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In-depth reviews

Lotus Emeya review

Lotus’s latest arrival provides plenty of appeal for EV and performance enthusiasts alike

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Strong battery range
  • High quality
  • Loads of tech

Cons

  • Six-figure price
  • Range-topper isn’t really worth it
  • Optional door mirror cameras aren’t great

Range

Wallbox charge time

Rapid charge time

270-379 miles

17 hours est. (0-100%, 7.4kW)

18mins (10-80%, 350kW)

Lotus Emeya verdict

Lotus has already overcome a big hurdle by introducing its first electric car to the world, but the Lotus Emeya is arguably even more important for the brand as it’s a fully-fledged performance car rather than an SUV. It’s still much bigger and heavier than the famed Lotus sports cars of the past, but the Emeya is a solid electric grand tourer. The build-quality, technology and driving experience are all highly impressive, making this a genuine competitor to the fearsome Porsche Taycan.

Details, specs and alternatives

We’ve previously referred to the Porsche Taycan as the “performance EV pinnacle” but if any car is able to come close, it’s the Lotus Emeya. This isn’t the fastest electric car on the market, but it is a very appealing and capable addition to a sector that’s still sparsely populated, not to mention highly exclusive.

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It’s not just wealthy electric car buyers who will have a close eye on the Lotus Emeya, though, as the brand’s hardcore fans will be very keen to see whether their beloved carmaker is still able to produce entertaining character-filled models in the new EV era.

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Although some enthusiasts will scoff at the mere idea of an electric car, the Lotus Emeya is undoubtedly a very convincing performance EV. It’s hugely powerful, riddled with excellent tech and, most importantly of all, great to drive. The Emeya feels worlds apart from the Lotus cars of the past when it comes to build-quality, too.

Underneath, the Lotus Emeya shares the same underpinnings as the Eletre SUV, but its coupe body helps it to look much more svelte and sporty. Of course, a curvaceous shape also helps with aerodynamics. 

There are three variants of the Lotus Emeya to choose from. Kicking off the line-up is the entry-level model, which is simply called Emeya. This has 603bhp on tap along with a claimed maximum range of 379 miles thanks to its 112kWh battery pack. In the middle of the range is the Emeya S, which has the exact same performance and range figures, but adds in additional sporting elements such as lightweight brake discs and larger 21-inch alloy wheels. 

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At the top of the Emeya family tree sits the Emeya R, and this boasts the most power with  905bhp at its disposal. The downside of all this power is an increased appetite for battery range, but the substantial 112kWh battery still manages to deliver an official figure of up to 301 miles on the WLTP combined cycle. 

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The electric performance car market is still pretty small right now, but the Lotus Emeya does face some highly capable rivals. The Porsche Taycan is its closest match when taking its near-£90,000 starting price into account, but the Tesla Model 3 Performance, BMW i5 M60 and Audi RS e-tron also offer plenty of bang for their buck, too.

For those who aren’t too fussed about fuel, there are also a number of tempting combustion-powered performance cars in this price bracket, with the Audi RS 4, BMW M3 and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio offering four doors and massive performance for similar money.

Range, battery size & charging

Model

Range

Wallbox charge time

Rapid charge time

Emeya

379 miles

17hrs est. (0-100%, 7.4kW)

18mins (10-80%, 350kW)

Emeya S

379 miles

17hrs est. (0-100%, 7.4kW)

18mins (10-80%, 350kW)

Emeya R

301 miles

17hrs est. (0-100%, 7.4kW)

18mins (10-80%, 350kW)

There are three members of the Lotus Emeya line-up: the Emeya, Emeya S and Emeya R, and all three are powered by the same 112kWh battery. Opting for such a large pack means even the most powerful R variant is able to return just over 300 miles of range between charges on the official tests.

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Both the entry-level Emeya and mid-range Emeya S return the same 379 miles on the WLTP combined cycle. Although this is a pretty respectable number, it pales in comparison to the Porsche Taycan which manages over 360 miles from its smaller 84kWh battery. This figure rises to over 420 miles in Taycans fitted with the brand’s 97kWh Performance Battery Plus. 

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300 miles is still more than enough for most day-to-day needs, though, so the Lotus Emeya shouldn’t need hooking up to a charger too often. When the time does come around, it’ll take around 17 hours to fill up the mighty 112kW battery from 0 to 100% from a typical 7.4kW home wallbox charger

If you’re using a public charging station, the Lotus Emeya’s 800V architecture permits a peak DC rapid charging speed of 350kW. Find a charger that’s up to the job and this will see the battery topped up from 10 to 80% in only 18 minutes. As always, this is very likely to cost significantly more than charging at home

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In order to help you preplan charging and maximise efficiency, Lotus’s navigation software can determine the most convenient charge points along your given route. When you’re heading to a charger, the Emeya can automatically pre-condition the battery for optimum charging so you aren’t kept waiting around.

Running costs & insurance

Lotus has never been associated with cheap cars, and with the base model starting from nearly £90,000, the Emeya is definitely no exception. Move upwards through the line-up and you’ll find yourself in six-figure territory, with the mid-range Emeya S model commanding nearly £102,000. If you want to go all-out and treat yourself to a range-topping Emeya R, be prepared to fork out at least £130,000 but this is still good value compared to an equivalent Porsche Taycan.

