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Emira vs Blackwing

NewDirection

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I currently drive a 6MT Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, and am considering trading it in for a manual V6 Emira.

I have been on the fence about getting in line for an Emira for some time. I had a deposit on one that I withdrew after test driving the automatic V6 and feeling a bit underwhelmed. I was never going to buy the automatic as I am a die hard manual guy, but no manual was available for test drive. Well, the alluring shape and compact size has stayed in my mind and I am once again considering getting in line.

My hesitation boils down to three main issues, and I am hoping your "real life" impressions can help me work through these.
  1. The Manual - Not having had a chance to test drive a manual Emira, I don't know what the shifter and clutch feel like. At least one or two reviewers seem underwhelmed by the shift action. For comparison, I have tested the current M3/M4 and 911 in manuals and found both to be pretty half-assed efforts. The M3 shifter was very rubbery and imprecise while the 911 gear spacing is just...weird. I've never driven the fabled "perfect" S2000 or Civic manuals but my current car (CT5V Blackwing) has a fantastic shifter with short and precise throws, though 6th is definitely a bit tall.
  2. The Power - test driving the Emira left me feeling like it could use another 50-75HP or so. Some tuning packages are now available which can put it in that range but I don't want to void the warranty. Again, some reviewers have felt it is underpowered. My question is, does the power feel sufficiently "exciting" in day to day driving or does it feel slow a month in, once the new car feeling has worn off?
  3. The Comparison - although I know the two cars are very different, comparisons to my current car are inevitable, and I cannot afford to keep both. Has anyone here transitioned from powerful sedan (e.g., M5, RS6) to the Emira and if so, can you share some of your impressions? Did you end up missing the Big Car Big Power formula?

Thanks everyone for trying to help the terminally indecisive and I look forward to your responses.
 

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Hi @NewDirection, welcome to the forum and thanks for the good (albeit difficult) questions!

#1 - I have the v6 manual myself and I love it for the driving engagement it brings. I find that the gear ratios are perfect for a GT sports car. Like others on this forum, I did find that it takes a while for the gearbox to run in with gear changes getting smoother over time.

In my experience, there is always an adjustment period for manuals and everyone has a different frame of reference. What you will like may be different to what others may like. For example, for those transitioning from a Miata or Honda 4cyl manual, the Emira clutch is heavier in feel and the shifts are more notchy (mechanical). If you're used to "slamming through the gears" trying to race off from the lights or down a quarter mile, then the Emira shifter won't be your friend here. It doesn't like to have the driver smash through the gates and will want to work against you rather than reward you. That doesn't make it bad, simply different.

If the Emira was a track car, some of these things would become issues, but as a GT car, I personally find it great. Lots of feeling in the shifter and clutch, nicely spaced gears and very engaging for the driver. (But that's just my opinion!)

#2 - Again your experience baseline matters here. For example, coming from an eV or much faster ICE car, the Emira's acceleration will feel comparatively slow. I found that the Emira is surprisingly refined (more than I thought it would be) making it feel a bit slower than it really is when looking down at the speedo. Taking out the 3rd catalytic coverter and adding a Miltek excaust valve controller will make it louder / roarer and may make it feel faster too.

#3 - I do own a much faster car than the Emira (I won't name it here as I might get cancelled! :ROFLMAO:). However, even though the Emira isn't nearly as fast from a straight line acceleration perspective, it is still a lot of fun around the canyons and twisties where it can hold a decent speed and has loads of grip.

At slower speeds it's so much fun too, providing lots of driver engagement and mechanical noises. For example, the Emira isn't like a manual Porsche GT4 where you have a tall first and second gear, and these are the only gears that you use around town most of the time (how boring!). I can easly to use the first four gears at slower town speeds and smile everytime i change gears or decelerate with those exhaust burbles and crackles!

But in short, if you're not sure - dont buy it! Get more seat time / test drives to help you make a more informed decision. After all, we buy these sports car "toys" for our own enjoyment rather than for disappointment!
 
