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Introduction to the Elise - Cup 250, Sport 220, older model?


cib24

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I have been looking to get into a Lotus for about a year but just haven't quite had the right set of circumstances to do so and I have genuinely been undecided about which model to go for. I have a 1999 Mazda RX-7 FD which is my toy and puts out just shy of 400hp. It's a real head turner and is very fun to drive and I'm still deciding whether I should get rid of it or add a Lotus to my life and keep the RX-7. Anyway, I love the Evora 400 (drove one a while ago) but the prices are simply too high for me to justify and it's a bit similar to the RX-7 in terms of what it's purpose is. I was a passenger in an Exige 360 Cup and it was mind blowingly good, and I can afford an Exige S or used Sport 350 but I'm not too keen on the fact that they run superchargers without any sort of intercooling or a chargecooler. I take my RX-7 to the track and would definitely take the Exige to the track (assuming it could actually pass the noise tests which I doubt), but I'm not excited about dealing with constant heatsoak. My RX-7 has that issue so I installed a water injection kit to keep my intake temps down so the car doesn't heat soak, but it's not so simple on the Exige. Therefore, if I were to get an Exige I would want the 410 or 430 models but their prices mean they are a no-go for me. 

So, that leads me back to the Elise which was the first Lotus I ever thought about getting into, specifically a SC because the 2ZZ engine sounds like a riot. However, I sat in and looked over a S2 Elise and was not too impressed with the build quality, and for a bit more you can get into a 2016+ Sport 220 and the fit and finish appears to be miles better, with the only disappointment being the low redline of the motor. I'm intrigued by the latest S3's and love the idea of a Cup 250, but recognise those are quite a premium (which is also why the Sprint 220 doesn't make sense compared to the Cup 250 despite the sexy carbon) over a Sport 220. The reality is I would modify either car for more power and who knows what else, which ended up with me being advised to look into an older S1 or S2 and thinking about a K20 swap. Financially, that doesn't make a lot of sense but it's an intriguing option as you would end up in the same value range of > £30k for any of these options. 

What's the general advice here on the forum? I know it's all personal preference but this would be my first Lotus. It doesn't need to be practical but should be fun on the street and a riot on track. 

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I have a 250 Cup and I'm delighted with it. 10 or more years ago I had a heavily modified S2 Elise, which had a Honda K20A engine conversion (Dyno 226hp) and I would say the performance levels are fairly similar. The K20 could of been supercharged to over 300hp which would have taken it to another level however! Quality on the latest versions is much improved on the early S2's (mine was 2002 vintage) and everything feels pretty solid. I've also owned an Exige V6 and there's no doubt the Exige has lots more shove, but the Elise 250 has enough for me and I find it all a bit more accessible, and the Elise feels much lighter on its feet than the Exige.

You don't have to spend 250 Cup money to get much the same car though, an earlier S3 220 Cup would probably make a better platform to start from if you're planning mods - a Komotec kit will take it to 260hp fairly easily. An Elise is never going to win a drag race, but in the right hands (not mine!) they're more than capable of humbling far more powerful cars on track.

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I bought a new Sport220 only 6 weeks ago, partly because it was a high spec car but also because as nice as the CF of the sprint is, I couldn't justify the cost... also my arse wouldn't fit into the Sprint/Cup seats where as the Sport220 seats are comfy even after 5hrs straight driving last week. I've now done 1200 miles and 1 trackday!

My Sport220 weighs 917kg (full of fuel) so with the 2piece brakes and forged wheels makes it fairly close to the sprint weight (which is always quoted DRY weight).

Ploughing money into an engine conversion doesn't make sense, unless you've owned the car for a long time and don't want to swap to another car.

The new gear change of the MY17.5 Elise (same as the Sport 350 Exige onwards) is SOOOO much better.

Current: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Just now, SFO said:

the most important light weight options IMO

Unsprung weight reductions ftw :thumbsup:

Current: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Thanks. So, it is true that the gear change is really that much better on the latest Elises? I always thought the 4 cylinder cars didn't suffer from the poor gear change like the V6 cars did. 

What are the aftermarket gear change options if you want to upgrade an earlier car's feel? 

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I can't comment on the quality of the shift on pre MY17.5 S3 Elise's as I haven't driven one, but the open gate shift in the latest is really very good. It's quick, precise, looks good and has a nice mechanical feel to it. I don't think it would be enough on it's own to influence my decision though, you need to be looking at the 'package'. Best thing to do is drive a version of both and see what you think. I haven't heard any major complaints about the shift quality in the previous generation (S3) cars.

