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S1/2/3 handling differences - Ride/Handling/Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Tyres - The Lotus Forums #ForTheOwners Jump to content

S1/2/3 handling differences

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Hi there. I'm new here and looking at purchasing an Elise in Australia. I'm still trying to figure out what model to go for, an older, lighter S1 or a newer one, S2 or S3. The S1s appeal because of their light weight, and classic original styling, but I'm wondering what are the disadvantages apart from the obvious ones of age and greater wear and tear.

I'd be using the car for weekend drives, and occasional track days. I've read that the S1 cars were more prone than later models to swapping ends if driven clumsily. If this is a valid observation what are the reasons? Apart from obvious changes like wider tyres (am I correct that the S2s had 17"x7.5 on the rear, up from 16x7 for the S1?), were there any other significant changes that altered the handling in the S2 and later models? Did the front to rear weight distribution change?

I do understand that the power has gone up significantly over the years, and that will have had some effect on how the car behaves when cornering, but my question right now is what chassis/suspension changes have been made over the years that would effect the handling? Do you in fact get significantly different road manners in the later models?

Thanks for any thoughts.


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S2 - 7.5 x 17 rear

S1  - 7 x 16 rear

S1 - 7.5 x 16 rear on 111s and Type 49

This info is quite common on the internet.....

Lotus reduced the front downforce and the rear lift on the S2 to achieve almost neutral balance which delivers consistant handling balance at all speeds, while the S1's high front downforce and rear lift contributed greatly to the cars tendancy to oversteer at high speed. It could be argued that reducing downforce is a retrograde step and that leaving the front in S1 configuration and then increasing the rear downforce further to achieve a Clr in the region of -0.3 would generate more lateral rip, but testing showed the drag penalties associated with doing so were unacceptable. The roof of the S2 was lowered to also improve the quality of air flow over the rear of the car and hence make any rear spoiler more efficient. The Elise S1 111S and Sport 160 spoiler efficencies were reduced by the higher roof line.

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Thanks for your response, and for confirming I had the wheel sizes correct. That's great information on the aerodynamics.

Does anyone know if the front or rear track changed between S1 and S2? This page   states that the S2 is wider and lower, but maybe that just means bodywork width? Other sources have the same width for S1 and S2.


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