The Europa is meant to be a bigger, more comfortable version of the Exige and Elise, but it's not really any easier to live with and the dynamics aren't as good as they should be, for a Lotus.

What is it? That depends on how cynical you are. It’s either the first Lotus GT car in two decades. Or it’s another way of using some left-over VX220 chassis. Or it’s a still-born Proton sports car that the company decided should be called a Lotus. It uses a 197bhp/200lb ft 2.0-litre turbocharged Vauxhall motor to give a claimed 150mph maximum and 0-60mph in 5.6sec. Oh and 0-100mph in 13.6sec, which is quite swift actually. What’s it like? Being kind, it’s a very compromised sports coupe whose suspension and NVH levels have been bought as far towards comfort settings as they possibly could. But in no way is it an Audi TT rival and for anyone who thinks that the Porsche Cayman could be a difficult car to interact with on a daily basis, the Europa will be hard to comprehend. The cabin is tiny, despite the lower door sills, and skirt-wearers will still consider it a potential pant-flashing zone. Being a Lotus you’d expect it to redress such failings on the road, but it doesn’t. The engine calibration is poor: throttle response is slow, it takes ages to shed revs and it never feels especially fast. The chassis is much better -agile and fun - but along a favourite road the only thing it does better than a base Cayman S is give the drivers wrists a bit more to wriggle with. Should I buy one? Being a lifelong member of the Colin Chapman fan club, it pains me to say this, but no. The Europa is a car Lotus didn’t need to make, and bar having a slightly more supple ride than an Exige S, the rest of the time, even as an every day car the older car is miles ahead. If you want an Exige with a more supple ride, get an Elise with a hard-top. Chris Harris

Join the debate

Comments
1

9 June 2008

Awful looking car, and have to agree with the short review, whats the point of it?

Tries to sit somewhere between the Elise and the Exige!!!! WHY?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run