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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-25-2009, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie looking at an Elise or Cayman

I've been browsing this forum for a week or so, learning what I can about an Elise, and finally decided to sign up; the information on these forums has been extremely helpful. I'm looking to make a purchase (don't want to finance) in March or April, and I've narrowed my decision down to either an Elise SC (maybe Exige S) or a Porsche Cayman (possibly S). I drive a WRX now, and picked up the payments on my old man's unused F-150 so I'm covered on a "utility" vehicle. I haven't yet found anything can hold a candle to the excitement of driving a fun MT car over a winding road, and I think it's time to spoil myself.

I've never driven either car, and know that my chances of test driving either without cash in hand at 24 years old, are non existent. I'm hoping that someone on these forums who's driven both cars might be kind enough to share their insights and experiences. From what I've seen so far, the prices for both cars are about the same.

I'm unconcerned with top speed, I get all my enjoyment under 60mph. Neither am I concerned about comfort or noise, and at 5'6", 140lbs, ingress and egress are not a factor for me. If a potential girlfriend/passenger isn't happy with it, I think it's obvious which will have to go. I'm really only interested in the differences in handling between the two cars, maintenance costs, mechanical reliability, and the "fun factor."

Thank you for your help!
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-25-2009, 08:29 PM
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Hi.....I've never driven a Cayman so I can't compare, but many people here have. ....just wanted to say 'Hi' and welcome.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-25-2009, 09:33 PM
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I have owned a few Porsches over the years, and sprung for an '06 Elise just over two years ago. My friends now refer to my 80's 911 as "the Minivan" in comparison to the Elise. I view the 911 as a commuter and road-trip car, the elise as the sports car of the family (I'm single).

Since you have a utility/practical car, you do not need to worry about the downsides of a Lotus as one's only car. I love the Cayman, and plan to trade-up my 911 for one sometime in 2010, but the Elise is in its own world for the sort of sub-80MPH fun you seek.

Test drives are not hard to arrange, though you may be in the passenger seat the first time out. It's enough to see the chasm between the cars in handling and ride and fit/finish. If you had only one car, get the cayman. Since you have two, get the lotus.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-25-2009, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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I found this thread http://www.elisetalk.com/forums/show...t=elise+cayman after searching for a while, but I'm still torn hah. To further clarify, I'm looking for something in the $35k-$45k range, but would rather stay in the middle of that range unless I find a car that I just can't pass up. I've found an 06 and 07 Cayman S in my area, both with 10k miles, and both just under $40k; the Elise SC's I've come across seem to be priced about the same. I have absolutely no plans to modify whatever I end up going with, and want to buy it completely stock. I've done a lot of basic work on my WRX, so I wouldn't mind simple maintenance such as tightening frame bolts, but for the most part, I don't have a lot of time with my new job, so maintenance costs, and especially reliability, are huge factors. I've heard Porsche's can be costly to maintain, but I haven't heard much of anything definitive as far as the Cayman S's go.

I know the decision will ultimately come down to my personal preference, but I like hearing opinions and experiences from car people who've owned and driven them. I still have a few months to find the exact car I want and pull the trigger.

Thanks for the welcome and opinions guys.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-25-2009, 11:46 PM
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I had an 06 Exige, and now have an 06 Cayman S.

The Exige certainly felt more "exotic" than the Cayman. Driving it was an event. It did a few things really, really well. I enjoyed it at the track, and had no significant mechanical failures. Visibility was awful, but an Elise will be slightly better. The visibility issue made commuting in traffic somewhat stressful. The AC didn't keep up with Texas heat very well. The stock sound system was terrible. I was uncomfortable leaving the Lotus in most parking lots or with valets. In the right situations, I loved it. In the wrong situations, I didn't love it.

The Cayman, on the other hand, doesn't have any glaring faults. I'm pretty much always happy with it. It's quick, comfortable, and has excellent build quality. The AC and sound system are both great. Storage is surprising with a very deep front trunk. But it's not "exotic". Porsches are everywhere in Dallas, and no one will look twice. The Cayman works much better for me, and other than the lack of exotic-ness, I don't feel like I've lost much.

They're both great value when bought used.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-26-2009, 06:47 PM
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I say, "When in doubt, don't buy the Lotus."
It really doesn't matter what else you do buy.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-26-2009, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jturrell View Post
I had an 06 Exige, and now have an 06 Cayman S.

The Exige certainly felt more "exotic" than the Cayman. Driving it was an event. It did a few things really, really well. I enjoyed it at the track, and had no significant mechanical failures. Visibility was awful, but an Elise will be slightly better. The visibility issue made commuting in traffic somewhat stressful. The AC didn't keep up with Texas heat very well. The stock sound system was terrible. I was uncomfortable leaving the Lotus in most parking lots or with valets. In the right situations, I loved it. In the wrong situations, I didn't love it.