I currently drive a 6MT Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, and am considering trading it in for a manual V6 Emira.

I have been on the fence about getting in line for an Emira for some time. I had a deposit on one that I withdrew after test driving the automatic V6 and feeling a bit underwhelmed. I was never going to buy the automatic as I am a die hard manual guy, but no manual was available for test drive. Well, the alluring shape and compact size has stayed in my mind and I am once again considering getting in line.

My hesitation boils down to three main issues, and I am hoping your "real life" impressions can help me work through these.
  1. The Manual - Not having had a chance to test drive a manual Emira, I don't know what the shifter and clutch feel like. At least one or two reviewers seem underwhelmed by the shift action. For comparison, I have tested the current M3/M4 and 911 in manuals and found both to be pretty half-assed efforts. The M3 shifter was very rubbery and imprecise while the 911 gear spacing is just...weird. I've never driven the fabled "perfect" S2000 or Civic manuals but my current car (CT5V Blackwing) has a fantastic shifter with short and precise throws, though 6th is definitely a bit tall.
  2. The Power - test driving the Emira left me feeling like it could use another 50-75HP or so. Some tuning packages are now available which can put it in that range but I don't want to void the warranty. Again, some reviewers have felt it is underpowered. My question is, does the power feel sufficiently "exciting" in day to day driving or does it feel slow a month in, once the new car feeling has worn off?
  3. The Comparison - although I know the two cars are very different, comparisons to my current car are inevitable, and I cannot afford to keep both. Has anyone here transitioned from powerful sedan (e.g., M5, RS6) to the Emira and if so, can you share some of your impressions? Did you end up missing the Big Car Big Power formula?

Thanks everyone for trying to help the terminally indecisive and I look forward to your responses.
Test drive the manual when you can...After that if you're not passionate about the Emira, its looks, quirks and likely an occasional item that needs repair, then you should pass.
 
I came from 2 Corvette C8 Stingrays (2020 and ++loaded 2023) to the Emira and like you, couldn’t afford to keep 2 sport cars (or at least my spouse thought so, lol). So I went from a more powerful GM car to the Emira. I haven’t driven a Blackwing but was interested in them due to their manual option and after seeing and hearing them zoom around the track at Ron Fellow’s performance driving school while there for one of my 2 Corvette schools.

I loved my C8’s and daily drove them during much of the year, parking them only due to excessive snow/colder temperatures. I’m now daily driving my Emira and will do so until the temperature renders their all-season tires unsafe/ineffective.

This is my first Lotus but not my first manual transmission sport car. My last was a BMW M3 cabriolet. The transmissions are vastly different. The Emira is more “notchy” which is a description used often but it’s appropriate. It’s not as smooth/effortless as the M3 but IMO it’s more engaging and connects me better to the car and driving experience.

The ride is similar. I find the Emira far more “raw” than the C8 which felt more refined and effortless than the Emira. You have to be more “in the moment” when driving the Emira. So again I feel more engaged with the car. It’s hard to describe. The exhaust is quieter in the Emira so if you love the Blackwing pitch, you may miss that.

The cornering is better than the C8, which adds to my level of enjoyment. But again, it’s a completely different ride.

I prefer the Emira acceleration to the C8 but that’s largely due to the transmission and you won’t have that difference, compared to your Blackwing.

I miss some of the C8 options like the heads-up display, unlocking the car by touch, the driver seat/steering wheel automatically retracting upon exit, and more recently, cooled seats with my current +++hot weather. But these are conveniences and I wouldn’t trade them for the more important Emira driving experience.

You can read what many people say in answer to your questions, however this is so dependent upon your personal taste and driving style/preferences, you really MUST test drive a manual transmission Emira, before making a decision you could regret. Good luck!
 
