It might look like a plasticine model, but this grey patent image reveals the first-ever Lotus SUV, codenamed Type 132. Yes, the British sports car manufacturer famously obsessed with ‘lightweighting’ will soon be churning out an electric SUV that weighs the best part of two tonnes and is due to be revealed on 29 March.
The ‘Type 132’ is going to be a sizable car with a three-metre wheelbase, and while we don’t officially know about the weight yet, we do know that electric SUVs tend to be on the heavy side. Whereas the iconic Lotus Elise tips the scales at around 930kg, the likes of Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and Tesla’s Model Y pepper the 2,000kg mark. It’s hard to see how even the considerable weight-saving expertise at Lotus would be able to get the Hethel SUV creation dipping under 1,800kg.
After a teaser involving a man running in a warehouse – along with some fleeting glances at the car – this is the closest look at the Lotus SUV’s complete design. It shows the extent to which the car has been styled in the mould of the new Emira sports car and Evija electric hypercar.
Judging by the leaked photos of the Ferrari Purosangue SUV, the Hethel design team may also have the edge on Maranello’s. Slim headlights sit above an aggressive nose, there’s an ultra-trendy rear light bar and low roofline that should stand out against the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y.
It’s clearly seen time in a wind tunnel too, with just about every drag-reducing trick on display. There are cameras mounted on stalks instead of door mirrors, flush door handles that may or may not pop out (this is a Lotus after all) and a neat split rear spoiler to help smooth airflow for extra range.
The SUV sits on Lotus’ new ‘Premium Architecture’, which can be used in models with a wheelbase of 2,998mm to 3,100mm, and serve up a battery capacity between 90kWh to 120kWh. It can also be fitted with a variety of motors, the most potent combination of which is touted as giving a 0-62mph time of under three seconds. The Model Y Performance offers a best of 3.7 seconds.
Lotus has also confirmed its new generation of electric models will run at 800v, just like the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT. Not only does this mean lots of power, but also lots of ability to cram energy back into the battery pack for a usable boost in range. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Lotus gets ultra-fast 350kW charging.
So there you have it. While Porsche folded with the Cayenne, Lamborghini gave birth to the Urus and you can stroll out of an Aston Martin dealership with the keys to a DBX, Lotus was one at last sports car manufacturers to cave to the world’s SUV obsession. Fingers crossed that the Lotus SUV also helps fund the development of more lightweight two-seat Hethel specials of the kind we know and love.