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New member, thinking about first lotus!


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Hi all, just wanted to introduce myself having just registered on the forum.  

I’ve been lucky to have owned various sports cars over the years, but never had a lotus.  Generally stuck to anything German but have owned a few Italians along the way also.  Previous cars include E46 M3s (including the CSL), 1M coupe, various 911s including a fully restored and lightened 993 C2 Manual coupe, 987 Spyder, etc.  Currently have a Z3M coupe which was sent away for a nut and bolt restoration as well as an R8 V10 Spyder (which may go depending on the outcome of my Lotus investigation!)  

The closest I’ve been to the Lotus ethos, in terms of car ownership, was an Alfa Romeo 4C. I desperately wanted to like the car (had a spider and a coupe) but just couldn’t ultimately forgive the inert steering and - sometimes - odd handling traits.  Really was a shame as the rest of the package was so so good (looks, power, carbon tub, etc).  I did have the Alfa Works suspension mods carried out but would say they mitigate rather than resolve the issues. 
 

Anyway, I drove a good friend’s S1 Elise which was the nail in the 4C’s coffin.  Such incredible steering feel and superb handling. Sure it wasn’t very powerful but just felt sublime on the road.  The same friend is convinced that I need to try a modern lotus, so I’m short-listing for myself the following models:

Elise 220 Sport or Cup 250

Exige 350: Manual or IPS

I realise that the IPS has a much narrower market as it seems to spark very polarised views.   But I’m more likely to be a road user than taking the car on-track, and wonder if the auto helps focus on the other elements of the experience.  Have not yet made up my mind, but need to test drive each of the models to experience the differences.  

i did consider an Evora, actually think it looks the best of all the models.  But just feels like it’s materially heavier and tends to compete with more mainstream cars.  My objective was to try and find a nice agile, lightweight Sportscar which is a real sense of occasion to drive.  
 

Anyway, sorry for the rambling introduction but was inspired by all the great views and advice on the site, and followed this thread by @SpeedMatters very carefully: 

Looking forward to being a part of the forum, will do my best to contribute but suspect I will be looking for help and advice for a while yet! 
 

 

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I think sometimes when looking in the rear view mirror, it's hard to gauge your gapping speed unless it's really quite significant.   Generally, if you are in front it feels like it's really

Having seen the Elise in the flesh on Friday I can say I'm very happy with the decision.  If I'd gone straight into an Exige the only place to go there is a faster Exige or whatever replaces it next y

Hi all, just wanted to introduce myself having just registered on the forum.   I’ve been lucky to have owned various sports cars over the years, but never had a lotus.  Generally stuck to anythin

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Welcome.

Drive an Evora, they are agile and nimble and come alive the more you press on. Added bonus of a bit more space and practicality. 276bhp is enough, it really is, but S and 400+ brilliant also. IPS better in 400, S IPS I found too slow (gear-change). 

For the purest dose of Lotus, S1 Elise. Safe money but you want more modern. Don't get seduced by power, Lotus traditionally is performance through lightweight, so I would suggest an Elise with min power as a first step. 

That way you find out what Lotus is all about. If you crave more BHP,  easy to trade up. 

Chat to Bell and Colvill, the oldest and in my view best Lotus franchise. 

Justin 

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Thanks Justin!  I’m fairly close to B&C, if it’s the one in Mole Valley.  
 

Was planning to pop over there for a drive.  Maybe I should try an Evora too.  Just thought that the kerb weight was 1300-1400 kg which took away some of the lightweight benefits ?

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Welcome Nik. I think Jep is spot on  starting with the the purest of the ethos. Having had that mix of splendid cars already you need to experience the fun of light weight  at lower speeds and you'll get this is any of the earlier Elise models. If you then want a bit more useability (Evora) or power and pace (sc Elise or Exige) you can trade up.

 

chipp 

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Thanks Chipp.  Yes I know what you mean, just felt that the S1 felt a little underpowered and would prefer to avoid buying a car knowing that I will probably want to upgrade it! :)

 

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Jamie at Bell and Colvill (between Guildford and Cobham) will I am sure be happy to assist you. A 220bhp Elise should give you plenty to think about and is where I would probably start given your car experience. 

