Emira Blue Rear Three Quarter.
Emira Blue Rear Three Quarter.
Image: Lotus Cars

After honing its brand around low-slung racers, Lotus Cars is introducing an entry-level sports car comfortable enough for everyday use.

Priced at less than 60,000 pounds (R1.2 million), the all-new Emira is set for delivery from mid-2022 and will help Lotus ramp up volumes at its production site in Hethel, England. Featuring the brand’s typical curved lines and lightweight design, the car will offer new levels of practicality and comfort, the manufacturer said Tuesday in a statement.

“The Emira is a game-changer for Lotus,” Managing Director Matt Windle said. It’s a “milestone on our path to becoming a truly global performance car brand.”

With the Emira, alongside a plan to build electrified SUVs at a new plant in China, Lotus is making progress on expanding its business from selling just a handful of cars each year that appeal to racing fans. SUVs will be a major shift for the company that’s known for agile, well-handling models like the Elise and the wedge-shaped Esprit favored by James Bond.

Emira Blue Front Three Quarter.
Emira Blue Front Three Quarter.
Image: Lotus Cars

To finance the push into EVs and gaining scale, China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is weighing an initial public offering of the iconic British brand, people familiar with the matter said in April. A listing could value the business at more than $15 billion (R216 billion), the people said.

Lotus plans to roughly triple production from around 1,600 cars annually in the U.K. and add a new plant in China with capacity to make 10,000 vehicles.

INT Corner Left Blue.
INT Corner Left Blue.
Image: Lotus Cars

The Emira, which Lotus previously said will be its last gasoline-only model, will come with a choice of two engines, a 2-liter turbocharged motor from Mercedes-Benz AG’s AMG unit, as well as the supercharged 3.5-liter V6 from Toyota Motor Corp. that also powers existing Evora and Exige models.

Lotus is developing an electric hypercar, the $2 million (R29 million) Evija that’s billed as the world’s most powerful auto. It’s looking to partner with Renault SA’s Alpine unit to develop a battery-powered sports car that will help save costs in the shift to making EVs.

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