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Lotus Europa S


Lotus Europa S

Lotus Europa S
Manufacturer Lotus Cars
Production Late 2006 - Early 2010
Only 456 built with 48 being SE specification
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout Transverse mid-engine, rear-wheel drive

Dodge EV

Proton Lekir
Engine 2.0 L Z20LER I4 (turbocharged petrol)
Transmission 6-speed Getrag M32 manual
Wheelbase 2,330 mm (91.7 in)
Length 3,900 mm (153.5 in)
Width 1,850 mm (72.8 in)
Height 1,120 mm (44.1 in)
Kerb weight 995 kg (2,194 lb)

Lotus Europa S is a GT-type two-seat sports car, designed to complement the successful Lotus Elise and its derivative, the Exige. The Europa S is a modern version of the Europa line of the 1960s and 1970s.

The Europa S is more "relaxed" than the Elise/Exige with a larger boot (trunk), greater soundproofing, and easier cabin access due to the lower chassis sides and higher roof line. It also include luxuries such as air conditioning, a sound system, leather interior, and plush interior carpeting as standard equipment in keeping with European Grand Touring (GT) auto tradition.


  • Specifications 1
  • Europa SE model 2
  • Manufacturer 3
  • Press reaction S/SE model 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Europa S is a light weight car of 995 kg (2,194 lb) with a 149 kW (203 PS; 200 hp) 2.0 L engine. It uses an extruded and bonded aluminium chassis with composite body panels and front crash structure.

The Europa S is a derivative of the Lotus Type 111 Elise and Exige cars to the extent that the cars have variations of the same bonded aluminum chassis. The Europa bears a separate Lotus model designation (Type 121) due, in part, to its longer chassis and completely new body type. The mid-engined two-seat coupe has a 2.0 L turbocharged GM Ecotec engine, the Z20LER, producing 147 kW (200 PS; 197 hp) at 5400 rpm[1] using the M32 6-speed transmission. The torquey 272 N·m (201 lb·ft) engine allows the car to reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in around 5.5 seconds, and 100 mph (160 km/h) in around 13.8 seconds. Maximum speed is 143 mph (230 km/h).

Europa SE model

2010 Lotus Europa SE
2010 Lotus Europa SE interior

As the Europa S model was not a sales success, Lotus engineering director Roger Becker took charge of the car’s development programme and created the Europa SE model. The SE model has the following upgrades -

ENGINE: The Europa SE uses the same General Motors supplied Z20 LER 2.0 litre engine unit as used in the Europa S, but is fitted with a revised turbocharger featuring a high output compressor, a re-calibrated engine controller, and a set of colder grade spark plugs. These changes provide a smoother, more linear, and enhanced torque characteristic for readily accessible engine performance, and result in a power increase to 225 PS, with 300 Nm of torque.

WHEELS & TYRES: The new, cast alloy 15-spoke roadwheels are increased in both width and diameter. They are fitted with Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 tyres in 195/45 R17 on the front (increased from 175/55) and 235/40 R18 (from 225/45 R17) at the rear. This equipment, in combination with revised suspension tuning (see below), provides higher levels of both longitudinal and lateral grip and results in improved handling, balance and braking performance, especially in very wet conditions, whilst maintaining ride comfort and refinement.

SUSPENSION: The front and rear spring rates have been increased, and the internal valving of the dampers revised. New front damper mounting brackets are fitted together with a softer front anti-roll bar. These changes, in combination with the revised wheel/tyre equipment, provide a nose down rake and slightly lowered ride height, and produce the driving characteristics described above.

BRAKES: In order to provide greater braking performance in conditions of repeated high speed use, larger single piece front brake discs (308mm vs. 288mm) feature curved and handed internal cooling vanes and cross drilling. 4-piston, light alloy, A.P. Racing front callipers utilise Ferodo DS25HP pad material, also fitted to the otherwise standard rear brakes, and a re-calibration of the ABS software ensures that the greater braking potential of the new wheel/tyre/suspension package is fully utilised, with intervention occurring only at the threshold of grip.

