broad power band is nice, but not as hard-pulling as a GT3 or 488.
  • Brakes: one of the open questions, for me. They worked (of course), but it felt like they may need to heat up to work properly. Highway driving is not going to do that, and the test route did not provide for harder braking or trail braking into turns. I couldn't get an answer from the reps on what pads they use. FWIW, my reference are Brembo calipers and rotors with Ferodo DS2500 pads, during the test drive the Emira's brakes felt less aggressive. For all I know, whatever pads are on may not have been bedded in properly. Given the pedigree of the car and Lotus, I'm confident though that my limited impressions are not representative. Also, pads are an easy upgrade, if need be.
  • Suspension and handling: Steering feel is great, the car will immediately go where you point it, with minimum body roll. I did not feel the sport suspension to be overly stiff, but then the highway roads were rather smooth. Thew few bumps and uneven spots were compensated for nicely, to the point that it felt that for frequent track duty, a set of aftermarket coil-overs may be necessary.
  • Seats, steering wheel, and pedals: the seat is comfortable and highly adjustable. I was able to quickly dial in my position. They do feel like they are geared more towards GT usage, the lateral support was ok but not great. Through a higher speed sweeping turn over an overpass, taken more aggressively at higher speed, with the alcantara fabric my bottom remained planted, but the seats did not support me well laterally. The car had only minimum body roll, but the lateral pull on my torso made it feel like more. Could be due to my 30" waste line, but regardless, for track duty a set of proper bucket seats may be needed. The steering wheel felt perfect, contrary to other test drive reports on this forum I did not have the impression that it was too big in tube diameter. I have small hands, and at all times and during turns had good grip, at 3 and 9 o'clock position. For the pedals, clutch and brake are close together, with the clutch more to the left than I would have expected. It felt natural after a couple of shifts.
  • Overall: what a great car. Usable power everywhere, great handling, stunning looks, without being over the top. I'm curious how the brakes perform when at operating temperature and when pushed. As presented, to me the Emira felt more like a gentleman's GT sports car than a track-focused scalpel, but my expectation may well have been driven by my only other Lotus experience in an Evora at COTA, and the track/GP heritage of the brand. Can't wait for the call to place my final order.
Cheers from Austin, SL

Thanks for the review! I've been surprised to hear the exhaust is fairly tame. I thought the Evora sounded great, but maybe the Emira just has increased/better cabin sound deadening. I'm wondering how different it sounds from the outside when compared to an Evora GT.
 

sl_austin

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Thanks for the review! I've been surprised to hear the exhaust is fairly tame. I thought the Evora sounded great, but maybe the Emira just has increased/better cabin sound deadening. I'm wondering how different it sounds from the outside when compared to an Evora GT.
Excellent question. This video I took of test drives leaving from the dealership onto the frontage road of N183. Ambient noise is of course considerable, esp. considering the proximity to the highway. Still, even in person the actual exhaust note was rather tame.
 

KevinT27Z

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When I drove it this weekend, I did not notice any issues with the brakes. I had to hit them hard at one point from looking around I got distracted lol. Cabin wind noise and the faint infotainment was all that I didn't like. I revved the engine while driving and holding down the clutch and his sounded aggressive enough. No one will confuse it for a loud obnoxious V8 mustang but it held it's own and I was satisfied. I should know coming from a tuned F Type R.
 

Pops68

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When I drove it this weekend, I did not notice any issues with the brakes. I had to hit them hard at one point from looking around I got distracted lol. Cabin wind noise and the faint infotainment was all that I didn't like. I revved the engine while driving and holding down the clutch and his sounded aggressive enough. No one will confuse it for a loud obnoxious V8 mustang but it held it's own and I was satisfied. I should know coming from a tuned F Type R.
Yep, I've grown tired of the muffler delete Mustangs. Seems like most of these youngins don't understand the value of a tuned exhaust system! I loved the sound of the Nismo exhaust on my 350Z and planning on getting something like that on my Emira. Hard to tell from the videos but in sports or track mode it seems to have a nice note.
 

sl_austin

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When I drove it this weekend, I did not notice any issues with the brakes. I had to hit them hard at one point from looking around I got distracted lol. Cabin wind noise and the faint infotainment was all that I didn't like. I revved the engine while driving and holding down the clutch and his sounded aggressive enough. No one will confuse it for a loud obnoxious V8 mustang but it held it's own and I was satisfied. I should know coming from a tuned F Type R.
I forgot about the wind noise. That was actually surprising, I double-checked that the window was up entirely. Did not use the infotainment at all, other than making sure it was turned down entirely, so can't comment on anything there.
 

groundshark

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I had a test drive today in Austin as well. Not a lot to add over what @sl_austin stated. The route was shorter than I would have liked - and had to deal with traffic - but was still exciting. The acceleration was smooth - I was able to get into it a few times and it put a huge smile on my face. I agree that the exhaust notes were tame - my former daily driver was also a F-Type V8S and I was hoping for something a bit more aggressive. I selected the automatic when I put down my deposit, and after today I'm rethinking that. Not sure if I'll change as this will be a daily driver, but man it was fun going up/down the pattern. Like most of you, I've been very frustrated by the lack of information and how this process has played out. But, after the test drive, my excitement has returned and I can't wait to get my hands on mine!
 

