Lotus Europa S
Lotus' new GT is (almost) here -- the company has released details of its much-rumoured forthcoming GT, the Lotus Europa S, which goes on sale next summer.
According to Lotus, the mid-engined GT-inspired two-seater "will provide Lotus customers with a spectacular sports car with significantly enhanced levels of touring and cruising capability. It will provide drivers with higher levels of practicality and refinement to complement the simplicity of the Lotus Elise and Exige models."
Sticking with the Lotus philosophy of performance through lightness, the GT weighs just 995Kg, achieved through the use of advanced and high technology materials, including an extruded and bonded aluminium chassis, composite body panels and a very advanced, composite, energy-absorbing front crash structure.
Compared to the Elise, the Europa S has a larger boot / luggage compartment and easier cabin access as a result of its lower chassis sides and higher roof line. It also includes full leather interior, driver and passenger airbags and carpets as standard, to create what the Hethel company called a "business-class driving experience".
However, the Europa S is not a derivative of the Elise or the Exige and has been allocated a separate Lotus type number of Type 121 - the Elise and Exige are both Type 111.
The new coupé has a power to weight ratio of 201bhp / tonne and will deliver high levels of performance. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine produces 200bhp at 5,400rpm and 194lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. It achieves around 90 per cent of that torque at a low 2,000 rpm, helping to propel it from 0-60 mph in around 5.5 seconds, and 100mph in around 14 seconds while remaining flexible. Maximum speed is about 140mph.
Product head Tony Shute said: "The Lotus Europa S has allowed Lotus to exploit its extensive capabilities in developing a sophisticated GT car which successfully complements the range of existing cars. The 'Grand Tourer' concept underpinning the Europa S provides the driver with a refined environment, incorporating innovative styling features which do not compromise the superior performance and handling that is synonymous with the Lotus marque."
Design chief Russell Carr said: "The form of a design should reflect the spirit of the car, and the Lotus Europa S is no different. Where the rebellious track-focused personality of the Exige is characterised by shrink-wrapped athletic forms communicating agility and power, the Europa S has a more fluid, understated language reflecting its more sophisticated persona."
The introduction of a GT car represents both an important and unique addition to the Lotus product range, said Lotus Cars boss Clive Dopson. He said: "The launch of the Europa S re-affirms our position as an innovative player in the highly competitive sports car marketplace. It allows Lotus to extend its product appeal beyond our traditional customer base, and provides yet another demonstration of the key Lotus brand attributes and high levels of quality for which we are particularly proud."
Production of the Lotus Europa S is scheduled to commence in July 2006 at Lotus' manufacturing plant in Norfolk and it'll be sold in all Lotu's current markets, except for the USA and Canada.
Final pricing and full specifications will be announced closer to the on-sale date, but the price is expected to be about £33,000, depending on taxation regimes.