The Lotus Emira is now in Malaysia. This is not yet the official launch, but Lotus Cars Malaysia has secured a unit for previews, which will happen this weekend (April 9-10) at its showroom in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam. If you want to see the car in the metal and try it for size before putting your name down in the pre-order book, here’s the chance.

By the way, this grey unit you see here is the exact car driven by ex-F1 champion Jenson Button at Laguna Seca last year. A pre-production unit, it’s not in the exact First Edition spec that will be sold to the first Malaysian customers.

The price list handed out today has the same figures we reported in November 2021 – the Lotus Emira V6 First Edition goes for RM1,131,800 in Peninsular Malaysia on-the-road fully-taxed, and RM456,900 in duty-free Langkawi. Yes, the nearly RM700k difference in the two prices are pure tax. RM457k is actually much lower than the A$184,900 (RM585,551) Australians are paying for the First Edition, so there…

A RM1 million Lotus might sound strange, but here’s some context. The Emira is not a “toy car” like the Elise and Exige; instead, this is a well-equipped everyday sportscar to rival the Porsche Cayman. The final ICE-powered Lotus (before the world, and Hethel, goes electric) has 405 PS (400 hp) and 420 Nm of torque – that’s comparable to the Cayman GT4 with 420 PS/420 Nm, and the Porsche has a base price from RM999k.

Behind the Emira’s cabin is a 3.5 litre V6 engine with an Edelbrock 1740 supercharger. This Toyota 2GR-FE is something that Hethel is very familiar with, and here, it makes 405 PS (400 hp) and 420 Nm with a six-speed manual gearbox. Choose the six-speed torque converter automatic – a RM15k option – and you’ll get 430 Nm.

Both Aisin transmission will take your Emira to 290 km/h, but the auto is a tenth quicker in the 0-100 km/h sprint (4.2 seconds) than the DIY gearbox (4.3 seconds). The auto comes with shift paddles, and the manual comes with Lotus’ lovely exposed gearshift mechanism, although it’s covered with mesh grilles here. The 2.0L AMG turbo-four with DCT version will come later.

Hethel says that the Emira – “the most accomplished Lotus ever made” – is a quantum leap from the now discontinued Elise, Exige and Evora. It’s still a Lotus, still “For The Drivers” and it’s still built on a lightweight bonded aluminium chassis, but the Emira includes a “paradigm shift in levels of practicality, comfort, functionality and technology”. A multi-talented Lotus that’s non one-dimensional? We’ve heard it before with the Evora, but surely the Emira is better at playing the daily/GT game – it has to.

Anyway, if your idea of Lotus is the Elise, you’re in for a shock here. The Emira looks every inch a supercar, just in smaller scale. It rides on 20-inch V-spoke forged alloys (diamond cut two-tone, silver or gloss black versions are available as a no-cost option), and the two-piece brake discs with branded calipers you see here are part of the First Edition spec, plus a tyre pressure monitoring system. Hydraulic power-assisted steering is standard. Yes, that needs a special mention, because Lotus.

On the outside, front and rear LED lights, automatic lights with LED daytime running lights and welcome home lighting are standard, along with a titanium exhaust finisher, heated power-fold door mirrors and rear parking sensors. The First Edition is fully loaded with four option packs, and one of it is the Lower Black Pack, which means the front bumper air blades, front splitter, side sills and rear diffuser are all in gloss black.

The Emira’s modern cabin is still minimalist in design, but is far from spartan. Ahead of the flat-bottom multi-function steering wheel (smooth leather or Alcantara, your choice) is a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster, and to its left is a 10.25-inch central touchscreen. It supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there’s Bluetooth and USB/12V sockets for charging.

The 10-channel 340W sound system was developed with respected British audio brand KEF, and the speakers are the latter’s signature Uni-Q units.

The seats are 12-way electric adjustable, with four-way lumbar and two memory presets for the driver that are linked to the door mirrors, which are auto dimming (rear view mirror too). Look around and you’ll also find auto climate control, cruise control, keyless start (under a red hood for some Lambo-style drama) and selectable drive modes. Ambient lighting in white, too.

A six-speed manual is standard; torque converter 6AT is available as a RM15k option

Buyers can choose from seven interior colours at no extra cost – Nappa leather in red, black, grey or tan; or black Alcantara with red, yellow or grey stitching. Satin chrome trim finishers and Lotus-branded sill kick plates complete the look, which is rather posh for a Lotus.

There’s more. As mentioned, the First Edition comes standard with a couple of option packs, and the Design Pack adds on privacy glass, sports pedals, black Alcantara headlining and colour options for the brake calipers (black, red, yellow or silver). Lotus-branded footwell mats are also included. The Convenience Pack adds front parking sensors, reverse camera, auto wipers with aero blades, auto-dimming mirrors and a rear luggage storage net. There’s FE badging too, of course.

Last but definitely not least for a driver’s car is the Drivers Pack, which gives customers the choice of Tour or Sport. The more comfortable Tour suspension is paired with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres, while the Sport suspension is matched with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. Essentially, do you want to beat the clock at Sepang or daily the Emira because you already have an Exige to do the hardcore stuff?

All this kit, and there’s more! This is a Lotus that comes with ADAS, and the driver assist suite includes adaptive cruise control, anti-collision system, fatigue alert, road sign information, vehicle speed limiter, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. Paradigm shift indeed.

There isn’t much left to option, but First Edition buyers can add on the automatic gearbox (RM15k), the Black Pack (RM8k to black out the roof, cantrails, mirror caps, rear Lotus badge and exhaust finishers) and a Scorpion vehicle tracker system for RM5,800.

That’s finally it for the car. Back to the price. A straightforward Peninsular Malaysia registration will set you back RM1.13 million, which sounds like a lot, but when you consider that the Elise Final Edition is already RM609k fully-taxed

There’s a way around this, and it’s called Langkawi. Pay the duty-free price of RM457k, keep the Emira in paradise for a year or two, and then bring it home for a substantially lower price than the RM1.13 million Peninsular Malaysia RRP. It’s all detailed here, and if you want to know more about logistics and storage in Langkawi, ask Lotus Cars Malaysia. The first customer cars will arrive in August this year.

Anyway, an updated version of the Emira First Edition configurator is now online, and you can spec your junior supercar on the Lotus official website. This preview unit is available for viewing this weekend – call Lotus Cars Malaysia at 016-6112388 for a slot. They are located at 43, Jalan Astaka U8/84A, Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam.

GALLERY: 2022 Lotus Emira in Malaysia

GALLERY: 2022 Lotus Emira