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roosterjuicer

Elise SC vs Exige S and a couple baseline questions

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Im still about a year off from buying a new car (graduation from law school rolleyes.gif). And as a life long lotus lover a lotus is on my short list. I have always loved esprits but i dont have enough money or technical know how to dedicate to maintaining one. I also live in the middle of nowhere so parts would be tricky to come by. So that leaves me with an exige s or an elise sc.

Which do you prefer, and why?

Right now im leaning towards an elise sc mostly because I prefer the looks of the elise over the looks of the exige. I also like the fact that the elise has a rear view mirror.

However, on the used market there isn't a huge difference in price between the two and the s 240 has 20 more horsepower than the elise sc. I have read that the exige does 0-60 in as low as 4.1 seconds while the elise sc does it in about 4.4. both are fast times. i believe the 1/4 mile on the elise sc is about 13.3, im not sure what it is on the exige s 240. I did read a car and driver review of a 2007 exige S which has 220hp (about the same as the elise sc) and it did 0-60 in 4.1 and the quarter mile in 12.8 which is exactly what im looking for. can i achieve those numbers in an elise sc?

Besides the looks and the power is there a whole lot of difference between the two cars? I feel like the elise sc is a little bit less serious than the exige, a little more fun loving perhaps? im looking for a car that is A) fun to drive, B) not a headache maintenance wise, C) fast. I dont need a super serious race car, this would mostly be a summer daily driver. I may occasionally head down to a local road course but really the majority of racing would be your basic street light run-ins with the random mustangs and camaros of the world.

So which car would be better or worse for me keeping in mind that im not crazy about the looks of the exige.

Also, what are some common problems that either of these cars have? How is their reliability? What kind of maintenance costs yearly am I looking at?

Edited by roosterjuicer

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I'll give you the reason that I chose an Elise SC. Mine, unlike your potential purchase, is not a daily driver and given that I've only had it for 6 months, and 3 of those have been under a cover and on a battery conditioner (Swiss winter) then I won't offer a suggestion of costs other than fuel economy seems pretty good for a car driven mostly on mountain passes.

On the road I'm not sure how much you'll notice the performance difference in terms of power. The dealer who services my car suggests that all supercharged cars see about 220 bhp after heavy running due to heat issues (in Switzerland the dealers sell a 285 bhp conversion with a chargecooler which supposedly eliminates this issue.) On the road I like the lower down torque these cars have than a highly tuned small NA engine.

In the end the two reasons I ordered an SC were (1) because I judged that the non-sport pack suspension was the best-tuned for a road car. The exige, in my opinion was set-up more as a track car. (2) I like driving an open car. I like the smells, I like hearing in even more detail the tyres working on the ground, I like the added security of hearing other road users early. Given how I drive I took the view I didn't need air-con as if it was warm as I'd have the roof open (though I must caution that I once drove from Liverpool to London on New Year's Day with the hood off an old Triumph - you may prefer a bit more comfort)

Of course the final caveat must be to try both on the sorts of roads you will drive it and make your decision from there. What you'll notice in both is that they feel more interesting at 40mph than someting like a modern 911 does at 80.

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Elises/Exiges are quick off the line but are not what you would call "fast". Over 60mph the lack of relative power mean that most other cars will be faster. This is more obvious from the 60-100 and 1/4 mile times.

Not trying to put you off but it's just one of those things.

Anyway - looks aside, the main difference between them are tyres, suspension, downforce and some extras.

The Exige tyes are wider and semi slick which make dry grip leagues better than normal however very very tricky in the rain and take a while to heat up to get the most out of them. Don't last long either with 6k miles about right.

Suspension is much firmer on the exige, slightly lower and has adjustable front anti roll bar. This makes the drive much better on smooth track but bumpy surfaces will throw the car about a bit.

The downforce of the exige is more than the elise however its like 10 rice krispies is more than 1 but still a long way from a full breakfast. Unless you are driving at 100mph you won't notice the difference.

Finally the extras a variable traction control and launch control (I think they are standard on the exige but not sure). The launch control is damn good and will get repeatable ultimate 0-60 times however it will invalidate your engine/gearbox warranty, takes about 10 seconds to set everytime and will kill the clutch.

Of course with the elise you get the option to take the roof off out of the box without having to get saws and drills out :D

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As stated above, the main differences are the obvious styling of the Exige, the suspension and Wheels. Then theres the "not just for looks" Pressurized intake air, which is routed through an air-to-air intercooler mounted vertically above the engine. The intercooler is ducted to the Exige's roof scoop to provide airflow at speed. Who needs a rear view mirror? Having driven Articulated trucks for a long time you learn to not rely on that mirror anyway!

I believe theres also a 30lb weight saving (partially from the wheels). I have the Sport pack which includes lighter but more supportive seats and have a factory fitted Cat3 exhaust, which sounds simply stunning.

Unlike yourself I went for the Exige because of the looks. I prefer it's "in your face" Racing car for the road thing it has going on. I also wanted a roof that didn't leak. Now before you Elise owners shout that it doesn't all I know is that theres alot better probability for the seals to fail or water ingress on the Elise. SO I went with the hard top! I don't like convertables tbh, thats my own opinion of course.

Finally a piccy. Yummy!

002.jpg

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The intercooler may be receiving decent air but then it's ruined by mounting the damn thing ontop of the engine. Heat soak is a big problem which can send the power down below the non intercooled SC as the air ends up being heated. 3rd party supercharger installs are running a comfortable 240bhp without an intercooler so not sure why lotus keep using them on that tune.

Agree with the rear mirror - mine has one but it generally shows a nice view of the wing and roll bar.

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Thanks for the opinions guys! Very helpful.

Does an elise SC not have an air conditioner?

For some reason I thought an Exige S 240's roof was removable.

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If heat is an issue then the correct choice of fluids can make a real difference....up to 8 degrees Celcius. When my race car was re-mapped last month it was running 5 degrees cooler than the previous year due to a change in fluids.

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Does an elise SC not have an air conditioner?

It's an option. I haven't got one on mine but I think this is relatively rare.

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