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Hi all,

I’m a happy owner of a Storm Titanium 111R in Athens, Greece.
By now the car has 300km (ca 200miles) on it, and I'll tell you my very first impressions of running-in it.

Personal data: M, 6’5”, >200lbs, (not the typical Lotus driver…), mainly FWD experience, slight RWD experience from a BMW 5 series, and a very good experience from superbike (Kawasaki ZX-9R) motorcycle riding.

Local road status: (Athens, Greece): Good A-roads, with B-roads quality ranging from very poor to quite good (it’s not UK here :D). Bumps and various patches (usually poorly made) are found fairly often. It seems as if the mother land of geometry has lost contact with the Euclidean geometry and the definition of straight lines or smooth curves. LOL

Car Images: Look at this thread, and follow my posts...

Experience #1: Low ride
What most of Lotus drivers/owners feel once they’re in the cockpit is that the car is below the arcs of at least 4/5 of the other cars. It is LOW. I’m not talking about suspension height, this will come later on. I’m talking about where you are compared to the other drivers. You’ll laugh when a big SUV comes near to you. So you’ve got to be very careful at crossroads. You may not be spotted immediately if there are cars parked at the corners (not uncommon here).


Experience #2: Steering wheel.
The feeling you get from Elise’s steering wheel should become the definition by which all other cars should be measured.
Direct and sharp, it lets you know the exact condition of the road, without sending you redundant data (suspension helps here). However, since it does not have any hydraulic or electric power assistance, once you start driving the car in its native habitat (you know what I mean!) you may need to visit your nearest gym for some short training sessions in forearm and wrist strengthening :). It’s not heavy under normal conditions, but once your speed goes up, and corners come quicker to you, you have to be prepared for the Lotus steering experience.
It seems connected to your mind, and proper throttle opening when you exit the corners helps you fine tune this experience.


Experience #3: Cockpit feeling
A US ICE company had a motto once saying: “When too much is just enough”. This is not the case of Lotus Elise 111R though. It has all these elements that make you happy when driving it. It’s like sex; You may be attracted by the appearance of a woman or a man, but once you come ‘closer’ you see that other things matter; you suddenly see that you don’t need all this gadgetry, or other fancy stuff that make other cars very attractive to us, deluding us from our main goal: to drive a car, and feel its aura and the charismas the engineers put on it.
So what they chose to put on this car are the following:
• Feeling (Steering wheel, suspension, gearbox)
• Guts (Power, power/weight ratio, close gear ratio, brakes)
• Clothes (sunroof, full leather/alcantara trim, elec. windows, stack dash, and last but not least curvy bodyshell :) ).
Who needs more?

In cockpit feeling I’d also include the accessibility of the car.
Should the sunroof be in the trunk, there’s no problem whatsoever in getting in/out of the car. It’s a piece of cake, even for a driver like me (6’5” >200lbs.)
However…
Once you fit the sunroof, you start to think about how you’ll get in/out easily.
You won’t need any yoga classes:), that’s for sure, neither you’ll need to flex your joints and muscles for 15 mins before you get in.
You just don’t have to be in a rush. The more in a hurry you will be, the worse you’ll mess it. So just relax, and try to make the necessary moves smoothly, without ANY hurry. Should you rush, you’ll be bent in no time.
You’ll see that it’s not that bad at last. It’s just a new trick you’ve got to learn, and I assume that there’s no old dog amongst us :D.

For those who may tell you or complaint to you about entering and leaving a car, just give them a quick ride. At the first place, they’ll see that getting is not that difficult. During the drill they’ll get in touch with the “Lotus experience”, and most of the times will end up saying:
1. Who cares about getting out of the car?
2. Why on earth should I step out of the car?
3. Can I leave here for the rest of my life?
4. Can I have another ride?
5. It’s not that difficult to get in/out finally.

