It surely can’t be a coincidence that, in the same week that Porsche confirms the most significant revision yet for its groundbreaking EV, Lotus updates us on its imminent rival. Taycan versus Emeya already looks like a great supersaloon shootout, before even factoring in the alternatives as the EV ‘bahnstormer segment blooms: Audi RS e-tron GT, BMW i5 M60, Mercedes-AMG EQE and Polestar 5 will all be in the crosshairs. And that’s before considering what an all-electric Jaguar might offer.
The latest from Lotus is that the final stage of testing is complete for the Emeya, an achievement marked with a set of rather lovely images from its winter assessment in the Arctic Circle. If the initial Emeya pics weren’t all that convincing, snowy and sideways and painted Firecracker Orange looks much more like it. Lotus says that the three-year programme for the Emeya’s development has taken in 15 countries; these pictures are from Ivalo in Finland, where it was down to minus 25, and the car has also been to Inner Mongolia (!), Nardo, the autobahn, the Nurburgring and, of course, ‘the UK’s challenging B-roads’. Wouldn’t be a Lotus without that.
The point, of course, is that the Emeya has to deliver a lot, and deliver it everywhere. More so than the Eletre, this has to drive beautifully because it's a sports saloon - and on the other side of the coin, there are still markets where this shape of car represents the pinnacle of luxury, so it must live up to those criteria on top. In the snow, in the sunshine, in the peak of summer and the depths of winter. And thanks to the Taycan, our expectations of EV flagships have advanced considerably in not very much time at all.
Up north (more than 150 miles into the Arctic Circle), attention has been paid to pretty much every aspect of the car, from driver assistance to tyres and chassis systems to battery performance in extreme weather. If everything works here (including a minus 40 ‘automotive fridge’), then it’ll work anywhere, which is why it’s such an essential place to test. Good to see it oversteers as well, of course.
Speaking of which, Lotus’s tame racing driver (and legendary development hand) Gavan Kershaw has never been far from the Emeya’s wheel in the past three years. He said of the new car: “A Lotus should be engaging and desirable, but also safe and predictable. That doesn’t mean boring – in fact, just the opposite! Drivers need to know they can trust their car so they can maximise the dynamic performance, and with the development work that’s gone into Emeya, they really can.
“As a true grand tourer, Emeya has many features which help to make it the perfect companion in any environment, including the Arctic Circle. With Lotus advanced control systems and four-wheel drive, the vehicle excels in stability, handling and control, meaning the drivability of Emeya is not compromised in extreme weather.” He’s not even mentioned the heated wheel that can be turned on via the app. Never has winter in a Lotus sounded such an appealing prospect.
With that exhaustive test programme complete, all that’s left now is for customers to get their cars. First deliveries are due later in 2024, and the configurator is live for those still deciding on spec. If you aren’t sold on Fireglow Orange, don’t forget there’s Solar Yellow as well…
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