Europa gets more performance, more spec and a price cut
7 July 2008

What is it?

This is the improved, better-equipped version of the Lotus Europa SE, the company’s Elise-based, glassback coupe.

First launched in 2006 as the Europa S, the Lotus Europa SE has all the good bits from the Elise and Vauxhall VX220 (extruded aluminium chassis, all-independent suspension, turbocharged 2.0-litre engine) plus bigger brakes, different wheel and tyres sizes and a 10 per cent increase in power and torque.

Now with Lotus-tweaked engine management, the latest Europa SE packs 223bhp instead of 198bhp, plus an enhanced torque output of 221lb ft.

As the Lotus Europa SE weighs just under 1000kg, this gives it the same torque-to-weight figure as a Ferrari F430, which accounts for strong performance. Lotus claims a 0-60mph time of 5.5 seconds, and 0-100 mph acceleration of 13 seconds dead. Top speed is 143 mph.

The Europa’s suite of improvements came to fruition when Lotus engineering director Roger Becker took charge of the car’s development programme.

The previous ‘S’ model has been axed and now ‘SE’ spec adds wider tyres, AP racing brakes, an all-leather interior and a beefier sound system to the standard car’s spec.

What’s it like?

Much improved. Where the original car tended to understeer, this one is far more neutral, even at racetrack cornering speeds.

But the car is also usefully more refined than an Elise or Exige. The ride is surprisingly supple, though body control is still very much in the sports car league. And the only thing meaningfully more direct than the improved steering is a pair of handlebars.

Lotus has fitted new-spec Europas with an NVH pack; though the car is never going to rival a limousine it can certainly be used for longer journeys, especially on give-and-take road where its roadholding, brilliant brakes and sheer speed out of corners are vital factors.

In particular, the SE’s torque, agility, compactness and great braking make it particularly good for today’s crowded roads.

There’s instant passing power without a lot of gearchanging, the car has stability to burn, and it remains fun even in conditions other cars would find difficult.

And as long as you can cope with a fair, but not outlandish, degree of wind and road noise you’ll enjoy its tall gearing and long legs.

Should I buy one?

Don’t treat the Europa as a substitute for something like an Audi TT. This is a harder-edged and more enthusiast-focussed car than that. And you need to be sure you want the torquey, 2.0-litre turbo instead of the Elise’s normally aspirated Toyota unit.

Assuming you prefer the Europa’s poke, you’ll be getting a car that’s more exclusive than either of the others. Lotus is making only 500 Europas, and at the readjusted prices, it offers a far more compelling proposition than before.

Join the debate

Comments
11

9 July 2008

Shocking really.

Lotus Europa: 30mpg, 220gCO2/km, 995kg, 225bhp, 221lbft

Comparison to Audi TTS: 35.3mpg, 191gCO2/km, 1395kg, 268bhp, 258lbft.

So, weighs 400 kilos less, has much less power and torque, yet consumes 18% more fuel. And the TTS is only £395 more. Lotus are about fifteen years behind the game. Shocking.

9 July 2008

15 years behind the game, really?

Are you sure it's not more like 2 or 3? Besides Lotus don't actually make engines so it's a bit harsh to criticise them for this when the car was designed 3-4 years ago with an engine that was reasonable at the time.

9 July 2008

From the test report Lotus have selected the gearing and fine tuned the turbo installation to provide instant acceleration for a car that can overtake when the slightest gap appears in the traffic.

In my experience (ever since the spate of accidents with the first Audi TT led to a raft of revisions) the Audi has followed the usual German approach of autobahn only performance i.e. good high speed cruising with surprising economy but not the instant get and go of a genuine performance car.

Whilst most manufacturers will without doubt need to follow the Audi approach to combine performance with respectable economy and emissions I would hope that there is still room for performance first approach adopted by a specialist like Lotus.

9 July 2008

The reason this car hasn't sold is that I solves a problem which never existed... who the hell is going to buy a civilised Lotus Elise?!! Who on earth gets one of these cars to drive a few hundred miles on a regular basis? Why on earth do Lotus think that by making an apparently 'civilised' sporty car more even MORE sporty they can shift more of them?

It's a contradiction in terms and the sale figures back up the confusing signals this car is giving out.

On a more personal note I think it is pretty ugly for a Lotus as well and far too expensive.

9 July 2008

[quote jerry99]

From the test report Lotus have selected the gearing and fine tuned the turbo installation to provide instant acceleration for a car that can overtake when the slightest gap appears in the traffic.

In my experience (ever since the spate of accidents with the first Audi TT led to a raft of revisions) the Audi has followed the usual German approach of autobahn only performance i.e. good high speed cruising with surprising economy but not the instant get and go of a genuine performance car.

