Well I feel like a traitor having now defected.
My interest in the Elise wasn't for the track, but for summer commuting and then "road trips" in final retirement (a scant less than 4 years off from completing my "2nd" career). And at 56 with those big 10.5 EEEE shoes, a fireplug frame of an ex-army drill sergeant / retired naval officer, and no dealer within a 9.5+ hour drive, I had to rethink my desire for the Elise.
I've compromised on the visceral thrills that the Elise will deliver. In exchange I think I've picked up a bit more creature comfort for an old man -
All this with a parachute that I can activate if I totally regret the decision just made as I can always "trade up."
What's all this blather about?
See that little silver car with red leather interior next to the '73 Dodge Challenger I've passed onto my youngest son? Bought it a week ago and so far it is a kick in the ass. The 5 cubes in the trunk look to easily handle my needs. The cockpit wraps around you without pressure but isn't spartan either. The oft cited quality of the snick-snick 6 speed box is not a product of reviewers' creative license. The 9k redline and the VTEC snap are similar to the just out R&T description of the cam changes above 5k rpm on the Toyota engine the federalized Elise will be running up to about 8200 rpm. (BTW Thanks Randy for the scans!) So both cars have engines with the same generic qualities. But true 2800+ pounds is a LOT heavier than the Elise and the 240bhp available stock doesn't make up for that. It also has oversteer at the edge of the performance envelope that doesn't exhibit much transition at all. But all in all it is a worthy mount.
Bottom line is I'll live with this for now, but I'll still keep following and admiring the Elise so who knows what'll be my sled for retirement galavanting about in a few years? A S2000 or an Elise or ???