I’ll be happy to hear other responses…


Experience #4: Running-in
What the Lotus manual recommends is the following (Excerpt from EU manual; US may differ!):

“Although the Elise/Exige powertrain is built to close tolerances using modern technology, the progressive and sympathetic running-in (or bedding-in) of a new engine and transmission remains a major factor in attaining efficient operation with smooth, durable and economic performance to last throughout the life of the vehicle. Failure to comply with the following running-in provisions will invalidate the terms of the vehicle warranty:

It is important during the car’s early life to limit the workload on the engine and thus control the heat generated within it, which is primarily a function of throttle opening and rpm. However, being too sympathetic on the car will not allow the piston rings to bed in satisfactorily, so a balance of spirited and gentle use is required. For the first 600 miles (1000km), use no more than moderate throttle openings (about half of the available accelerator pedal travel) and do not run the engine continuously at engine speeds over 4500rpm. Occasional short bursts at wider throttle and higher rpm will be beneficial, as will a constantly changing cruising speed and making full use of the gearbox. Do not allow the engine to labour in too high a gear ratio, but change down, and let the engine operate in its natural power band.

When changing gear, use only a light touch on the gear lever. Forcing the change will cause unnecessary wear on the system components and result in higher shift efforts being required. Allow brakes to bed in by avoiding needless heavy braking for the first 100 miles (160km).

After 600 miles (1000km) have been covered, full throttle and/or maximum rpm may be used for short periods, but not until ‘After Sales’ service has been carried out should full vehicle performance be exploited.

Note that in order to aid fault diagnosis and identify vehicle misuse, various operating parameters are continuously monitored and recorded in the engine electronic controller, which data may be downloaded by Lotus dealers on demand.

‘After Sales’ service is carried out at 1.000-1.500 miles/1.600-2.400km or 12 months from the vehicle date of sale). You pay only for materials used…"

It seems as if it’s already runned-in. It revs quickly without any hesitation up to the recommended 4.500rpm level, even with slight throttle openings. The engine-gearbox combination makes you feel you have double the hp and/or torque, and as the Autocar magazine wrote: “…the superbly spaced gears mean you don’t have to bash the limiter to make progress…”. Once I run-in the car, I might “…do it anyway, because the 111R positively begs you to thrash it time and again. Do so and you’ll be treated with a hefty kick in the back as the cams do their thing at 6.200 rpm, and unleash one the more intoxicating engine notes this side of a 360 Modena’s. This Elise doesn’t just look like a Ferrari, it goes and sounds like one too.”…(Autocar Feb 24, excerpt).

I’m just looking forward to confirm the above feeling once I run-in it too…

Since power is abound, you sometimes forget to change gears. You may drive with 25miles in 3rd and 1.500-2.000rpm and the car PULLS. You climb a mountain and gently corner it in smooth curves being in 4th or 5th, 50-70 miles and 4.000rpm, and you think you’re warped :). Maybe it’s because I’m new to Lotus cars, but that’s what I feel, and I just write my feelings down, together with the facts I logged.


Experience #5: Brakes
All articles I read about were talking about an ABS system that “…minds its own business until absolutely necessary…(Autocar)”, but Lotus and journalists should have driven it on Greek tarmac :), where ABS makes its appearance earlier. It doesn’t mean however that the 111R missed points from its brakes. On the contrary, being one of its basic elements, 111R brakes can tear the tarmac when necessary :), and blow out your eyes for good. Heel-and-toeing techniques have not been tested yet, due to running-in period.


Experience #6: Driving and cornering
I could not imagine that I would drive a car using superbike techniques. 111R feels great when you don’t take your foot from the accel pedal, but instead you keep the throttle cracked a bit, and open it when exiting the corner.
This is what the Keith Code is teaching in his California Superbike School, on cornerning with a bike. By using this method, a bike won’t be thrown out of the corner by centrifugal forces but keep its cornering line. Forgive me if I can’t convey it very analytically but I don’t know the geometry terms in English very well and don’t have the Keith Code’s books with me right now.
So, this is how I feel when cornering with my 111R, even during this running-in period. It slightly understeers in just very few occasions, only to make sure it told you did something wrong (you took your foot off the accel pedal late and turned it suddenly in?), and in other instances you’ll feel that the car’s rear lightens a bit, (telling you that you braked too much too late?). I think that if someone approaches the Lotus 111R not as a simple fast and light car that you’ll just sit in and drive it but as a well educated engineer partner transformed into a beautiful car that has something to share with you all his knowledge about driving fast and safely on the road, then I feel that this car will be your car of your dreams, and not a bunch of metals and fiber that just goes fast on tarmac.

