The technology-laden, ultra-luxurious Emeya is a far cry from spartan Lotus of the past. But how will this exciting new proposition fare against Audi’s e-tron GT, Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S, and Tesla’s Model S Plaid?
On the face of it the new Emeya sounds like the very antithesis of Lotus founder, Colin Chapman’s philosophy of ‘simplify, then add lightness.’
At 2.5 tons, the Emeya weighs in at just a hair under four MK1 Lotus Elises stacked on top of each other — no, seriously. And with an interior loaded with almost every gizmo and gadget known to man, it doesn’t exactly scream simplicity, either. So, what’s going on? Why has Lotus thrown out the rule book in such dramatic fashion?
Although it might come as a shock to many petrolheads, every brand (even Lotus) needs to move with the times and adapt to the ever-evolving motoring landscape. Despite starting life as a low-volume bespoke manufacturer, in recent years — just like fellow British marque, MG — Lotus has been taken under the wing of Chinese ownership. While some might bemoan this decision, the resultant heady injection of cash has allowed the brand to pursue an EV strategy which it could have only dreamt of before.
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Straight off the bat the EV Lotus posts numbers which should help soothe petrolhead pain: around 900 bhp and a 0-60 mph blast of just 2.8 seconds – courtesy of sublime all-wheel drive traction. That added heft hasn’t held it back much then.
It has genuine aesthetic appeal, too. We bet many of the same audience who rush to scald the new design would praise it if an ICE powerplant was housed beneath those flowing lines. Clearly sharing concepts with its loftier Eletre stablemate, we think the Emeya’s styling has more character than some of the slightly anodyne, homogenized designs of other EVs on the market. But, as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Whether you’re partial to its looks or not, there’s no denying their functionality. The car’s array of active aero systems (rear-wing, grille, defuser, and air dam) generate 215 kg of downforce – supplementing the stellar mechanical grip provided by Michelin’s Pilot Sport EV tyres, as pictured.
Designed specifically for high-performance electric machines, these Michelin boots are constructed to evenly distribute pressure under braking and acceleration to improve traction, whilst simultaneously reducing road noise with special acoustic dampening material.
Handling has always been the brand’s mainstay, and you’ll be happy to hear they haven’t forgotten this. A low centre of gravity, which Lotus calls hyperstance, ‘enhances stability when driving, and sets a new standard in the GT segment for ride and handling excellence.’
An ingenious active air suspension system also features, allowing the car to scan the road 1000 times a second and alter the firmness of the shock absorbers accordingly for improved comfort and reduced body roll.
And, while it might be on the weightier side by the standards of three decades ago, compared to the contemporary competition – Mercedes EQS we’re looking at you – 2.5 tons isn’t particularly egregious.
It’s the opulent interior where Lotus has moved the game on the furthest, though. As soon as you pop the latch on the elegantly integrated flush door handles, you’re greeted with a level of luxury which appears to be from a different dimension to the exposed welds and hard plastics of the Elise.
Lotus’s use of premium materials certainly elevates the experience, but the tech on offer is just as impressive. A 55-inch “augmented reality head-up display” is the biggest we’ve ever seen in a car before and should make the driver feel like they are piloting the Starship Enterprise; a wealth of information is available without breaking your focus on the road.
It would appear then, that while Emeya and Eletre offer an entirely different take on what it means to be a Lotus, enthusiasts needn’t fear what the future holds. Afterall, it’s ok to both miss the old and embrace the new.
Production of Lotus’s first EV saloon is set to begin sometime in 2024, but with no official word on price you’ll have to wait and see if it can undercut Tesla’s Model S Plaid and Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S.
Are you a fan of the new, forward-thinking approach Lotus has taken? Or would you rather they stuck to their old, small and lightweight philosophy?
Hero image credit: Lotus Cars