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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, potential new owner (def new member). I’m on the cusp of trading my 997 C2S for a 2007 Exige S (plus some more money on my end, obviously).

I have an E36 M3 as a daily and an ML500 winter rig and this would slot in as the weekend toy/occasional track day toy.

Here’s the thing though: I’ve never seen or driven one. I have the deal in place. It’s a 13k mile no option car, 2 owner from a dealer.

Am I in for a huge surprise on how raw these are? I’m seeing and hearing these are pretty reliable cars and the engine and trans combined are a fraction of the cost of a 997 engine.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

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Welcome! I jumped into my 06 exige from a 996 C4S, that started life stock for years, then turned into an all-out caged track car. After driving my exige home, an 800 mile cross-state trip, I jumped back into the Porsche, and I felt like I was underwater. It felt utterly gigantic, unweildy, it really just felt like driving a boat (and this was with 500 lbs of lightening, complete interior strip, caged, straight pipe etc).

These cars don't feel or drive anything like most cars on the road today. The cabin feels more like a cockpit, and they're crazy low to the ground. Camrys feel like SUV's when you pull up next to them. The closer comparison is an oversized go-kart imo, in terms of directness and feel. So yeah, they're raw but you have really supportive seats in your exige, you have HVAC and a radio. Is that enough, or do you need the plush leather, navigation, etc? Sounds like you have plenty of luxury in your lineup already, so it sounds like the perfect complement to your garage and perfect for your use-case. If you don't like it, you could prob flip it with minimal risk.

Here's a question though - what appeals to you about these cars?

Where are you at? If you can find a local owner, I'm sure they'd be happy to show you their car and/or take you for a ride.
 

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I sold my Elise a few months ago, hoping to jump into something larger and more exotic, like a 997 Turbo.

I am now a proud owner of an Exige S240.
 

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I owned a 997 C4S and a 2007 Exige S at the same time. The Porsche was a great long distance comfortable touring sports car. The Lotus handled like nothing else I have ever driven. After 2 years I sold the Porsche because I just didn’t drive it enough. The Lotus was always my first choice.

That being said, the Exige is not a comfortable long distance touring car. My wife didn’t like it saying it was too loud (it was) and too uncomfortable (yes dear). There is no way to get in and out of the car elegantly. But it handles like nothing else you have ever driven (I know, I’ve said that already).

It’s laser sharp, very quick and the super charger whine is addictive. When the engine gets on second cam this car moves very quickly. Parts and service are cheap (compared to Porsche) unless you have body damage. You need an area with good roads. If you live in an area with lots of pot holes don’t buy the car. Lots of aftermarket performance parts. Lots of engine/ECU upgrades available. A replacement short block is stupid cheap.

Just understand they are two totally different cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Welcome! I jumped into my 06 exige from a 996 C4S, that started life stock for years, then turned into an all-out caged track car. After driving my exige home, an 800 mile cross-state trip, I jumped back into the Porsche, and I felt like I was underwater. It felt utterly gigantic, unweildy, it really just felt like driving a boat (and this was with 500 lbs of lightening, complete interior strip, caged, straight pipe etc).

These cars don't feel or drive anything like most cars on the road today. The cabin feels more like a cockpit, and they're crazy low to the ground. Camrys feel like SUV's when you pull up next to them. The closer comparison is an oversized go-kart imo, in terms of directness and feel. So yeah, they're raw but you have really supportive seats in your exige, you have HVAC and a radio. Is that enough, or do you need the plush leather, navigation, etc? Sounds like you have plenty of luxury in your lineup already, so it sounds like the perfect complement to your garage and perfect for your use-case. If you don't like it, you could prob flip it with minimal risk.

Here's a question though - what appeals to you about these cars?

Where are you at? If you can find a local owner, I'm sure they'd be happy to show you their car and/or take you for a ride.
I sold my Elise a few months ago, hoping to jump into something larger and more exotic, like a 997 Turbo.

I am now a proud owner of an Exige S240.
I owned a 997 C4S and a 2007 Exige S at the same time. The Porsche was a great long distance comfortable touring sports car. The Lotus handled like nothing else I have ever driven. After 2 years I sold the Porsche because I just didn’t drive it enough. The Lotus was always my first choice.

