S190 vs fed
I've been fortunate to own a S190 and have a very good friend with a fed elise and have a lot of time on both street and track.
I'll start with looks. I can't figure out sometimes which looks better. The interior in the fed is upgraded and more nicely finished by quite a margin. He has touring pkg and when I look at mine, it looks so cheap inside. The leather on the panels and different dash surface, as well as all the other interior changes makes the S look rightly cheap in comparison. Changing the shifter, signal stalks, and the planned alcantara on other surfaces will help quite a bit, but still not as nice as fed car.
Exterior is still up in the air. Sometimes I like the way the S car looks more without the larger side intakes. I think the larger side intakes with the black plastic vs just round openings on the S don't look as nice. I like the more modern shape of the headlights on the fed, and the view out the rear view mirrors and over the rear quarters is nicer. I always think I'm in a Ferrari with the fed car.
As I have a very well set up vtech type R engine in my car with substantially more hp-and my car is over 300 lbs lighter, you can't compare the engine feel and acceleration. Mine is just plain quicker, and seat of the pants is much quicker. I have the Janspeed lotus sport exhaust which is loud, as well as a injen CAI, so my car sounds so much louder and raspier. The fed seems more refined and "updated" as well as a little more civil. Once I get the seat brackets to enable me to install the my stock leather seats, (I have hard race seats in mine at the moment) it will seem much more refined I believe.
The shifter feel in the fed is miles better. The S car has a vague imprecise feel in comparison and getting into the proper gear is not the same exacting movement as the fed car.
Brakes and steering are not boosted on S car and feel much different.
Steering is more precise, gives more feedback, and is preferable to me in the S car. I can see why lotus might use the boosted steering though as I think the effort and feel suits the general public more.
Brakes require close to the same pedal pressure once my pads are hot (R4 track pads), but need much more pressure for general street driving. S car does not have abs and I have seen in certain situations where is is nicer to have abs. Braking into very bumpy corners with a little weight tranfer require much more finesse than in the fed car. Other than that, I could take or leave the abs for track driving. On the street, no doubt the abs is a great safety margin and preferable.
The fed car seems not quite as much on the edge on the track. I believe the track, length of the wishbones, and bump steer characteristics are modified on the fed car and have served to make it nicer at the limit. I had no problems pushing the fed car and pushing the fronts on 100mph plus turns and rotating the rear under trailing throttle or braking and turning in without impending spin. I have driven the fed car with stock LSS suspension as well as the nitrons he now has but have driven mine on the track with only the LSS konis and the fed car with even the stock LSS is much nicer than mine with the koni sport set up. Less roll, weight transfer, and nicer at the limit. The bilstein set up on the LSS is very nice and is a testament to the car's balance and the fact that a stock street car can use R compound tires, 048's, says a lot. I can't name more than a couple of other showroom stock cars that are setup and can properly run R coupound tire off the showroom. I think once I get my car on the track in a few weeks again with the nitrons, the handling will be just as good.
I suppose in summary, I would say both cars are great. My S car was a lot less money than a fed car is new and with the Honda engine, reliability is not an issue.