The Cayman, on the other hand, doesn't have any glaring faults. I'm pretty much always happy with it. It's quick, comfortable, and has excellent build quality. The AC and sound system are both great. Storage is surprising with a very deep front trunk. But it's not "exotic". Porsches are everywhere in Dallas, and no one will look twice. The Cayman works much better for me, and other than the lack of exotic-ness, I don't feel like I've lost much.

They're both great value when bought used.
Last time I was car shopping I test drove an 06 Exige and an (07? maybe it was 06) Cayman S. I was actually quite surprised at the amount of storage in the Cayman too...at first glance it looks like it probably has less than a Lotus, but it's quite decent. Test driving them both, my opinions of each were quite similar to yours, although I was quite happy with the Lotus A/C (then again, this is LA...I imagine Texas is a different story). The Exige I drove had multivex mirrors, which took some adapting to, but visibility in back was still a bit of a pain. You can see through the rear-view mirror, but it's not something to rely on. Anyway, my limited experience pretty much echoes your sentiments.

There's really no substitute for test driving though. I've done a ridiculous amount of research on certain cars, only to test drive them and find my experience to be exactly contradictory to what I've read. When you're ready, go test drive what you're interested in, and don't buy until you're very satisfied.

Cheers hope that was minorly helpful

Last edited by pax; 12-26-2009 at 08:16 PM.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-26-2009, 08:49 PM
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Having owned both an Elise and Exige, I would always take the Elise over the Exige for street duty. Since you have the utility vehicle and want the car for winding road driving, you seem like a good Elise candidate.

Here are my opinions on your request for information on handling, maintenance/reliability and fun factor. Regarding handling, a stock Elise vs a stock Cayman will have a different feel, but the same result. You are likely not going to drive a twisty road any faster in one car vs the other. That said, the fun factor is way higher in the Lotus. You want to drive it fast every minute you spend behind the wheel. I often say that the Lotus is a "point A to point A" car. Meaning...you take it out and drive it just to drive it. Destination is irrelevant. Maintenance and reliability will likely be a push. The Porsche is probably more reliable, but maintenance and repairs are more costly. A well maintained Lotus is not going to break you financially.

As others have said, drive both. They are very different.

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-26-2009, 09:17 PM
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Having driven both extensively and having spent the last few months trying to decide between a Cayman S and a Lotus exige S, I came to the following conclusions. If I was looking for a car to drive primarily on the track and the occasional weekend toy, I would choose the Lotus. If I wanted a sports car to drive daily, I would choose the Cayman S. The Cayman is much more livable but does not have the raw edged race car feel of the Lotus. In my opinion the Cayman feels a little soft. The first thing I would do is upgrade the Cayman suspension with a good set of coil-overs and larger sways. The Cayman also does not feel as quick as the Lotus but is much smoother and more refined. In the end I choose to buy a Lotus 255 cup as my dedicated track car and Keep my 911 as my daily sports car. Another good option for you, if you are looking for a track car, would be to modify your WRX for track duty and get the Cayman s for your daily sports car. In the end there is no right or wrong choice and both are a bit of a compromise. Choose the one that you will not have regrets every time you drive buy the other.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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I actually did modify my WRX, but after sinking about $10k into the car, I realized that it was becoming a never-ending black hole, sucking up all of my cash. I finally returned it to stock about 5 months ago, and have since started using it as my work vehicle. I picked up a consulting gig in PA, and use it to drive between job sites (go AWD). I picked up payments on the truck to use when I'm home.

I've made up my mind, and am set on getting a Lotus. I realized that any non-AWD car I go with will inevitably be a secondary, play-time vehicle, being that I live in CO. I'm certainly not going to buy a 911, so I might as well go with the car best suited for weekend entertainment.

I am however, finding myself at another crossroads. I had set my mind on keeping my eyes open, and picking up a 2008 Elise SC sometime around Mar/Apr, but I've come across a fantastic deal for a used 2007 Exige S. The color is acceptable, the mileage isn't too bad at 7k (I think?), and I could buy it as soon as I get home in two weeks. I'm not worried about the visibility btw.

I've read a lot about the differences, but I'm still unsure on some things. Are there any major changes that would make getting the '08 worth it? Is the new key for '08+ that much better? Are the seats the same? The seller doesn't mention packages, but it does have an ipod hookup; does that mean that the '07 definitely has a touring package?

I appreciate the help. I'm so excited, I can barely contain myself.
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by thefictionwelive View Post
I had set my mind on keeping my eyes open, and picking up a 2008 Elise SC sometime around Mar/Apr, but I've come across a fantastic deal for a used 2007 Exige S. The color is acceptable, the mileage isn't too bad at 7k (I think?), and I could buy it as soon as I get home in two weeks. I'm not worried about the visibility btw.