INTERIOR: The Europa SE comes as standard with the Luxury Touring Pack (optional on the 'S') and features re-styled trim panels in soft, lightweight, high grade leather.

Lotus stopped production beginning of 2010 due to new emission standards. Only 48 of the Europa SE model were built. It is the rarest production road car ever built by Lotus.


The car was originally planned to be manufactured at parent company Proton's factory in Malaysia, allowing for a lower sale price, but ultimately the company chose the Lotus Hethel factory for the car's production.[2]

Delivery of the Europa S began in September 2006 from the Lotus factory at Hethel, Norfolk, UK. The car was not offered for sale in the United States or Canada, as the Opel/Vauxhall-built turbo was not certified to meet emissions requirements for those countries.

The Europa S body and platform was also used by Chrysler for their Dodge Circuit EV electric car concept.[3]

Press reaction S/SE model

New 2006 Lotus Europa S

Europa S

Reviews of the Europa S were not in line with those for the sister models Elise and Exige, The Sunday Times noting that while introducing a lower-revving engine (General Motors 1998 cc, four-cylinder turbocharged) creates a more comfortable level of sound, the performance is noticeably different from the higher-revving Toyota engines, and with a heavier body shell, the performance isn't in line with the Elise or Exige. It has the same wheelbase as the Vauxhall VX220, which is longer than that of the Elise.[4]

Jason Plato, from British TV show Fifth Gear, tested the car and generally didn't find it good enough to be a proper GT car because he thought that the car needs to be more comfortable. Jeremy Clarkson remarked on Top Gear, "we won't even play [the review film] because it was such a dreary car."

However, Evo magazine gave the car a generally positive review after being given the chance to test a production model in Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps circuit, saying that the car was a "refreshingly mature and desirable sports car."[5] During the same session, Evo group tested the Porsche Cayman S, BMW Z4 M and Nissan 350Z GT-S and "couldn't resist" comparing the Lotus to these three decidedly more expensive coupes. While the Lotus was slower than the three cars, Evo concluded that at around £33,000, it would be a very good match for the three cars' lower spec versions.[6]

Europa SE

Reviews of the SE model were better:

AUTOCAR found it to be "Much improved. Where the original car tended to understeer, this one is far more neutral, even at racetrack cornering speeds. But the car is also usefully more refined than an Elise or Exige. The ride is surprisingly supple, though body control is still very much in the sports car league. And the only thing meaningfully more direct than the improved steering is a pair of handlebars. Lotus has fitted new-spec Europas with an NVH pack; though the car is never going to rival a limousine it can certainly be used for longer journeys, especially on give-and-take road where its roadholding, brilliant brakes and sheer speed out of corners are vital factors. In particular, the SE’s torque, agility, compactness and great braking make it particularly good for today’s crowded roads. There’s instant passing power without a lot of gearchanging, the car has stability to burn, and it remains fun even in conditions other cars would find difficult"(Steve Cropley,, 07.07.2008).

THE INDEPENDENT published a positive review saying:"Drive a big distance in the Europa and you will learn more about the terrain you have covered than in nearly anything else with a solid roof and a heater, Exige excepted. Maybe that is what "grand touring" should be about. Forget the fat, thirsty Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maseratis. In our grave new world, what you need is a Europa"(John Simister, THE INDEPENDENT, 11.01.2009).

CAR Magazine gave the car 4 out of 5 stars saying the car works out on the road"brilliantly.(...)It’s seriously quick, because although 222 bhp is de rigueur for a hot hatch these days, no hot hatch has that power and weight under one tonne. It’s just effortless and easy.(...) The Europa is alive, the steering wheel so wonderfully talkative, jiggling in your hands, sending you messages that you never knew a car could have. At first it’s disconcerting, almost scary, but then you learn to work with the steering and to understand where the limits of grip are. The only problem is that this won’t be for everyone. Car enthusiasts love Lotuses because of their lightweight and, particularly, their steering feel. It’s a wonderful sensation to feel that lithe and alive wheel in your hands. Yet it may be too much for your average SLK, Z4, 370Z or even Cayman driver, to tiresome to be constantly told what your front tyres are up to"(Ben Pulman, CAR Magazine, 20.01.2009).