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  • #6
Hold on to that Blackwing! That engines a monster and with the no lift shift, that tranny is smooth! The sound as well will NEVER be bested by the Emira. Go ahead and get in line for an Emira but add to your collection, don’t trade!
Wish I could afford both!!
 
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  • #7
I came from 2 Corvette C8 Stingrays (2020 and ++loaded 2023) to the Emira and like you, couldn’t afford to keep 2 sport cars (or at least my spouse thought so, lol). So I went from a more powerful GM car to the Emira. I haven’t driven a Blackwing but was interested in them due to their manual option and after seeing and hearing them zoom around the track at Ron Fellow’s performance driving school while there for one of my 2 Corvette schools.

I loved my C8’s and daily drove them during much of the year, parking them only due to excessive snow/colder temperatures. I’m now daily driving my Emira and will do so until the temperature renders their all-season tires unsafe/ineffective.

This is my first Lotus but not my first manual transmission sport car. My last was a BMW M3 cabriolet. The transmissions are vastly different. The Emira is more “notchy” which is a description used often but it’s appropriate. It’s not as smooth/effortless as the M3 but IMO it’s more engaging and connects me better to the car and driving experience.

The ride is similar. I find the Emira far more “raw” than the C8 which felt more refined and effortless than the Emira. You have to be more “in the moment” when driving the Emira. So again I feel more engaged with the car. It’s hard to describe. The exhaust is quieter in the Emira so if you love the Blackwing pitch, you may miss that.

The cornering is better than the C8, which adds to my level of enjoyment. But again, it’s a completely different ride.

I prefer the Emira acceleration to the C8 but that’s largely due to the transmission and you won’t have that difference, compared to your Blackwing.

I miss some of the C8 options like the heads-up display, unlocking the car by touch, the driver seat/steering wheel automatically retracting upon exit, and more recently, cooled seats with my current +++hot weather. But these are conveniences and I wouldn’t trade them for the more important Emira driving experience.

You can read what many people say in answer to your questions, however this is so dependent upon your personal taste and driving style/preferences, you really MUST test drive a manual transmission Emira, before making a decision you could regret. Good luck!
Thanks for the thoughful response! The idea of having to be more in the moment sounds very appealing. As nice as the Blackwing is, I find it can be a little "too" effortless, if that makes sense. I will try some more to get a test drive.
 
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  • #8
Hi @NewDirection, welcome to the forum and thanks for the good (albeit difficult) questions!

#1 - I have the v6 manual myself and I love it for the driving engagement it brings. I find that the gear ratios are perfect for a GT sports car. Like others on this forum, I did find that it takes a while for the gearbox to run in with gear changes getting smoother over time.

In my experience, there is always an adjustment period for manuals and everyone has a different frame of reference. What you will like may be different to what others may like. For example, for those transitioning from a Miata or Honda 4cyl manual, the Emira clutch is heavier in feel and the shifts are more notchy (mechanical). If you're used to "slamming through the gears" trying to race off from the lights or down a quarter mile, then the Emira shifter won't be your friend here. It doesn't like to have the driver smash through the gates and will want to work against you rather than reward you. That doesn't make it bad, simply different.

If the Emira was a track car, some of these things would become issues, but as a GT car, I personally find it great. Lots of feeling in the shifter and clutch, nicely spaced gears and very engaging for the driver. (But that's just my opinion!)

#2 - Again your experience baseline matters here. For example, coming from an eV or much faster ICE car, the Emira's acceleration will feel comparatively slow. I found that the Emira is surprisingly refined (more than I thought it would be) making it feel a bit slower than it really is when looking down at the speedo. Taking out the 3rd catalytic coverter and adding a Miltek excaust valve controller will make it louder / roarer and may make it feel faster too.

#3 - I do own a much faster car than the Emira (I won't name it here as I might get cancelled! :ROFLMAO:). However, even though the Emira isn't nearly as fast from a straight line acceleration perspective, it is still a lot of fun around the canyons and twisties where it can hold a decent speed and has loads of grip.

