Currently reading: New Lotus Emeya could spawn world's most powerful estate car
The British brand's first performance saloon since the Carlton arrives as 905bhp electric saloon

An estate-bodied Lotus Emeya is on the cards, which would effectively give the marque a fourth ‘lifestyle’ model line and serve as a rival to the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo.

Design chief Ben Payne declined to confirm whether plans for a shooting brake Emeya exist, but he said: “Let’s just say I know a lot of creative people that these kinds of products appeal to. The design team is always looking at the next opportunity and how we can do something a bit different and get more [opportunities]. Is it in the product plan? I can’t comment on that.”

This echoes the thrust of Lotus commercial boss Mike Johnstone’s comments: “Consumer tastes change. New market segments appear and new technologies come into play that mean we could do things in a different way. We’re always looking for new opportunities to make sure we can maximise

Such a model has the potential to be the most powerful series production estate car yet, given the Emeya R packs about 150bhp more than the Taycan Turbo S Sport Turismo, the current title holder.

Lotus Emeya: Price, specs and release date

Yellow 2024 Lotus Emeya – front quarter parked

The ground-up reinvention of Lotus continues apace as the brand takes a bold leap into another new segment with the Emeya – a sleek electric sports saloon conceived to rival the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S.

Carrying the torch from the 1990 Lotus Carlton into the electric era, the Emeya arrives just 18 months after Lotus revealed its first SUV, the Eletre, as part of a new family of lifestyle-oriented electric cars engineered and built in Wuhan, China.

The Emeya is based on Lotus’s new Electric Premium Architecture. This bespoke structure is adaptable to suit various car segments as well as different battery sizes, electric motors, component layouts and intelligent driving technologies.

Although they are entirely unrelated to the sports cars Lotus still builds in Hethel, outstanding performance remains a priority for these new-era EVs. As a result, the fastest Emeya packs a dual-motor powertrain that sends up to 905bhp and 726lb ft through all four wheels. That’s sufficient for 0-62mph in 2.8sec, matching the top-link Taycan Turbo S and making the Emeya one of the quickest four-doors on the market.

Read more: Lotus is changing - and it's high time our perception did, too

Lotus Emeya driving – yellow, rear quarter, with rear light on

Advertisement

Read our review

Car review

Porsche’s world-beating EV now comes as a £70k, rear-driven Tesla Model S and BMW i4 rival. Should they worry?

Back to top

The Emeya has a 102kWh battery pack that yields an as yet undisclosed range. However, Lotus claims it is “broadly similar” to that offered by the Eletre, which achieves 373 miles in entry-level and S guise and 304 miles in high-power R models.

Charging is possible at rates of up to 350kW, enabling a 93-mile range boost in just five minutes at the fastest chargers, according to Lotus. Refilling from 10-80% is said to take as little as 18 minutes.

The Emeya is not solely about big numbers and brute force, though. Its standard-fit air suspension system scans the road ahead 1000 times per second and actively responds to the harshness of its surface by priming the dampers at each corner of the car appropriately.

Lotus’s performance saloon also features an abundance of active aerodynamic elements, including the grille, rear diffuser and a rear spoiler that is 100mm wider than the Eletre’s and extends at speed to enhance stability.

The use of active aero is an “opportunity”, vice president of Lotus design Ben Payne told Autocar, because it allows the firm to produce a high-performance car that also appears elegant.

2024 Lotus Emeya in yellow with driving rear spoiler raised

“High-performing, aerodynamic cars are quite fragmented.” Payne said. “You have bits in various positions all over them, so they tend to look less clean, simple and coherent. For us, looking at the future direction for Lotus, we were very keen to try and make the cars look as pure as possible and active aero allows you to do that.”

Back to top

Inside, performance-oriented cues such as carbon-bodied front seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel are combined with more overtly luxurious elements – individual rear seats, digital rear-view mirror screens and materials with high perceived quality among them.

The tech prowess of Lotus Technology, the Chinese EV arm of Lotus, manifests in an expansive 55.0in head-up display, which projects key information such as directions and driver assistance system warnings across the width of the windscreen.

A large central touchscreen with 5G connectivity and over-the-air updatability is flanked by two slimmer digital displays – one for the driver, one for the passenger – in a set-up that broadly mirrors the Eletre’s.