PISTONHEADS gave the SE model a very good review saying:"It's uncanny though how well the Europa copes with bad roads. You start to wince approaching a surface change and then find you barely felt the impact. But it's still more comfortable to drive round potholes and drain covers, just like in the original Europa in the early seventies.(...)You still know exactly how much grip is left in the front tyres you instinctively know how much power to squeeze in as you unwind the steering lock. Even at what seems like silly speeds the Europa will now turn into corners without fear of the front end washing wide.(...)If you want something for everyday use then there are better small GT cars on the market. But if you like your journeys to be both quick and immense fun then the Europa is definitely worth a look"(Paul Garlick, PISTONHEADS, 11.11.2008).

CAR ADVICE found the car to be extremely good (4,5 out of 5 wheels) saying:"It might be trimmed in leather and have a slightly more compliant ride than its stripped out siblings, but the 2009 Lotus Europa SE is all Lotus underneath the luxury façade. (...) As you feel all 300Nm pulling hard at 4000 rpm through every shift, you quickly realise that this thing is a point-to-point weapon, despite its more conservative styling. I say conservative but only in the company of the Elise and more extreme Exige. Park it next to most other sports cars including those from Porsche and Maserati, and it’s the Lotus that commands all the attention. From any angle, the Europa SE looks like a supercar.(...) It sends a warning to all other performance cars – don’t mess with me, especially in the twisty bits.(...)It’s not just the straight-line acceleration that impresses, it’s the sheer speed the Europa can carry into and out of a corner that will forever change your perception of what a real sports car is capable of. The grip levels are so extreme (although less than the Elise S), that on the run back up the hill climb, I found myself at full throttle more often than not, without ever needing to grab fifth, due to the increased torque this engine makes.(...)When you do need to jump on the brakes, there’s a set of AP-Racing four-piston alloy front brake calipers biting down on 308 millimetre discs, that will reign in the Europa faster than Dreamworld’s Tower of Terror ride. Brake fade was non-existent too with the Ferrodo DS52HP pads.(...)The ProBax seats in the Europa look more like pure bred racing buckets, but I highly doubt you’ll be complaining about back pain, no matter how long you’re in the car. These odd-looking pews were designed with input from several leading vascular surgeons, and the benefits listed in the brochure read like an excerpt from the British Medical Journal. (...)Peak hour madness is also more tolerable in the Europa SE than any other Lotus, and weekend getaways with more than a toothbrush are now possible, with enough room in the boot for a large size soft bag. There’s also ample leg and headroom, which I put to the test with a well- fed mate, who is just shy of 185 centimetres and while it was only a short drive, it was comfortable enough for both of us. One of the standout benefits of the Euorpa’s lightweight construction is its frugal fuel consumption even when you’re hard on the right pedal, as you frequently tend to be in a Lotus. Even driving with some serious intent, the published 9.8L/100 km (combined) is achievable without highway kilometres"(Anthony Crawford, CAR ADVICE, 14.10.2009).


  1. ^ "Lotus Europa S Statistics". Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  2. ^ "Lotus EUROPA S Review". review (Yahoo Cars UK). 2005-12-19. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  3. ^ Riswick, James. "Dodge Circuit EV Revs Up Chrysler's Electric Initiative". Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  4. ^ Frankel, Andrew (2006-09-10). "Lotus Europa S". review (Times Online). Retrieved 2006-09-18. 
  5. ^ Meaden, Richard (November 2006). "Lotus Europa S". review (Evo). 
  6. ^ Meaden, Richard (November 2006). "Lotus Europa S". review (Evo). 

External links

  • Lotus Europa S at Group Lotus site
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