I've read a lot about the differences, but I'm still unsure on some things. Are there any major changes that would make getting the '08 worth it? Is the new key for '08+ that much better? Are the seats the same? The seller doesn't mention packages, but it does have an ipod hookup; does that mean that the '07 definitely has a touring package?

I appreciate the help. I'm so excited, I can barely contain myself.

If you're comparing 07 and 08 Exige S's, which I think I read into your post, the major difference is horsepower.

Theoretically, there was an 08 Exige S w/the 220 hp from the 07, but aside from the very limited Club Racers, nobody in the US has owned up to actually having bought an S220. Supposedly, none were sold in the US.

So for 08, that leaves you with grabbing one of the 25 (20?) Club Racers at a premium, or an S240 Exige. I believe it has upgraded brakes and suspension components, in addition to the extra 20 horses, new instrument cluster, and mohawk roof scoop.

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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't do a very good job of distinguishing what I'm looking for. I'm not really looking to spend the extra money for the '08 exige S240. I'm looking at either an '07 exige S (touring, traction control, starshield), or an '08 elise SC (touring, sport, hardtop, starshield). From the examples I've been looking at, they seem to be priced comparably. I'm just curious if the changes to the keys, instrument cluster, etc, are really that great.

The '07 exige I had my sights set on, sold sometime between yesterday and today hah.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 05:13 PM
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08 versus 07

I went through the same process recently and didn't think the price diff between 08 and 07 Exige was worth it, especially with the low mileage on many of the cars available.

I also felt that 07 Exige was better than 08 Elise SC, but I guess Exige versus Elise is an individual preference

Keep looking, I think more 07's may come up for sale during the dead of winter
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 08:13 PM
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Somebody here will give you a ride just ask. You won't need to drive it to know.

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 04:08 PM
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I ordered a 2006 Cayman S spring 06 with all available performance options. Had a BMW Z4 and a Mini Cooper JCW at the time (sold both for the Porsche and a Lexus). Cayman was nice but a bit "sterile". Kept it a year and missed the Mini so much I sold it and bought another JCW. Not as fast but handled just as well and felt more "raw". Way more "fun".

Just sold the Mini and bought a Elise SC. Best of both worlds in terms of raw "go cart" performance and turn your head "exotic" looks. Actually, the Porsche doesn't turn heads. I took it to a cruise in and it was ignored whereas people hammered me with questions/comments about the Mini(s).

Lotus is the ultimate toy. And SECOND car. Lovin' mine. Can't wait for spring so I can actually drive it!
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 04:21 PM
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You are just TOO adorable welcoming newcomers Miss Tracy!

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Hi.....I've never driven a Cayman so I can't compare, but many people here have. ....just wanted to say 'Hi' and welcome.













Is it just me, or did this trip go downhill since we ran out of Lucky Lager
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 04:29 PM
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Off-loaded my Buzzbomb years ago for the Porsche Snapper Fuzz!

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I've narrowed my decision down to either an Elise SC (maybe Exige S) or a Porsche Cayman...
If you truly like driving under 60 or 70 than ol' Buzzer is a good choice of a vehicle for you. With it's Toyota GT-S powertrain it's a decent pal to zip about in. The Porsche is a much more well-balanced machine and has NO problem breaking over the 110 mph barrier.

Believe in your case and for the cost a Buzzbomb would fit you well.




Is it just me, or did this trip go downhill since we ran out of Lucky Lager
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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 07:38 PM
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i test drove a cayman S, not bad but nothing like the abilities of a lotus. if it was me i would go for Lotus unless ur gonna gett a Carrera 997 instead and theres a big difference!! do yourself a favor and get a Lotus...

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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 10:16 AM
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You must be an unseasoned driver then hombre!

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I test drove a Cayman S, not bad but nothing like the abilities of a Lotus....
Buzzer hits the wall @ 110 mph.

Do believe however, for this young Fuzz's application, the Buzzbomb would be a better choice than the Porsche. Might help him get laid too boot.




Is it just me, or did this trip go downhill since we ran out of Lucky Lager
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 10:28 AM
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Buzzer hits the wall @ 110 mph.

Do believe however, for this young Fuzz's application, the Buzzbomb would be a better choice than the Porsche. Might help him get laid too boot.



You've been told a million times not to exaggerate.

While the car hits an air wall, 110 is absurd. A Super 7, with it's clam or bicycle type front fenders, famously hits a wall around 100 or so. Not an N/A Elise. It's 'wall' is another 10mph or so higher. Low enough that one needn't exaggerate to make a point.

Even so, the OP is looking at either an Elise SC or Exige S, in either case the 110 'wall' you cite is way, way off the mark.
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