Lotus has launched its first SUV in Malaysia, the Eletre. Not only is it comfortably the British brand’s largest and heaviest car yet, but it’s also electric and built not in its spiritual home in Hethel but in China. It is therefore a big departure for the tiny sports car maker, but it also offers a startling amount of performance and some impressive specs.
Lotus Eletre Malaysia pricing and availability
Built at a new plant in Wuhan, China, the Lotus Eletre is available in three variants, including a high-performance range-topping Eletre R. Prices excluding insurance, road tax and registration are as follows:
- Lotus Eletre – RM578,000
- Lotus Eletre S – RM648,000
- Lotus Eletre R – RM798,000
Bookings can be made at the Lotus Centre in Bukit Jelutong. Lotus Cars Malaysia is looking to import around 200 units of the Eletre and has already received 140 orders from prospective owners. Deliveries are slated to kick off in the fourth quarter of the year. The company has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gentari to explore the possibilities of setting up charging facilities at the showroom and offering a charging package for customers.
Lotus Eletre power, range and charging
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Eletre couldn’t be further away from Lotus’ lightweight ethos if it had tried, measuring over five metres long (its wheelbase is over three metres) and weighing in at a hefty 2,490kg. That’s three times the weight of a Series 1 Elise—the seminal aluminium-bodied sports car that defined the company in the ’90s.
It’s a good job, then, that it’s fast. All Eletres are all-wheel drive thanks to dual motors, and both the base model and the Eletre S (which only differs in some added equipment) produce 603hp (450kW) and 710Nm of torque. The heft partly explains the zero-to-100km/h acceleration time of 4.5 seconds, which is only two tenths of a second faster than a Volvo C40 at half the price. The top speed is much higher, however, at 258km/h.
The one you’ll really want is the Eletre R, which gets a sizeable bump to 905hp (675kW) and a tree-pulling 985Nm, enabling it to rocket to 100km/h in just 2.98 seconds on its way to a top speed of 265km/h.
All three models get a 112kWh lithium-ion battery that provides a range of up to 600km on the WLTP cycle; the more powerful and less efficient Eletre R can only go up to 490km. Thanks to an 800-volt architecture, the Lotus can support up to 350kW of DC fast charging power, which can bring the battery from 10 to 80% in 20 minutes. It can also be charged with AC power at up to 22kW, although the company did not reveal how long it would take to fully charged the ginormous battery pack.
To keep all this performance (and weight) in check, the Eletre comes with five-link front and rear suspension and is fitted as standard with active air suspension, adaptive dampers and six-pot brakes. As befits its higher outputs, the Eletre R adds a Dynamic Handling Pack that includes active roll stabilisation and rear-wheel steering; these are optional on the other models. Users can choose from five drive modes (Range, Tour, Sport, Individual and Off-Road), with the R gaining an additional Track mode with launch control.
Sleek, aerodynamic design
If Lotus hasn’t been able to trim the weight of the Eletre, then the least it could do is cheat the air with an aerodynamic design. To that end, the car’s sleek, low-slung body features a “porous” design that channels air through the bonnet, front and rear wheel arches and D-pillars to reduce drag. There are also active components like the petal-like opening grille as well as an active rear spoiler on the Eletre S and R, fed by the standard split tailgate spoilers.
The sharp front fascia features split headlights with matrix LED modules, while the rear end is characterised by a multi-colour full-width taillight bar that can also show the car’s charging status. The standard wheel sizes start at 20 inches on the base Eletre and rise to 22 inches on the Eletre S and 23 inches on the Eletre R, the latter wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres. Buyers can choose from five other wheel designs as part of the options list.
Luxurious interior with four screens
Step inside and you’ll find a sumptuous cabin with a layered dashboard design for a more lightweight look, along with a broad centre console to take advantage of the car’s generous width. Dominating proceedings is a 15.1-inch OLED display powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8155 chip; it runs on the Lotus Hyper OS, features Unreal Engine 3D graphics and can flip into a flat position when the car is locked. You also get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, along with a Qi wireless charger.
Elsewhere, you’ll find two slimline 12.6-inch displays for the driver and front passenger, the latter a touch unit with media controls. At the rear is an eight-inch touchscreen that can be also be folded down, incorporating controls for the rear air-conditioning (the car comes with four-zone automatic air-con as standard), media and, if fitted, rear seat power adjustment.
All Eletres are offered with a KEF Premium Audio system with 15-speakers and 1,380 watts of output. Oddly, only the midrange Eletre S comes with the Reference Audio system with a whopping 2,160 watts of power and 23 speakers. The higher-end setup is available as an option on the other two models.
In Malaysia, the Eletre comes in a five-seater layout as standard with power-adjustable front bucket seats and powered rear seat recline. An optional Executive Seat Pack turns the car into a four-seater with separate fully-adjustable rear seats and a fixed centre console with multiple storage compartments. Heating, ventilation and massage functions are also part of the options list.
Other standard features include keyless entry and start, a head-up display, Nappa leather upholstery, front and rear USB-C ports, a 360-degree camera system and a hands-free powered tailgate. The Eletre S and R adds things like soft-close doors, illuminated side sills, an air quality system and tinted rear privacy glass. Buyers can dip into the options for things like side cameras to replace the door mirrors and an electrochromic glass roof that can turn opaque automatically in response to bright sunlight, or through the centre display.
Optional autonomous driving capability
The Eletre comes with plenty of driver assistant features as standard, such as autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear collision warning, front and rear cross traffic alert and adaptive high beam. But the real highlight is the optional Highway Assist package.
This not only adds Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capabilities but also a suite of lidar sensors at the top of the front windscreen, the front fenders and rear windscreen. This is claimed to enable up to Level 4 autonomy, although this will only be added via an update once the software becomes fully capable, and the required regulatory approvals are reached in each country. Also optional is the Parking Package that adds remote parking assist.