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@jep I wouldn’t say that I would necessarily favour the 400 over the S1 NA, in fact my perfect Evora would be a post MY12 NA Sports Racer. But, the 400 is a better sports car.

In terms of differences (ignoring performance), the 400 is sharper - more Sports Car to the S1’s GT. Whether you prefer that in an Evora is open to personal taste. My S1 was a 2010, and frankly the quality was simply not up to the job, a case of great design and poor execution. The 400 on the other hand was simply excellent in all regards. Evora quality improved year on year, and the 2013 NA Sports Racer Demo I drove was spot on.

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From a practical point of view the Evora is the best road car Lotus has ever made.  It is the fastest, probably the most comfortable and in its latest iterations the most reliable and probably the bes

Being ever so slightly biased, this.... Has everything, including the iconic engine....      

Nice pic here shows very clearly why the Chapman design might go rather better with a modest amount of horsepower. Doesn't take much to make a gnat buzz, stop or change direction. Think of the extra f

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@The Pits great picture, 7 looks like a Matchbox. 7 really did bring precision sports car to the masses; cheap, simple, light, fun. As you say, the Lotus way is not for the mainstream. I am more optimistic than you with regard the latest Lotus plan. I am hopeful that if they produce cars that I perhaps do not wish to own, in time this will allow them to make the cars that those of this parish do like, along side 'boxes' we will probably wince at. Thread drift.

@Neal H Thanks. I either got a good 2010 car or my standards are lower than yours! Agreed, Sports Racer is a fine package and certainly the factory made an active effort to improve MY12 cars. I was hoping to one day own a 400 IPS and keep the manual NA but that is on COVID-19 hold, I fear for some time. First world problem.

I am moving towards Elan 26 being the best Lotus road car ever...….the problem is I have never driven one but it is a very important car in so many ways and if Lord Murray of Gordon says it is good, 'nuff said. Of the Lotus I have driven, Elise S1 is probably the one I would nominate. Evora close. 

Justin

 

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Having owned an elan plus 2 .an esprit S3 turbo, an Elise 111s an S2 exige na and currently an S2 260 I chose the Elise 111s. . The S2 260 is a fantastic car as @ThePits said but for me as road car I could drive the Elise closer to its limits than any of the others.  The elan was too unreliable in the day and the 26R was more track orientated . The exige na would run it a close second as a road car but the 260 would beat them all if it was track

hindsight: the science that is never wrong

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33 minutes ago, The Pits said:

Murray is such a purist his Elans aren't particularly powerful ones but given he could have any Elan he wanted perhaps they are at their very best less angry engines

and he has a McLaren F1 should he want a bit more power.

Pretty sure he has an Elite type 14 also. And a few Abarth, which are similarly light-weight philosophy sports cars (real Abarth, not moderns).

Justin 

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I have a 7, even though I said the S2 Elan, the 7 is just alive responsive and huge fun. I don't care its not the fastest thing on the planet, as they deliver thrills at any speed as where I live the area is rather like the Villages in the UK with lots of fun B type roads and plenty of places to drive just for Coffee.

 

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7 has to be near the top of the greatest Lotus road cars ever. After all, it is still being made 60+ years later albeit not by Lotus. That was quite deliberate in '74 so Lotus could concentrate on the future. And given that Lotus always tries, where funds allow, to progress to the next generation of sports cars I don't necessarily think the 7's longevity should add any weight (!) to its claim to be the greatest. 

On pure driver enjoyment I am sure the 7 delivers as good if not better than anything. Does the extra refinement of Elan 26 or Elise give them the edge?

Justin 

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I went from Elise to a Caterham 7 R300 (itch I had to scratch), but the Elise was simply better in every regard. I preferred the Elise on road and track. The 7 is a great hooligan car if you want to oversteer your way around a track, but other than that the Elise does everything better (in my opinion, of course!).

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The Elise was originally intended to be an updated version of the 7 as we know. However for any given amount of bhp the 7 will always be faster across the board. Simply is more lightweight therefore has more performance. Interesting to read that they don't appeal to everyone though. Hard to know without driving the cars the opinions are based on, the Palmer Sport cars for example are deliberately set up for extreme oversteer and handle appallingly. I don't know why Caterham allows Palmer to do this as many form their opinions on the 7 from his driving experience days. But I've owned a 7 since the late 90's and the Palmer cars are unrecognizable and near undriveable for me. Hilarious for a couple of laps and a real challenge but the handling is all wrong, at least when I was last at Palmer Sport. Also generally speaking people should find it easier to get on with a very forgiving front-mid layout than a more tricky transverse mid engine layout like the Elise has. Current Elises are very benign devices on the limit but most would claim the S1 was anything but and also unusual for a Lotus in that regard. Also why I put the (front-mid) Elan ahead of the Elise in the ultimate pecking order.

