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Discussion Starter #1
I look very much forward to some real life testing of the US elise as I too am questioning the introduced understeer and it's affect on controlling a continues slide.

I saw Mr. Clarkson on topgear having a hard time balancing the car in a slide. Either he experienced massive (more than I would prefer) understeer or if provoked a massive oversteer.

The expert from lotus showed how to do it and I don't think I could match his abilities. It was clear to me that he had to 'flick' the car into oversteer and hold it on a delicate balance. He responded to Clarksons concerns by suggesting the purchase of bigger front tires which would eliminate the understeer. I do understand that a "understeery" car is more stable at speeds and this is probably why the US car has been made more understerry to avoid US customers from killing them selves on the freeway. (Little to no drivers education)

I am just wondering if the handling balance has been taken to far towards understeer making the handling on the edge harder to control. That may just bite back in terms of enthusiast trying for broke on the track. I believe real track usage of the US elise may require bigger front tires to eliminate the understeer and make the oversteer more progressive and controlable.

I personally would be upset if I have to pay more for tire upgrades just to set right an unwanted change. Too much understeer can certainly also bring a driver in trouble.

I found the referenced video:
http://www.elisetalk.com/forums/sho...s=&threadid=850

Just look at the understeer that Jeremy is exposing and imagine you being is an unfortunate situation with limited room. Ups!


Jari
 

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Drive the car first then see what you think. Also don't forget to have the alignment/geo set up properly (usually they are not OK anymore after delivery and driving a while)

Jeremy is known to be ham-fisted when it comes to driving cars ant the Elise does *not* respond well to that. Smooth and controlled steering input is what the Elise is about.

The standard setup provides a very well balanced car and neutral, that tends to go into understeer if someone overcooks a corner.

Very good and safe for road use.

But don't forget that even with this behaviour we have plenty of S2's going backwards/spinning into a tree, ditch or barrier here in europe... (albeit a little less than S1's)

But.. Even by just changing the alignment somewhat can you eliminate a lot of this perceived understeer, without going to bigger tires.

Going to bigger tiresl also requires you to upgrade the suspension!

Bye, Arno.
 

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I'll just wait and see until we get the cars, I'm not worried. It reminds me of all the magazine reviews of the STi. Most of them said that the car understeered. When I got to drive one, I was wondering what they had been smoking, the car felt perfectly neutral. The handling balance can depend a lot on how you drive a car.
 

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Arno is right on the money, get the car drive it for a while and see what you think, there are a lot of ways to dial out understeer. Wait and see what you think. From what I have seen on this forum there will be a lot of aftermarket bits and pieces availiable for the car's handling. Besides Clarkson is comparing the new car to the old one that many said was too sensitive to oversteer, it may just be a relative comment, watching the video I didn't see anything I would call bad oversteer.
 

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In the Vid, Lotus said that they'd sell you wider front tires to eliminate the understeer. The wider tires are found in the sports suspension pack.
 

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Based on my on track experience with a 111S, the car was well balanced, with just a tiny touch of understeer, the rear can step out with a drop throttle (just slightly). Being "hamfisted" will induce understeer, the Elise rewards the driver that is smooth.

Kiyoshi
 

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The car on that Top Gear show was not the US Elise, it was the base model S2 if I remember right - much, much lower power. With the 190hp on tap, we should be able to induce some oversteer with the throttle, or at the very least, balance out the understeer that may be inherent in the suspension design.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for good input

- however I am left a little confused.

(First of I agree with the advise of wait and see as it's probably will ok)

One wrote "Being "hamfisted" will induce understeer, the Elise rewards the driver that is smooth."

First of I am not sure I know what "hamfisted" means?
- assume it's opposite of smooth!

On the video it seemed to me that when Jeremy demonstrates the understeer he is very must entering the corners by applying smooth steering input. He progressively turns harder and harder.
I am not sure what he does with the throttle, but I believe throttle lift will shift weight forward and increase grip thus oversteer. Applying more power in this light balanced car shoiuld also induce oversteer.

So what is he doing wrong? - and compared to the regular driver he is probably quite capable.

When the Lotus expert takes over it is clear to me on the video that he induces oversteer by flicking the steering wheel thus throwing out the rear?

I would expect the best scenario to be progressive oversteer which would gently appear on the limit? I am sure the Elise is quite balanced up to the limit, but some of the allure to me is the supposed easy handling on the limit as well.

just my 2 cent of limited insight. (However I did grow up in DK going sideways on icy/snowy days. Miss those days)

Jari
 

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It seems to me that Clarkson went into the corner completely coasting, with an awkward slip angle and without really loading the tires progressively. You can induce understeer in many ways. This oversteer state you wish to create is not really the way to drive around a canyon road or track.

