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S2 Exige or V8 Esprit


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Ok so you've owned an S1 Elise for 4 yrs and have decided to move to the next stage.

You are looking to spend 25K.

Do you get a S2 Exige or V8 Esprit

Exige Pros:

cheaper running cost

newer car

better handling

Esprit V8 pro:


V8 power

more car for the money

more grown up and sophisticated

have desired the Esprit from an early age

did I mention the V8

Anyone care to give me some helpful info/suggestions.


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Supercar ISH??!?!?!

Dont come around here with that fighting talk mate! :huh:


Theyre almost chalk and cheese - to be honest you have to decide what you want from the car and why youre buying it.

Exiges / Elises are wicked and do have a presence of their own but nothing like an Esprit.

Test drive both and deicde which you prefer... :P

"When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked him to forgive me."


ribbon200.gifG-Car Owner and Proud! ribbon200.gif

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25K will get you a fine V8 which is what I'd go for by a fair shot.

Depends....for me the Exige is an Elise R taken a bit further - apart from a motorbike engine Seven replica you'd find it hard to match that car for handling.

The V8 is a supercar without a doubt, check out LEW's reviews and road tests and what it's comparable with.

Depends what you want - the Exige is a focused track car for the road you'll notice all the bed roots are in the Elise, the V8 is a luxury

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Yeah it depends what you're looking for.

My business partner has an S2 exige and I've got an Esprit S4.

Both great fun on the open road, but he's got the full sports exhaust and induction kit and to be honest, it's too hardcore for me.......

I like a good blast, then a civilised run home

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Guest Chelsea Martyn

Hi there!

I test drove an Exige before I finally purchased my Esprit which was great fun, but mainly to find out ho much quicker the Toyota VVTLi engine is in the Exige to my Celica T Sport which is my main car. For me, it was always the Esprit. If the Exige was same shape but bigger with a V8, then maybe... just maybe :huh:

Go on this web site.

Click on gallery, click videos on the left, and look at the Topgear 'power circuit' where Stig does a lap in a '51 model.

It may sway you! :P

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Exige - one of the best track cars with superb corner handling. Does not have supercar power at high speeds and lacks creature comforts for long distance trips.

Esprit - supercar looks and performance but not really built for trackwork. It would fall to bits and cost a fortune if used regaularly hard on a track.

The Esprit has always been the flagship Lotus car and when pitched against worthy contenders such as the Noble and 911 in magazine reviews has won.

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Esprit - supercar looks and performance but not really built for trackwork. It would fall to bits and cost a fortune if used regaularly hard on a track.

Except the Sport 350 :huh:

Dave - 2000 Sport 350
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Esprit - supercar looks and performance but not really built for trackwork. It would fall to bits and cost a fortune if used regaularly hard on a track.

As a general rule, the Esprit was not intended as a hardcore track machine. But Lotus has always delivered Esprit specials that were built with this in mind:

e.g. X180R, Sport300 and the Sport350

The beauty of the Esprit is not only in the body/styling, but also the chassis and handling characteristics. It can be made to give outstanding and controllable handling, with performance to back it up. Don

Edited by mike_sekinger

1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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As has already been said, its down to what YOU want from the car.

If you want something thats awesome on a track or on little twisty roads, then get an exige. The S2 is an absolute belter.

If you want something that is not quite as good on track but really gets into its stride above 100mph in a way that no 1.8 ever can.. then a v8 esprit is what you need. Side by side with a 360 modena there is nothing in it and its still better through the twisties than most similar era supercars.

For fast european road trips the esprit is unbeatable where an exige will give you a headache.

Anyone who says "I'd get a... " is not worth listening to. You need to decide what you want to use the car for, then choose the better car for that purpose.


Also, what your girlfriend prefers is sometimes a factor..

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Much as I do love the Elise and Exige for what they've done to Lotus' reputation, you're choice is between two entirely different beasts.

If you're into track days buy an Exige. No don't, buy a Caterham/Westfield. Sorry guys :-) I remember at Donington following an Exige in my clapped out 1987 live axle 120 bhp Westfield. He would just not move over, blue flags and all - I was ready to BTCC twat him up the backside. But come the straights his extra 60bhp and he was in the distance, until the next corner. Helmets at dawn ensued after that and the marshalls demoted him to the beginners section :-)

That Westfield was what track days are about. Chucking your cars around like go-karts (relatively speaking Elises/Exiges are light but the Sevens go down to sub-400kg). But in the real world you just don't have the same luxury - you'll either end up in a field, in a field with a tree wrapped round you or the worst, in a field with a sheep wrapped round you.

That's where the Esprit comes in. No Elise, Exige, Westfield or Caterham can match it for sheer grunt. With the V8, second gear sees you to sixty, third sees you to one hundred. And the lag is minimal. Assuming you're in the efficiency range (4k+) I reckon the V8's twin turbos can go from a standstill to full bore in well under a second. It's almost worth having a bit of lag just for this experience - the unholiest banshee whail just erupting into this scream behind you.

But tracking Esprits and you'll face hefty bills. It's a better 'road' car in that respect. So it really depends on your appetite. The Esprit's big advantage is its looks. I've never been so 'inspected' by other drivers as I have in the Esprit. It's rarity is ridiculous, even vicious :-) I mean in its 25 year history they made a tad over 10k - that's for all the different models. I think Lotus have already made far more Elises than that. And as for Porsche, they make 60k 911s in one year.

I suppose the Litmus test is to try one. Alas, dealers can be a pain in the ass. They certainly won't give you the keys unless you pay for it first. And as for a trial run with them driving they'll be so scared that my grandmother (both of whom are dead!) could do better.

So you need to find an owner you'll take you for a little spin. I'm more than willing but it depends on where you live. I'm in Worcester, not too far from the M45 - officially the most deserted motorway in Britain. Done it properly once before and even I was terrified :-)


Edited by neal

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

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the elise keeping it light according to lotus tradition, but with the celica engine transplant some people view them not even as a true lotus, but a hybrid - a cheap (compared to the esprit) lotus kit car. elise is a great track car, but day in and out and comfort the esprit is the way to go...also rarity only 7900+ esprit twin turbos produced in 24 years 1981-2005...elise production matches that number in 2 1/2 years...the esprit is the lotus to notice...supercars don't top out at 147 mph in 2005.

two wheels

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