Lotus, the British company best known for making low-volume, lightweight, high-performance sports cars, is diverging from this long-held marketing strategy with a new model that’s entirely different from any Lotus that came before it. The new Eletre is a high-performance electric SUV built in China and set to go on sale in the U.S. sometime in 2023. While it is considerably heavier than any other Lotus model due to its large battery pack, the Eletre still delivers strong acceleration thanks to its electric motors, producing at least 603 horsepower. Lotus aims to compete with other electric SUV models including the Audi e-tron and BMW iX, but the Eletre bears more than a passing resemblance to the jaw-dropping Lamborghini Urus.

The Eletre’s base powertrain is a dual-motor all-wheel drive setup making 603 horsepower. After taking a test drive, we think that’s enough to launch the Eletre to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Our first impressions are of a performance SUV that’s quick and comfortable, but it isn’t as agile as Lotus’s sports cars. The top-spec R boasts a whopping 905 horsepower and we estimate a zero-to-60-mph time of only 2.7 seconds. That model is far more dramatic on the road and exhibited unnerving squirms and twitches when we got aggressive with the throttle pedal. When we can test the Eletre on our home turf, we’ll update this story with more driving impressions and test results.

The Eletre will be offered as either a four-seater with two individual buckets in the rear or as a five-seater with a three-place rear bench. Its cabin features interesting materials such as microfiber, stitched leather, wool-blend fabric, and milled bronze accents. Altogether, it’s a surprisingly upscale experience inside given Lotus’s normal stripped-down, lightweight interiors. The sport seats are comfortable for long-haul driving and the switchgear is rendered in aluminum with knurled details that wouldn’t look out of place in a Bentley.

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