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My 2015 Elise gear shift has a slightly loose but very fluid change , very quick between the gates when required with no bulking whatsoever. It does have a strangely enjoyable light clanking noise after each shift action hits home.Regarding new open gate, I have only felt the action with a car static but it does have a very engineered feel with good weighting.As for the lower rev-line engine; you will not be short changed.Just finishing our holiday around Scotland , 2200miles clocked so far . With 13k under its belt this engine does everything , docile when required, pulls high gears from low revs, but get it just over 4krpm and it pulls like a train to the Rev limit. For on the road only performance I think it’s just about perfect .

 

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I’ve driven a 2016 on track and road and owned a 17.5MY Cup. Nothing wrong with the older gearchange as regards selection just a looser feel to it, not to say that it’s sloppy. The 17.5 is a tighter more precise feel. No downside to either. And for the record the V6 shift is cable adjustment and it’s good too.

 

Trevor.

I'll get around to it at some point.

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Thanks for the detailed responses everyone. Sounds like it's worth test driving a few different years to see how the shift feels and compares. 

I thought there was an aftermarket solution from Alitech or maybe Hanger 111? I swear in a recent JayEmm video about a 2015/16 Lotus Elise Cup 250 it had an open gate shifter like the new Lotus one, but this particular one was an aftermarket solution. 

 

One other general question. Why is the highest off-the-shelf remap limited to 260hp? Surely, this car can take closer to 300+ with a smaller pulley given its chargecooled to handle the increase in intake temps. The gearbox with a transmission cooler added on should survive without an issue?

Edited by cib24
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Ali tech stopped production earlier this year. No more to be made.

Current: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Right, okay. So, there are no other alternatives to upgrade the shift linkage and gear lever. 

How about power? 300hp should be achievable on these motors I would think and the gearbox can take it? Upgrade clutch, gearbox cooler, job done?

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Komo-Tec do a ZR265 kit to go from 217 to 265.

SSC (Simply Sports Cars) also do a kit, available via Hofmanns in the UK to go to 250 or 265.

Current: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Current: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Thanks. I realise it is a full intake, exhaust header back system plus a smaller pulley on the blower. I reached out to Komo-tec and they weren't able to comment about taking the cars beyond 265 PS. I'm surprised no one has tried to push these cars beyond 300 as I'm sure it can be done. I can't see why it's not possible but anyway, a 265 PS car will be worth it although I would likely go for it and push further. 

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  • 1 year later...

Reading this in Feb 2020.... but the info above is still relevant to a new Elise 220 owner like me looking to see what's tuning is about - which is actually very little.

Although I have seen a new offering from a UK tuner - so I though I'd add it.  

An Elise racer used him and its on Youtube for you to see (link below).  Looks like an identical offer to the Komotec one.

But... and its a big but... they can add uprated injectors (the limiting factor from 260) and claim 300bhp.

Whats you thoughts?  I'm tempted!

 

 

 

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Honestly, if you can afford it, get a Cup 250.

I walked into the dealership planning on ordering a cup 430 and walked out with a signed order form for a 250.

Reasoning was very simple: running cost on track. Running cost on an exige if you take it on trackdays is easily triple (cost of tires alone). I really give mine a rough beating on trackdays and the few pennies it costs to keep it going, is honestly mindblowing to me. Even if you can afford it, doesn't make it fun in my opinion to spend more money than necessairy. I feel a Cup 250 would be faster on track than a 350 sport very often. I would recommend you read my 'build thread' so you can see the upgrade options out there, as I'm modifying mine quite extensively: 

It's a great machine. The amount of grip on the Cup 250 really is very impressive. What you lack compared to a 380/410/430 is the crazy engine sound and a lot of oemph in a straight line, however things to consider:

- on lot's of trackdays, dB limits are very low (down to 95dB), so you might get in trouble with an exige even on stock exhaust
- you can always upgrade the exhaust on an elise to make it sound amazeballs
- power can be upgraded, elise with 300 hp is one hell of a machine
- cup 250 is chargecooled, 350 isn't
- an exige 350, actually isn't a lot faster
- regular exiges are more nervous on exit and feel less on rails than a cup 250
- fuel consumption on the Cup 250 on the road and specially on track is very low. (so you spend more time at the track than the gas station on trackdays) V6 is extremely thirsty
- steering feedback is better on the elise than the exige
- useable power on the road in a 250 without losing your license in 1,2 seconds

I think second hand you can get some very good deals on cup 250's so if you can spare the extra pennies, do so, you won't regret it. I've driven a lot of cars, including a lot of exotics and none were able to give me the raw feeling my Cup 250 gives me, not even GT3 RS cars. Great car, mindblowing engine, but you just feel disconnected from the road as the steering feels artificial.
 

