Loturs Eletre R

Are you a Spiderman fan or a Hulk fan? How do you imagine your Lotus cars? Lightweight? High performance? Sleek? Or Big and Bulky?

When you think of Lotus, you probably conjure images of feather-light, high-performance sports cars that hug corners. But, we will suggest that you hold on to those thoughts (or imaginations) because Lotus has decided to throw a curveball into the mix by introducing the Eletre R. 

Though it has been subjected to so many initial controversies and skepticisms, there appears to be a genuine interest in Lotus exploring beyond their classic image of a lightweight, two-seater sports car.

Exterior: Lotus Eletre R

The Lotus Eletre, with a length comparable to a Mercedes S-Class and even wider, possesses a unique form that sets it apart. When viewed from the side, its identity as an electric SUV is evident, with a short nose, elongated central section, and slightly elevated cabin. 

The shape is accentuated by being a high-riding SUV with a ‘low-slung’ roofline, featuring steeply raked front and rear windshields that contribute to its visual appeal. The design, particularly in person, is striking and convincingly futuristic, with bold details that make the Eletre an attention-grabbing vehicle.

The Lotus Eletre exudes a sports car-like aesthetic with its raised ‘bonnet,’ angular headlights, bulging fenders, and steeply raked ‘A’ pillar, creating the look and feel of a sporty vehicle. The front design features a clever use of black masking in the center section, reducing visual bulk and incorporating winglet-like wedges near the chin.

On the side, the two-tone paint scheme contributes to visually ‘lowering’ the all-electric SUV, while bulging wheel arches and a ridge line along the waist enhance its planted stance. The rear of the Eletre is noteworthy, showcasing connected ‘ribbon’ tail-lights, large vents in the bulging rear wheel arches, and a split spoiler that aids the rear LIDAR in achieving a clear and unobstructed field of view.

The Eletre’s design incorporates porosity, allowing increased airflow through its body for enhanced stability and downforce in specific areas, akin to supercars. Notably, the Eletre R weighs over 2,640kg, depending on specifications, a weight that has raised eyebrows. 

This weight is attributed to its role as a four-door SUV with a sizable boot, a full-fledged SUV with a robust four-wheel-drive system, and, notably, a heavy electric vehicle. Comparatively, Tesla‘s powerful Model X also weighs over 2.5 tonnes. The substantial weight is further influenced by the 112kWh battery, likely weighing upwards of 650kg alone.

The Lotus Eletre stands out as a departure from the traditional Lotus DNA, being an electric SUV with a distinctive design. Lotus has made efforts to minimize weight by utilizing the Electric Premium Architecture, developed in collaboration with Geely, Lotus’s current owner. Comprising 47% high-strength steel and 43% aluminum, this architecture contributes to weight reduction.

Underneath, the Eletre features an 800V system and a rapid 350kW DC charger capable of charging the battery from 10-80% in just 20 minutes. A slower 22kW home charger or AC wall-box requires 5.8 hours for a full charge. The claimed range under WLTP test conditions is 490 km, though aggressive driving may reduce this range.

Weighing over 2,640kg, the Eletre incorporates several features to counterbalance its weight, including two-chamber air springs, active anti-roll bars, rear-wheel steering, and an active rear spoiler. The spoiler, flush-mounted into the tailgate, adjusts automatically between three positions, aiding in drag reduction and increasing downforce.

Interior: Lotus Eletre R

Moving to the interior, the Eletre excels in providing a luxurious environment. The spacious cabin, characterized by high-quality materials and impeccable fit and finish, offers a sense of luxury. The interior boasts leather and suede or Alcantara finishes, a large central touchscreen, a slim digital instrument panel, and unique displays for both the driver and front passenger. The cabin design includes metal gear selectors, temperature control toggle switches, and a raised center console.

The Eletre’s front and rear seats are power-adjustable and feature heating, cooling, and massage functions. Rear seat comfort is notable, providing ample space, adjustable lumbar and lateral support, and individual screens for passengers. However, some integration issues are noted with the central screen and shortcut buttons on the steering wheel.

In terms of equipment, the Eletre comes equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), utilizing 34 sensors for a 360-degree view. Additional features include a soft-close door, privacy glass, active rear spoiler, configurable ambient lighting, illuminated side sills, air quality system, and a 2,160-watt 23-speaker KEF Reference Audio system. 

Various options, such as a five-seater version, Ceramic Brake Pack, large HUD, remote parking function via smartphone app, and a 611-liter boot space (688 liters for the five-seater version) are available.

Performance: Lotus Eletre R

The Lotus Eletre R boasts a staggering 905hp and 985Nm of all-electric power. Activating the ‘Track’ mode and stepping on the accelerator propels the SUV with immense force, reaching 0-100kph in a claimed time of 2.95 seconds. The 80-120 kph time is less than 1.9 seconds, showcasing the explosive acceleration.

Throttle responses are well-tuned across different modes, ensuring a seamless transition from Track to Sport and even Tour mode, where gentle responses make everyday driving comfortable. 

Battery Capacity 112 kWh
Max Power603 bhp
Max Torque710 Nm
Range 500 km
0-100 kmph2.95 seconds
Top Speed 265 kmph
Charge Power22 kW AC
Charge Time (0->455 km)6 hours
Fast Charge Power (max)350 kW DC
Fast Charge Time (46->364 km)20 min

The braking, chassis, and grip capabilities complement the powerful performance. In track mode, strong brake bite, tight body control, and the use of active anti-roll bars contribute to a confident and agile handling experience. The rear-wheel steering further enhances the SUV’s agility, allowing it to handle corners with precision.

Despite its SUV nature, the Eletre maintains the characteristic Lotus feel, providing a fast, fun, and confidence-inspiring drive. While it may not match the feel of smaller Lotuses, similar to how a Porsche Cayenne differs from a Cayman or a Boxster, the Eletre holds its own in the performance SUV category. 

The steering, though not as communicative as smaller Lotuses, excels at low speeds in Tour mode, making everyday driving effortless.

However, the ride quality, influenced by air springs and large rims, may exhibit stiffness at lower speeds but becomes more comfortable at higher speeds. Addressing potential concerns in the review, it suggests that opting for smaller wheels could further enhance ride comfort.

One notable point is the interference of the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) in certain conditions, calling for improvements in ease of deactivation. While acknowledging the potential lifesaving aspects of the ADAS, the reviewer suggests making it more user-friendly for situations where assistance is not needed.

Price and Final Verdict: Lotus Eletre R

The all-electric Lotus Eletre stands out in various aspects. Currently, it holds a unique position as a high-performance all-electric SUV in India, offering impressive performance, excellent grip, handling capabilities, and a genuine luxury car feel. The spacious, well-finished, and well-equipped cabin adds to its appeal, and the Eletre distinguishes itself with its unique character.

While it may not be the absolute best in terms of handling or the most engaging to drive among super or hyper SUVs, and there are some ordinary elements in the cabin, coupled with a less-than-ideal electronic interface, the Eletre brings a lot to the table. Some customers might have reservations about its manufacturing in China.

What makes it particularly attractive is its pricing, coming in at Rs 2.99 crore for the top-of-the-line R version. This places it at a significant cost advantage, being approximately Rs 1.2 crore to Rs 1.4 crore less expensive than its closest rival, the Urus. The Eletre offers a compelling package for those in search of a performance SUV, providing an enticing blend of power, thrill, and pleasant surprises.

For individuals considering a performance SUV, the Lotus Eletre deserves serious consideration for its value proposition and impressive features.

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