2023 Lotus Eletre S Review: Charge it, Change it

Lionel Kong
Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

This is the Lotus car that breaks all of its own rules

2023 Lotus Eletre S

Launched: October 2023 – Price: S$598,800 without COE
Five-door, large luxury SUV, four/five seats
603hp, dual-motor electric drive, 18.7kWh/100km, 600km range

Very comfortable cabin
Drives very well
Quiet on the go

User interface not intuitive
It’s a Lotus SUV!?


Lotus, that British-born sports car maker famous for cars like the Europa, Esprit, Excel, Elise, Exige, and Emira, has lost its mind. This is the Lotus Eletre (pronounced ‘Electra’), and it’s an electric luxury SUV. It’s almost the complete opposite of everything that Lotus has made.  

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

First seen in early 2022, this is the car that Lotus hopes will break itself out of the ‘specialist sports car maker’ box that the Cayenne SUV did so well for Porsche years ago. So here is the car that Lotus calls its first hyper SUV.

The brand has left its purely British identity behind long ago. The Eletre is a combination of British, German, and Chinese engineering, but the sleek design is still very much a signature Lotus vehicle.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

There are two variants of the car on sale, differentiated by their power outputs. The Eletre S is the car driven here, with 603 horsepower and all-wheel drive through two electric motors. Then there’s the ballistically quick Eletre R, with a massive 905 horsepower and a two-speed automatic transmission at the rear axle to help put all the power down to the road smoothly.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

Still, the Eletre has a lot to answer for. The classic Lotus wind cheating lines are all there, and there’s enough carbon fibre parts on the outside of the car, including the wheels to mark this as a really expensive EV. It’s a finely tuned body shape that channels airflow through a lot of grooves and tunnels along the flanks, over a split-design rear spoiler at the tail end of the roof.

That’s to say, instead of sticking appendages onto the car to make it look like it can fly (we’re looking at you, all those over-styled Toyota CH-Rs still in Singapore), all the airflow to aid the car’s aerodynamics is designed to tuck in alongside the big body shell and through it, allowing the car to maintain a reasonably svelte shape for an SUV.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

It does have presence, from the big Lotus emblem on the bonnet to the brand name spelled out on the tail. What it doesn’t have however is the actual ‘Eletre’ badge anywhere on the exterior. It’s just a Lotus.

But it’s also a very big Lotus and of a design that the carmaker has never tried before. Still, in the age of electrification, you either move with the tide or get left behind, and almost every carmaker has SUVs and EVs in its lineup.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

Even the new Lamborghini Revuelto is a petrol-electric hybrid supercar, and the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo EV is something of a crossover SUV-wagon thing.

Besides the pedestrian five-seater form, the Eletra is a car that can be ordered in 2+2 configuration, with a fixed centre armrest at the rear, with an additional drawer and cubby hole in the space as well. It’s what’s fitted to the car seen here.

A central touch sensitive screen manages a bunch of functions including the air conditioning and seat adjustments.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

There’s that swathe of ambient lighting from the LED strips along the full width of the dashboard, though the instrumentation is reasonably minimalist. It’s not as dystopian as that of a Tesla Model Y but far more easy on the eyes than that of a Mercedes-EQ EQS sedan.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

The centre touchscreen is a huge 15.1-inch OLED display and has all the features that you would expect from a luxury car in this price range. There’s onboard GPS navigation, and with an active internet connection you get streaming music through Spotify too. On the move, the car’s Lidar cameras can be activated to show you a live update of cars, bikes, and people around the car.

The user interface does take a bit of getting used to, with some simple features hidden inside sub menus. The music volume button for example, is buried under two layers of menus on the touchscreen. Of course you could argue that the volume button is already on the driver’s steering wheel anyway.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

The front passenger seat gets its own display panel too, and it’s touch-sensitive so swiping it can change radio stations and skip tracks on playlists.

So this is a Lotus, and you’ll want to know that despite its SUV proportions, how does it drive? The good news is that even though the car weighs more than 2,500kg the active suspension and powerful brakes help keep the car planted and pointed where you want it to. It does manage to retain that classic Lotus handling dynamic, but without the tiring, working-it-hard feeling you get in an Exige.

Actually it’s the complete opposite. It’s completely quiet. There’s no artificial spaceship whooshing noises to try to add to the drama like what BMW and Mercedes-EQ have done. And the cabin design is right on point. It’s one of the most comfortable, relaxing cars we’ve ever driven around in, and the shocking fact is that it’s in a Lotus, a brand known for making minimalist cockpits.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

You can enjoy the clarity of the  KEF audio system, which does not have to fight with any engine noise.

A full suite of active safety systems including adaptive cruise control is fitted as standard too. If left on, the speed limit warning chime is thankfully a very soft, gentle tone that pings twice and stops bothering you. The battery’s claimed range of 600km is a little optimistic, but in real world driving, 500km between charges is easily achievable.

The 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 4.5 seconds won’t win it any bragging rights, as even the BYD Seal can accelerate quicker, but there’s a real sense of occasion when you get into the Eletre S. Then of course if you want a really fast electric Lotus SUV, there’s the much more expensive 905 horsepower Eletre R that does the century sprint in 2.95 seconds.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

Round the back, the Eletre has something else that almost every Lotus has lacked: a massive boot. It’s fixed at 611 litres in the four-seater version, but the five-seater with a folding rear bench can be expanded to 1,532 litres. Run out of space? There’s another 46-litre storage compartment under the bonnet in the front.

Lotus Eletre S in Singapore

The Lotus Eletre has nearly the same road-going presence as a Lamborghini Urus, but its all-electric drivetrain and SUV body marks a radical departure from what we know Lotus to be. There are other, pricer sporty super luxury SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, but for what the car represents, it’s the true start of another era for the British sports car maker. 

Lotus Eletre S

Drivetrain typeFull electric
Electric Motor / layoutDual / All Wheel-Drive
Motor power / torque603hp / 710Nm
Battery type /net capacityLithium ion / 112kWh
Normal Charge Type / Time22kW AC wallbox / 5.8 hours
Max Fast Charge Type / Time350kW DC / 20 mins 10 to 80 percent
Electric Range600km (claimed)
0-100km/h4.5 seconds
Top Speed258km/h 
VES BandA1 / -S$25,000
AgentWearnes Automotive
PriceFrom S$598,800 without COE 
Verdict:A massively plush, comfortable ride that still drives like a sports car, but the overall user interface still needs refinement


eletre EV Lotus SUV

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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