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    Lotus Elise

    I haven't seen too much written here about the Lotus Elise. What is the overall thoughts about this car? Seems like it is the same price as a used E46 M3.

    Re: Lotus Elise

    I haven't driven the Elise so far, but I have some experience with the Opel/Vauxhall Speedster, which is basically the same car.
    Speedster/Elise is a rather small and low car. Not very much space for passengers and almost none for luggage. Getting in and out may cause problems, especially with the hood up. The sills are quite wide, which doesn't make that task easier. One problem is (I was told so), that the frame of the windscreen seems to be a structural element of the chassis and that you are not allowed to grab it too hard (e.g. when getting in and out!) or that may lead the windscreen to splinter. Well, I don't really know if it is that worse, but I was told by a mechanic and if it should be the truth, this alone would be reason enough not buying such a car.
    Built quality is not what you're used from other cars, you can see that it is handbuild in low numbers, some details look a little bit cobbled together.
    Performance is good (2.0 turbo), you feel that the car is not very heavy and that the horses don't have much effort with the masses. This is the biggest advantage of the Speedster/Elise, it has such a low torque of inertia.

    Basically you can't really compare it to an M3, which is a real everyday-use-car, whilst the Speedster/Elise is not. Speedster/Elise is more the sort of sunny-sunday-driving-I-take-you-out-for-a-short-trip-car. But if you search for that pure feeling the Speedster/Elise offers, I'd prefer something even more raw like a Caterham for example.

    Re: Lotus Elise

    Rossi said:
    One problem is (I was told so), that the frame of the windscreen seems to be a structural element of the chassis and that you are not allowed to grab it too hard (e.g. when getting in and out!) or that may lead the windscreen to splinter.

    Interesting comment but BS at least in the Elise.

    Rossi said:
    Basically you can't really compare it to an M3, which is a real everyday-use-car, whilst the Speedster/Elise is not.

    That I can endorse. If you are looking for a track biased car try the Elise. The M3 is just a different beast. Not sure it is worth to spell out the differences here in length. Check here and you will get all the answers you need:


    Re: Lotus Elise

    Actually, I believe this is true. You are not supposed to use your hands to hang from the windscreen as a method of inserting yourself.

    Basically you will have to ask yourself how much compromise you are willing to accept to drive a car such as the Elise. It's hard to get in and out off without practice, little luggage room, it's noisy, and the interior space is lacking. On the up side, the steering feedback is very good, it corners very well, and the car reacts to inputs very quickly. These are the benefits of lightweight. You may also have to examine how much top end acceleration means to you. Once 100mph rolls around? Even though the Elise beat the M3 in a 0-100-0 test, the M3 will eventually pass it at triple digit speeds. Lotus is thinking about releasing a 250hp supercharged Exige, which should have MUCH better acceleration. As it is now, those who like power might be a little disappointed. For canyon carving or narrow mountain roads, I think the Elise is your ticket. The M3 is also a true GT, and all the pratical and comfort oriented features that come along with it.

    The Elise can be had now for a bit over MSRP in the U.S., otherwise you will have to wait. Check out if you want some feedback from U.S. drivers. Otherwise, SELOC is where you want to do further research.

    - J

    PS: I noticed that you live in SoCal and have a S430. There are lots of people in SoCal that have taken delivery and I'm sure at the next EliseTalk meet you can take a ride in a few if you'd like. Just keep in mind how raw the Elise will be compared to an S430. I also come from a Merc (C32) and let me advise you not to buy the car if you merely think it looks cool. You have to really enjoy this kind of sports car purity or else you will sell it very quickly. That being said, I think it's really a great sports car for a beginning like myself.

    Re: Lotus Elise

    CJA said:
    I haven't seen too much written here about the Lotus Elise. What is the overall thoughts about this car? Seems like it is the same price as a used E46 M3.

    If you just want one car for all your daily transport needs, you'll be better served by the M3.

    If your garage has room for at least 2 cars, and you want one of them to be the ultimate handling machine, you could do much worse than buy an Elise.

    Damn, just realised I have a 2 car garage, but neither of the cars is an Elise. But one day I do intend to practise what I preach.

    Re: Lotus Elise

    Thanks for all the responses. The Elise would be a 2nd/fun car. My daily driver will continue to be the S430. I actually have placed an order for a GT3 that will be delivered at the end of the month. I'm just doing some last minute checking before I pull the trigger on such a big purchase. So far, I think I'm gonna stick with the GT3. Thanks again for the help.

    Re: Lotus Elise

    CJA said:
    I think I'm gonna stick with the GT3.

    Good choice

    Re: Lotus Elise

    Just did a racing course in an Elise around Silverstone. They are great cars and handle beautifully. If you want a race car that you can drive on the road reasonably easily they are your thing.

    However, the comments here on interior space etc are absolutely correct. Try getting in the driver's side with a helmet on! A lot of the problem is the roof though. In SoCal presumably it would be offa lot of the time. Might make it much better!

    Did handle beautifully - better than my (former) M3 on the track.

    Re: Lotus Elise

    I think there is a member here named Lon who has both a GT3 Mk II and an Elise with sport package. He posted some of his impressions on Elisetalk.

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by lrattner
    I can finally report on a comparison between my GT3 and the ELise. I have gotten through the breakin period with the Elise and I am now able to explore the world of 7-8,000 rpm.

    First the GT3:
    An amazing piece of automotive delight. Pulls all the way from 2,000rpm to redline with the same gusto-above 6000 rpm it starts to soar. I've had it up to 170mph on Austrian autobahns and it is as stable as 60 but you have to keep both hands planted on that wheel. It will start to "wander" into road defects and constant handson wheel control is really necessary at higher speeds. It doesn't feel like you're going very fast until you reach speeds over 120-130mph. At 150 you know you are moving. The power is linear with a wonderful exhaust note.

    Now the Elise:

    Feels more go cart-makes the Porsche feel very very big. Visibility around the SUVs on the road is difficult but with proper mirror placement I really don't find driving visibility a problem. Visibility when backing up is not great and you are checking every mirror and turning you head constantly to be sure that someone hasn't sped up and is standing behind you.
    On the road-the Elise is so much fun! Accelerate to red light (no red line) and work up the gears. You move in and out of traffic with ease-slip feeding into spaces that a vw would not think of going. The sound is great (standard exhaust). You know that you are moving even when you are only doing 100. The car is up to 125 in a flash and back to zero again with such grip of the brakes . Between the quick down shifts and the excellent brakes you stop on a dime coming down from 100mph+ speeds incredibly short distances. (Car mags claim 95ft from 60mph-better than an Enzo).

    All in all, two totally different cars but fun, fun, and more fun. I am fortunate to be able to choose which of these two beauties I will drive each day because either one is a pleasure to use.

    BTW- the in and out of the Elise is really not a problem. In a very short time you learn a entrance-exit style that works for you (especially with the top on).

    I think that perhaps they are not so comparable, given that one costs twice the price of the other, but maybe we'll wait for the 250hp Exige before trying.



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