There was one good way, it seemed to me, to test the worth of the improvements of the recently revised Lotus Europa SE: subject it to a long, fast trip.

When the car was launched in 2006 it was billed as the right choice for Lotus owners who wanted a reasonably refined touring car, still with the great driving values of the Lotus Elise and Exige to which it was closely related.

But the original Europa S fell short of expectations, and was never a match for the mainstream competition.

After deliberation, I decided to tackle what I always think of as the Jim Clark heritage route — from Lotus’s Hethel HQ to Duns, Scotland, where Clark lived. That seemed especially appropriate since it’s 40 years since the great champion died at Hockenheim. Plus, a round trip of 700 miles is just too far for key faults to stay hidden and offered the ideal opportunity to really test the Europa’s mettle.