My 135i vs Elise comparison (long, wasteful read)
quick comparison between my cars...traded in my z3mcoupe for a bmw 135i one month ago...this is more for the bmw folks...
Today I drove the Lotus in to work...both highway and surface streets. What a difference from the 135i...
Both cars do 0-60 in 4.7 to 5.1 seconds (depending on who you read).
But the Lotus is slooowwww...
I have been driving the 135i every day since I got it one month ago, enough that I was beginning to get a little bored and maybe a little bit disappointed that I didn't get an m3. Then I drove the lotus and found out who quickly I had gotten spoiled by 300hp/300tq. The lotus makes all the race car sounds, and/but you get to enjoy it much more because it takes so long to get to the redline. I was amazed. And I love this lotus. But the 1 is fast, no question about it.
As expected, the 135i feels huge in comparison. In the lotus you sit upright, the backrest is not adjustable, and the steering wheel is high. I think they designed it to be driven by a 5'11" inch person. I am 5'8", so I feel low in the lotus. Both seats are comfortable. The leather in the lotus really feels likes leather, while the leatherette in the bmw feels like the leather in the bmw, which means not like real leather, still with me? The lotus has a lot of exposed metal, appealing but ultimately cheap-looking. The lotus is a kitcar in comparison. The 1 interior is simple, but luxurious in comparison. Everything feels expensive, from the steering wheel to the gearshift, to the radio and ac controls.
The lotus feels mechanical, the gearshift clunks into each gear, but the throws are quick, accomplished with a quick flick of the wrist. The bmw is dampened, but still smooth. The throws are longer, but can be done with two fingers.
Handling comparisons? I haven't taken the 135i to the track yet, that's coming up in 3 weeks. I am expecting a lot of understeer. Some impressions from the street...I tried to get the back end to rotate and it's difficult in the 1. Even letting off abruptly in a fast corner does almost nothing. The lotus would have gone backwards off the road. I even tried braking and turning hard at the same time and got nothing...and this is with all the aids off (4 sec hold on DTC button). Power oversteer? That's different. The Lotus can't power oversteer. No LSD plus no power, I get a little slide while the inside tire makes a swishing sound. The 1 however gets into a great drift, requiring some nice opposite lock before it straightens out, very nice. The e-diff works well on the street in my opinion. We will see how it does on the track soon.
So which do I like more?...this is tough. When I had both a z3 mcoupe and the lotus, both felt similarly sporty and exotic, and having both felt wasteful. Now with the 135i and the lotus, the lotus begins to feel more valuable, paradoxically. The BMW does everything better, it's faster, holds more people. But the Lotus is inescapably raw. Around town, it's loud but slow. I can almost see everyone rolling their eyes as I pass by at 6000rpm. The BMW flies by, but nobody notices. It's so smooth, even I don't notice. The thrust is addictive, it's definitely the fastest car I have owned.
Which do I drive more? That's easy. BMW. You can't park the lotus anywhere, and it's such a pain getting in and out. The lotus needs gullwing or lambo style doors, just from a practical standpoint. I have literally had to climb out the window because I couldn't open the door far enough to get my size 10 shoe out. The bmw has bumpers...
Only question, would the M3 make both superfluous?
2006 Elise, Canyon Red, Sport/Touring, RTD brace, ss lines, Larini 8 inch, sport ECU, darthholder.
2009 Lexus RX 350
2009 Audi S5