Suspension: Touring and Sports options

TomE

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
3,003
Reaction score
6,661
Location
Surrey, UK
Lotus promised us a further note on suspension choices. But as that still hasn't arrived, here's my attempt. This draws on discussions with the Lotus team, published info and some of my previous posts.

The tl;dr version

You've got two suspension options and one of them also has two tyre choices. A lot depends on personal preferences, but if you want a simple answer...

Get Touring if your Emira will be a daily driver, used for long road trips, you drive on mixed road surfaces (including potholes, ruts, concrete highways with dividers, off camber roads), you're new to Lotus and have not previously had cars with a stiff suspension setup.

Get Sports if your Emira will be a weekend fun car and/or track toy, you drive on mainly smooth roads, you've previously driven cars with a stiffer suspension setup and prefer that. You've got two choices of tyres.

If you'll be driving in mainly warm, dry conditions and want the ultimate dry weather grip and performance then get the Michelin Cup2 tyres. But accept they will wear faster and are compromised at low temperatures (under about 7 degrees) and on wet surfaces. They are a track-focused tyre first, and you can use on the road.

For all other situations the Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres are a great all round fast-road and all weathers tyre (not "All Season" meaning winter sub-zero use too). They are also very capable on track for the occasional track day. These are the standard tyre with Touring.

Neither suspension option will be bone-shakingly stiff or armchair soft.

Of course it's also about personal preference. There will always be exceptions to the above and it's impossible to be prescriptive about all circumstances.

My Emira is for weekend fun on the local cross-country roads, longer road trips and a couple of track days per year. But I've gone for Touring because it better suits my local roads (often poor quality) and the trips I do, plus I prefer the Touring handling on track. The Lotus folks agreed with my choice for my circumstances. I also know people who currently daily drive Exiges and Evora 410s/GTs and are happy to have the stiffer setup in a daily, so are going for Sports on their Emira.

Here is Gavan Kershaw, Lotus Director of Attributes and head of the ride and handling team talking about the options:

For more details read on...
 
OP
TomE

TomE

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
3,003
Reaction score
6,661
Location
Surrey, UK
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #2
Introduction

Apart from the engine choices, the two suspension options have been one of the most discussed Emira specification topics (and FE colours of course ;) ). Lotus have published summaries which suggest both are quite similar and that doesn't really help people make decisions. Lotus staff have also done interviews and talked to customers at roadshows and sometimes the guidance given has appeared contradictory or ambiguous.

It's difficult to describe the setups and differences between them, and we can't test drive them yet. We have some comparisons to previous Lotus cars but it's harder to compare to other marques - their approach to ride and handling is often different.

Lotus have arguably the best ride and handling team in the industry. As well as working on Lotus cars they do consultancy for many other manufacturers. Most of that is secret but what is public is that senior R&H and chassis engineers from Lotus now work at places like McLaren, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover.

The R&H team have the advantage of an F1-spec test track on site and development drivers who have race-winning experience as well as their engineering qualifications. Gavan Kershaw is director of vehicle attributes (basically the custodian of Lotus DNA and ensuring every Lotus drives "like a Lotus") and heads up the R&H team. He joined Lotus as an apprentice at 16, has worked on every Lotus model since, is a distinguished GT4 racer, owns an Esprit and designed the Top Gear test track.

I've discussed the Emira suspension with Gav, with one of his lead development drivers and with a couple of long-serving Lotus staff who have driven every Lotus model and variant from Elan to Emira.

Before continuing, it's also worth highlighting suspension choice is not the same as Drive mode. Confusingly the Drive settings include Tour and Sport modes (as well as Track and Off) - these settings affect engine rev limit, throttle progression and how much the stability programmes do, but this doesn't do anything to the suspension. If you're coming from cars where you can switch suspension between driving modes this is easy to get confused. You need to pick a suspension setup when ordering the car; you can select Drive mode whenever you like. More on Drive modes here:


The Lotus approach to ride and handling

This article gives a good overview of the Lotus approach to ride and handling:

Lotus ride and handling setup is based around a very stiff chassis and therefore being able to make the suspension a bit more compliant. You get great steering feedback without it being crashy over bumps.

