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Discussion Starter #1
Pardon the long post... I have a lot of questions.
I love my current car (2008 Lexus IS-F) but have been longing for a raw sports car with a manual trans. Having a convertible would be a plus, especially hardtop, so guess what came to mind... the Exige! So my IS-F... it's been nothing short of awesome, 416hp on tap with a perfect combo of luxury, reliability, comfort, exclusivity, and speed. With paddle-shifters, shifting is extremely quick... but it was only a matter of time until I started longing for a manual trans as my weekend/fun car. I just moved, and I think my neighbor who drives an Elise had something to do with it :shrug:

Knowing that the Exige is an extremely rare car, my search begins. I plan to save like a madman and trade up by next spring. But I need a few things clarified first!

- How is the insurance? I pay $1300 a yr on the F.
- How is reliability, any issues to look out for? I do know the motor is built by Toyota/Yamaha...
- How are maintenancecosts ? Tirerack shows a set of Yokohama Advan's for about $1k, which is around the same I would pay for the F. Oil changes are ~$140, how often do you get an oil change, or the clutch replaced? Anything I should watch out for?
- How is the Exige on road trips? I don't take many but want to know if it's liveable on a 1-2 hour drive, let's say. I've read reviews but I need advice from actual owners. I'm a slender 5'11, would it be semi-comfortable? The stock suspension on my ISF is VERY stiff but comfortable seats make up for it. And how is it in traffic? How is the clutch? Majority of my drive to work deals with stop and go traffic with occasional highway pulls.

Thanks guys.
 

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My suggestion....get with your neighbor and have him take you for a spin....better yet convince him to let you drive his car. If that's not possible there are plenty for sale find a dealer to take a test drive. I think after 15 minutes driving the car all your questions will be answered. Just please for the sake of everything Lotus don't let your next question be: does it suck not being able see out your back window.
 

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To answer some of your questions though.

1. I'm paying $1100 a year with AAA. Full coverage. I'm 31 with a clean record.

2. Oil cooler lines, wiped cams, crappy radiator, fan resistor. These are the major ones. Not hard to fix, just takes time.

3. Super cheap. Oil changes costs like $40 if you do it yourself. Dealership will probably charge you $200. Oil change at every 5k miles or 6 months for me. Given that the car is rarely driven, every 6 months. The clutch should last a long time if you keep it stock. What to watch out for? The clams lol.

4. Lets just say that I drove 10 hours in the car when I went to pick it up. I did better in this car than my Camaro SS. Maybe that is just me. But the seats are supportive and comfortable. I don't see 5'11" being a problem. Once you get in, there is A LOT of room to adjust the seat. You think the IS-F is stiff? LOL don't bother with the Exige then. Traffic drives like any other car. Clutch is a clutch. Catches fairly low and a bit stiffer than your average VW or Honda.

As a disclaimer, I like my car raw. Maybe I'm still young so I can deal with it or maybe it is just my tolerance. I'm not a fan of Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc. They all feel numb to me. Too soft you can say. If your idea of a nice ride has to be cushy, this is NOT the car for you.
 

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With respect to 3 and 4, a few things:

3) If you work on it yourself this car is extremely cheap to run. If you pay the dealer, it's very expensive. Since it's rare and a bit quirky, you might have trouble finding a local mechanic in between. The car only takes 5qt of oil, tires and brakes should last longer than on your Lexus, and there are no premature clutch wear issues that I've heard of.

4) I'm 6'1" find the ProBax seats to be *extremely* comfortable. Some shorter people have problems with the shape causing them back pain, but at 5'11" you'll probably like it. It can get extremely loud inside, though - the aluminum tub amplifies sound and Lotus weren't really big on rattle-reduction or sound insulation to start with.

It doesn't sound like you've test-driven one, and you really should. The experience is hard to sum up.
 

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Alpaca Wrangler
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Completely different animal. I have an E39 M5 that I absolutely adore and would be my only car if I had to make a choice, but the Lotus is everything that the M5 is not (and vice versa). The lotus is raw, sporty, direct, alive, and certainly not invisible on the road (mine is orange). I figure that I can relate to your parallel here, even though the M5 is 6-speed.

My M5 is set up to be a tourer, but it can certainly pack a punch, but the Lotus is just an animal. The M5 (and by comparison your Lexus) is a sports jacket. The Lotus (in particular the Exige), is a shock collar.
 

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This car isn’t like buying most other cars. If you are comparing maintenance, tires, stop & go traffic, road trips and modern convenience between the Exige and “normal” cars then this is not the car you want. If this is not going to be your primary car, then compare away. This forum is very active and you can learn plenty from it, in a year’s time (or next spring) you should know if you really want one or not.

