mReview: Lotus Eletre S – Grease-free Lightning

Published by on . Updated on 9 Apr 2024

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1710009360454 Mreview Lotus Eletre S Grease Free Lightning Featured

The most un-Lotus Lotus in history has bloomed with big (electric) power and lots of out-there tech. I say it’s grease-free lightning and have decided the best way to look through the Eletre is through the famed song that inspired the headline. Hit it. 

We’ll get some overhead lifters and some four barrel quads oh yeah. 

Ok, so it doesn’t have any lifters and no carburettors because the Eletre is of course, fully electric, a first for Lotus and a stark departure from its usual offerings. The model on test was the Eletre S, the “base” spec Eletre we get here in Singapore, which features 603hp and 710Nm of torque produced from two electric motors and a 112kWh battery pack. The higher-spec Eletre R packs in even more juice for a frankly ridiculous total output of 905hp and 985Nm of torque. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1710009453888 D38 V2598 FotorPlenty of flicks, wings, and holes for air to travel through and around the car.

Purple French taillights and thirty-inch fins oh yeah.

The styling of the Eletre is radically different from anything that the Hethel-based carmaker has put to paper before, partly because the Eletre isn’t actually made in Hethel in England. The Eletre is the first Lotus to be built in the plant in Wuhan, China, a byproduct of their acquisition by Geely. 

The elephant in the room is that the Eletre is an SUV and not a lithe, low-slung sports car. It’s at the other end of the size spectrum at 5.1-metres long and 2.1-metres wide. This is an objectively big car but there’s a lot of thought that’s been put into every panel. As with all performance vehicles, especially an electric one, much attention has been paid to the aerodynamics of the Eletre. 

Efficient airflow over the car helps with reducing drag and increasing downforce and range. An assortment of holes, spoilers, and active aerodynamics work together to channel air around and through the car to achieve a drag coefficient of just 0.26.

A palomino dashboard and dual muffler twins oh yeah. 

Moving on to the interior (ignore the muffler bit), the Eletre is bathed in luxury materials and is a far cry from the spartan Lotus interiors of yore. This new-age Lotus now features electric seats, soft-close doors, a 360˙ camera, and a premium KEF sound system with Dolby Atmos. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1710009466212 D38 V2617 FotorMore plush than every other Lotus in history put together.

The sports seats are finished in a mix of leather and suede and are not just nice to the touch but also very comfortable to sit in. And because this is an SUV, you don’t have to be a cast member in Cirque du Soleil just to get in and out of the car like you usually do when you drive a Lotus. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1710009473972 D38 V2620 FotorOur test car came with the 4-seater option, there's also a 3-seater bench available.

The Eletre also sports an assortment of fancy new tech like the LiDar cameras and 34 sensors that all work together to operate the driver assistance and safety systems. Lotus says the Eletre is capable of Level 4 autonomous driving and has used LiDar instead of normal cameras or radar to future-proof the Eletre. In practice, I do feel like the adaptive cruise control especially could do with a little rejigging, it seemed very easily spooked by motorcycles and bends in the road.

Go grease-free lightning you’re burning up the quarter mile.

Even though the Eletre S weighs in at a very un-Lotus-like 2.5 tons, 600 horses and a boatload of electric torque is still plenty enough to propel it from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 258km/h. That's fast enough to finish the quarter-mile in just 11.3 seconds.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1710009489030 D38 V2558 Fotor

Go grease-free lightning you’re coasting through the heat lap trial.

With 600hp and 700Nm on tap, it’s hardly a surprise then that the Eletre is mega quick. It goes from nought to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds and flat out it’ll do 258km/h. But we all know these super-EVs these days can all do monstrous 0-100 times, what amazes me though, is how the power is delivered.

In most EVs, the instant torque kicks you back into the seat and can be a pretty violent affair. In the Eletre, that power delivery is much more linear and less aggressive, making it feel less rocketship and more bullet train. And much like a bullet train, you barely notice when you’re travelling at high speed, its just so easy to zone out and cruise at speeds well into license-losing territory. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1710009503374 D38 V2484 FotorThis gorgeous colour is called Galloway Green.

And when the going gets twisty, the Eletre is still able to hold its own. Sure, it’s not the mosquito-like handling of traditional Lotuses but you don’t expect a Porsche Cayenne to handle like a 911 do you? The Eletre in its own right is dynamically well-sorted, with good balance and body control doing well to mask its weight. 

The steering is light, accurate, and very quick. It only has 2.5 turns from lock to lock which means that while the turning circle is pitiful (rear-wheel steering is standard on the Eletre R), it does mean that the Eletre has a really positive front-end that is easy to place. On corner exits, because the Eletre only has one motor per axle, it can make the car feel like it has an open differential, pushing to the outside when turning while on power. 

I did have a slight hiccup during my testing when the car threw up an error message and a warning after pushing it just a little bit. It went away pretty quickly and never came back but I have heard reports from other journalists of other assorted issues that they encountered during their drives. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1710009529161 D38 V2639 Fotor

Go grease-free lightning.

The most unfortunate aspect of the Eletre is the brand name that adorns its bonnet. Because it’s fitted with that Lotus badge, the Eletre has been subject to endless scorn and added scrutiny from enthusiasts and purists who feel that the Eletre is a dance on Colin Chapman’s grave. 

I do understand that the Eletre is far from a traditional Lotus, I want to see more featherweight fun-mobiles roll off the Lotus factory floor as much as the next guy. But I also understand that Lotus was flat-broke (I’ll get the money, I’ll kill to get the money). Geely gave the brand an out through the acquisition deal and with their wallet they’ve brought Lotus back and are attempting to make the brand as relevant as ever. 

The Eletre in its own right is a marvel of engineering and a brilliant car as well. With the trend of automakers reneging on their EV-only commitments recently, perhaps there is still hope for the Lotus brand yet, with the Eletre now able to serve as the cashcow that can fund the fun ala Porsche and the Cayenne. 

Go grease-free lightning. 

Lotus Eletre S 112kWh
Price (at time of publishing): $598,800 without COE  VES Band: A1
Dual AC synchronous motor
Charging Rate:
350 kW DC,
22 kW AC
Power & Torque:
450 kW (603 bhp)
& 710 Nm
Driven Wheels:
21.4 kWh/100km
0-100 km/h:
4.5 seconds
Top Speed:
258 km/h
Battery Capacity:
112 kWh
(L x W x H):
5,103 mm x 2,135 mm x 1,630 mm
3,019 mm
Cargo Capacity:
688 litres (boot),
46 litres (frunk)

Read More: mReview: Lotus Emira V6 First Edition - Lotus Root Soup For The Soul

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