Several people have commented on the apparent extra roll of the Touring setup and are worried this may mean a more wallowy ride with changes of direction. The Lotus approach means Touring has only a modest amount of initial roll then stiffens up. This is so the driver gets a subconscious visual and visceral cue on cornering force and turn in characteristics. But not the wallowing you’d get with a softer setup. On the road you’d have to be doing some fairly extreme manoeuvres to get a lot of roll in Touring.

Sports is stiffer and has less roll, so you need to be more attuned to the car’s behaviour, particularly when driving near the limit, as you don’t get the same roll-related cues.


What to consider

First, if you're new to Lotus, set aside what you've learnt about suspension from other marques. Particularly the idea that sport = better and stiffer = faster. Some manufacturers have successfully marketed "sport" as an upgrade that you must have on a sportscar or it will be too soft and impossible to re-sell. That's not the Lotus approach (although sport and track options have been available on previous track-focused Lotus cars).

Second, think about what type of roads you drive on and your usage. Daily driver or weekend fun car or track toy. Only car or second/third car. Highway cruising, canyon carving, mountain passes, cross-country on fast and quiet minor roads with sweeping curves and tight turns. Smooth tarmac or potholes, rough concrete, broken edges, bumps and off-camber corners.

Thirdly, think about whether you have large parts of the year with temperatures below 7 degrees and how much rain you get. For a weekend fun car you can often decide not to drive in the rain, but with a daily driver you may have no choice but to drive a long way home in heavy rain, cold and darkness.


What Lotus have said

This is what Lotus have published:

"The car has two defined chassis and suspension settings:
- Touring is tuned for everyday road use, delivering the optimum blend of Lotus dynamic performance and handling with a more comfortable ride.
- Sports is available with the optional Drivers Pack (standard on the First Edition) and provides a slightly stiffer suspension set-up for enhanced dynamic capability and feel.

Lotus has worked with both Goodyear and Michelin to develop two new tyres that are bespoke for the Emira. Goodyear Eagle Supersport F1 tyres enhance all weather usability and ride quality without compromising driving feedback. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres achieve extreme track performance without compromising comfort.
"

This is what Gav said in a long interview with the Smoking Tire podcast about tyre choices and about suspension:

- Tyre choices (70 front and 80 rear tyre versions tested!):

-Suspension Sports vs Touring (basically, if you're used to an Exige or similar then Sports will be fine for you, otherwise get Touring):


When Ade and I visited Hethel in January we had a long chat with one of the development drivers. We asked him what he'd choose for his personal Emira and he said Touring, on the basis he'd be using it mainly for road driving. He also said you'd be unlikely to notice the benefit of Sports suspension on the road and would need to be doing a decent number of track days at a fast pace to appreciate the difference. When we tried to pin him down on a number to differentiate between Sports and Touring he said it was a matter of a few percent, not tens of percent.

Many of the Lotus development drivers choose a Touring setup for their race cars.

I've posted before about the story of previous Lotus CEO Jean Marc Gales, who shortly after arriving decided the Elise should no longer be offered with a Touring option as all sportscars must have Sports suspension. He was given an Elise to drive for several weeks and after enthusing many times about the handling he was told he'd been given a Touring setup. Both options were reinstated.


The technical(ish) stuff

Both suspension setups use double wishbones and conventional springs and dampers. The springs are from Eibach and the dampers from Bilstein - who both provided suspension components for the Evora.

The dampers are non-adjustable and there are no electronically- or mechanically-controlled elements. No magnetics, no air ride, no nose lifter.

The key differences between the two setups are the rates for the springs and dampers, the setup of the anti-roll bar (sway bar), stiffness of the bushes and the geometry setup.

