Introduced at the 1967 Brussels Show, the Lotus Type 46, known as the Europa, marked the brand’s inaugural mid-engined road car. Powered by a 1,470cc Renault 16 engine mounted in an Elan-type backbone frame, it boasted independent coil-sprung suspension, disc brakes on the front wheels (later added to the rear), and unique styling that offered ample luggage space and surprisingly good rearward visibility through its narrow full-width back window.
Initially produced solely for export, the Europa debuted in the UK in 1969 with improvements as the S2 model. Retaining the Renault engine of its S1 predecessor, the S2 featured a traditional body/chassis attachment instead of the bonded shell used in the S1. This change simplified accident repairs and reduced costs. Additionally, electric windows and adjustable seats were welcomed additions, enhancing the previously modest specification.