Exige is a bit more extreme and Evora a bit more grown up. Whilst Exige and Elise are unique in the marketplace, you argue I think correctly that Evora could be seen as having more competitors - until you drive one. And it has +2 facility in a mid-engined layout, which for many is significant. 

Starting your Lotus journey with Evora might be unwise, as some find the interior finish and ICE underwhelming, factors that are not really relevant to Exige/Elise. To those who adore Lotus USP, such trivia matters not.

Get hooked via Elise....and don't look back!

Justin 

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Coming from a 4C I don't think the interior finish and ICE will be a problem 😂

Also to note, coming from a Jag I think the Evora interior is pretty nice. It's no Rolls-Royce but it's good quality and good looking.

Edited by Bibs
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Having seen the Elise in the flesh on Friday I can say I'm very happy with the decision.  If I'd gone straight into an Exige the only place to go there is a faster Exige or whatever replaces it next year - and that won't be an Elise/Exige as we know it so this is the end of the line and a good time to get into one.  Not saying it's like air cooled 911 time or anything but it won't be coming back.  As others mentioned, with the Elise there's a path upwards and it's a superb starting point which seems to tick all your boxes.  Only issue I have with the 250 is the one year warranty for what seems like no reason at all so the 220 is a great starting point.

Edited by SpeedMatters
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Welcome to TLF Nik. :welcome:

I can't give you any advice on what Lotus to get as your first, as I have only ever owned my S4. Most reliable car I have owned. And the only other Loti that I have been in was Bibs Elise (so a +ve vote for them there) and John Walsh's Esprit in Scotland.

Any questions or issues with using the forums, feel free to ask one of us mods. We're here to help. :) 

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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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Thanks very much!  I’ve test driven a few cars and am totally smitten by the 380/410 and 430.  
 

looking to try and find a nice one, preferably privately owned from new!

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Welcome and with others in recommending the Evora. Absolutely love it and having an NA I can say its more than enough. On a recent hoon an Exige 350 driver asked me if I had any mods as "I couldn't shake you even on the straight flat.

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An 80bhp difference should have been a bit noticeable on a flat straight, perhaps it wasn't very long or you did a far better job out of the corner than them??  I was on track in an Exige 350 and in front was a Cup 430 (so again 80 bhp) and it most definitely pulled away on the straight, but not by leaps and bounds mind

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On the road you won't shake the NA easily and the one @Kimbershas also benefits from a nice set of 2bular headers and a sports cat so that free's up the mid range somewhat and he is probably pushing out 300bhp to the 278bhp of the normal NA which actually puts his power to weight pretty damn close the Evora S! I loaded the figures up on here somewhere many moons ago.

Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

The first guy to ride a bull for fun, was a true hero. The second man to follow him was truly nuts!   

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If you actually analyse in gear acceleration times you can easily determine how much road you need to make an appreciable gap, and 350 Vs 430 bhp isn't enough to make a night and day difference on track, regardless of how much faster the more powerful car fells behind the wheel. 

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I agree Steve and from experience more useable to go to the shops etc. 

I know I am old but I genuinely used to get back ache getting in and out of my Exige and in the end just got fed up with thinking "I won't take the Exige its a pain".

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Also depends how you drive the thing, getting on it at the right time/gear/revs.

Have you seen Kimbers driving, i have. 🤪

 

chipp

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I love the Elise and Exige, and if I was 20+ years younger I would probably still be driving one. But as an old fart in the making the Evora, and particularly in its modified state is perfect for me. It is faster than I am on track, and waaaay more capable a road car than any drive can deliver. Sorry Lotus, but you made too good a car and mine is a keeper B-)

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Thanks for all the suggestions.  I must admit, i am still leaning towards an Exige and tempted to buy a 20th anniversary example.  Almost bought the liquid yellow Cup at Graypaul on impulse, but then thought better of it !

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