Both setups run at the same ride height. The blue show car is lower than where production cars will sit. The grey dynamic prototype is closer but a fraction higher than production will be.

It should be possible to apply the Sports geo settings to the Touring suspension (geometry is adjustable on both cars, within certain limits).

It will also be possible (at a price) to swap the components over and convert Touring to Sports or vice versa.

It will probably be possible to fit lowering cups to reduce the ride height. These are available for the Evora and so I expect aftermarket options for the Emira will also be available.


Pictures

Emira front end showing front suspension
Emira suspension 1 overall.jpg


Emira suspension close up
Emira suspension 2 close up.jpg


Emira and Evora suspension compared
Emira vs Evora suspension.jpg


Evora suspension close up - look at those beautiful forged aluminium wishbones!
Evora suspension from above.jpg
 
OP
TomE

TomE

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
3,003
Reaction score
6,661
Location
Surrey, UK
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
My longer explanation on the options

Touring
(I wish they'd changed the name): this should be called "Road mainly ... and fine on Track". This will suit the majority of people who want a fun and spirited drive on a range of road types and surface qualities. It's not soft and saggy, you just have a smoother ride and still get loads of engagement. In high speed and sharp corners there will be some body roll but only enough to help you gauge the cornering dynamics. There will be excellent steering feel and feedback. It will ride bumps and uneven surfaces well whilst maintaining good grip. This setup makes a lot of sense for a daily driver and for road trips and fun leisure driving. It will also be very capable on track - most drivers will reach their own limits before the limits of the car. Touring will suit a lot of people and so far 60%+ of people have specified it.

Sports: this should be called "Track mainly ... and OK on Road". This will suit people who mainly use the car for weekend fun drives and/or track days. It will be sharper and stiffer, but not as stiff as an Exige or Sport+/Track setup with other marques. The sharper ride and handling comes with some small compromises, particularly on poor quality surfaces. This includes not only potholes but also broken or poorly-repaired surfaces, off-camber corners, concrete highways with cross-joints and tarmac with undulations. The condition of these surfaces will be more apparent to you through the steering and through the seat, and more apparent to your passenger. On longer journeys this could be more tiring. If you're coming from a car with a stiffer setup then you may be fine with this, but don't assume you have to get Sports with the Emira. For some people "enhanced feel" might mean too much feedback, depending on what you've driven before.

Bear in mind Sports isn't an "everything is better" option. It involves compromises. The stiffer springs/dampers and bushes and increased camber are geared towards track use and hence are designed to help the car perform in situations where the car is lapping at high speed, with high G corners, with severe and frequent changes of direction, and running a Cup2 track tyre optimised for those high speeds. This means on the road the tyre contact patch will not be as well-optimised as on track, straight line stability will be slightly lower and if you use the Cup2s then those won't work as well at lower temperatures.

Most people are unlikely to reach the limits of the car on track in Touring setup. The Track setting on Drive mode/DPM will give you another 0.5 to 1.0 seconds a lap advantage. Replacing the Goodyears with Cup2s on track with Touring will give you a few tenths more on a dry track, at the expense of quicker tyre wear and sub-optimal performance in cold and wet conditions.


Tyres

Tyres make up a significant part of the ride and handling equation, including contact patch, grip and sidewall compression/flex. Both tyre options for the Emira have been developed in collaboration with the manufacturers and are Lotus-specific versions of the tyres, so carry an "LTS" designation.

With Touring the tyres are Goodyear Eagle F1 as standard. For Sports you have a choice of the Eagles or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. The Cup 2s are very track-focused and great if you're chasing lap times. They wear faster. But if you're likely to have cold or wet weather bear in mind their performance is degraded.

Pairing the Sports suspension with the Eagles is a good middle ground, which Gav has referenced in a few interviews. If you get into track days and have Touring, then switching to Cup2s (or having a second set of wheels with them on) is equally feasible if you want to improve times. But in many cases, an investment in driver training is going to make you faster on track than different tyres.

