My 135i vs Elise comparison (long, wasteful read) - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-08-2009, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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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?

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post #2 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-08-2009, 10:03 PM
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I have both too. (specifically an exige S) The BMW does make the lotus feel slow, driving around town. I've done a few suspension mods to the bmw and it worked quite well on the track a couple of weeks ago. Sooo much torque, I just left it in third for the entire track excluding the end of the long straight.

I find myself wondering if adding a set of motons to the BMW might make the lotus superfluous. The lotus certainly feels rawer and more involved on the track, but I'm not sure that a modded 135 won't turn a faster time at most tracks and be less likely to break.

But I'm not out there racing, and the lotus is such a fun car. I know I'm not selling either. But I'm not sure which one will end up seeing the most track time.

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post #3 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-08-2009, 10:15 PM
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Nice write-up

A buddy of mine in CA, has both the 135 and an Elise SC which he takes turns driving out at SOW. According to him, the Lotus beats the BMW there but as a DD, he really enjoys the BMW and is no slouch by any means.
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post #4 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-08-2009, 10:58 PM
 
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NICE...

I really liked the 1 when it came out. Gorgeous car!

The Lotus, however, is the only car for me now. I am a motorcyclist at heart, and the Elise fills that need as the Cadillac of all motorcycles.

I suppose that it really depends on what you're looking for in a vehicle.
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post #5 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 08:23 AM
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Dinan!

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post #6 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 08:50 AM
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Dinan!
While expensive, they match factory warranty

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post #7 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 08:59 AM
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This is the momentum phenomenon that I've noticed. After my time in the Elise and formula cars, I've come to the conclusion that for two cars with the same acceleration, the heavier car will feel faster (straight line acceleration, of course).
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post #8 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 09:35 AM
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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.
Maybe people wouldn't roll their eyes at you if you stopped cruising around town at 6000 rpm...

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post #9 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 09:52 AM
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Sounds like you need a turbocharger for your Elise

Be an alpha male. Drive a Lotus.

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post #10 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 09:57 AM
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This is the momentum phenomenon that I've noticed. After my time in the Elise and formula cars, I've come to the conclusion that for two cars with the same acceleration, the heavier car will feel faster (straight line acceleration, of course).
I totally agree - my 335 xDrive feels "quicker" in the low-mid range but I think that's just psychological... my BOE TVS's torque curve is flat as Kansas (go figure) so there's no sudden ummph... that I get when the Bimmer's twin turbos kick in.

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post #11 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 11:12 AM
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Thanks for the info. We're looking at the 1 when the lease on the Z4 is up in September. It seems to do almost everything very well. Exactly what a BMW coupe should be. I know what you mean about the Elise not feeling fast compared to something with real torque. My 469 hp/ 516 tq AMG Benz has only a slightly faster 0-60 time, but it feels twice as quick on the street.

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post #12 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 01:36 PM
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Interesting comparison, interesting preference(s).

For me, Light weight and the resulting dynamics trump torque every time.
My frame of comparison is between an E36M3, an E30M3, and a Lotus 7 clone(Birkin).
I would drive the 7 all the time but for the attention it gets and Hay fever.

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post #13 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 02:18 PM
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A 135 has two turbos, no? Time to supercharge the Elise to make it a fair fight
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post #14 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
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This is the momentum phenomenon that I've noticed. After my time in the Elise and formula cars, I've come to the conclusion that for two cars with the same acceleration, the heavier car will feel faster (straight line acceleration, of course).
I am the exact opposite. To me a small light weight car feels faster then a big high HP car. I had a Z06 and it was way faster then my Elise but it did not feel that much faster. A stock C5 is the same speed as an Elise, but to me the Elise feels faster. I guess I am lucky because my Elise feels plenty fast to me.

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post #15 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 03:51 PM
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Torque + weight + soft suspension makes a car feel fast, so it's no wonder that the 135 feels faster, just remember that if both are properly driven...it's not. I will say that the 135 is easier to drive quickly tho'.

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post #16 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 08:30 PM
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Interesting that you have both a 1 series and an Elise! I had to pick one, and after driving a variety of 1 series coupes and convertibles, it took only a fifteen minute drive in an Elise to want it. I love BMWs, and at the moment, I don't have one (unless you count the MINI Cooper S...) but mainly because BMW hasn't made a car I really could fall in love with lately. The 135i is very nice, and very, very quick. But all that acceleration and speed add up to maybe 20 - 25 mpg? Not sure it can even manage 30 on the highway though maybe. And there is SO much weight! My E30 BMW 325is weighed just under 3000 lbs and felt fast with a 170hp engine. The 135i has 300 hp, but weighs over 3300 lbs! Then there is the cost... a used Elise is well under $30k now... I found one, 128i in very nice condition, for about $28k, and no 135s yet. New, the car I wanted was about $36k. I wish BMW would build what I really want... a 123i diesel, with a sport suspension, bigger brakes, less crap in the cabin, no gadgetry (except maybe A/C, power windows and glass roof) weighing no more than say 2800lbs. It would be a quick, very efficient, well handling and tossable car. Oh, and BMW, use the steering rack from an Elise!

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post #17 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 08:46 PM
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^ But then it wouldnt be a BMW.

Studies show 100% of people die. Might as well have some fun.

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post #18 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 09:59 PM
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135 and 335 are fantastic all around cars, congrats. the TT turbo motor is the bees knees. That being said elise has way more potential performance on tight technical courses and autocross. Most importantly I bet you find the 135 almost boring to drive on the track in comparison even if the times arnt much different.

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post #19 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-10-2009, 06:54 AM
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^ But then it wouldnt be a BMW.
Oh, yes:
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post #20 of 94 (permalink) Old 05-10-2009, 07:35 AM
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^ factory? probably not (my point exactly). Most (i would say 95&#37 people that buy a bmw want those comforts that come with it. Hence why its a BMW. Trust me, i would love a lightweight no BS 135i from factory....but that is not the case.

Studies show 100% of people die. Might as well have some fun.

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