Lotus Type 133 to be 904bhp Porsche Taycan rival

1 year, 1 month ago - 22 May 2023, autocar
Lotus Type 133
Lotus Type 133
The British brand's first performance saloon since the Carlton will be a high-tech EV

Set to be revealed late this year, the Lotus Type 133 will be the brand's first performance saloon since the early-1990s Vauxhall-based Carlton and is set to be particularly popular in China and the US – crucial markets for Lotus.

Around five metres long, the Porsche Taycan rival will be positioned as the most luxurious model in the firm’s line-up. The Type 133 is in the late stages of development.

Test versions have been spotted on the road in a promotional camouflage livery and late prototypes are already going down Wuhan’s production line.

The Type 133 will be similar in size to the Polestar 5 grand tourer due on sale next year, but Lotus managing director Matt Windle has previously said that while there is some technology transfer, Geely allows its brands, which include Polestar, to conduct development independently. This means the models will be tangibly different in every key aspect.

Spy shots show that the Type 133 will feature sleek styling, a sloping roof and design cues from the Evija and Eletre. Lotus has placed a major focus on its dynamic development, given the model will be tasked with taking on the Taycan and Audi E-tron GT. It will feature similar chassis technology to the Eletre – including air suspension, rear-wheel steer, active roll control and active aerodynamics – but engineered to a different brief.

No technical details of the Type 133 have been revealed yet, but it is expected to closely follow the Eletre. This means entry-level versions are likely to offer around 602bhp from a twin-motor set-up, closely matching the Taycan GTS. The top-spec Eletre R features a more powerful rear motor that lifts output to 904bhp.

The Type 133 will retain the Eletre’s 112kWh battery pack, which could give the sleek saloon a range of more than 400 miles. The EPA platform allows for fast charging at speeds of up to 420kW.

Asked how the Type 133 will stack up to performance EV rivals such as the Taycan, new Lotus commercial chief Mike Johnstone told Autocar: “When you look at performance, we’ll be in a good place, both in terms of handling and 0-60mph speeds.

“In terms of charging, it will have the same platform as the Eletre so it can go from 10% to 80% in less than 20 minutes. We’ve got a number of key things we’ve taken from the Eletre you’ll see [in the Type 133], which will give us a good point of differentiation.”

Lotus has yet to reveal the model’s name. Johnstone confirmed it will follow Lotus convention and start with an E but denied reports it will be Envya, one of several names Lotus has registered.

Lotus hints at electric estate after 2026

Lotus commercial boss Mike Johnstone said the firm currently has no plans for derivative versions of its upcoming line-up, such as a Type 133 shooting brake, but added: “Consumer tastes change, new market segments appear and new technologies come into play that mean we could do things in a different way – and we’re always looking for new opportunities to make sure we can maximise the amount of return on any investment we make.”

Lotus has so far only confirmed its product roadmap until 2026, when the new sports car (see overleaf) will arrive. Although planning is already under way, Johnstone hinted that the line-up could be adapted based on market changes.

“The product plan at the moment is the three cars we have now [Evija, Emira and Eletre] and the three coming in the future,” he said. “We have to be dynamic with that plan. We’re constantly looking at how we can ensure we maximise the potential in the marketplace.”

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