That being said, the Exige is not a comfortable long distance touring car. My wife didn’t like it saying it was too loud (it was) and too uncomfortable (yes dear). There is no way to get in and out of the car elegantly. But it handles like nothing else you have ever driven (I know, I’ve said that already).

It’s laser sharp, very quick and the super charger whine is addictive. When the engine gets on second cam this car moves very quickly. Parts and service are cheap (compared to Porsche) unless you have body damage. You need an area with good roads. If you live in an area with lots of pot holes don’t buy the car. Lots of aftermarket performance parts. Lots of engine/ECU upgrades available. A replacement short block is stupid cheap.

Just understand they are two totally different cars.

You guys are awesome, thank you for the perspective.

As far as what I’m looking for: live out a dream, as cheesy as it sounds.

I’m proud to be at the place I’m at career wise and financially. I’ve played with matchbox cars (ok, I still buy 1-2 a month on grocery runs) my whole life and now able to play with the big kid versions. In the last few years I’ve had a BMW 1M, the 997 and E46 and 36 M3’s currently.

The attraction to the Exige is the simplicity, looks, low cost of consumables and truly less exposure to major issues. My 997 has perfect oil analysis reports but if it lost an engine I’d be in a very bad spot (as I assume most would). I wouldn’t be happy about it in an Exige but it would be a literal fraction of the cost of the 997.

The cons, IMO, to the Exige are: pretty niche and it seems if I ever wanted to get off of it they tend to sit for a long time, where as 911’s move fairly quickly, rear visibility is non-existent and I’m hearing you’re on edge in traffic hoping people see you, body work prone to costly repairs if needed.

Here are some particulars about the car I have a deal in place for (works best since it’s in Vegas and I’m in SLC and they will take my trade for a good number/tax savings):

-13k Miles
-base car (to track or touring)
-2 owner, both Vegas residents
-CarFax shows no accidents but auto check shows a minor one. Lotus West has the car and they inspected and said they believe the rear end of clam looks to be repainted but very well done and needs a good eye to see and Starshield was reapplied after
-previous owner drilled a freaking back up camera into the rear clam......(unreal)
-spider cracking on front lip and very minor cracking on roof panel.
-Lotus West reports the car is very clean otherwise, trans ****s great and motor pulls hard

Based off that, any guesses on worth? Want to see if my deal makes sense to this group.

Sorry for the ramble but any and all feedback is welcome (and appreciate all that replied so far!).
 

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Unlike my friends above, I find the Elise to be a comfy long distance car.

Three times, I drove straight thru from Miami to north NJ. That meant I was in the car from 16 to 19 hrs straight.

I am no longer close to young but there was really no recovery time.

Much depends on how you like and fit your seats. Perfect for 5'8" me.

6-speed? A/C? It IS a grand tourer.


g
 

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07 Exige S
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Your going to love it and it is going to test your patience from time to time. My experience is unlike other fine cars I have had, people in public take more liberties with these vehicles so you will not feel as comfortable locking it and walking away.

You always have to drive defensively, much like a motorcycle, thus you will likely be driving it more aggressively more often than you currently do?

The modification addiction can go into straight mental illness with these things...

I guess all in all they trend towards obsession in a way, and that is like most things a double edged matter.

The Toyota drivetrain is in absolute terms a good thing. I had a E36 M3 as well once. Loved that car!
 

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I've owned a 1983, 1995, and 1996 911 and my neighbor has a 997.2. The '83 and '96 were dedicated track cars, the '95 had dual duty as a daily and a weekend track toy. The fit and finish of the Lotus can't even begin to touch the engineering of a Porsche. However, my supercharged Elise is a lot more fun to drive than any of my 911's were and the price of consumables is at least 1/2 the price if not 2/3rds less than what it cost to keep the Porsches running in top shape. Sounds like you already have some nice daily drivers, if you are looking for an uncompromisingly pure driving experience the Elise/Exige is tough to beat. And they are a blast on the track, in fact, much more capable than my Porsches were.
 

