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Bought a Lotus Elise

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Bought a Lotus Elise

Old 08-20-2018, 10:17 AM
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Default Bought a Lotus Elise

Brought home an '07 Lotus Elise w/25k miles on Saturday Although my M3 is great at pretty much everything and a blast to drive in its own right, I missed the open top and light, direct, nimble feel of the S2000, so given this would be a 2nd, fun-drives-only car I decided to go even more hardcore as I wanted something really different from the M3.

The driving experience is like nothing else - it really feels like a kart on the road, with all the good and bad that comes with that.

The bad is it's incredibly challenging to get in and out (esp. with top on), it rattles so much it's actually funny, the Sport Pack ride is brittle over small bumps (but actually remarkably compliant over large ones), you feel vulnerable in traffic since it's so low and small (this is my first brightly-colored car, which I wanted so I could be seen more easily), and certain parts of it are quite delicate. I couldn't recommend it for daily use, although I did drive it to work today and had a blast. Accessing the trunk for instance involves inserting a key into the flat engine lid to unlock, lifting the lid (but not too high or it'll break things), inserting the prop rod(!), and hoisting whatever you have over the rear of the car into the tiny storage area.

The good is the steering is incredibly communicative and lively, it's delightfully nimble and light on its feet (1,950lbs), it sticks HARD (60-treadwear tires stock, 1.06g), and the little 190hp 1.8L Toyota engine actually feels quite torquey and angry with so little weight to punt around (mid-13s 1/4 mile). It takes what I like about the S2000 and cranks it up a few notches, in that when you're driving hard, the feedback and directness of the controls, head-of-an-arrow view, and manic engine sound (actually permits overrevs to 8,500rpm for 1.5sec, it's in the owner's manual) are so intense that you become convinced you're in a race car. No offense meant to S2000 owners here, but it makes an S2000, Cayman, or 911 (non-GT) feel sloppy, insulated, and unnecessarily large and heavy.

Add in the fact that consumables are cheap, it's powered by a Toyota 4-cyl, and it hasn't depreciated in 10 years, and it has just enough to appease my rational side. Barely.

The last photo is of the door hinge - it's a massive, surely expensive aluminum extrusion that perfectly exemplifies Lotus's investment into a strong, light structure.

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Old 08-20-2018, 10:22 AM
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Yeah that's really, really cool. Nice buy OP.
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:15 AM
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Congrats! Awesome car and I can't imagine how much fun it is for occasional driving.
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:48 AM
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I find myself looking into these more often! Congrats on the purchase. Now, if the right krypton green one would pop up...........
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:08 PM
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Welcome to Lotus!

I plan to own another Lotus, just not sure which one yet. I keep going back to the Elan M100, but Elise or Evora would do the trick too. With Lotus, you really see and feel the engineering they put into the car. You know they designed the aero and suspension on the GT-R, along with the engine and suspension on the Corvette... I believe the whole magna-ride suspension is designed by Lotus...
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:12 PM
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Definitely a cool car, good luck with it!
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:20 PM
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I was lucky enough to drive an '05 Elise for a few weeks all over some mountain roads. Your review is spot on to what I remember. After borrowing the Lotus, it reignited my desire for the S2000 which was more in my price range. After buying the S, I had wished I had never driven that It made the S2000 feel heavy and overly refined.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by WVCR-V View Post
After borrowing the Lotus, it reignited my desire for the S2000 which was more in my price range. After buying the S, I had wished I had never driven that It made the S2000 feel heavy and overly refined.
After driving my buddy's Elise in Switzerland, I wanted one big time, but they weren't sold here at that point. Bought the S2000 instead. Oddly enough, his brother who lives in the States bought an S2000 around the same time in the same color as mine! I guess the Elise made an impression on both of us.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:01 PM
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Thanks, y'all. Thought I'd add some of the amusing quirks I've found and read about so far:
  • It's so light that it's recommended to use R-compound tires because there's not enough weight to press normal performance tires into the ground
  • Apparently if you put it on a 2-post lift using factory jack points and take off the front wheels, it'll just fall off the lift
  • The exterior mirrors have no power, nor even an interior knob - you reach out the window and move them directly
  • The inside mirror is offset to the right of center by a few inches
  • The passenger seat is slightly narrower than the driver's and has no adjustments - it is fixed-back like the driver's and bolted to the floor
  • The Touring Pack, which it seems 90%+ of them have, added such extravagances as carpets, power windows, leather, and sound deadening
  • The standard front tires are 175mm wide. Sport Pack ups it to a meaty 195mm. This makes tires cheap - I priced a set of 4 R888Rs at $644
  • Underbody is completely flat save for 3 NACA ducts
  • The panels aft of the front hood vents unbolt with one allen bolt on each side to access brake fluid and some other stuff
  • There's no driver's side control for the passenger power window, but it's a very easy reach over
  • There is an unmarked button on the steering column behind the key slot - apparently this is used to reset the trip odometer AND cycle through various instrument backlight brightness settings. This ain't a Honda...
  • It came from the factory with a very aftermarket-esque Cobra alarm and immobilizer, and if the remote fob battery dies there's no way to start the car
  • Insurance is the same as my M3, although will be less ($52/mo thru State Farm) at the estimated 2,500mi/yr I told them I'll be driving
  • Exotic styling + tiny size = a lot of attention, which isn't really me but is kind of fun, for now anyway. The first time I parked it, someone left a nice note on it, and the first time I got home someone was taking pictures from their balcony
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:14 PM
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I looked at a 2008 Lotus Evora GTS but decided against it when I found out the price to replace a clutch. Seen people saying anywhere from 22 to 30+ hours with prices running $7,000- $9,000.
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