Lotus Europa S Review
Lotus Poked'us

Text by Andy Hum, Photos by Amery Reuben and Andy Hum
11 May 2007

Usually when “comfy” and “sports car” are mentioned in the same breath, chances are one would probably have already conjured mental images of thick, cushy leather-wrapped seats and dashes inside a Porsche 911, or even a BMW M3.“But what about Lotus?” you ask. The people around you suddenly turn silent, their mouths slightly gaping. And then they burst out laughing.

That is the problem. The whole concept of a Lotus capable of comfortable long-distance cruising is as odd as going to McDonalds and ordering a quarter-pound burger without all the cheese, sauce, and then asking for a smaller meat patty – you end up getting something which is far from a proper quarter-pounder. Followed by a really frustrated waitress resisting the urge to box you in the face.

The Elise was already considered, to most, a “hardcore car”, so when the Exige was unleashed, their jaws came loose off their joints.

But you see, those cars had more purpose, more direction and were not positioned in the middle of nowhere. That got us thinking, why would anyone want to make a go-kart cozy enough for the highways if they already had something like the Elise?

And, if that wasn’t quick enough, there was also the Exige, which is capable of shifting all your internal organs to either side of your body. But unlike the Elise, you could easily fracture your bones in it, just by taking a drive to the shops.

Getting its destination right

In the Elise S, every bump on the road could be felt with a little jolt up your bottom even as you drove around, simply wanting to get from one place to another, without Elise S speeds.

In the Exige, you could feel every bump on the road up your bottom as well. Except it was quite a few times harder. And it was so stripped out that you could sometimes hear little stones or bits of asphalt bouncing off the bottom of its extruded aluminium Type 111 chassis, creating somewhat melodious “tings” and “tongs” throughout the cabin.

The Europa S, however, isn’t a Type 111 – it is the Type 121. So on the roads, it doesn’t really make a xylophone out of your car.

That’s good, considering Lotus wants very much to market this as a Grand Tourer; it ought to be more than just tolerable for your longer-than-usual journeys. But here’s the difficult bit: it is not exactly something one could describe as comfortable.

Yet while you’re inside, driving for a long period of time, you wouldn’t be left with a darkened coloured shirt and wet hair plastered across your forehead. Instead, it is still quite possible to clamber out feeling only as drained as you would after having driven a regular Toyota.

In fact, we even managed to survive an evening CTE traffic jam, without feeling like rigor mortis had set in. Not that it would have had much of a chance to set in anyway because the oh-so-solid gear shifts were absolutely addictive to play around with.

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