Alfa Spider Tops Cabriolet Class

The Alfa Romeo Spider, which makes its world debut here this week, has been named Cabrio of the Year for 2005.

The award is bestowed by the Geneva Comite Cabriolet Jury International, a panel of 23 auto journalists from 12 countries.

No Alfa has won the prize until now. Last year's winner was the Nissan 350Z. The Peugeot 306 won the inaugural award in 1994.

Lotus Flowers With Fourth Model

Lotus Cars unveils its Europa S mid-engine coupe, set to debut in the U.K. in September and in other markets later in the year. However, the car will not be coming to the U.S. or Canada.

The 2-seater's 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl. engine produces 200 hp at 5,400 rpm and 194 lb.-ft. (263 Nm) of torque at 4,200 rpm. But the Europa S achieves 90% of its maximum torque at 2,000 rpm, the niche auto maker says.

Lotus also claims the lightweight car – its chassis tipping the scales at 150 lbs. (68 kg) – takes just 5.5 seconds to go from 0-60 mph (97 km/h).

Pricing will be announced later this year, but is expected to be in the range of €49,000 ($58,450). The Europa S increases to four the number of cars in the Lotus lineup.

Booth Loses Focus

Lewis Booth, Ford Motor Co. executive vice president and Ford of Europe chairman, draws puzzled looks from journalists here as he makes glowing reference to the “307” as a significant product for Europe.

The 307 is a key product in rival Peugeot Automobile's lineup.

Quickly realizing something was amiss, Booth corrects himself. “The code-word for the Focus in Ford is C307,” he says, apologetically. “It confuses me quite often.”

emayne@wardsauto.com