I've done a quick price check on the tyre options. The LTS versions of the Goodyears aren't on sale yet so I've used standard versions. It'll be roughly £840 for a set of the Goodyears and about £1200 for a set of the Michelins. Prices can change a lot with seasons, manufacturer offers etc and the LTS Eagles may be more expensive. But it gives you a rough idea. Also bear in mind that in like for like usage, the Cup2s will wear out more quickly.

Of course you can look at alternatives to the OEM tyres and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is a popular choice on Evoras and on other sportscars. My view is Lotus spend hours of testing to select the suspension components, tyre manufacturer and compounds. So I tend to trust their judgement from two years of fine tuning the setup, as tyres are a key component of overall ride and handling. Of course Lotus are also managing to a budget, but I know Gav made a strong case for the Goodyears as the tyre choice for Emira and it was an R&H-led decision not a budgetary one.

In winter conditions (below 7 degrees and in snow/ice) you're more concerned about safety than performance and R&H. So Lotus tend to recommend a winter tyre that isn't a Lotus-specific design, but they will still recommend a particular brand/model of tyre. I haven't seen anything about recommendations for the Emira yet but for Evora it was Yokohama W-Drive.

Tyre sizes are 245/35/20 front and 295/30/20 rear for both Eagle F1s and Cup 2s.


How can I test drive something that's close enough before demo Emiras are available?

You can test drive different versions of the Evora to get a good idea of the differences between the two setups.

Touring on the Emira is equivalent to the Evora S (Series 1) setup.

Sports is equivalent to the Evora GT410 (GT in the US) setup.

Any recent Exige V6 is a stiffer setup than Sports on the Emira.

I found it very useful to drive the two different Evoras back to back over the same roads. The main difference between them was steering feel and feedback, much more coming through with the GT410. I could get the GT410 to break traction on some particularly poorly surfaced cross-country roads, whereas the S maintained grip and hence traction. On a 50mph road that had recently been resurfaced but wasn't flat level, my passenger commented the GT410 followed every undulation of the road surface whereas the S tended to glide more and level out those variations.


What about resale values?

I'm sure "the market" will say Sport = better, because everyone has been conditioned by other brands to think Sport = upgrade = better so they can sell it to you as a cost option. But there are lengthy threads on every Lotus forum with arguments for and against each setup on the Emira. And, as Gav and everyone else at Lotus has said, it really depends on your usage. They will both be brilliant and both have slight compromises in certain situations.

At the moment both options cost the same on the First Edition V6. It's possible that when Base Edition pricing comes out that there is a cost premium for Sports, but we don't know yet. Both setups have the same component count and similar components. We do know that to get Sports suspension you will need to specify the Drivers Pack (which includes Track drive mode and Track features in the drivers display, LSD for the V6 manual and switchable exhaust sound) and that will probably be a cost option.

If you're worried about resale bear in mind that the current split is roughly 60/40 Touring/Sports, so there will be a good-sized market for cars with Touring. Sport may command a slight premium. I'd recommend getting the one you'll enjoy driving the most, rather than the one the next owner "might" pay a modest premium for.
 
OP
TomE

TomE

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
3,003
Reaction score
6,661
Location
Surrey, UK
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
Useful videos

Harry's Garage - interview with Russell Carr, driving on track in Emira V6 with Sports suspension and Cup2s, choosing config:


Schmee team at Hethel including talking about Touring and Sports and tyres, on track in Emira V6 with Touring and Eagles. The bit of roll you see in the video is designed in and, as Dan says, is to give the driver feedback about speed and corner force. This is a better experience for a regular driver, as it helps you understand the physics of the car. They also describe how amazing the front end grip and handling appears to be. Notice that even when sideways round the circuit there is only minor body roll.