Should I complete my running-in period, I’ll allow myself to be seduced by Elise and let her tell me all she wants to learn me about herself. But it won’t be before I attend the Lotus Driving Course in May or June in Lotus’ premises in Hethel that I’ll try to find her limits ;-)


Experience #7: Suspension
Low weight, lack of insulation, a stiff and light chassis, and low rear tyre profile are all factors of feeling sympathetic of the car on bad roads. It’s seems as if you experience all the bumps and potholes you’ve found on a road with a significant multiplier.
However suspension does wonders on proper roads/tracks, and allow these factors to show the true potential of the 111R and the heritage that Lotus engineers provided the car with.
The anti-roll bars allow the car to have a slight roll (yaw maybe?) to place the car correctly in corners, and enjoy it.
It doesn’t dive significantly on heavy braking.
In other’s words which have been experienced by myself: “…A car with simply sensational body control, bags of grip…Even the beautiful fluid ride quality remains intact despite stiffer set-up, possibly helped by the extra mass….(Autocar).
Springs are uprated by 20%, dampers retuned, and a stronger rear subframe and suspension mounting points are installed.


Experience #8: Noise
As a first-timer in RME(read middle engined) car, and despite the few hundred kms I’ve put on her on low rpm, 111R sounds very addictive. In low rpm, you may hear it as if you have a boxer engine behind (call me Boxter… ;-) )m but one you accel a bit more, this Porsche hint leaves and is replace by an addictive growl. The “Modena effect” is left to be heard later on… I’ll let you know though, and even upload you a sound file of its scream :).


Experience#9: Sunroof
I would expect 111R’s sunroof to be more sound-proof. However, even though my car is fitted with the Touring Pack meaning that I’ve fitted more insulated sunroof, once 111R goes above 60miles, I experience an annoying wind noise, which seems to come from the edges of sunroof. (Any tips in dealing with it???)

You can take off/on the sunroof very easily. Once you’re in the open, you can use the heater and go for a short quick ride very confortably even near 5 oC.
The optional A/C will make wonders in areas with high temperatures like Greece, where we experience high 30s low 40s oC during summer!!!

The hardtop is not a solution because it cannot be taken on/off easily and stored in the car. Should I buy it by October, I’ll tell you about my experience with it.


That’s all folks for now

BR,


Theo
 

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Congrats on the car and thanks for the write up! :cool:
 

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Wow, after reading that, I'm more excited than ever about the impending (eventual?) arrival of my car!
 

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Nice write up, thanks for all the info!
Any chance the manual talks about what is performed at the first 'After Sales' service? I wonder if its anything more than a checkup and oil change. This early service could be difficult for those of us who are no where near a dealer. I also can't help but wonder if its Lotus' or a Dealer's way of getting early evidence of an 'abusive' owner to allow them void future warrantee work.

Can any Toyota owners out their who have this engine shed light on what Toyota does at the first recommended service for this engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
z06fun said:
Nice write up, thanks for all the info!
Any chance the manual talks about what is performed at the first 'After Sales' service? I wonder if its anything more than a checkup and oil change. This early service could be difficult for those of us who are no where near a dealer. I also can't help but wonder if its Lotus' or a Dealer's way of getting early evidence of an 'abusive' owner to allow them void future warrantee work.

Can any Toyota owners out their who have this engine shed light on what Toyota does at the first recommended service for this engine?

Find below what tasks are carried out during the After Sales Service:

1. Renew engine oil & filter
2. Inspect engine & transmission for oil leaks
3. Connect 'Lotus Scan' and check for fault codes :rolleyes:
4. Print Engine History Report & send to Lotus :eek:
5. Check coolant level
6. Inspect parking brake adjustment
7. Check brake fluid level
8. Inspect tyre condition & set pressures
9. Check adjustment of hinges & latches
10. Top up screenwash reservoir


As you can see, the 'After Sales Service' is nothing more than just a typical oil and filter change. However, step 4 is something that all of us have to consider seriously. Arno analyzed in another thread what data the ECU logs and how they can interpreted by Lotus, which clearly states in the manual that it has the right to invalidate the warranty if any serious misuse before the After Sales Service will occur.

