2024 Lotus Eletre S Malaysian review: massive EV SUV far cry from lightweight ethos, but worth RM700k?

2024 Lotus Eletre S Malaysian review: massive EV SUV far cry from lightweight ethos, but worth RM700k?

The trouble with building your brand around a strict set of values is there will inevitably come a time where you will have to compromise on those principles. Take Lotus, for example – the company that built the featherweight Seven and Elise, designed around Colin Chapman’s maxim of “simplify and add lightness,” etc.

Now under the ownership of Geely, Hethel has now deemed that, after 76 years of building solely sports cars, it is necessary to built an enormous two-and-a-half-tonne electric SUV to survive. Purists may balk at the idea, but the fact is that buyers are naturally gravitating towards these cars, for better or worse. And there’s no shame in making them – just ask Ferrari and Aston Martin.

The fact that a Lotus can be mentioned in the same breath as the Purosangue and the DBX is proof the new Eletre is so important for the revitalised brand. Launched in Malaysia last April, the car is certainly powerful enough to compete, available with up to 905 hp and 985 Nm of torque in the Eletre R.

2024 Lotus Eletre S Malaysian review: massive EV SUV far cry from lightweight ethos, but worth RM700k?

This isn’t that car, however – the one we tested was the Eletre S, and despite carrying an extra letter, it’s no more powerful than the base car, its twin motors churning out a still-impressive 605 hp and 710 Nm. That’s enough for it to get from zero to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 258 km/h.

The less gutsy motors also enable the S to extract more range – a round 600 km on the WLTP cycle, in fact – from its 112 kWh battery. Thanks to an 800-volt architecture, the Eletre can support up to 350 kW of DC fast charging, topping up the battery from 10 to 80% in 20 minutes.

The Eletre is a far cry from Lotuses (Lotii?) of the past, with a organic, “porous” design inspired by the Evija electric hypercar, as well as a sleek, minimalist cabin that’s dominated by a massive 15.1-inch OLED touchscreen (which, by the way, folds flat when not in use). You get a five-seater layout as standard, but you can also spec a luxurious four-seater cabin (not shown here) with an eight-inch centre touchscreen.

2024 Lotus Eletre S Malaysian review: massive EV SUV far cry from lightweight ethos, but worth RM700k?

The S badge denotes a higher level of standard kit compared to the base Eletre, including an active rear spoiler, 22-inch alloy wheels, soft-close doors and a 23-speaker, 2,160-watt KEF Reference Audio sound system. It also comes with a full suite of advanced driver assistance systems and a battery of retractable lidar sensors claimed to enable Level 4 autonomous driving via a future software update.

All this doesn’t come cheap of course – the Eletre S retails at RM698,000 on-the-road without insurance, and that does not include some of the pricey options. How is it like to drive? Watch Hafriz’s review in the video below to find out.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.

 

Comments

  • Peppa on Feb 06, 2024 at 6:19 pm

    Why would i get that over BMW iX minus the design? I bet lotus customer experience and service centre can’t match BMW’s at all. Typical chinese brands experience in other words

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9
    • HaiDiLao Service is Oustanding and ‘Expensive’, not typical.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
    • Tan Ah Biao on Feb 18, 2024 at 6:52 pm

      Because IX is for unker above 40 years old. Are you unker? Also it doesn’t handle as well.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • newme on Feb 07, 2024 at 8:53 am

    I have seen the actual car on the road. The frontal grille looks so unfinished.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • kckfen on Feb 07, 2024 at 10:47 am

    This massive 112 kWh battery is CATL’s Qilin Battery, one of the top battery producer in the world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • kckfen on Feb 07, 2024 at 10:53 am

    The Eletre’s LiDAR system scans 200 meters around the car in every direction, generating a sophisticated 3D map of the surroundings to detect obstacles even in low light or inclement weather….. probably the only vehicle that you can buy now with Lidar system in Malaysia right now. This car is capable or Level 3 or even level 4 autonomy driving.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • Lance Chau on Feb 07, 2024 at 11:07 am

    This car is hideous. Would have expected rear seating to not have that same issue with most EVs but same same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • rm700k for that? No.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
 

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