Introduction from Austin, TX, and test drive impressions

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: 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
 

TomE

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Welcome to the forum @sl_austin ! Thanks for the intro and for the insightful write up. I'm copying your post over into the Test Drives thread (link below), if any questions or replies about the test drive could continue over there.

 
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sl_austin

sl_austin

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Welcome to the forum @sl_austin ! Thanks for the intro and for the insightful write up. I'm copying your post over into the Test Drives thread (link below), if any questions or replies about the test drive could continue over there.

Absolutely, and thank you for all the insights you shared on this forum. I very much enjoyed just about every single one of them!
 

Nymare

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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
Welcome !

I miss Austin....went to college there (Go Horns !)
I am about to get to visit Germany again on vacation....river cruise on the Rhine 👍
What you think about the Shiner Bock Beer ?
Ruby’s BBQ goes well with the beer 😁
 

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