I experienced a 430 cup couple of days ago with a single cell 200 cat instead of dual 600's (stock) and it blew my mind, however, engine sound and straight line speed aren't the only things that make a car great. My daily driver is a 611hp C63 and in a straight line with the cup, I sometimes thought, maybe I've should have gotten an Exige instead. However, the first time I took the Cup 250 on track, all the pieces came together and it all made sense. I can honestly say that even driving slow, I enjoy the Cup 250 a lot over the straight piped C63. The only thing that makes that fun is the grunt and power. Steering is just.... boring :)

 

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  • 1 year later...

I am (again and hopefully for the last time) considering a couple of Elises to finally add one Elise to the garage. This is being a very long search and some very nice cars escaped between my fingers, but hopefully I will finally end up owning an Elise before the summer... time will tell.

I considered starting a new thread, but realized that this one has already covered some of my doubts, so I will take advantage and hopefully it will help others in the future by adding more info in one single thread.

One of the cars considered is a pre-MY 17.5 S3 that has a Komotec 265 kit. Does anyone have any experience with these kits on the Toyota 2ZR engine? Any reliability issues? It also has komotec brakes and a komotec exhaust. Is it much more noisy than stock?

The second one is a post MY 17.5 250 cup that has seen some track use. Does anyone have direct experience of running a Komotec 265 against a 250 cup?

As I see it now, it would mostly be used as a road car, so I am not after the ultimate tenth of a second or grip/performance difference and would want something "livable" in terms of noise.

I guess I would not realize any potential difference in performance and my favourite so far (price, equipment, proximity, etc.) would be the simple(r) pre-My 17.5 but would I miss not having the wing and updated gear change that much? Is the stock car a safer bet?

Any experience, tips, advise will be strongly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Difficult choice, personal preference really.

I'd rather have the newer 17.5 as I think the front clam (and rear lights) look better from outside. The gearshift is nice to have.

Pre17.5 can have driving lights added, post17.5 cannot, how much night driving will it do?

Current: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Thanks for your input, Lee @CocoPops. I think I can live without the newer bumper (although I do prefer it) and I am not sure if the wing adds or detracts from the purity of the Elise. The doubt arises on the gear mechanism and the reliability of the Komotec kit. It does not seem to be as popular on the Elise as it is on the V6s. Just wonder if the sole reason is cost and the nature of the Elise compared to the bigger Exige/Evora.

The older car does have the additional driving lights and comes with a body colored hard top. I would have to pay 2000 Euros for a non-painted hard top for the Cup, in case I wanted to track it... It all adds up, I guess.

The car will most likely see the light of day in weekends in small roads around here so it wouldn't be a show stopper either way but it is nice to have them.

I need to check which tires does the older car wear in the front. Since when do Elises use 195 in the front?  Does 195 in the front make such a difference? Can I upgrade to 195 in the standard wheels (not forged) for a 2013 car?

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I have the 265 Komotec kit fitted to my 2015 S club Racer,

carried out during 2020 , completed about 5k miles.car currently on 26K.

My setup included 2Tublar complete system and Cat, with all the remaining parts Komotec.

Fitted in the UK by H111; 

rolling road recorded 255bhp and 199 lb ft torque

there are a few completed 220/250 cup in the uk showing between 255/265bhp,

to be honest it drives much better than when it was standard 217 bhp,The idle and town driving feel much smoother and the power has a solid smooth push to the limiter.

did I really need the extra power ,probably not , but it is a great addition with no negatives regarding the mods,

the numbers don’t reflect how much more go the car can deliver.

FYI, Super unleaded is a requirement on this kit.

Regarding noise all ZR engines with the complete system are noisy, mine is acceptable for the long journeys for holiday etc but not for the quieter track day circuits.

Gear change on my car is lovely and slick, it doesn’t have the post 17.5 engineered feel but I am more than happy.

195 tyres are fine on the standard 6” rims which all supercharged S3 220 came on , will move to them this year as 175 unavailable or getting on date wise.

if in doubt stick with OEM spec, as I said before I probably didn’t work the original hard enough , let alone the new increased power setup.

happy hunting,

Stephen

 

 

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