Enjoy the Lotus gem, and treat it with respect!


BR,


Theo
 

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theob said:
Hi all,

-snip-
That?s all folks for now

BR,


Theo
My friend is a top mechanic, originally from Agrinion in Greece. Will pass all your info on to him since he is a sports car nut like the rest of us. His name is Spiro and he has a shop here in Brooklyn, N.Y..
 

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Thanks for the detailed info! Looks like I *could* do the first sevice myself with out any detriment to the car, but maybe with possible detriment to my warrantee :) I also read what Arno wrote, I suppose if the events (5 highest RPMs reached, throttle openings or whatever it records) are time logged as Arno says, *maybe* it would not be nesseccary for Lotus to read out the info specificly so early. Like, if my 'After sales' service is not done at a Lotus dealer and Lotus reads out the info at a later time and the events they read out are logged with a time/mileage stamp, they could still get the info they needed to make sure the car was not abused during break in. Thats a lot of maybe's though lol.

I suppose if Lotus gives the ok to have the service done some where else, that would mean they probably have the ability to get the info they need about the break in if the car was brought to them anytime later in its life for warrantee work.

I too am very excited about getting mine after reading yor write up:) Thanks again for all the info from the manual and your experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
z06fun said:
Thanks for the detailed info! Looks like I *could* do the first sevice myself with out any detriment to the car, but maybe with possible detriment to my warrantee :) I also read what Arno wrote, I suppose if the events (5 highest RPMs reached, throttle openings or whatever it records) are time logged as Arno says, *maybe* it would not be nesseccary for Lotus to read out the info specificly so early. Like, if my 'After sales' service is not done at a Lotus dealer and Lotus reads out the info at a later time and the events they read out are logged with a time/mileage stamp, they could still get the info they needed to make sure the car was not abused during break in. Thats a lot of maybe's though lol.

I suppose if Lotus gives the ok to have the service done some where else, that would mean they probably have the ability to get the info they need about the break in if the car was brought to them anytime later in its life for warrantee work.

I too am very excited about getting mine after reading yor write up:) Thanks again for all the info from the manual and your experiences.

The maintenance manual shows that the upload to Lotus takes place only during the after sales service (ASS). Maybe this will happen if you have a dealer close to you and you visit him for the ASS. Should you not have one close to you, I assume that any upload at a later time, will be completely of no use.

Any idea Arno? :)


BR,

Theo
 

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Thanks so much Theo, for both the write-up and the pictures. These days we appreciate practical information, rather than wait list bickering!
- J

PS: Can't wait for the sound clip!
 

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Great info and great pictures, Theo.

Now, if you want to earn bonus points with us, we need pictures of your car with a cute wife or girlfriend in the photo. And some of us would be really happy if she could wear a Wicked Weasel bikini. ;)
 

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theob said:
Any idea Arno? :)
The situation in the USA may be different as laws about warranty and such are often not the same as in the EU. So I don't know if Lotus can keep the same rules about their warranty in the US or not..

All I know is that here in europe the after-sales service must include the ECU readout using the Lotus Scan Tool and it has to be sent with some forms to the factory. Otherwise the warranty is not 'activated' on the car.

But why is being far from a dealer a problem?

Either pick it up and spend a few days in the area of the dealer, have it serviced before going home..

Or perhaps drive home and have it trailered back to the dealer for the service.

It should only be required once. After that you can service it yourself and as long as you can provide proof (receipts for correct parts like oil, etc.) and a maintenance record you should be finr for further warranty work.

But.. You'lll need to go to the far-away dealer to get any warranty work done though as Lotus themselves don't deal with 'end users' directly.

Bye, Arno.
 

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shay2nak
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theob,

does the AC rob any power from the elise? Some cars' AC units run off of the engine's power therefore reducing total HP by about 10 or so. Does the elise have a separate electric motor to run the AC so no power is lost?
Thanks!

thank you for the write up! we all can't wait to write one of our own! :D
 

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The AC does rob power from the engine - but when you put your foot down it automatically turns off - pretty cool. Doesn't turn back on though.
 

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that is cool! Thanks!
 
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