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These cars are very raw, a great thing in my opinion, but you will not get near the comfort of a Porsche or any of your M cars and will live with a harsher ride, greater road noise and random rattles in the car. Also important to point out that while engine parts are cheaper than the Porsche, the body components are not, so any little accident or bottoming out in a driveway or curb can cost you more than the Pcar, its not as easy as replacing a lip or bumper.

Either way, I would suggest you drive one first or ask someone local for a ride in theirs. you will know within the first couples miles if its for you.
Good luck on your search.
 

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I had a 997.2 S with PDK for about three years as my daily driver alongside my Elise. The Porsche was expensive to service but not one single thing ever went wrong. A great GT car for long trips and nice to take the wife out in for the evening. But if I ever wanted to go for a fun drive I always picked up the keys to my Elise. On the road I had to be going way over the limit before the Porsche felt alive and fun and on the track it felt too heavy. The Elise is a pain to get in and out of but actually very comfortable once inside and pretty noisy. As stated the body is fragile, so drive defensively and don’t parallel park. I will never sell my Elise, the steering feel and suspension are second to none and far outweigh the pitfalls but it is an acquired taste, so definitely try before you buy, if you can.
 

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Good points above.

I would recommend that you drive one or at least sit in one before purchasing. They are quite small and some people don't fit or don't feel comfortable in an Elise / Exige.

I'm 5 ft 10 inch and about 180 pounds. The car is comfortable for me. But if you are heavy / tall / inflexible you might not like the car.
 

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I am 6'2" and weigh 280 pounds. I fit just fine. Although, everyone asks "How do you fit in there?"
 

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I test drove a few Elise's over many years before buying my own car sight unseen (imported). Those test drives didn't prepare me for how raw the car felt after a few hours of driving, although the word that came to my mind was not 'raw' but 'hardcore'. None of the reviews i read over the years prepared me for this either. They say things like the steering is better than this or that other car, the feeling of connection through the road etc etc....But to my mind the car is not like any 'normal' car, Porsche, hardcore BMW or whatever at all. It feels like a low volume, characterful (read that as bits falling off) extreme sports car. The steering and feeling of connection to the road and particualry the sensation of weight transfer across all four wheels is just unlike anything else. It's not comparable as in simply 'better', it provides sensations that just don't exist in those other cars. You can cannot replicate it in any other car, so the fact that it is low volume and 'hardcore' or 'raw' end up being pretty meaningless points.
The good thing is you shouldn't lose anything much if after 6months you decide the car isn't for you.
 
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I read all of the above comments and I smiled because all of them express exactly how I feel about my 2013 Porsche 911 4s and my 2008 Lotus Elise. Here are the only things I would add that I didn't see written above:

1) I drove both the Naturally Aspirated and Supercharged Elise before deciding on the supercharged version. Although I loved the feeling of the second set of cams coming on at the higher RPMs in the naturally aspirated Elise, but I really wanted the torque that the supercharger provides down low in the RPM range. I think you might otherwise feel the Elise is under-powered coming from a 911.

2) Before I bought my Elise, I understood intellectually the importance of weight reduction in terms of acceleration and handling. But it wasn't until I drove the Elise that I understood viscerally why weight reduction is SO important. That, plus having the engine in the middle instead of sticking out the rear end, are wonderful characteristics. That's why my Elise is the car I drive when I want to enjoy myself, and the Porsche is the one I drive when my wife wants to enjoy herself.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What a cool community! You all seem to have been down similar paths and i appreciate the insight!

I’ll let you know how it all shakes out here in the next few days!
 

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I can't speak about the Exige having never driven one. I had an Elise SC that I sold to move to a 997 C2. I had the 2 cars together for 6months and did some back to back test drives. They are very different interpretations of sports cars, with similar performance. The 997 controls are heavier all around, steering, clutch, gearshift, even the turn Signals. I really enjoyed the Porsche when driven hard, it changes character and becomes light and responsive. It feels a bit like a glorified golf in everyday traffic.
It's much more usable as a daily driver but I missed the tactile driving in everyday conditions. After a year, I went back to an Elise SC.
When I really feel too old to take the beating, I might go back to a 911 or a Cayman. Until then, I want to enjoy the unique driving experience offered by the Lotus, whether I'm at the track or driving to work.
I can only recommend your swap. In the worst case, you can go back to a 911, they are plentiful.
 
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