If I were you, I'd wait until you've driven the US version, either with or without the sport package.

PS: Do you always believe whatever Clarkson says? What about Tiff?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What does Tiff say?

I am not a particular fan of any of them!

I just haven't found much qualified and insightful testing on this car. Sure a lot on the web/mags are reiterating each other saying this is a great car and I believe it will be.

Is there a Tiff video on the Elise somewhere?

Jari
 

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The early generation BMW E36 M3's in Europe had the same tire all around: 235's. First year in the US, same setup. After its first year in US, the venerable, decorated, hailed, 'best handling' M3 was found beyond the grasp of their owners, and many found themselves wrapped around trees and telephone poles.

The next year, and for the rest of the production run, BMW went to a 245/225 stagger. Result? Understeer. On my car, it has been corrected with 245's all around.

Moral of the story is that the degree of understeer we are talking about here with the Elise is likely minor enough that (i) it can be corrected with tire, spring, tire pressure, and/or alignment choices, and is not a fundamental flaw, and (ii) will most likely only be felt at the limit (as with the M3), and as such, most likely will never really be explored on public roads.
 

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"Hamfisted" means that someone is not delicate and has a very hard, direct and unyielding approach toward driving. Imagine holding a ham in your hand while holding the stick-shift lever (in the same hand.) Obviously your shifts will be very forced and not smooth in any way.

I agree... Clarkson might provide bright and funny reporting, but I don't think his driving is necessarily the best. The "Stig" seems to do all the driving for Top Gear anyway.

I used to teach at a racing school and I can tell you that everyone has their own driving style. One man's understeer is another man's oversteer. It all depends on how you approach the vehicle.

Personally I think everyone in the world should learn to drive on the skinniest, un-stickiest tires. Or learn to drive on ice. That would teach people car control without introducing speed. After that, you can add your sticky tires and race suspensions. A driver with an understanding of car control, his/her driving style, and what his/her car *can* and *can't* do is a far more effective driver IMHO.

Bob K.
 

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Re: Thanks for good input

JK68LC said:
On the video it seemed to me that when Jeremy demonstrates the understeer he is very must entering the corners by applying smooth steering input. He progressively turns harder and harder.
Yes. He turns in too fast. It starts to go into understeer and instead of backing off the steering input a little (as he should have done) he turns in more. This just increases the slip angle on the tires and brings it into terminal understeer.

You need to let the weight transfer work for you in the elise and really set it up for the corner. Once it has settled in the corner (using a balanced throttle, so not braking and not accelerating) you can start to turn in more strongly.

Do it right and it will very gradually go into a very nice 4-wheel drift once you get to the limits of tire grip.

I am not sure what he does with the throttle, but I believe throttle lift will shift weight forward and increase grip thus oversteer. Applying more power in this light balanced car shoiuld also induce oversteer.
No. Stomping on the power in the Elise (even the S1) usually provokes understeer as the front of the car gets lighter and the rear wheels want to push the car straight on.

At lowish speeds it's very easy to get understeer in any elise. Just turn in very sharply and stomp on the throttle. Large chance it will simply slide over it's front wheels. (that is.. until the front end manages to find enough grip, after which a vicious tail-out event happens...)

Doing 'donuts' in an Elise is usually tricky...

Bye, Arno.
 

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JK68LC said:

I saw Mr. Clarkson on topgear having a hard time balancing the car in a slide. Either he experienced massive (more than I would prefer) understeer or if provoked a massive oversteer.

The expert from lotus showed how to do it and I don't think I could match his abilities.
Has it occurred to anyone here that TopGear is a TV show and Mr. Clarkson could well have been staging his difficulty in producing understeer to make a point? The point being that the new Elise is biased towards understeer.

It's TV people, they do this kind of thing all the time :rolleyes:
 

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I think Derek is right, the understeer was staged for drama, look at how Clarkson enters the turn and how quickly he turns in, he induces the understeer. He could have just as easily induced oversteer or corrected for the understeer at any point. As it was he had a lot of fun with the segment and provided "high drama". Watch the car, you can see its balance and know that the understeer could be corrected at will. Sure the car is set up to understeer so there aren't so many crashes but as most on this forum know the right combination of steering and right foot can correct a lot of understeer/oversteer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sorry - don't mean to beat a dead horse

- but looking at the video again. I just can't see what you guys are saying.