At slower speeds it's so much fun too, providing lots of driver engagement and mechanical noises. For example, the Emira isn't like a manual Porsche GT4 where you have a tall first and second gear, and these are the only gears that you use around town most of the time (how boring!). I can easly to use the first four gears at slower town speeds and smile everytime i change gears or decelerate with those exhaust burbles and crackles!

But in short, if you're not sure - dont buy it! Get more seat time / test drives to help you make a more informed decision. After all, we buy these sports car "toys" for our own enjoyment rather than for disappointment!
Thanks for the detailed response! Will try to test drive.
 
I haven’t driven the BW but from what I understand, amazing car. Have driven many m3s so familiar with the super sedan formula.

1. Own a s2000, and haven driven manual M3s and Porsche products. The emira manual is great and feels precise, but it is not effortless like the s2000 or Porsche. BMW manuals suck, but they can be very smooth. You need to drive it around a bit to see how you feel about it. No idea what the BW is like.

2. I don’t think the emira is underpowered but then again I don’t really think the s2000 is either. It has plenty of power to accelerate the chassis at any speed. This characteristic managed by the power to weight ratio and how you drive the car, make the car feel fast to me. The only time if feels like it needs more power is in straight line acceleration from a stop or prolonged acceleration. This is just not a scenario I’m in much. When canyon carving the limiting factor is your grip, not acceleration.

3. If you really like the blackwing I think you will be disappointed in the emira because it is so different. Super sedans are cheat formulas. You can outgun most anything on the road, acceleration is a joke, etc. that’s not the emira. While the emira has plenty of “go”, it’s not the cheat formula. I know what it feels like to be driving a Porsche turbo and know you can just hammer the throttle and be gone. That’s not the emira.
 
I am in the opposite situation. I had deposits on both the CT5 Blackwing and Emira. The Emira came in first and I took it.

One of the reasons I took the Emira is that, while waiting, I did a test drive on the Tesla Model S and it blew me away. I went into the test drive as someone quite neutral on EVs and came out really wanting one. I haven't had a chance to drive the CT5 since Cadillac here in Dallas doesn't allow test drives (if they have one, it belongs to a customer).

So I concluded that for a raw sports car with manual transmission, I should go all the way to the Emira. For a fast comfortable sedan, I might go with the Model S to have both comfort and ultimate crazy acceleration on demand.

And having both an ICE and an EV is a bit more interesting than owning two ICEs.

I haven't bought the Model S yet, so might still change my mind.
 
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I am in the opposite situation. I had deposits on both the CT5 Blackwing and Emira. The Emira came in first and I took it.

One of the reasons I took the Emira is that, while waiting, I did a test drive on the Tesla Model S and it blew me away. I went into the test drive as someone quite neutral on EVs and came out really wanting one. I haven't had a chance to drive the CT5 since Cadillac here in Dallas doesn't allow test drives (if they have one, it belongs to a customer).

So I concluded that for a raw sports car with manual transmission, I should go all the way to the Emira. For a fast comfortable sedan, I might go with the Model S to have both comfort and ultimate crazy acceleration on demand.

And having both an ICE and an EV is a bit more interesting than owning two ICEs.

I haven't bought the Model S yet, so might still change my mind.
Caution: Fanboy post

If you are in the market for a fast sedan I would strongly consider driving the 5BW before committing to another car!

Point taken an EV and ICE would nicely complement each other BUT the Blackwing is without a doubt one of the best driver's cars to have ever been made. The combination of supercharged V8 and the most competent 6MT I have ever driven, as well as the magnetic suspension and huge brakes makes for a sublime driving experience, far beyond just the headline HP and TQ numbers. This is not a muscle car, but a true super sports sedan, in a straight line and on the twisties.