Plus see videos of Evora S and Evora GT410/GT reviews for their impressions of ride and handling, for example this Evora GT410 review:


This is me in my Evora S (equivalent to Touring suspension on the Emira) chasing my buddies in an Exige and Elise on a famous hill climb on the Isle of Man (no speed limits). Corners are 50-80mph. Spot the body roll?



In conclusion

To some extent the differences are not massive. If you only drove Sports you’d be happy with it. And if you had Touring and never knew about Sport you’d be very happy too. Owners of Evora S generally don’t say “I wish it had stiffer suspension” and Evora GT410 owners don’t complain about crashiness and their fillings falling out.

Buy based on your likely usage and driving preferences, not on what you have been influenced to think based on how other marques approach ride and handling. If you're still not sure, get Touring.


If you came here from my Hethel visit write up then you can get back there through this link:

#ForTheDrivers

Gav sideways at Hethel.png
 

Leonard

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2021
Messages
1,587
Reaction score
1,897
Location
Derbyshire UK
Amazing, nice bedtime reading thank-you Tom
My 2p worth is I wouldn't bother with Cup2 tyres for the road, especially in the UK. They are amazing but unnecessary and borderline dangerous in the cold and wet.
If you are tracking your car then maybe worth speccing as they cost more and then buy some Goodyear or Michelin for the road.
 

Leonard

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2021
Messages
1,587
Reaction score
1,897
Location
Derbyshire UK
@TomE the lowering was interesting, any more details on that? Maybe the half way house I think I need between the set ups and better aesthetics?
 

robrmon

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2022
Messages
34
Reaction score
73
Location
New York
With all this said, leaning towards Eagles & Sport setup. 3rd/4th car, weekend drives with the occasional chance I’m caught in unexpected shower and means I can drive with more confidence at 45-50 degrees (never take my Evora out below 45).
 

EspritGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2021
Messages
643
Reaction score
737
Location
DFW
Useful videos

Harry's Garage - interview with Russell Carr, driving on track in Emira V6 with Sports suspension and Cup2s, choosing config:


Schmee team at Hethel including talking about Touring and Sports and tyres, on track in Emira V6 with Touring and Eagles. The bit of roll you see in the video is designed in and, as Dan says, is to give the driver feedback about speed and corner force. This is a better experience for a regular driver, as it helps you understand the physics of the car. They also describe how amazing the front end grip and handling appears to be. Notice that even when sideways round the circuit there is only minor body roll.


Plus see videos of Evora S and Evora GT410/GT reviews for their impressions of ride and handling, for example this Evora GT410 review:


This is me in my Evora S (equivalent to Touring suspension on the Emira) chasing my buddies in an Exige and Elise on a famous hill climb on the Isle of Man (no speed limits). Corners are 50-80mph. Spot the body roll?



In conclusion

To some extent the differences are not massive. If you only drove Sports you’d be happy with it. And if you had Touring and never knew about Sport you’d be very happy too. Owners of Evora S generally don’t say “I wish it had stiffer suspension” and Evora GT410 owners don’t complain about crashiness and their fillings falling out.

Buy based on your likely usage and driving preferences, not on what you have been influenced to think based on how other marques approach ride and handling. If you're still not sure, get Touring.


If you came here from my Hethel visit write up then you can get back there through this link:

#ForTheDrivers

View attachment 3199
Amazing amount of insight and detail presented in these posts for the Forum TomE I suspect you completed a generous amount of research legwork that journos and wannabees will co-opt. I hope they afford you attribution credit.
Thanks
 
OP
TomE

TomE

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
3,003
Reaction score
6,661
Location
Surrey, UK
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #13

VL3X

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
914
Reaction score
1,215
Location
Delaware
The key differences between the two setups are the rates for the springs and dampers, the setup of the anti-roll bar (sway bar), stiffness of the bushes and the geometry setup.

Has this been confirmed by Lotus? Specifically the swaybar and bushing differences. I wonder if it's a thicker bar for sports or are they the same and it's just adjustable and set to a tighter setting?
 
