A plusher interior and more performance, but we’re still struggling to see the point
1 August 2007

What is it?

This is Lotus’s response to the distinctly subdued critical reaction that greeted the Europa on its launch: an extra-cost interior upgrade and a ‘track use’ performance kit.

Answers to unasked questions? Load both packs onto the Europa S and the asking price rises to £35,445. Which is a lot to pay for what is basically a posh Elise.

What's it like?

The £1250 interior upgrade kit brings leather to almost every non-glass surface, including most of the dashboard, the gear lever surround and the instrument cluster top. The standard of stitching and finish is good, but there’s still no mistaking the Eliseness of the mouldings that lurk beneath the hide. The fat Elise sills mean it remains a difficult car to get in and out of, too.

The Europa still drives pretty much like a slightly heavier and marginally softer Elise. The unassisted steering is bristling with feedback and the well mannered chassis can generate massive levels of grip.

The £1200 performance kit extracts an extra 25bhp from the turbocharged Vauxhall engine, and the pack also includes cross-drilled brake discs. The changes are enough to trim a claimed 0.7sec from the 0-62mph time (4.9sec vs 5.6sec for the standard car), with the top speed going up from 143mph to 147mph. In-gear acceleration is impressively brisk.

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Should I buy one?

As always, the Europa’s biggest problem remains the fact that the standard Elise is just so damned good. The Europa is no quicker, no more practical and it makes do with a less charismatic engine. Sorry, but we still don’t quite get it.

Mike Duff

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