Skip advert
Advertisement

Lotus Europa S

Lotus's Europa S is more practical than the Elise and will have no trouble finding buyers

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Find your Lotus Europa
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Hassle-free way to a brand new car
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

If you’re in the market for a refined sports car, the Europa S isn’t it. It’s still a true Lotus, with direct steering, a firm ride and track-inspired handling. The looks aren’t quite right, but it is more practical than the Elise and features a punchy, turbocharged engine. With only limited sales, Lotus should have no trouble finding buyers prepared to pay the £5,000 extra over an Elise.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Want to drive a Lotus, but think the Elise is too impractical and the Esprit far too expensive? The good news is that the Norfolk-based manufacturer claims it has the answer with this – the Europa S.

Designed as a more versatile, comfortable and refined alternative to the firm’s little roadster, but without losing its fun appeal, the hard-top Europa goes on sale next month, priced £32,995.

Positioned against rivals such as Audi’s TT, BMW’s Z4 M Coupé and the Porsche Cayman, the Europa S is being launched into a tough market. Can it compete, and is it still an uncomprom­ising machine for enthusiasts? Auto Express took a test drive to find out.

One thing’s for sure when you lay eyes on it for the first time: it’s not quite as elegant as the Elise. There’s nothing wrong at the front – the new headlights and air intakes look great – while the roof and rear window are neat, too. But the fussy rear end spoils things.

Based on the same aluminium chassis as the Elise, yet with a slightly longer wheelbase, the Europa S offers a little more room inside. A taller roof makes access easier, while the boot capacity goes up from 112 to 154 litres.

Luxury

Inside, there’s more equipment, too, and a greater emphasis on luxury. Leather upholstery, air-con and satellite navigation are all standard, although the cabin is largely unchanged from that of the Elise, and is still more stripped-out sports car than sophisticated coupé.

Factor in the roof, plus the extra kit, and weight has increased 135kg to 995kg. But with a new 197bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from Vauxhall, the Europa S still covers 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds, 0-100mph in 13.6 seconds and has a top speed of 150mph.

With lots of torque, very little turbo lag and a longer-geared six-speed transmission, the new model is far less frantic than the Elise, but it still feels very fast. However, it’s a shame Lotus didn’t fit a V6, which would have made a better noise and proved more powerful.

Nevertheless, the Europa S is quite refined, and with slightly softer suspen­sion, there’s definitely more compliancy to the ride, which means long journeys are a less tiring proposition. But Lotus makes no apologies for the fact that this is still a track-inspired sports car, with lightning reactions.

While this model won’t really appeal to mainstream buyers, it’s certainly an intriguing newcomer that should be a hit with Lotus fans wanting more practicality. And it promises to be a rare sight, too. The brand expects to sell only 500 models worldwide a year, making the Europa S a very exclusive coupé.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Dacia’s Duster is Britain’s best car to own as Driver Power 2024 survey results land
Dacia Duster - front tracking
News

Dacia’s Duster is Britain’s best car to own as Driver Power 2024 survey results land

Owners have voted the Dacia Duster as the most satisfying new car to own in the 2024 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey
11 Jun 2024
Best cars to own: Driver Power 2024 results
Driver Power 2024 - best cars to own header
News

Best cars to own: Driver Power 2024 results

The best new cars to own in the UK right now according to the people who already do. It’s the 2024 Driver Power results!
11 Jun 2024
Giant Panda electrified! New Fiat Grande Panda arrives with EV and hybrid power
Fiat Panda - front
News

Giant Panda electrified! New Fiat Grande Panda arrives with EV and hybrid power

Hybrid and electric versions will be available – the same as its sister cars, the Citroen C3/e-C3 and Vauxhall Frontera
14 Jun 2024