Lotus Eletre Review: Dawn of a New Era

Lotus Eletre Review: Dawn of a New Era

Ng Chin Hui
18 Jan 2024

This bold departure is testament to embracing the electrified unknown while remaining tethered to the spirited legacy of a brand synonymous with raw, lightweight and unadulterated performance.
What we like:
pros
Incredible handling and dynamics
pros
Feels like a million-dollar car
pros
Superb build-quality
What we dislike:
cons
Gargantuan proportions make it a hassle to navigate tight carparks


As I stand before this behemoth of a car, there's a moment of introspection – a pause to comprehend the seismic shift this car represents for a brand so intrinsically tied to the symphony of internal combustion. For decades, Lotus has been celebrated for crafting cars that are the epitome of driving pleasure, built with a clear focus on the driving experience above all else. However, the iconic British manufacturer has now taken a dramatic shift with the launch of the Eletre. This new venture, marked by an SUV in a Lotus lineup, is stirring up the automotive world just like the Porsche Cayenne did decades ago.


This bold departure is testament to embracing the electrified unknown while remaining tethered to the spirited legacy of a brand synonymous with raw, lightweight and unadulterated performance.


The Cayenne stirred a lot of controversy when it was first launched, with critics and devoted Porsche aficionados questioning the move to an SUV from a brand famed for building great sports cars. Three decades later, the Cayenne today is the very embodiment of what a well-built, luxurious, and driver-focused SUV should be. The Cayenne's success has silenced many of those critics, and today, it, along with the ever-popular Macan, has well and truly become the cornerstone of Porsche's sales. Could the Eletre be a similar step in the right direction for Lotus to become a global consumer brand?


The Lotus Eletre's arrival challenges the established paradigm of what a Lotus car should be. Historically, Lotus has been all about lightweight sports cars that put driver engagement and precision handling at the forefront. The likes of the Elise and Exige were built to be raw, unadulterated sports cars known for exceptional handling and delivering an exhilarating experience. The Lotus Eletre, on the other hand, is a five-door SUV with a strong emphasis on luxury, comfort, and electric performance.


Just as the Porsche Cayenne did in its time, the Lotus Eletre introduces the brand to a new segment of the market and a broader customer base. It allows Lotus to tap into the ever-growing demand for electric vehicles and the surging popularity of SUVs, both of which are critical for long-term success in today's automotive landscape. This shift is a calculated move aimed at expanding the company's reach and appealing to a larger global audience. Convincing enough to convert diehard fans? Let’s find out.


Exterior – Aspiring Lamborghini Urus?
At approximately 5.1 metres long and 2.1 metres wide, this car hulks an imposing figure. To the untrained eye, the front of the Eletre may bear a passing resemblance to the ostentatious Lamborghini Urus from afar, and the rear, another soccer mum’s Porsche Macan. The fact that it is flanked by wide curves and sharp, chiselled lights and angles all over makes it a bit of a handful to look at initially. But bear with me, because I do find this design language quite a sight to behold, and rather charming.


Interior – Is the Lotus Eletre a Proper Luxury Car?

Stepping inside, I cannot deny that the experience diverges from the anticipated embrace of traditional Lotus design characterised by elemental, sparse interiors often devoid of what might be deemed as "basic" human comforts such as radios or cupholders. Instead, a lavish ambiance unfolds, with Nappa leather enveloping every surface, seats that seamlessly massage, and a level of tactility reminiscent of a Bentley Bentayga. Encircled by tall, thick leather-clad door sills, one cannot escape the sensation of being ensconced within a luxuriously insulated lounge—a rather lovely place to be indeed.


Horsepower, Handling and Range
Powering the Eletre S is a 112 kWh battery and twin-motors, delivering 600 horsepower and a century sprint time of 4.5 seconds—which may not seem exhilaratingly rapid today, but, for a 2.5 tonne car, is plenty enough. If the straight-line figures weren’t enough to entice you, you will be pleased to hear that this thing is a marvel to drive, especially through winding roads. It is a Lotus through and through, dancing on the edge of adhesion in the corners with a grace that belies its gargantuan weight and electric nature. This is in part thanks to the car’s meticulously tuned air suspension, rear wheel steering, and intelligent torque vectoring orchestrating a symphony of dynamic prowess.
Being an electric car, the Eletre is, as one would expect, silent to cruise around town in. And yes, the ride is incredibly comfortable and pliant, thanks again to its air suspension with multiple degrees of firmness and height adjustments to suit your everyday preferences.


With an estimated range of 580 km (WLTP), we managed to cover roughly 500 km on a single charge—with plenty of spirited driving and a casual nonchalance towards efficiency. This should quell your range anxiety concerns, if any.


How much is the Lotus Eletre in Singapore?
The Eletre S is priced from S$598,800 (excluding COE), a figure which seems rather reasonable considering its rivals are already flanking the million-dollar mark. Potential buyers would also be pleased to know that the cars come pretty much fully equipped as standard, and most customers will only end up forking extra for fancier colours, such as Blossom Grey. It is also worth noting that all units are individually customised to customer specifications, and take approximately two months to be built and a week to be shipped to our shores.


Conclusion
It is clear that the Lotus Eletre is an incredible proposition to seriously consider—it has all the right ingredients to make for a compelling product, one that is a testament to Lotus' unwavering commitment to innovation and relentless pursuit of excellence. As Lotus embarks on this transformative journey, the Eletre symbolises a new chapter, one in which Lotus evolves while preserving the essence of driving exhilaration that has defined it for generations.

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