Lotus Emira Buyers are Finally Getting Their Cars After Years-Long Emissions Holdup

Better late than never, Lotus’ final internal combustion-powered sports cars are hitting U.S. roads at last.

byJames Gilboy|
2024 Lotus Emira


Lotus' final internal combustion-engined sports car, the Emira, has at last been cleared to go on sale in all 50 U.S. states.

Revealed in summer 2021, the Emira First Edition was to be powered by the same supercharged 3.5-liter Toyota V6 that was used in the Evora GT. It was originally meant to be delivered in spring 2022, but the season came and went without a new Lotus in the States. As it turned out, that was because the Emira was stalled by the process of emissions certification with the California Air Resources Board. While only 14 states abide by CARB standards, Lotus held deliveries until certification to avoid registration problems according to Motor1.

Now, the papers have finally cleared, with a Lotus Talk user performing a public records request that shows the Emira to be certified as of February 29. While some users were initially skeptical, the emissions clearance has since been confirmed by a company spokesperson to The Drive.

It's not clear if Lotus' difficulties certifying the Emira are related more to production difficulties stemming from COVID-19 or due to the age of its Toyota V6. The Toyota GR family of V6s dates back to 2002, and may not be designed in a way that's optimal for modern emissions equipment. The decrease in power between its appearances in the Evora GT and Emira (where it loses 16 horsepower) seems to suggest this.

It's also unclear how long the V6 and its associated manual transmission will make it into the Emira's production run. Eventually, Lotus will introduce a version powered by a 360-hp Mercedes-AMG turbo four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, which is supposed to replace the V6 model outright. With many Lotus EVs on the way, it's clear the age of the light, simple Lotus is over. Given Lotus's historic troubles keeping the lights on, it may be a sacrifice Lotus had to make.

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