In the realm of Lotus, the Lotus Emira i4 stands as the entry-level offering in terms of engine cylinders, boasting a four-cylinder powerplant that produces 360bhp. While it may be less potent than its V6 counterpart, the Emira i4 is far from a budget-friendly compromise. With the current “First Edition” model priced at a substantial £81,495, Lotus has elevated its pricing from initial estimates due to factors such as inflation, material costs, and production challenges.

Originally projected to be around sixty thousand pounds, the Emira i4’s price increase can be attributed to external economic pressures and production hurdles. As a result, it now competes in the same price range as the esteemed Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0, diverting from its earlier comparison with the Alpine A110 and setting it closer to the realm of established sports car contenders.

Powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-liter “M139” four-cylinder engine found in the Mercedes-AMG A45, albeit detuned to a more reasonable 360bhp, the Emira i4 delivers admirable performance figures. Accelerating from 0 to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and reaching a top speed of 171mph, the Emira i4 embraces a balance between exhilarating power and approachable drivability.

While the engine’s 360bhp output might appear modest in comparison to some of its competitors, it proves to be an apt and exhilarating amount of power for road use. The Emira i4’s acceleration is spirited, and its capabilities extend far beyond casual cruising. Notably, it’s only a fraction of a second slower from 0 to 60mph compared to the V6 variant, highlighting its formidable performance potential.

The turbocharged four-cylinder engine, often associated with mundane configurations, takes on an engaging personality in the Emira i4. It emits a symphony of sounds – from whooshes and whistles to growls and chirrups – creating a captivating auditory experience. The engine’s turbocharging is celebrated, resulting in a distinct character that is both entertaining and engaging.

Although the Emira i4 is available solely with an AMG eight-speed DCT gearbox, the transmission offers smooth shifts and responsive performance. While the manual gearbox is reserved for the V6 variant, the DCT impresses with its efficiency and adaptability.

In terms of handling, the Emira i4 maintains the characteristic Lotus precision and balance. Despite being lighter by 12kg compared to the V6 model, the Emira i4’s weight distribution is optimized, leading to a well-balanced driving experience. The suspension has been retuned to suit the smaller engine, resulting in a confident and enjoyable ride. The car exhibits remarkable grip and a propensity for precise cornering, creating a rewarding driving dynamic.

In essence, the Lotus Emira i4 emerges as a worthy contender for enthusiasts seeking a performance-oriented yet accessible sports car. While its pricing has crept up due to economic factors, the Emira i4 offers a balance of power, handling, and driving engagement that justifies its place among its more established competitors. With its charismatic engine, dynamic handling, and spirited acceleration, the Emira i4 proves that it’s not just an affordable Lotus, but a sensible performance bargain that upholds the brand’s legacy of driving excellence.

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