► New 2023 Lotus Type 133 scooped
► Latest on plans for new EV saloon
► An E-segment four-door coupe
You’re looking at the Lotus Emeya, codenamed Type 133, a new Taycan rival from Hethel that will be unveiled on 7 September 2023.
This is the second time we’ve snapped the Emeya, and this time it appears a lot closer to production than before. As you might expect for something due on sale in 2024.
There’s a less camouflage at the front, and the prototype snapped here has finally revealed its new production headlights too. As you can see in the latest spy shots, Lotus’ saloon is set to have an interesting triple-light signature.
The new Lotus Emeya prototype has several other subtle differences to the car seen before; the sensor array above the widescreen (which houses semi-autonomous driving tech) is now flush to the windscreen – a change to the London Taxi-style arrangement seen before.
Like the previous prototype, this car has swapped door mirrors for cameras in pursuit of the best drag co-efficient.
The rear is slightly further from production – at least for this prototype. While it’s possible to make out the shape of the lights, Lotus hasn’t revealed the production units yet.
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Lotus Type 133: price and performance specs
Type 133 will be the flagship of New Lotus, a four-door saloon with coupe-like curves positioned slightly above the Eletre (which costs from £89,500 in the UK). Think of the Emeya as Lotus’s rival for the Porsche Taycan, a vehicle that is no stranger to Hethel given the engineers’ need to comprehensively benchmark what is – for now at least – the world’s most dynamic four-door EV.
The T133 runs on a rejigged and lowered version of the Eletre’s skateboard-style architecture. That embeds its battery in the base of the chassis, to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. The Eletre has a 112kWh pack, which is close to the architecture’s limit. Assuming Type 133 can package a similar amount of kWh, and with its smaller frontal area, a range beyond 400 miles is on the cards.
Also in common is Lotus’s electric motor design, which combines the controller and the driveshaft-linking reducer to keep the unit as compact as possible. The Eletre deploys a motor on both front and rear axles for all-wheel drive, with the standard and S model yielding 450kW (603hp), while the R spins out 675kW (905hp).
The 800-volt electric architecture will enable serious direct current charging for rapid pitstops. Other tech in the armoury includes rear-wheel steering to boost agility, air suspension, sophisticated adaptive damping, active anti-roll and torque vectoring to put the power down cleanly. All of this should ensure Type 133 delivers true Lotus ride and handling.
Lotus describes the Eletre as a hyper SUV, believing it to be in a performance league unmatched by rivals such as the BMW iX M60. Certainly the R’s 2.95sec 0-62mph time is almost a second quicker than the BMW’s. But Type 133 will need to go even faster if it’s to eclipse the Porsche Taycan Turbo S – but that’s the goal for this hyper saloon.
The 133 is expected to have a similar, three-tier range at launch: strictly rear-wheel-drive models may come in time. Expect the base saloon to be priced just under six figures.
Lotus Type 133: design
The design team is establishing the new Lotus family look, and Type 133’s form will clearly mix cues from Evija and Eletre (above). Expect to see a repeat of the electric hypercar’s ‘porosity’, with air ducted through the bodywork for aerodynamic reasons. Prototype mules display a swept-up shoulder line and rear glass similar to the Eletre’s, and there will be some intricate surfacing to disguise the mass of this big four-door.
A mind-boggling aspiration; Lotus beating Porsche at its own highly evolved game – really? But that no longer seems to be such a fever dream for the Norfolk sports car maker turned serious global player.