It's very clear in the video that the Gavan dude forces the oversteer by flicking the steering wheel, which causes a quick turn in and then immidiately counter steers as the slide comes about.

Looking at Jeremy's turn in, he does exactly what 80% of people would do. Slight acceleration and slow progressive steering input.

I am sure if he let of the accelerator, the weight shift to the front wheels would result in added front grip and perhaps an oversteer depending on the amount of weight shift.

I am sorry, but I will maintain that the pronounced understeer shown by Jeremy will make the car harder for most people to balance on a power slide. You will have understeer right up through the limit which will result way wide turns and I would bet you, that most people lifting their foot from the accelerator mid turn will experience the backend coming around quicker than most people can react. I hope I will stand corrected, but the video speaks for it self. Mr Gavan is clearly doing the hamfisted driving to provoke the oversteer. Just notice the violent body movement of the two in the car in the second part of Gavan's test drive. I realize a part of the body movement is due the weight transfer in the "hammerhead" turn. But looking at the steering wheel it is obvious the Gavan is flicking the front to produce the oversteer. I bet you he is off the accelerator as well allowing weight on the from wheels.

Jari
 

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Re: Sorry - don't mean to beat a dead horse

JK68LC said:
I am sorry, but I will maintain that the pronounced understeer shown by Jeremy will make the car harder for most people to balance on a power slide.
Power sliding an Elise (S1 or S2) is *very* difficult. Very low polar inertia means it will get out of shape pretty rapidly once the back ends gets loose. Also, grip levels are so high that it's very difficult to get it to slide in the first place.

Jeremy also does exacly the *wrong* things in the Elise. He increases the steering input further and further, and he starts to apply more throttle. The only thing this does is to push the car increasingly straight across it's front wheels. (well, he has to make his point of course!)

The Elise has such an amount of rear wheel grip on a dry road that you will not be able to break traction by using the throttle once the car has reached a bit of speed. Only from standstill or in a very tight corner can you do it.

You will have understeer right up through the limit which will result way wide turns and I would bet you, that most people lifting their foot from the accelerator mid turn will experience the backend coming around quicker than most people can react.
Actually.. No...

Once it gets into terminal understeer you can safely release the throttle all you want. It will continue understeering until the speed drops enough for it to start gripping again and even then it's quite benign. (not much different from any other understeering car)

I've also done the driving course at the factory where they fit the narrow front wheels on the back of the Elise to make it more 'tailhappy' (quite fun!), but once it gets into understeer at speed you have a very hard time to provoke any form of oversteer at all.

Only if you lift off while the front tires still grip will the back end 'come around' (and yes.. it will come around *fast* in that case)

The setup as is done now is very safe for the average owner who is not familiar with mid-engined RWD cars and has grown up with FWD cars.

I hope I will stand corrected, but the video speaks for it self. Mr Gavan is clearly doing the hamfisted driving to provoke the oversteer.
Corrrect he uses a rally-style when driving, because the Elise (both the S1 and S2), when driven correctly will not want to oversteer readily. Both have always been set up to be as neutral as possible when cornering.

The only way to get the tail out (unless you are at very high speed and close to the edge of tire-adhesion) is to 'flick' it or to lift off suddenly.

The #1 reason for spins on the Elise has always been lift-off-oversteer. People go into a corner too fast and before it starts to understeer they lift. The rear wheels 'brake' and lose traction -> spin

Most likely the car would have either gone through the corner fine or it would have drifted into understeer as the car would have gotten further into the corner.

We have to keep in mind that the 'understeer' we're talking about here is orders of a magnitude less than the type of FWD understeer you get when trying to corner in an Audi TT or other such car. (those things just don't want to corner at all!)

Also, most of the 'understeer' situations with the S2 you'll probably find on the road (tight 90 degree lower speed turns), which IMHO is a good thing to keep the car in 1 piece and pointing the right way.

On the track I have never really had a problem with understeer at all. it just goes into a slow beatiful 4-wheel slide once you reach the limits of the available grip. (still somewhat scary at 100+mph in a long corner though :) )

Bye, Arno.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you

- Arno, for a lengthy and very informative explanation. It does make sense to me now. I do also agree with an earliere post that he probably provoked the understeer to frame the story.

It was nice to hear input from a person like you who actually have real "on the limit" experience with the Elise.

I for one would rather have progressive controllable oversteer than pervasive always default understeer. I drive a MB560sel from -89 and I am very comfortable with provoking the rear in turns. It's so easy to control and bring in line again.

Again thanks Arno for your input.
 
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