Geneva '08 Preview: Lotus updates the Europa
Click to enlarge
A few years back as the Esprit was fading into history, Lotus devised the Europa as an alternative for drivers for whom the little Elise and Exige were a bit too hardcore. The Elise chassis was stretched and a slightly more upscale interior was put in place to create what was supposed to be more of a grand touring coupe. Unfortunately, most people still felt the Europa hadn't gone far enough and the car wasn't up to the standard of competitors like the Porsche Boxster/Cayman. For 2008, Lotus has done some further upgrades to the Europa and added a lower cost entry level model. The Europa SE now has newly designed 17"/18" wheels front and rear and an interior completely finished in leather. The interior volume of the Europa hasn't changed, so it's unclear if the upgrades will be enough to attract more buyers, but if Lotus wants to bring some to the U.S. we would be more than happy to try one out in the Autoblog Garage.
2008 Lotus Europa Range
Group Lotus plc unveils a new updated and significantly enhanced range of Europa's at the 78th annual Geneva International Motor Show. The new entry level Europa is priced at £27,950 MSRP / €37,500, with the range topping Europa SE available for a competitive £32,995 MSRP / €41,500 (Euro prices are without taxes, delivery & other related costs).
These new Europa variants have been designed and developed especially for European customers and will be sold exclusively across Europe from June 2008. The Europa is now available to a larger target audience with the entry level car providing a more accessible way to own a Europa and the SE designed to appeal to those who are even more style conscious and want increased levels of performance.
Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc commented: "As the true driver will know, this Europa range, offers access to Lotus' unique DNA for those who perceive the Elise and Exige as a little too uncompromising for everyday use. The new Europa SE sits at the more refined end of the Lotus spectrum, providing a terrific mix of performance, agility and style, but incorporates Lotus's values and heritage".
The Europa has a mid-mounted 2 litre turbo charged engine, tuned in the SE with an all new calibration to 225 PS and with 300 Nm of torque to offer effortless cruising capability. Even though the Europa is engineered with more relaxed driving characteristics it provides amazing performance, with 0-60 mph in the SE dispatched in 5.5s (0-100 km/h in 5.7s estimated) and the sprint to 100 mph (160 km/h) taking just 13.0s (estimated). Given the legal opportunity to stretch its legs, the Europa SE will hit a top speed of 143 mph (estimated).
The Europa now offers increased levels of comfort over the Elise and Exige whilst enhancing the focused driving experience that you would expect from a Lotus. These models are both equipped with race car derived double wishbone suspension to give an exceptional driving feelwith Lotus DNA. The sleek Europa body work, together with the assistance of the flat underbody, generates positive downforce to provide balanced handling at speed.
The Europa SE has attractive and light weight new wheels, which are shod with wider, high performance tyres, for increased levels of grip. These new high performance wheels are larger with 17" rims up front, and larger 18" rims on the rear. The new wheels house high performance AP Racing four pot brakes and larger (308 mm) diameter discs.
The SE interior has been updated by Lotus Design with a stylish new design that works in harmony with the premium avant-garde Ice White of the Geneva Show car. The interior is finished using 4 hides of soft, lightweight high-grade leather, to ensure that every surface has a luxuriant tactile feel.
As with all 2008 Lotus road cars, the Europa and Europa SE come with driver and passenger airbags and an engine start button as standard. The Europa interior is furnished with leather sports seats and comes as standard with a high quality stereo system.