Lotus has at last revealed its rival to the Audi TT, Nissan 350Z and Porsche Boxster, the 140mph Europa S. Described by the Norfolk sportscar brand as ‘business class by Lotus’, the new grand tourer uses the same turbocharged, 200bhp 2.0-litre Vauxhall engine fitted to the VX220 Turbo.
The new model takes Lotus into a new sector of the market for in contrast to the more extreme Exige and Elise models, it features comparative luxuries like carpet, full leather interior and airbags for driver and passanger all as standard. Lotus also promises that access to the cabin will be considerably easier than the notoriously tricky Elise.
Despite its larger size, the Europa still follows the principles honed on the Elise and Exige. Its chassis is made from extruded, bonded aluminium and it features composite body panels and a composite front crash structure.
As a result, it weighs 995kg, considerably less than its market rivals, and boasts a strong power-to-weight ratio (201bhp per tonne), allowing it to accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.5sec, and 0-100mph in 14.0sec.
Lotus has yet to confirm an on-sale date or pricing, but the car will start production next July and the firm states that the Europa should cost around £33,000. It will be available in all Lotus markets, with the exception of the USA and Canada.
Read Steve Cropley's full story on the Europa S in next week's magazine.