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Seems like much of the talk on the suspension pages is pretty in-depth on the theory and technicals of suspension setup. I enjoy reading all this as a love the education, but I wanted to ask a couple questions about the base/touring Elise's suspension and tires.

Seems everyone is trying to make this thing better than what is stock, and I understand the temptation, but do we know what model Elise the magazines have been reviewing? It seems that this car has all but walked away with the title of "Best Handling Sports Car" from every magazine and driver that has sat behind the wheel. For all but the VERY serious track person, do we really need the LSS? Will a base/touring Elise be "The Best Handling Sports Car" in my world?

The other thing that I wonder about is the video clip from Top Speed about the Elise. The reviewer starts off touting how amazing the car is (like usual), but then when he starts to push the car he ends up with lots of understeer (I do understand that this is later shown to be mostly "driver error"). My concern is I am the best driver amongst everyone that I know, but I am realistic to know that I do not have the prowess of most of the drivers that have reviewed this car and say that it is the best. I am concerned that I am going to notice more of a car that understeers (like the reviewer did) than a balanced awe inspiring car (like a better driver would). I guess I am wondering if we are thinking this will truly be an issue in the Federal Elise? Should I think about correcting this as I am purchasing my car (possibly with bigger tires are are suggested as a solution in the video)? Should consider the LSS knowing that I probably will not truly use the full potential of what it can do, but knowing that I will get the larger tires in the front and potentialy better handling characteristics overall?

Please let me know what you think.
 

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Good questions and points.

IMHO...

If you are not either very serious about competing in the car, or just a nut that wants to have the lowest/stiffest car around, the standard suspension will be more than fine for you. I am concerned too many people think "Oh...it's an option, then it must be better." Reality is that it may not be better for a lot of people.

If I was not intending on competing with the car, I would not buy LSS.


I the video you refer to, the driver indeed created the understeer, or failed to mitigate it. However, the tendency of a car to understeer in less than expertly skilled hands is a good thing IMO. The way the vast majority of people will get into trouble with this car is not by plowing into things front on... but by the backend coming around (oversteer).

You can always reduce the understeer without LSS also.
 

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I completely agree with Randy. I'll most likely try to get the LSS, but that's mainly because I will be using this car in competition, where the clock is ticking (in increments of 0.001s...). The suspension on my current car is almost 3 times as stiff as stock, and I drive it daily, so I'm used to giving up comfort for the best possible handling. The Elise won't be a daily driver, so I'll be willing to compromise even more. The only reason I'm hesitating about the LSS is that somewhere down the road I'll probably want something even more hardcore (adjustable shocks, even stiffer springs, lighter wheels, etc.).

Ideally we would be able to test drive both versions before making a decision. But from the information we have, I would say that the standard suspension is the better choice if you're primarily looking for a fun car to drive around with on the street. Even for an occasional track day, it should be more capable than most cars out there.
 

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I agree with all above. The reason understeer was introduced into the S2 was that many S1's were wrecked by drivers who pushed the car to it's adhesion limits. Correcting oversteer is not natural to most drivers. This is why severe understeer is introduced into every car sold in the US. If it is the same video that Stig drove the car also, you will notice that the car is very smooth around the turns, not with the tail hanging out, this is the fastest method. I believe they were as fast as the Ferrari around the circuit. So, wait until your non LSS car arrives, you will be more than happy with it's cornering ability. You will not be able to take this car to its limits on public roads without *FAR* exceeding speed limits.
 

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If you can reach the limits of stock Elise on the street you have a big problem - keep the limit for the track so you don't hurt anyone else driving like an idiot.

As for the LSS - for those that want to drive this car at the national level, you will need to go beyond the LSS. So, in my estimation, why pay for it? If you change swaybars, dampers, wheels, etc just upgrade a base car to the level of equipment you need.
 

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On the S2 (and I suspect the federal Elise too) you can even dial out a lot of the understeer by simply adjusting the camber and alignment settings a bit. No other changes...

A very smooth and controlled driving style also 'cures' the understeer, but feels an looks much less spectacular, although it is actually faster :D

The different settings result in a little more tire wear (hey, those are 'consumables' anyway and I'm happy to get more than 7500 miles from a set :D ), but makes it pretty much 'corner on rails' unless you're really over-cooking the corner and going in way too fast or are simply way too rough with the steering.

In these cases it will still react pretty benign and start to understeer gradually.

Easily corrected by novices too, although the new setting with more front grip does make the car a little more sensitive to lift-off oversteer again like the S1 so the old "DON'T RELEASE THE THROTTLE IN A CORNER" message still applies :D

Bye, Arno.
 

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Arno

You mean that "lift off oversteer" that is so handy for getting around those tight hairpins? Every good car should be equipped with it.

Jeff
 

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I think the standard suspension is on the high side. Its set high for ground clearance and so that the car is more likely to intersect with the bumpers of others cars.

I run my S1 about an inch lower than stock, it feels (and looks) better, and the S1 LSS is better damped, its actually fairly soft suspension. For a light car you don't need to be so stiff. The ride is better than a 2001 Miata SE for example.

Also the cars attitude is set by the throttle much more than usual cars. Too early power-on in a corner will lift the nose and make it understeer a bit, so i find myself controlling the cars balance through a corner using the throttle. Its a much more sensitive and amplified experience than a Miata (which is itself much better than most!).

The way I explain it, you need to learn to listen to the Elise, it tells you very clearly what is going on, but if you don't pay attention things can happen a lot more quickly than you expect.

The fun part is coming up on an unexpected "15mph" hairpin bend in the mountains and discovering that the car can take it a lot quicker than you think...
 

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Fastspider

What is your impression of the quality of work that Sun does on the Honda transplant? Just curious. I was considering getting one, but didn't have any owner feedback. Then the announcement that the Fed Elise would be coming across the pond.

Thanks,

Jeff
 
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