Dubai Diaries: The winds of automotive change are blowing led by this sports car

One legendary brand gives the internal combustion engine one final hurrah in Dubai


David Light

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Published: Sun 17 Oct 2021, 12:59 PM

Last updated: Sun 17 Oct 2021, 1:18 PM

"Christmas?! That’s ages away.” So goes the almost clockwork-like conversation regarding the festive season, which usually springs up around the end of summer. Whilst ducking out of the heat and attempting to find something to do in the cool in the depths of August; exchanging a few presents around an outdoor meal sounds like a tale from another dimension rather than what invariably occurs a few months down the line. Then ‘bang’, before you even know what’s going on the decorations are up in the mall and you begin worrying about gifts for everyone. Where does the time go? It appears to slip away faster each year – as the tired old adage goes.

In much the same vein, the countdown to fully electric mobility has always been a future consideration. In 2020 the UK government stated no new petrol or Diesel-powered vehicle will be sold in the country after 2030. 2030? Wasn’t Buck Rogers set around this time? It’s eons until that milestone comes around. England could have won a World Cup by then (okay, let’s not skip off into the realms of fantasy. It’s a decade, not a millennium). However, a stunning reminder about just how strong the winds of change are blowing did arrive in Dubai last week. Lotus, the famed sports car brand with a strong tradition in racing – beloved by petrolheads the world over – welcomed its latest gem, the Emira, to its Sheikh Zayed showroom for a quick reveal. As well as the regular collective jaw-drop the 3.5-litre supercharged V6 two-seater has commanded across the board since its release, it was another piece of information that really hit home. This 400hp producing behemoth, its engine mated to a beautifully showcased six-speed manual gearbox, will be the final fossil-fuel model the factory will produce before going renewable for good. This is it. The final curtain. The goodbye hurrah. It was interesting to finally hear with no caveat. Not ‘sometime soon,’ not ‘we will hope and see’, the time really is now – driving is already beginning to evolve and the combustion swan song is being heralded by a 0-100kmh in 4.3 seconds nippy roadster.

What a way to go, though. In terms of having one last blowout, the Emira will take some beating. It’s a back-to-basics machine that will stand testament to everything we loved about the first century of motoring. But what of the next 100 years? For that Expo 2020 Dubai appeared to provide the answer on Thursday evening with its presentation of Nissan’s all-electric crossover, the Ariya. While the design may not be as flamboyant as the Emira, the marque’s commitment to ‘Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity’ - core values of all zero-emission transport - leaves me positively charged about the road ahead.

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