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They didn't like it although ranking a car based on the time to cover a closed mountain road seems silly.

2009 Nissan GT-R vs. the World 2008 Ultimate Performance Car Test

1st: 2009 Nissan GT-R
2nd: 2008 Audi R8
3rd: 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X MR
4th: 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera
5th: 2008 Lotus Elise SC
6th: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI

2008 Lotus Elise SC
With a new supercharged engine for 2008, Lotus' Elise finally has the power (218 hp and 153 lb-ft of torque) to match its chassis' abilities. A six-speed manual transmission backs up the power to drive the 2,028-pound plastic-and-aluminum machine to new levels of performance. Our test car also had the Sport Pack, which supplies forged wheels and Bilstein dampers.

Given its status as the most pure driver's car sold in the U.S., we had high hopes for the Lotus. But in this case, purity of experience doesn't add up to outright speed. More problematic is the lack of confidence created by its nervous character up to and beyond the limit. Most cars in this test extend a measure of control beyond the limit of grip that masks their edge considerably. Not so in the Elise. Its back-to-basics character doesn't allow this luxury. Get it sideways under braking and you better have fast hands and good car control or you'll soon taste regret. And regret on this mountain road involves stone walls.

Manual steering, which is spectacularly full of feel up to the limit, becomes a heavy liability when trying to recover a slide. Add all this up and the Lotus, despite having the right power-to-weight ratio and chassis to be competitive, winds up 5th — less than a second behind the Porsche on the track and in the mountains.

If success in this test were measured in adrenaline production or outright fear of death, the Elise wins hands-down. But in this environment, measured against the best cars modern technology car produce, Colin Chapman's simpler-is-better ethos is beginning to show itself for what it is: old.
 

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Ockam is confused, so am I

Good summary in many ways, altho I truly dont understand the Elise not keeping up with the Evo on the track, given its better 0-60 and 1/4 mile times with comparable braking.

And the conclusion screams false logic... the Elise runs just about the same lap time on Willow as the Porsche which costs $22,000 MORE (!) and yet the writer declares that Chapman's "simple is better ethos" is old. This one stumps me. That's not a logical conclusion.
 

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Good summary in many ways, altho I truly dont understand the Elise not keeping up with the Evo on the track, given its better 0-60 and 1/4 mile times with comparable braking.

And the conclusion screams false logic... the Elise runs just about the same lap time on Willow as the Porsche which costs $22,000 MORE (!) and yet the writer declares that Chapman's "simple is better ethos" is old. This one stumps me. That's not a logical conclusion.
Evo is much easier to drive and push to the limit especially on a mountain road when the driver was probably white knuckling it. I will agree that the Elise is not easy to drive at the limit compared to some of those other cars (4 of them having AWD).

Call me crazy but I personally hate the steering rack in this car. The ratio is way too slow and it's too heavy to allow precise driving at LOW speeds. I drove a friends 80's MR2 with manual steering and it almost felt like it had power assist after driving the Elise.

Lastly a bone stock Elise without the front shims removed and on the crappy sport pack tires is not fast or fun.
 

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I've seen some impressive videos of drivers tossing an evo into a corner and then letting the computer sort it out. If being a better car means the computer drives the car for you, than I guess the ranking makes sense. I think this is what is meant in the review. That is, if you want to look like a hero in your car without having to develope skill, than the other cars are better. The lack of computer control is what makes the lotus an enthusiasts car and brings most of us to the track.
 

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The future for those interested in bragging rights is obvious. Take a sedan and load it up with big HP, 4 wheel drive and a bunch of technology and you end up with a super fast heavy pig. While I have no interest in these cars, it is a little surprising that the GTR goes around a slalom course faster and stops shorter than the Lotus. Maybe Collin Chapman was wrong but I'm sticking with a light fun to drive car.
 

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Whenever someone starts talking about "its nervous character" I always wonder what tire pressure they used. Frequently during these 'tests' they ADD 5lbs of pressure to all of the recommended pressures (for all cars). With the Lotus, you should be dropping the pressure under 'high performance driving' conditions, not raising it.
 

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I agree with the manual steering catching a slide thing... Its why I bought an aftermarket quicker ratio steering rack, catching slides is a lot easier and requires less arm movement and generally makes driving the car at slightly beyond the limit much easier.
 

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I agree with the manual steering catching a slide thing... Its why I bought an aftermarket quicker ratio steering rack, catching slides is a lot easier and requires less arm movement and generally makes driving the car at slightly beyond the limit much easier.
Details on such rack and pricing? Is it a lot heavier since the ratio is faster?
 

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Wonder how it'd turn out if Lotus had kept the A048s on the sport pack Elises...winning magazine tests is important marketing for manufacturers.



That 1/4 mile and 0-60 time seem eerily slow for an Elise SC. I'd expect an NA Elise to pull those times. They must've driven like grannies.
I personally think the AD07's are as capable if not more than the A048's.
 

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Whenever someone starts talking about "its nervous character" I always wonder what tire pressure they used. Frequently during these 'tests' they ADD 5lbs of pressure to all of the recommended pressures (for all cars). With the Lotus, you should be dropping the pressure under 'high performance driving' conditions, not raising it.
+1 Just what I was wondering, too.
 

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GT-R obvious winner...i wonder why they didnt use an Exige S240 tho?
It wouldnt have mattered; they still would have written:

"Colin Chapman's simpler-is-better ethos is beginning to show itself for what it is: old. "

:confused:
 

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And what's wrong with old? Hell, I'll be 40 tomorrow which makes me old in the minds of every teenager in the world, but I'm still good. :)

Chapman's ethos was that lighter was better, right? It just so happens that simpler is often lighter, but that's not always the case. A steel frame is 'simpler' than an extruded aluminum frame, but the aluminum is lighter...
 

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I guess I must like adrenaline production or outright fear of death. Call me crazy!

I think that probably, like many car reviewers these days, the author is a bit soft and addicted to creature comforts. I guess the basic message is that these other cars can outperform the Elise and they still have the creature comforts.

Personally, I'd rather have a car without all the electronic aid and one that takes skill to drive fast. My 335i will smoke the Elise (and the SC) in a straight line (especially as speeds increase) and is quiet and is comfortable and has automatic AC that works :p and has a great stereo and...it still doesn't push my buttons the way my Elise did.
 

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my letter to editor

You're exactly right about the Elise. But you're also quite wrong; Its point is to not rely on technology to do the driver's job. And since thats what I like about it, the GTR would have to spread its legs in my bed at night for me to consider giving up my '06 Lotus Sport Elise for it.

My Elise is a pain in the butt. Its difficult to live with, its engineered barely more deeply than a kit car, its not even particularly fast, it doesn't flatter me or cover for my pathetic driving skill.

I can't recommend it to anyone. For pretty much the same reasons as you gave for the Elise SC.

But for myself, I flat out reject your claim that "Colin Chapman's simpler-is-better ethos is beginning to show itself for what it is: old."

its not old. its pure. You don't like it, I can understand and respect that. but its not old. The same way making love to your wife the way nature intended isn't "old".

I suppose you folks would be happy when your genitals get implanted with sensors and servos and neural stimulators.

You guys enjoy the technology. I'll be doing it for real with my Elise.

Cheers.
 
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