When I did get to drive an R on fresher and cooler rubber, it felt much more neutral, especially when turned in to a corner under braking. It also felt very stable when asked to change direction at speed.
The rear axle uses an open differential and vectors torque by braking individual wheels, so it can’t match the response speed or 100% side-to-side ability of individual wheel motors. At the limit, the Eletre can be felt trying to maximise grip and traction, but the prototypes didn’t feel particularly playful. (And despite asking nicely, I wasn’t allowed to deactivate the stability control in any of them.)
Steering is the other area where the Eletre feels obviously different to any previous Lotus, and not just as it’s the first to use electric assistance. The cars I drove also had a variable-ratio rack, this cutting down the wheel angles required in tight bits but also denying the absolute proportionality that Lotus is best known for. Feel was present but definitely muted by the brand’s voluble standards. Apparently there will also be a fixed-ratio steering system, one that is likely to be more traditionally Lotus-like.
Build quality is high, with consistent gaps between the intricately stamped panels and a beautiful paint finish.
Inside, there’s generous space front and rear (both four-seat and five-seat configurations will be available) and the huge amount of technology didn’t inflict digital overload on me, there being a narrow instrument screen in front of the driver, a 15.1in infotainment touchscreen and a configurable display for the front passenger.