Imagine you had around £33,000 to spend and a penchant for sports coupes.
Imagine you had around £33,000 to spend and a penchant for sports coupes. Would you go for the Mercedes Benz CLK200, perhaps an Audi A5 2.0TFSI S-Line, or even a BMW 325i M-Sport?
All are fast, comfortable and loaded with technology, which is no bad thing but here's one for the purists - the Lotus Europa SE. Priced at £32,995 plus all the bits and pieces, what it lacks in perceived social graces, it more than makes up for in fun, seat of the pants driving.
I say that it's one for the purists but unlike the Lotus Elise, Exige and totally manic 2-Eleven, the Lotus Europa is quite a softy and is placed at the end of the scale marked 'armchair' sports car, in the Lotus scheme of things. It is an unfair label as the Lotus Europa is a far cry from an armchair on wheels. But then, all things are relative, although the traditionalists might not appreciate the electric windows, carpets, air conditioning and, shock-horror, an audio system with a form of Satellite Navigation.
What Lotus mean is that the Europa is more suited to everyday use. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, and take a look at the shapely exterior. Although the styling is not quite as extreme as some of the others from the same stable, it bears all the right hallmarks to verify its ancestry.
The broad, concave bonnet flares out to form the wheelarches that house the new, Fondmetal, high-performance, 17 inch alloys at the front (18 inch at the rear). The valley between frames the road ahead in an almost sensuous way as you sit in the low seat and it bears a non-aggressive face.
By contrast, the rear end is somewhat truncated with the centrally-placed, twin tailpipes forming a focal point and grille strips contained within curved design-lines. These are below the chunky tail-light clusters positioned at the outermost edges of the broad shoulders. In between is a spoiler, which forms part of the boot lid.
Yes, the Lotus Europa has luggage space worthy of the term 'boot'. But only just, as the 113-litre capacity will hold little more than a small suitcase or a holdall. For smaller items, there are three pockets each bearing evocative buckle fasteners one of which carries the handbook because there is no room inside for it.
Lotus Europa Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Lotus Europa SE|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||5.4 Seconds|
|Top Speed||146 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||36.7 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||2-Years / Unlimited Mileage|
|Price (when tested on the 01/12/08)||£32,995|