You may be able to connect with your local owner's club and arrange to drive one of their Blackwings, I would not buy another sedan without test driving this one first. Heck, if you visit Toronto I'll let you drive mine. To be clear, I'm not anti-EV or anti-Tesla whatsoever, but look at it this way, the Blackwing and cars like it (there are no cars like it...) will go away, there will always be fast EVs on offer.

I think the Emira and BW would complement each other tremendously for a driving enthusiast, I just can't afford both right now.
 
There are definitely Emira owners in Toronto and you may be able to test drive their cars in exchange for test driving your Blackwing.
 
Caution: Fanboy post

If you are in the market for a fast sedan I would strongly consider driving the 5BW before committing to another car!

Point taken an EV and ICE would nicely complement each other BUT the Blackwing is without a doubt one of the best driver's cars to have ever been made. The combination of supercharged V8 and the most competent 6MT I have ever driven, as well as the magnetic suspension and huge brakes makes for a sublime driving experience, far beyond just the headline HP and TQ numbers. This is not a muscle car, but a true super sports sedan, in a straight line and on the twisties.

You may be able to connect with your local owner's club and arrange to drive one of their Blackwings, I would not buy another sedan without test driving this one first. Heck, if you visit Toronto I'll let you drive mine. To be clear, I'm not anti-EV or anti-Tesla whatsoever, but look at it this way, the Blackwing and cars like it (there are no cars like it...) will go away, there will always be fast EVs on offer.

I think the Emira and BW would complement each other tremendously for a driving enthusiast, I just can't afford both right now.
If you can't keep both, but you feel this strongly about the Blackwing (which, why wouldn't you?! It's phenomenal), I'd say keep the BW and only trade to an Emira or something similar when the BW is no longer appealing to you.

It's not worth rolling the dice when you already feel so strongly about your current car.
 
Caution: Fanboy post

If you are in the market for a fast sedan I would strongly consider driving the 5BW before committing to another car!

Point taken an EV and ICE would nicely complement each other BUT the Blackwing is without a doubt one of the best driver's cars to have ever been made. The combination of supercharged V8 and the most competent 6MT I have ever driven, as well as the magnetic suspension and huge brakes makes for a sublime driving experience, far beyond just the headline HP and TQ numbers. This is not a muscle car, but a true super sports sedan, in a straight line and on the twisties.

You may be able to connect with your local owner's club and arrange to drive one of their Blackwings, I would not buy another sedan without test driving this one first. Heck, if you visit Toronto I'll let you drive mine. To be clear, I'm not anti-EV or anti-Tesla whatsoever, but look at it this way, the Blackwing and cars like it (there are no cars like it...) will go away, there will always be fast EVs on offer.

I think the Emira and BW would complement each other tremendously for a driving enthusiast, I just can't afford both right now.
I will definitely think about this! Thank you!
 
I currently drive a 6MT Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, and am considering trading it in for a manual V6 Emira.

I have been on the fence about getting in line for an Emira for some time. I had a deposit on one that I withdrew after test driving the automatic V6 and feeling a bit underwhelmed. I was never going to buy the automatic as I am a die hard manual guy, but no manual was available for test drive. Well, the alluring shape and compact size has stayed in my mind and I am once again considering getting in line.

My hesitation boils down to three main issues, and I am hoping your "real life" impressions can help me work through these.
  1. The Manual - Not having had a chance to test drive a manual Emira, I don't know what the shifter and clutch feel like. At least one or two reviewers seem underwhelmed by the shift action. For comparison, I have tested the current M3/M4 and 911 in manuals and found both to be pretty half-assed efforts. The M3 shifter was very rubbery and imprecise while the 911 gear spacing is just...weird. I've never driven the fabled "perfect" S2000 or Civic manuals but my current car (CT5V Blackwing) has a fantastic shifter with short and precise throws, though 6th is definitely a bit tall.
  2. The Power - test driving the Emira left me feeling like it could use another 50-75HP or so. Some tuning packages are now available which can put it in that range but I don't want to void the warranty. Again, some reviewers have felt it is underpowered. My question is, does the power feel sufficiently "exciting" in day to day driving or does it feel slow a month in, once the new car feeling has worn off?
  3. The Comparison - although I know the two cars are very different, comparisons to my current car are inevitable, and I cannot afford to keep both. Has anyone here transitioned from powerful sedan (e.g., M5, RS6) to the Emira and if so, can you share some of your impressions? Did you end up missing the Big Car Big Power formula?