Shyatic

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I'll repost this video I took alongside my comments on the car: https://www.emiraforum.com/threads/so-i-got-to-take-a-test-drive.1905/

I am not a 0-60 driver, nor do I care for the numbers on that (aside from how they relate to available power when I need it!), else I wouldn't really be shopping a Lotus at all.

That said, the car was phenomenal all around. Some little issues; longer throw on the shifter than other cars in the class (ie Porsche), but gearing was better for me so a wash on that. Stereo sounded a little meh, but in fairness -- I didn't really test it, I could be entirely wrong.

Where it shined was the handling, and steering feedback. This isn't much to say other than it's a car I can tell will become an extension of the driver, rather than all the other cars that have lots of electronic aids and helpers to make a driver look better than they are. This car will make a person a better driver.

I am happy to answer any Qs -- my hope is that I can take another test drive but waiting to hear back from the dealer on that :)
 

LotusRising

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Excellent question. This video I took of test drives leaving from the dealership onto the frontage road of N183. Ambient noise is of course considerable, esp. considering the proximity to the highway. Still, even in person the actual exhaust note was rather tame.
After watching the videos coming out of the test drives I think I have to go with the diamond cut wheels. They look so interesting in motion.
 

VL3X

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After watching the videos coming out of the test drives I think I have to go with the diamond cut wheels. They look so interesting in motion.

Agreed. I switched from full silver to diamond because of this. I think they look more premium too.
 

hbar

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Great to see these test drive impressions. I hope my chance comes soon. The car sounds fantastic to me, even the exhaust as I have never liked very loud cars. My 993 was about right, and much quieter than something like a current gt3. On the stereo, most good speakers have a break in period, so I wonder if it will start sounding better for later test drivers
 

Shyatic

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I'll be taking a second test drive in the Emira (V6/Manual/Sports Suspension) on Saturday at my local dealer.

I have done a single drive, I have some more curiousity about a few things myself, but if anybody here has any -- then let me know what you'd like to see/know/etc.

My other thoughts are in this thread: https://www.emiraforum.com/threads/so-i-got-to-take-a-test-drive.1905/

Hope this helps some folks!
 

Cachaco131

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If you can take a picture or mental note of getting in/out the car "my way" I would love that. Imagine you knee is hurt and you can't just enter regular way of stepping in with the good knee while leaving the bad knee on the pavement and then dropping yourself . Instead, face the street, squat down and sit and swing the legs. Reverse to get out if the car.
 

virtualmacho

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Lucky you! I have yet to actually sit in one. If you could ask the tech folks about the wheel sizes (probably have to remove the wheels or get under the car to see) it would be really helpful for those who are thinking about an extra set. Thanks.
 
OP
L

Lotustoronto

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  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #17
I'll be taking a second test drive in the Emira (V6/Manual/Sports Suspension) on Saturday at my local dealer.

I have done a single drive, I have some more curiousity about a few things myself, but if anybody here has any -- then let me know what you'd like to see/know/etc.

My other thoughts are in this thread: https://www.emiraforum.com/threads/so-i-got-to-take-a-test-drive.1905/

Hope this helps some folks!
Only thing I would say is try to give the sport suspension some more trouble if you can. It's the only point (besides what colour ppl want haha) that is still very much all over the place. Maybe just get a feel if it is to jarring in certain ways. Sometimes very difficult to get on a short test drive tho.
 

emiraspain

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Only thing I would say is try to give the sport suspension some more trouble if you can. It's the only point (besides what colour ppl want haha) that is still very much all over the place. Maybe just get a feel if it is to jarring in certain ways. Sometimes very difficult to get on a short test drive tho.
yeh and can you see what its like in the snow please.... thats starting to look like a real potential problem
 

VL3X

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I'll be taking a second test drive in the Emira (V6/Manual/Sports Suspension) on Saturday at my local dealer.

I have done a single drive, I have some more curiousity about a few things myself, but if anybody here has any -- then let me know what you'd like to see/know/etc.

My other thoughts are in this thread: https://www.emiraforum.com/threads/so-i-got-to-take-a-test-drive.1905/

Hope this helps some folks!

If you have the opportunity to get it on the freeway, crack the window and check for wind buffeting issues.

Can you ask if clutch replacement requires engine pull or is it more accessible in the Emira?
 
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