2024 Lotus Emeya interior viewed through front passenger door

Physical controls feature on the centre console, steering wheel and steering column, but many of the Emeya’s core functions are controllable using the touchscreen or voice assistance.

The high-tech cockpit serves as a “clear indication” of the advanced technical architecture underpinning the Emeya, said Payne.

This impression is reinforced by the Emeya’s cab-forward silhouette, long wheelbase and short overhangs – proportions made possible by the Emeya’s electric powertrain.

Back to top

“We want to make sure that people understand this is an EV and leverage the possibilities the [skateboard] architecture allows you to have,” said Payne.

2024 Lotus Emeya in yellow – parked, viewed from the front

He explained that traditionally, a GT’s proportions have been determined by “how many cylinders are under the bonnet”, giving “a long, powerful [nose] and a tight cabin at the rear”.

By breaking from these conventions, the Emeya “subconsciously tells you this is an electrified product”, said Payne. “It physically can’t have a big V8 under the hood, because we didn’t have space for it”.

Aside from its sleeker silhouette, the Emeya bears a strong resemblance to the larger Eletre. This is “wholly deliberate”, said Payne, as Lotus aims to restructure its brand image around more practical, daily-usable EVs – against the backdrop of its heritage of building uncompromising sports cars.

Payne said: “Eletre is the biggest stretch for the traditional Lotus customer. Looking at where we’ve gone, we had to try very hard to put as much sports car DNA into that product as possible. Bearing in mind its size and proportion, for some people, that’s a stretch. I think, in the design team’s eyes, there are an awful lot of features on that car that really sell it as the hypercar of SUVs.

Back to top

2024 Lotus Emeya in yellow – parked, viewed from behind

“Coming on to Emeya, we want to continue that. We’re quite mindful that Lotus needs to build an identity that makes sense and we have a properly joined-up aesthetic from the sports cars to the lifestyle product, so it looks like one complete range. At the minute, obviously, that’s in mid-process.”

Nonetheless, Payne wants to avoid “cookie-cutter” styling for future Lotus models. These include the Type 134 – a Porsche Macan EV rival that is “well in development” – and the Type 135, an electric successor to the Elise.

The Eletre and the Emeya form “a springboard” for these models – as well as what comes after that, which is “five years out”. Payne would not be drawn on the form these cars will take but confirmed that “super-exciting” design work has begun.

The Emeya will enter production at Lotus’s plant in Wuhan, China, next year. Trim levels and prices are expected to mirror those of the Eletre, with 603bhp entry-level and S cars priced around £100,000 and 905bhp R cars starting at roughly £120,000.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a MG Metro 6R4 feature

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like a Caterham Seven or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

Join the debate

Comments
54
Add a comment…
MrJ 21 September 2023

Estate car would suit me, even more now that the likes of Volvo are leaving that market.

So long as there is room for a bike in the back, and roof rails to hold a canoe, I'm sorted.

 

Anton motorhead 20 September 2023

You are missing the point.

artill 8 September 2023

I think the £100 - £120k price tag makes it pretty much a non event. How many cars are sold in that price range? Of those how many are going to want a Chinese saloon. Its going to sell in tiny numbers. 

Personally i think the use of the Lotus name is a bad idea, and i fail to see what this offers that we didnt already have.

A decent EV for £20 to £25k, that might be worth looking at, no matter what the badge. 

Peter Cavellini 9 September 2023
artill wrote:

I think the £100 - £120k price tag makes it pretty much a non event. How many cars are sold in that price range? Of those how many are going to want a Chinese saloon. Its going to sell in tiny numbers. 

Personally i think the use of the Lotus name is a bad idea, and i fail to see what this offers that we didnt already have.

A decent EV for £20 to £25k, that might be worth looking at, no matter what the badge. 

This is just a collection of odd statements,mostly political, I don't think many people care or should I say enough, MG already make a car with 435 BHP ,does 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds and only cost £36K! and they are made in significant numbers, so a low volume car like this and others don't really matter, spent what you like on what you want, why should you be made to feel guilty?, how about Jeans?, 7,500 Larson per pair to produce, do we care?

Anton motorhead 20 September 2023
Why are artill's statements odd? He just airs his personal opinion and asks some questions. Not political - just common sense on par with what many of us think.
xxxx 20 September 2023

So Lotus should be building £20k EV's, really.