1 – Plenty of insurance threads, just call your insurance company for a quote.
2 – Reliability really depends on how you drive it – the harder you are on it the more $ it will cost.
3 – Not only are the tires about $1k but they don’t last that many miles, again plenty of tire threads.
3A – change your own oil and learn more about the car in the process.
4 - Plenty of people here enjoy 1-2 hour plus drives, just pack light.
4A – you should fit fine, sit in your neighbors though.
4B – they are stiff but there are a few suspension options.
4C – aside from worrying about who is going to crush your car, stop and go traffic is fine.
 

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He's on fire!
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you should do a search. Its a very fun car to own but you've got to be prepared for a few things (lack of dealer network, and having to accept the fact that parts availability is a bit dicey).

If you needed a new clam you wouldn't see your car for months. Not a big problem if you've got other cars but something you'd want to know coming into it.
 

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Two thoughts from me:

We have an Elise - It is very comfortable for a sports car and is very smooth over bumps considering how well it handles. I am comparing this to a 2008 BMW 135i convertible with run flats - the worst stock suspension in a car that I have ever owned.

Secondly, if you have ever ridden a motorcycle you know how to use different parts of the lane. We drive our Elise defensively because it is very difficult for other drivers to see. They will back up into you and also lane change into you.
 

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I love my Exige.. I'm the crazy bastard that take it grocery shopping to! I can't drive it year round in NY but if you live in south or west your good.. Its a Toyota drive train I've owned Elise and Exige for a total of 3 years..no issues really at all... These cars are tracked a lot so good aftermarket bits like brake pads rotors tires are reasonable... 1-2 hour drive...pifft ! You won't have smile off your face by then...lol.. Funniest car I've driven period!!!!
 

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Tire wear is TERRIBLE on these cars! My last set only lasted 12 days (48 sessions). Gas mileage can be bad. I get between 24 and 8 MPG!! As they say... YMMV but I can't wait to drive some more!
 

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Reverse Psychology!

You should not buy an Exige under any circumstances. Absolutely not. You will be unhappy just like me.

 

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ISFs are very nice cars, but you really can't compare an Exige to an ISF. They're totally different cars... I mean that in terms of just about anything you can think of. I'm not sure where you live or if you are planning to DD the car or just have a nice car you drive a lot (2 totally different circumstances).

Assuming you have another car to drive, that can help with insurance a lot... as I got specialty insurance on my Exige and it cost a fraction of what it would to insure is as a normal DD.

As the other's have said... no one is going to convince you to get the car. I'm sure you'll appreciate it, and it will handle/ride unlike anything you've ever experienced, but whether you like it or not is up to you and nothing anyone on this forum can change.
 

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2. ...wiped cams, ...
If you are having wiped cam issues, I'll take a stab a say that you were using the Mobile 1 Turbo Diesel 0W40 oil... had you used the Toyota recommended Mobile 1 5W30, you wouldn't have those problems.

You've also missed the valves failing at the keeper groove...there are several people on here that have reported that failure...including myself.
 

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When you decide to live with an Exige, pedestrian issues like car insurance, maintenance cost, and consumables are no longer part of the calculus - you have to have it to satisfy something that very few cars can deliver; especially for under a few hundred thousand dollars.

P.S. Except for the Mono or Atom, but they're really open wheel cars and a different class of vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the responses guys. I have a few followups. My plan is to test drive a 2007-2011. My ISF is currently not my DD (due to northeast winters here in NY), neither will the Exige if it replaces the F. But I don't believe in garage queens either. I put about 5 - 6k miles on the F per yr. I don't mind a stiff ride, I've been in my neighbor's Elise but only for a few minutes around the block. I have never called a dealer for a test drive, let alone a Lotus dealer. Is it possible to just call and schedule one, and say I'm interested? I don't want them to think I'm just going for a joyride...
 

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My ISF is currently not my DD (due to northeast winters here in NY), neither will the Exige if it replaces the F. But I don't believe in garage queens either.
Well heck why didnt you say so earlier? Your OP was missing this vital piece of info. Get it or regret it.

Now the naysayers will change their minds haha
 

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Less is Better
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It takes a special kind of enthusiast to love the Elise and Exige. A purest in the purest sense. Most people who think they want a sports car actually want a GT. They look for things like high acceleration and competent handling but also want cruising comfort and convenience. The Elise and Exige are nearly purely the former with none of the latter. You need to give up some visibility, storage, noise isolation, convenience, and yes, quality to get the most undiluted driving experience available in a modern car. If you want a fast car with a stick but still need to listen to a passenger talking or need to be able to carry groceries or need to make long trips, the Germans make fine automobiles (I suppose) or I understand that the Evora is a great car for grown-ups.
 
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