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Very interesting insight with regard the 7 and the Palmer Sport cars. 

I think we are coming to the nub of issue, being road car or track car or a bit of both. With regard the S1 Elise, they are tricky on the very limit (I have spun the 340R many a time on track but most of those through lack of talent) but for road use, I have never had an issue. I would consider spinning an Elise S1 on the public road due to the, perhaps, twitchy nature on the limit to be irresponsible driving. And I think I am correct in saying that you do need to have the right tyres on a S1; did they not specify a Pirelli on the front with less grip? I think some owners put on grippier fronts and ended up with a swinging tail. 

I suppose one can demerit S1 Elise for poor on the limit antics, especially if Elan 26 behaves so well road and track. 

More thinking required, fun doing so.

Justin 

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1 hour ago, jep said:

 

I suppose one can demerit S1 Elise for poor on the limit antics, especially if Elan 26 behaves so well road and track. 

 

Thought we were talking road cars? 

Not sure many people ever find the limit of an Elise on the road unless they're driving like a complete nutter (I'm being polite)

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26 minutes ago, Bazza 907 said:

Thought we were talking road cars? 

Not sure many people ever find the limit of an Elise on the road unless they're driving like a complete nutter (I'm being polite)

We are talking road cars and I agree with you about finding the limit on the public road. I have never found it on any S1 Elise I have driven, so as a road car I would say the handling is fine. 

I was picking up on Jonny's point about S1 Elise and I think it highlights why it is difficult to quantify what exactly makes up the greatest Lotus road car. Some will of course, and quite rightly, want their Lotus road car to be perfection on track also. Jonny veers towards S2 Exige in an earlier post, in part due to the track day qualities. At the extreme, 2-Eleven is road legal (deliberately) but clearly it does not do the road side of the equation quite so well (no roof, no windscreen, no luggage space). I love the 340R but I would not consider it in my list of greatest Lotus road cars over a standard Elise.

I personally would not penalise S1 Elise for on the limit handling, as that is not a concern for me. I respect it may be something that others feel is a 'black mark' against it.

Justin

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I agree, although I'm not too sure about the "Closely followed by.." bit.

Like others, I will make a choice among the Lotus road cars I have driven. Not the longest list, and glossing over different types of each car (for instance, I think i have driven 5 variants of the Esprit) my choice is among:

Elan

Europa

Esprit

Evora

as passenger in 7

moved an Elite for a friend, but that was only about ten feet so doesn't really count.

 

My vote is for the Europa. Not as good an overall car as the Elise but I get more fun out of driving it. That's what counts. 

Mike

'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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59 minutes ago, calvan said:

My vote is for the Europa. Not as good an overall car as the Elise but I get more fun out of driving it. That's what counts

I had both the Twin Cam and the S2 Europas, just so so so special. I wrote off my S2 a number of years (a lot of) ago and bought the Elan. I would honestly only swap it for a “proper” JPS Europa... there said it.

cheers

My old S2

 

 

image.jpeg

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I agree with you.  I like the Europa (hard not to) but  I simply don't fit in them and I'm not  all that big. It's the Achilles heel for me. I see the Elan as the  Lotus of the era for me.  

 

Mark, your Sprint is fantastic!

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'17 Evora 400 MT 

 

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On 14/04/2020 at 23:38, red vtec said:

Mine

 

Nope. Mine. :P 

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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Roman Purple to be exact 🤓 it was a Ford colour.

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Some of my most memorable drives have been in Europa. Dream-like A and B road blasts; sadly also rather memorable rain-drenched, dark and busy French autoroutes where the Europa was more challenging. This was 20 years after the Europa was last on sale so the diminutive size compared to moderns was not a fair comparison but I am not totally sure how adaptable Europa is to all road conditions.

The first British mid-engine sports car, nearly the first ever though I think a few other makes appeared in low volume from 1962. Banks Europa in particular did wonders with the Europa in the 90s/2000s. 

Justin

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3 hours ago, jep said:

2014048488_EuropaMatchboxApr20.thumb.jpg.0c9b5cc1cc4ab0435bf843b0132d3bad.jpg

What a brilliant collection....heres my JPS...

IMG_8432.jpeg

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Sticking to the Lotus I have driven, I would say the Esprit for the sense of occasion.  It's the only car I've driven where people have given my the thumbs up as they have come past on the motorway and asked to take its picture when I have parked it.  For the sense of occasion for the driver, I would say the S1 Elise (I haven't driven a 7).  It's so alive and responsive that it grabs your senses.

In truth, though, there is no greatest Lotus.  It's entirely subjective.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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