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Discussion Starter #1
Just got off the phone with a Lotus technician. Here is the info I gathered:

Bushings on LSS package are unchanged from stock - pretty stiff

Touring option adds roughly 12 lbs. to the car

Wheel weight savings are 3 lbs F and 7 lbs R on the LSS

Spring rates stock vs. LSS F 42.5 47.5 N/M
R 60 65

Cheers,

Jeff
 

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Does the LSS get Konis over the Bilsteins? Thought I remember reading that somewhere.

I wonder if the Touring package could be dupilcated easily after the fact, at least just the carpeting and sound deadening pieces?
 

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Thanks for the information, Jeff!

The shocks pictured with the LSS in the order guide look like Bilsteins, with the Bilstein logo (blue square and yellow circle) on them.

I wonder if the shocks are the same mechanically, except for the valving and an extra groove to change the ride height. Bilstein will revalve their shocks for $55 each...they just have to know what valving to use.
 

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Remember we are talking about a very light car here. Small changes in spring rates can have a HUGE difference in the overal feel of the car. Though I agree, there probably are some major valving changes going on.

Anyone know if the LSS will allow more camber on the wheels? Heck, anyone know what the stock setup allows and what suspension setups the elise will ship with?
 

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suspension+

after 3 hrs in the Lotus area on Sunday, here are a few observations. btw the folks were excellent and rightly proud of their cars. Thank you Tony and Roger and others!!

- think of the LSS as a suspension set up for the sticky ao48s. these are 50 treadwear rated, like Kumho victoracers. The camber on the rears was visibly increased and looks like setups a lot of autocrossers, myself included, use.

-the 10% is a big difference and makes the ride fairly stiff. as one rep noted, sports bras are recommended. not a setup for daily driving, but then again who thiks of thsi as a practical car anyhow? rumor has it that it can pull up to 1.2 gs with sticky tires- not bad for a car with license plates! [1.2 not verified yet, but likely]

-the LSS wheels are very light and are milled to achieve the final shape after spinning while cooling to reduce the porosity and inc strength

-the roll bar has attachments for the harness bar. the bar and other goodies will be forthcoming as the cars get in production.

-corner balancing isn't as critical since the chassis is built to 1 mm of spec. apparently hasn't been a big deal. good thing since adjustments aren't easy.

-the brakes are exceptional, and well cooled. no reason to run high temp fluid like ATE blue.

-the twin oil coolers may be overkill, but work well

-the Lotus ECU is from a Formula 1 race supplier- apparently very good and has a decent rev limiter. hold off on the MSD units for now until you've tested it out.

-don't strip out the blocking on the rear diffuser- it was tested for aerodynamics and that's the best setup. you'll lose downforce for the sake of looks

-you might want to pull off the front license plate for the track- the entire front acts as a wing and the intake shouldn't be blocked off.

overall I was impressed with the car. they've spent a lot of tie sorting out the cars on the track, so what we're getting is going to be a great package. I'd view the LSS as a tire option- if you want to run sticky tires, get the LSS. R compound tires are addicting, but the Advans on the 'stock' model are supposed to be pretty darned good too.
 

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Re: suspension+

Jay said:

-the roll bar has attachments for the harness bar. the bar and other goodies will be forthcoming as the cars get in production.
Damn great news! That just made my day.

Jay said:


-corner balancing isn't as critical since the chassis is built to 1 mm of spec. apparently hasn't been a big deal. good thing since adjustments aren't easy.

Just as good news. Just made my tomorrow.

Jay said:


overall I was impressed with the car. they've spent a lot of tie sorting out the cars on the track, so what we're getting is going to be a great package. I'd view the LSS as a tire option- if you want to run sticky tires, get the LSS. R compound tires are addicting, but the Advans on the 'stock' model are supposed to be pretty darned good too.
Not surprising to think of it that way. If you read Fred Puhn's book on suspension tuning (probably one of the most concise and reader accessible books on the subject, though somewhat dated), performance cars are designed from the ground up, meaning design starts with the tire/wheel selection.

Thanks for the rather informative post, great info all around.
 

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scot said:
Remember we are talking about a very light car here. Small changes in spring rates can have a HUGE difference in the overal feel of the car.
Since I referred to the percent change in spring rates, the weight of the car (or more relevant, the magnitude of the spring rates) doesn't matter...a 10% spring rate change is on par with the factory suspension package for the Miata, which doesn't significantly affect the ride smoothness.
 

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Lotus is not Mazda, or Porsche or ... These cars are developed by race drivers & true high performance drivers. A Lotus test engineer has won one of the Brit Car Mag's drift contest for years running. There's a reason, they do it every day. Let's remind ourselves that guys like Becker come from F1 (driving)...

Bottomline, there's VERY few of us that have the skills to do a better job of sorting out a car... So, the operative word is "TRUST". It's a Lotus. It's sorted and oriented toward "Performance" in the real sense of the word, not some marketing hype. So, let's step back, enjoy what they've created and not 2nd guess Lotus.
 