Thanks everyone for trying to help the terminally indecisive and I look forward to your responses.
I originally thought the same about it feeling underpowered in my first two test drives. But having owned it now for almost 1k miles, albeit observing break in procedures, I can already tell that the driving dynamics, chassis, steering and overall feel has changed my mind in that it feels perfect.

For the shifter, it feels a bit clunky and sometimes shifting from 2-3, I feel I have to really push it into 3rd well to go into gear. Besides that, it feels good.

For the transition, I still own a modded WRX and although that has way more power, it’s almost too violent compared to the Emiras smooth power delivery.
 
I am in the opposite situation. I had deposits on both the CT5 Blackwing and Emira. The Emira came in first and I took it.

One of the reasons I took the Emira is that, while waiting, I did a test drive on the Tesla Model S and it blew me away. I went into the test drive as someone quite neutral on EVs and came out really wanting one. I haven't had a chance to drive the CT5 since Cadillac here in Dallas doesn't allow test drives (if they have one, it belongs to a customer).

So I concluded that for a raw sports car with manual transmission, I should go all the way to the Emira. For a fast comfortable sedan, I might go with the Model S to have both comfort and ultimate crazy acceleration on demand.

And having both an ICE and an EV is a bit more interesting than owning two ICEs.

I haven't bought the Model S yet, so might still change my mind.
Agreed about the Tesla. I took out a model S plaid and it’s quick no doubt, but it made me feel so nauseated. I had a Model Y that I got rid of after a year and it’s really a good car for your average joe. In the S plaid, I kept feeling like there is literally no place besides a track that I can have enough safe road to really drive on.
 
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If you can't keep both, but you feel this strongly about the Blackwing (which, why wouldn't you?! It's phenomenal), I'd say keep the BW and only trade to an Emira or something similar when the BW is no longer appealing to you.

It's not worth rolling the dice when you already feel so strongly about your current car.
Very fair point, I was more trying to provide Dan C with an enthusiast owner's perspective as he's considering getting a performance sedan. While it's a great car, it may no longer be the car for me. I've had it for a bit of time and might be getting a bit bored.
 
  1. The Manual - After about 2000 miles it feels great and very positive shift engagement.

  2. The Power - No issues from a 400HP supercharged V6, it has enough go that it makes driving fun, not as quick feeling as my Evora GT or C8 Vette, but fast enough to enjoy on spirited drives and back roads.

  3. The Comparison - If you are looking for HP and 0 to 60 times, keep the Cadillac. If you want something that feels special every time you drive it, then I would get any Lotus.
 
I currently have a manual blackwing that I am selling and I recently bought an Evora GT with a couple mods done to it.

These cars are completely different, but in their own special ways. I am considering maybe buying the refreshed blackwing when it comes out and keeping it and keeping my lotus. The transmission in the Cadillac is much better and you can shift very quickly and without lifting off the throttle. The shifter and the lotus has that solid, rifle bolt action feel, put the shift from one to two has to be taken gently and slowly compared to most cars I have had with a manual. The Cadillac is big, heavy, full of technology, and comfortable. It has tons of torque and power whenever you want it. The Lotus is light, in comparison, and has a more connected feel and is not something you want to take on road trips. They are night and day different cars, which is why they each have their own use case. If you can only have one, decide if you want the one that is fun looking and gets all of the attention and has fun power and handling, or the one that blends in more but has a ton more power, comfort, and ability to go on a road trip with passengers comfortably.

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