OP
TomE

TomE

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
3,003
Reaction score
6,661
Location
Surrey, UK
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #15
Amazing amount of insight and detail presented in these posts for the Forum TomE I suspect you completed a generous amount of research legwork that journos and wannabees will co-opt. I hope they afford you attribution credit.
Thanks
I do this freely as a contribution to the Lotus community I'm part of and that I hope many of you will join as new Emira owners.

I'm already aware that some of my materials are posted in other places without attribution. It would be more community-spirited to acknowledge sources and point people here. But it's the internet and it happens. The important thing is to provide useful, accurate information and help people.
 
OP
TomE

TomE

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
3,003
Reaction score
6,661
Location
Surrey, UK
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #16
Has this been confirmed by Lotus? Specifically the swaybar and bushing differences. I wonder if it's a thicker bar for sports or are they the same and it's just adjustable and set to a tighter setting?
I've been told the ARB is the same but is adjustable and set up differently for each. The bushes are different between the two setups. I think Gav has also made reference to it in one of the videos. It was the same one where he was talking about the benefits of the extra front track compared to the Evora.
 

eclat2emira

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
951
Reaction score
1,722
Location
Edinburgh
Lotus promised us a further note on suspension choices. But as that still hasn't arrived, here's my attempt. This draws on discussions with the Lotus team, published info and some of my previous posts.

The tl;dr version

You've got two suspension options and one of them also has two tyre choices. A lot depends on personal preferences, but if you want a simple answer...

Get Touring if your Emira will be a daily driver, used for long road trips, you drive on mixed road surfaces (including potholes, ruts, concrete highways with dividers, off camber roads), you're new to Lotus and have not previously had cars with a stiff suspension setup.

Get Sports if your Emira will be a weekend fun car and/or track toy, you drive on mainly smooth roads, you've previously driven cars with a stiffer suspension setup and prefer that. You've got two choices of tyres.

If you'll be driving in mainly warm, dry conditions and want the ultimate dry weather grip and performance then get the Michelin Cup2 tyres. But accept they will wear faster and are compromised at low temperatures (under about 7 degrees) and on wet surfaces. They are a track-focused tyre first, and you can use on the road.

For all other situations the Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres are a great all round fast-road and all weathers tyre (not "All Season" meaning winter sub-zero use too). They are also very capable on track for the occasional track day. These are the standard tyre with Touring.

Neither suspension option will be bone-shakingly stiff or armchair soft.

Of course it's also about personal preference. There will always be exceptions to the above and it's impossible to be prescriptive about all circumstances.

My Emira is for weekend fun on the local cross-country roads, longer road trips and a couple of track days per year. But I've gone for Touring because it better suits my local roads (often poor quality) and the trips I do, plus I prefer the Touring handling on track. The Lotus folks agreed with my choice for my circumstances. I also know people who currently daily drive Exiges and Evora 410s/GTs and are happy to have the stiffer setup in a daily, so are going for Sports on their Emira.

Here is Gavan Kershaw, Lotus Director of Attributes and head of the ride and handling team talking about the options:

For more details read on...
Thanks Tom, that confirms what I was thinking. For most, including me, Touring is the way to go; you might lose a few tenths on the ocassional trackday, and the bragging rights of saying "mine's got the sports chassis" at cars and coffee meets but realism should prevail!

For those who live in areas with smooth, well-surfaced roads - I'm envious of your roads and Sport may be a practical choice.
 

Samps

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2022
Messages
30
Reaction score
28
Location
Bexley
I do this freely as a contribution to the Lotus community I'm part of and that I hope many of you will join as new Emira owners.

I'm already aware that some of my materials are posted in other places without attribution. It would be more community-spirited to acknowledge sources and point people here. But it's the internet and it happens. The important thing is to provide useful, accurate information and help people.
Thanks TomE - excellent as always can’t wait for the next instalment
 

Similar threads

Top