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If you have this sort of money to spend on a car, running costs are unlikely to be too much of a concern but we’ll talk about them anyway. Hooking up the Lotus Emeya to a 7.4kW home wallbox for a full charge should set you back by around £35 at a typical rate of 30p per kWh. 

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It may be pricey to buy but, as with any electric car, the Lotus Emya currently benefits from zero VED road tax until April 2025. It also avoids emission-based charging such as the London ULEZ. If you’re a particularly fortunate company car owner, your Lotus will incur a Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rate of just 2%.

These savings will probably come in handy when insuring the Emeya. Although its official insurance group ratings are yet to be revealed, it’s a safe bet that Lotus’s EV will sit way up towards the highest end of the scale. For context, the Porsche Taycan starts from group 48 out of 50.

Performance, motor & drive

Model

0-62mph

Top speed

Driven wheels

Power

Emeya

4.3s

155mph

Four

603bhp

Emeya S

4.3s

155mph

Four

603bhp

Emeya R

2.8s

159mph

Four

905bhp

The Lotus Emeya isn’t simple nor is it lightweight, so die-hard Lotus enthusiasts will already be highly sceptical about whether this big, fully-electric car is worthy of the famous badge. Many people associate Lotus with bare-bones, featherweight sports cars, but the brand has shown that it knows its way around a four-door in the past, with Lotus tuned cars like the Lotus Carlton and Lotus Cortina reaching legendary status.

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Impressive technology and solid build-quality aside, it’s behind the wheel where this car really needs to shine if the brand’s sporting credentials are to live on in the electric age, and  we’re pleased to announce that this is indeed the case. 

There’s plenty of power on offer with the Emeya and Emeya S both models producing 603bhp and 710Nm of torque. Plant your right foot and you’ll hit 62mph from a standstill in a mere 4.3 seconds, and then go on to a limited top speed of 155mph. If, for whatever reason, that isn’t quick enough for you, the hardcore Emeya R’s 905bhp and 985Nm will trim the landmark sprint time down to a supercar-slaying 2.8 seconds, and its top speed also creeps upwards slightly to 159mph. 

It’s not straight-line acceleration which Lotus is famed for, though, and the Emeya has been carefully engineered to handle itself well in the corners, too. The laws of physics prevent it from being as nimble as an Emira, but this large EV manages to keep its bulk well under control. There’s plenty of driver engagement, too, thanks to the Emeya’s pleasingly-weighted steering and brakes. 

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A selection of five different drive modes are available to choose from; Range, Tour, Sport, Individual and Track, and these adjust the throttle response, steering, dampers and regenerative braking system. 

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The Emeya R does have a few extra party tricks up its sleeve, such as ‘active’ anti-roll suspension and a seemingly endless supply of acceleration, but the lower-spec models never left us wanting for more power or enjoyment. It’s this combination of pleasing performance, strong battery range, lower price and additional touches such as the larger brakes that make the Lotus Emeya S our pick of the range.

Interior, dashboard & infotainment

Gone are the days of a Lotus interior consisting of four switches, two dials and a radio head unit. The Lotus Emeya’s cabin is a giant step upmarket for the brand, as there’s genuinely excellent technology and materials to be found throughout. The build quality feels like the start of a new era for Lotus, too.

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The cabin is truly that of a luxury car (which is a good job considering the price) and every Emeya features a large 15.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system as its centrepiece. Unlike some rivals, though, the Lotus doesn’t depend too much on its touchscreen as there are a number of physical switches accompanying it.

If you want to maximise the car’s aerodynamics and reduce its width at the same time, there is the option to replace the standard door mirrors with cameras. Our test car was fitted with these, but we found them difficult to used to as they are far from the slickest implementation of this questionable tech on the market.

Boot space, seating & practicality

The Emeya being based on the Lotus Eletre’s SUV underpinnings means there’s a healthy amount of space on offer inside. While there’s a bit less headroom due to the lower roofline, there’s still plenty of room to accommodate taller passengers. Long-legged occupants will be more than happy, too, especially if they’re sitting in the back seats.

A flatter battery pack and some clever interior design elements have allowed Lotus to maximise the amount of space throughout the Emeya, and the boot offers plenty of luggage space ranging from 426 to 1,388 litres.

Reliability & safety rating

It’s obvious that Lotus has made huge strides in terms of quality, and the Emeya is an extremely far cry from the questionably-built cars of the brand’s past. 

It’ll take some time to see how well this EV holds up against the years and miles, but with vastly improved quality and fewer moving parts, we doubt that this will be a case of “lots of trouble, usually serious”.

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Hello, I’m Shane and I’m the senior content editor both here at DrivingElectric and at our sister title Auto Express. Although I can trace my professional roots back to the radio and podcasting world, my passion (or borderline obsession) with cars saw me switch over to motoring journalism in 2021. From the very start I have been fortunate enough to try out the latest and greatest electric cars on the market, and I’m proud to help people like you make the right EV buying decisions.

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