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Lotus Europa Now Available



21st February, 2007

2007 Lotus Europa S

The Lotus Europa S, which went from concept to production in just 28 months, is now available in Australia.

Extensive testing was conducted around the world in hot and cold climates, high humidity, city and urban environments as well as on the freeways and autobahns around Europe. Also used was the demanding 4 km (2.25 mile) Lotus test track and the roads around the Hethel (England) headquarters - regarded by many as some of the world's most demanding with an almost unique variety of surfaces and conditions.

However, engineering a vehicle is only one of the challenges to developing a successful product. The Europa S was developed for manufacture by the team responsible for what is regarded by some as the finest niche vehicle and low volume manufacturing facility in the world. This manufacturing facility, based at the Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, England currently produces 4,000 to 4,500 cars per year (with the Elise and the Exige). Volume for the Europa S is expected to be in the order of 500 cars per year across all markets but this figure is flexible and volumes can be rapidly altered to meet demand when required.

Lotus Cars Australia anticipates a limited supply in Australia of 40 units a year.

Lotus Manufacturing and Supply Chain
Lotus uses a worldwide network of high quality suppliers who not only have excellent products, but are also willing to work with Lotus to produce components specifically designed and developed to meet the exacting requirements of a Lotus vehicle. With the Europa S programme, special attention has been paid to broadening this supplier network in South East Asia, resulting in the body panels for example, being produced in Malaysia through a new partnership between Lotus and an aerospace manufacturer. Such activity has been strongly supported by Proton, the parent company to Lotus, who continue to provide assistance in this region.

Lotus remains committed to using environmentally friendly high solids water based paints and each car is carefully inspected to ensure an 'A' class finish.

Each car goes through a number of quality checking stages before being delivered to the customer - these quality standards are world class - Lotus was the first vehicle manufacturer and engineering consultancy in the world to be awarded the prestigious QS9000 which is linked to ISO9001/2000. It is this attention to detail that lead to Lotus being awarded the prestigious 'World Class Manufacturer of the Year' award in 2005.

Each Europa S will take about 3 1/2 days and 130 man-hours to build.

Tony Shute, Head of Product for Lotus Cars explains the concept behind the new product: "The Europa S has allowed the Company to produce a real Lotus sports car with touring capabilities which successfully complements the range of existing cars. The 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."

The market and customer requirements for the Europa S were different to the current range of Lotus cars, the Elise and the Exige. Therefore the challenge for the Lotus engineers was to design a car that could be constructed around the extruded and bonded Aluminium chassis - similar to that used in the Elise and Exige - but which also incorporated significantly enhanced levels of practicality, refinement for the occupants and increased cruising capability.

The chassis for the Lotus Europa S weighs just 68 kg while maintaining high levels of stiffness and strength. To make access to the cockpit easier for driver and passenger, the sills, when compared to the Elise and Exige have been lowered by 40 mm (1.6 inches) and reinforced to maintain chassis stiffness. Again, when compared to the Elise and the Exige, the door glass is 50 mm (2 inches) higher giving a total door opening access for the driver and passenger of an additional 90 mm (3 inches).

The engine is mounted to a lightweight and strong, galvanised steel subframe. The lightweight steel wishbones are also mounted to this steel assembly.

The Lotus vehicle dynamics team were set a tough challenge to produce a ride and handling package for the Lotus Europa S that combines compliance and comfort with the legendary Lotus agility, responsiveness and handling.

Elegant and lightweight 17" diameter wheels front and rear are shod with bespoke Bridgestone Potenza tyres (175/55 R17 on the front and 225/45 R17 on the rear).

The light weight of the Lotus Europa S contributes to the high performance braking capability through Lotus/AP-Racing twin-piston fixed aluminium alloy brake calipers at the front and Brembo single-piston sliding calipers at the rear. The 282 mm diameter ventilated discs are linked to a servo-assisted, 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

First and foremost, the Europa S is a car that is the Lotus take on a more refined interior compared to the Elise & Exige. The driving position is the same as in the Elise and Exige, a small ergonomically shaped steering wheel is located to hand and the lightweight steel and extruded aluminium pedals are positioned to make heel and toe changes easy.

ProBax seats help to significantly improve the postural position of the driver and passenger by maintaining the natural curvature of the spine, so improving comfort and improving the body's blood flow.

The interior of the Europa S is a luxurious environment for a Lotus. A leather interior (black or black with tan) comes as standard. This leather interior extends not just to the seats and steering wheel but also the centre console and door inserts (perforated leather). Carpet lines the floor area and part of the chassis' sides - in fact the only area where carpet or leather is untrimmed is on the footplate just forward of the seats.

Other standard interior equipment includes driver and passenger airbags and air conditioning. Furthermore, as the Europa S is so highly equipped there are no additional cost options, other than premium paint or custom colours.

Safety systems
The key aspect to enjoyable driving is safety. The chassis is very strong and stiff, providing a safety cell around which are clad lightweight energy absorbing composite crash structures and body panels. The front crash structure is made from an advance lightweight composite material which is 3 to 4 times more energy absorbing than the equivalent structure in steel.

Coupled with the driver's and passenger's airbags, the Europa S has a tried and tested active and passive safety systems.

The light weight of the Europa S is significant in reducing occupant injury. By being so light, there is less energy to dissipate in the event of a crash, when compared to a much heavier sports car.

But of course the best way to remain unhurt in an accident is to avoid the accident in the first place. Like all Lotus cars, the Europa S has high levels of grip, predictable, responsive handling, incredible ABS-assisted braking performance and almost peerless feedback to the driver about how the car is behaving in a variety of driving conditions.

Russell Carr, Chief of Design for Lotus led the design team in producing an elegant, beautiful and sophisticated Lotus sports car.

It was important that the essence of current and classic Lotus products be captured in the design of the Europa S. Describing the Europa S, Russell Carr, Chief of Design for Lotus says:
"The form of a design should reflect the spirit of the car and the 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."

Carr continues: "The Europa from the late 1960s and early 1970s was a great design in its own right - elegant, purposeful and effective. However, we did not set out to bring the classic Europa design up to date, but instead started with a clean sheet to produce a characterful car worthy of being called a Lotus."

Engine and powertrain
The new mid-engine coupe will deliver high levels of performance from a high torque (272 Nm at 5,000 rpm) Ecotec Z20LER 2.0-litre (1,998 cc) turbocharged engine producing 147 kW at 5,400rpm. A bespoke engine management system completes the engine unit.

The Lotus Europa S achieves around 90% of its maximum torque at only 2,000 rpm to give class-leading levels of acceleration from low engine speeds, propelling the car from 0 - 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds, and 160 km/h in 13.8 seconds.

Maximum speed is 230 km/h.

An aluminium 6-Speed gearbox joins the engine to an open differential.

The first Lotus Europa was first introduced in 1966 and by the time it finished production in 1975, a total of 9,887 examples had been built. These Europas used a Renault engine in the early versions and the later models (the Europa Special) used the Lotus Twin Cam engine producing up to 126 hp. The Lotus Europa was regarded as one of the finest handling sports cars of its time and was Lotus' first mid-engine road car.

Market position
The Lotus Europa S is a key vehicle in the Lotus product portfolio. Enthusiastic and keen drivers for whom performance and track day competitiveness are the most important criteria are likely to venture down the Exige route, where as those drivers who are willing to sacrifice the extra 5% of track day performance for a more 'cruising' type drive, extra space and more luxury are likely to opt for a Europa.

Pricing and Timing
The Europa S is on sale now in Australia. It is priced at $109,990 excluding dealer delivery and government charges.

Other Lotus content: here.

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