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.