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I'll second that. The guys I talked to are clearly into performance driving. Had great discussion about driving (think throttle steering and left foot braking), polar moments of inertia, and ground-up thinking. I really don't know how I would be able to set up the car better than they can, unless I had a staff of mechanics and a test track.

Consider this- both tire selections were developed for the car. Do you know of any other cars the can say that?
 

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This is a really good discussion, I really agree, drive the car figure out how to extract 90+% in stock form and then think about mods. Most of us will have a great time just getting near the potential of the car!
 

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John Stimson said:
Since I referred to the percent change in spring rates, the weight of the car (or more relevant, the magnitude of the spring rates) doesn't matter...a 10% spring rate change is on par with the factory suspension package for the Miata, which doesn't significantly affect the ride smoothness.
Actually, this is the kind of information that I'm looking for.

I don't know if I should order the LSS package or not. And I won't be able to test drive one of each before ordering.

I also have a Miata (to go along with my Elan). Mine is an R package with the factory performance suspension. If you read discussions about Miata, most everyone will tell you how harsh and rough the R package suspension is. I, on the other hand, find it just perfect - you see I like a stiff suspension - and find the "stock" Miata suspension to be too soft.

I want to know if the "stock" Elise suspension and the LSS package will be similar to the Miata .vs. Miata R package suspension.

If it's a similar difference, I just might be opting for the LSS package...

Tim Mullen
 

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I'm surprised at how small the difference in spring rates is. And I agree with John, a 10% increase doesn't sound like much, no matter how you slice it. I'm daily driving a car with spring rates almost 200% higher than stock. Sure, it's starting from a different basis, but judging from the numbers, by my standards I don't expect a rough ride from the LSS.
 

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Exactly.

My M3 runs 460/600lb springs on Koni DA coilovers. It is fine for daily driving. Compared with stock, we are talking more than a 100% increase in rates.

That said, dampers can make all the difference in the world for ride quality. Off the shelf Bilsteins with softer springs in my M3 ride like crap, but my higher rate springs with the Konis rides OK. Compression valving ('bump') is critical in maintaining good road manners.

My hope is that lotus did not get too nuts with bump on the LSS.
 

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Thanks for sharing all the info you got from Lotus. I was surprised at the wheel weight differences, looks like good news for LSS owners. Also glad you got confirmation that the spring rates are different, and what the actual differences are.
 

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The lighter wheels also might increase spring rate effectiveness, thus the choice being what it is. The great part about it is, I am confident Lotus has sorted the LSS from the ground up for track worthiness, and not just bling factor.
 

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bling-free

The LSS wheels were developed by Lotus and they had a hand in their manufacture. They're pretty proud of the wheels.

The LSS will be noticeably stiffer, hence the sports bra recommendation. The reps all agreed they preferred the stock configuation for normal use. Then again if the roads where you are are OK, then it might be tolerable. Again, if you want to run R compounds, or 50 treadwear tires, the LSS is the way to go. As I beleive Roger Becker said, the LSS help keep the car w/ the AO48s "off its door" on a corner.

Then again, the changes aren't that radical, which indicates to me that the stock Advan tire/suspension package should be far better than most on the road, too.
 

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I'm generally impressed with the comprehensiveness of Lotus's approach. Most manufacturers have a few tire/wheel options but few it seems are obsessed enough to substiantially change their suspension configuration to match their different wheel and tire offerings.

Oh yeah, I'm psyched.
 

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From a handling standpoint look at LSS as giving alot more grip, lighter wheels will make it more responsive. The larger front tires should give it more of a oversteer characteristic. (Of course along with all the other suspension changes). One other improvement should be shorter braking distance.

Overall think the standard setup is more liveable for the street and not far behind the sport package. The big trade-off for LSS is the stiffer ride, poor in the wet & short/expensive tire life.

Jay- could you define "sports bra" for me?
 

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khamai said:
Lotus is not Mazda, or Porsche or ...
Last time I checked, Lotus still had to obey the laws of physics. I'm not arguing whether the LSS taken as a package is better or worse by any metric. I simply suggested that a 10% spring increase is a subtle change and not likely to affect the ride quality in a noticable way, by itself. If the ride quality is significantly more harsh than the base suspension, that points to a change in the shock tuning. Shocks can be optimized for a smooth ride, or keeping the tires in contact with the ground over bumps, but not both. The standard suspension may be towards one end of the scale, the LSS towards the other end.

Tim, I'm not sure which Miata you have, but in the case of the R-package, the ride harshness was due to extremely high damping rates in the Bilstein shocks. The sport suspensions in the 2nd generation cars used Bilstein shocks with much less aggressive rates, and some people consider the ride to be smoother than the base suspension with the standard shocks.

It really does come down to what makes the ride feel "smooth" to you, and what's smooth enough to be acceptable. I run the shocks on my Miata toward the stiff end of the settings, despite Koni's recommendation that you should only need to vary from the minimum setting if you install much stiffer springs. And I think that the ride is as smooth as could be. The S2000 rides much more stiffly, and I know that I'd be happy with that, too. I think that the 111S I test drove was about on par with the S2000 in terms of ride, so I am curious how the LSS package would feel.
 
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