And that is what the Lotus Europa SE is all about.
So, why would you want to put yourself through all of this when there are a good few, more luxurious sports coupes on the market? Well, for a start none of them carry the Lotus badge that conjures up racing images, renowned engineering resulting in excellent ride and performance along with a sense of no-nonsense, serious fun.
And all of this is yours as soon as you press the start button and hear the engine fire up behind your head. It is not a large unit but the 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre, turbo-charged power plant does pack a punch. The power and torque outputs of 225PS at 5,700rpm and 300Nm at 4,000rpm, together with the 995kg bodyweight allows a top speed of 146mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.4 seconds. It feels very much faster when you are that close to the ground.
The Lotus Europa's sporty suspension has been revised for even better handling and ride quality and, although it is firm, it isn't as brutal as some of this ilk and it takes speed bumps surprisingly well. Both the Lotus Europa and the Europa SE have race-car derived double wishbone suspension Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs - two more evocative names, that promise excellent control and behaviour.
The performance is delivered smoothly but is impressive nonetheless and the agility cannot be doubted as the car moves through fast corners and remains flat and composed. You just want to drive it.
The fuel consumption is pretty reasonable, too. The official figures are posted as: 21.1-, 36.7- and 28.8mpg for the urban, extra-urban and combined, respectively while 229g/km of CO2 is emitted from the tailpipes.
And that is what the Lotus Europa SE is all about. Impractical as it is, the Lotus Europa is a car that you could drive every day without getting tired of the snuggness of the cabin or the effort of getting in and out. A good entry into the world of Lotus, it is easy to drive in a relaxed manner and still take it to a track day at the weekend.1 December 2008
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|