[/quote]

Audi TTS: 0-100kph(62mph) 5.2 sec(S-tronic g/box). Max torque of 350Nm(258lbft) available between 2500 and 5000 rpm.

"That fat torque spread makes it effortlessly easy to surge across the countryside, the all-wheel drive system heightening the Audi’s reassuring aura of stability."

"Also mighty impressive is the combination of performance and fuel consumption delivered by this engine. True, it has the advantage of less weight to push around, but the combination of a 5.2sec 0-62mph time and a combined consumption figure of 35.3 mpg (and CO2 emissions of 188g/km) is a real achievement." Autocar First Drive report, Audi TTS, 1st May 2008

First TT suffered back end lift at high speed due to shape. Was rectified with wing for downforce. Separate issue entirely to 'instant get up and go of a genuine performance car.'

11 July 2008

Well your personal note is your personal opinion and you're entitled to that (assuming yof you've actually seen, sat in and driven a Europa and aren't just some random keyboard warrior).

The reasons the car haven't sold is that Lotus' marketing of the car was pretty atrocious and market awareness that the vehicle exists is still very low. Pricing is an issue, but Lotus managed to shoot themselves in the foot again by restructuring the prices before dealers managed to shift existing stock, resulting in confusion over what the car should actually be selling for.

"Who the hell is going to buy a civilised Lotus Elise?" Quite a few people, I'm sure, who want Lotus performance and handling characteristics in a single car which can be driven every day without having to 'rev the nuts off it'. Not those 'driving purists' who insist on an Elise above all else (then in their hypocrisy buy a second car to drive every day). Plus an Elise is not a coupe, and the Exige is a track focused car that is not easy to drive in urban conditions. What you should be asking yourself is turning the argument on its head and saying "With the Europa around, what is the point in the Elise 111R (since the S and SC cover all the other bases)?" The car is not a contradiction in terms, it provides a focused coupe alternative to the soft and dull German and Italian opposition.

"Who on earth gets in one of these cars to drive a few hundred miles on a regular basis?" Well I would, and I'm sure there are others that would join me (and already have done).

13 July 2008

[quote vxpert] Plus an Elise is not a coupe, and the Exige is a track focused car that is not easy to drive in urban conditions.[/quote]

Neither is this.. I think you'll find this 'coupe' is as much a coupe as the Exige is... ie an Elise with a hardtop fitted.

I'm not one to take a dislike to a Lotus product. I still adore the Elise and have owned a couple, my comment is merely on the fact that Lotus have wasted money on a product that simply isn't selling. A quick flick through the classifieds sees numerous ex-demos or nearly new cars with silly low mileages for a large discount.

Lotus... you are a fantastic company, great mentality and fantastic cars - so why waste your small budget creating cars like this?!!

31 July 2008

...which shows how much you have researched the car! It IS a fixed head coupe with a welded roof section and is NOT an Elise with a hard top fitted.

I think you'll agree that if the Elise didn't exist you'd be waxing lyrical about the Europa. As for budget, its likely that Proton footed a lot of the bill so Lotus haven't lost out as much as you might expect.

27 June 2009

Just to clear things up. The roof is not welded as the car is fibreglass I believe the roof is bonded. The standard S has a 0-60 of 5.5. Upgraded S’s (Most of them are) and SE Europas are just sub 5 seconds, but this is all paperwork and you will be missing the Lotuses trump card. Sit in one and drive to understand. It’s all too easy to play top trumps when sat at a table. Most comments so far seem purely from reading specs and not driving said vehicles. Love it or hate it.

If you want a car that you can drive quickly out of the box. That’s practical, refined, well built and has low C02 emissions by all means get a TTRS, Porsche, Cayman, SLK, BMW…..

If you want a car with a course engine that vibrates the cabin on start up. That whistles on accelerating and grunts when slowing. Gives you constant brail like feedback though your hands. A car that needs to be mastered to be driven quickly as well as slowly. With a badge of heritage that gets nods from drivers and questions from gooey eyed kids. Then get a supercar. If you cant afford the ownership of a supercar and want something really rare then get a Lotus Europa!

The feeling of putting the hammer down to get some well read pistonhead out of your rear view mirror is so gratifying and yet done so effortlessly!

3 January 2010

Bourj:

I fully concur with your assessment...£33k for the experience this car offers and its individuality is cheap actually cheap!

"If you want a car that you can drive quickly out of the box. That’s practical, refined, well built and has low C02 emissions by all means get a TTRS, Porsche, Cayman, SLK, BMW….."

You could have also added, "and be a unimaginative sheep!"

Long live individuality..........Long live LOTUS!

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