New Lotus Type 133 electric super saloon caught on camera

As part of its all-electric push, Lotus is developing a Porsche Taycan-rivalling saloon based on the brand’s Electric Premium Architecture

After decades of thrilling petrol-powered sports cars, Lotus is reinventing itself for the electric age. The Evija was the brand’s first EV, the Eletre its first SUV, and its next model – codenamed Type 133 – will see Lotus enter yet another new territory with its first ground-up four-door saloon. 

Of course, Lotus is no stranger to the super saloon – the Vauxhall-based Lotus Carlton was an instant icon when it arrived in the early 90s – but the Type 133 is a different proposition altogether. These spy shots provide our best look yet at the all-electric Porsche Taycan rival, which will borrow tech from the Eletre. 

  • New 2023 Lotus Eletre all-electric SUV priced from £89,500

The Type 133’s menacing, aero-optimised front end has clear family resemblance with the SUV, and uses similar solutions to reduce drag. The Eletre’s active grille makes an appearance, consisting of motorised ‘petals’ which open up when extra cooling is required; under normal conditions, the petals remain closed to reduce aerodynamic disturbance. 

The Type 133's headlights are split into two elements, with L-shaped upper lighting strips and larger units set into the front bumper. Interestingly, an extra pair of L-shaped panels are visible on the bonnet of this prototype – whether these are additional light units or active aero panels remains to be seen. 

At first glance, there's little evidence of Lotus's 'porous' design language, which uses air channels carved into the bodywork to reduce drag. Nevertheless, there are small triangular vents in the outer front bumper to direct air through the wheel arches, and the Eletre's driver assistance hardware – including a roof-mounted LiDAR unit and deployable sensor pods along the flanks – could enable Level 4 autonomous driving later down the line. 

The rear end will feature an active spoiler, too, and the rudimentary tail lights of this test mule are expected to be replaced by a full-width light strip when the Type 133 reaches showrooms. 

Inside, the new model will draw heavily from the Eletre’s cabin design and tech, with a hexagonal steering wheel and a suite of digital interfaces. The SUVs 15.1-inch OLED central touchscreen will probably feature, alongside thin display strips ahead of the driver and passenger set within a two-tiered dashboard.

The infotainment system will be driven by Lotus’s Hyper OS software, offering over-the-air updates, 5G connectivity and wireless smartphone connectivity. Like the Porsche Taycan, the Type 133 will be offered as a four-seater.

Battery and powertrain

Using the firm’s new Electric Premium Architecture, the saloon certainly has the potential to beat – or exceed – the Taycan’s performance, too. The Eletre’s 592bhp dual-motor setup could serve as the entry point in the range with similar power to the Taycan GTS, then a potential flagship could be built around the Eletre R’s 893bhp two-speed motor setup.

Thanks to its 112kWh battery pack, the Eletre can achieve up to 373 miles from a single charge, and the Type 133’s slipperier aerodynamics could see it surpass 400 miles if it uses the same battery. Thanks to the platform’s 800V electronic architecture, peak charging speeds of 350kW are possible, replenishing the cells from 10 to 80 per cent in just 20 minutes at a suitable charger.

Traditionally, Lotus has traded on beautifully judged handling rather than outright performance, and the firm’s engineers will lean heavily on an advanced suite of chassis electronics to contain the EV’s mass and improve dynamics. These tools – such as active anti-roll bars, rear-wheel steering and adaptive air suspension – are already present in the Eletre.

In typical Lotus fashion, the Type 133 will adopt a name beginning with ‘E’ when it reaches showrooms – the firm has already patented the ‘Ethos’ badge in multiple regions, which could find a home with the electric saloon. Expect the new model to cost less than £100,000 when it goes on sale later in 2023.

Now read our review of the Lotus Emira…

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