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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, about half hour ago I was given the OK to release this, so here it is::

In early Sept. on a visit to LCU, a car transporter pulled up with two Elises on it. One Aztec Bronze the other Starlight black. Then I noticed something different about these cars as we watched them unload. They had the twin tailpipes exiting from the diffuser. These were US prototype test cars! You guys can't imagine my excitement.

As the cars were unloaded and gassed up I looked them over quite thoroughly. They were test mules of course so final edition may vary from these. Both cars were loaded with testing, diagnostic electronics. The black car had leather seats, and the bronze had fabric/leather. First thing I had to do was open the boot. Nestled nicely in there was the Yota motor with the "LOTUS PERFORMANCE" on the valve cover as pictured in Road and Track. The twin tailpipes looked really good, very understated but gave it that racer look. The build quality even of this test car was exc. the panels fit well and the seems well-aligned.

Climbing into the car as with the 111S is not a real problem once you get the hang of it. We took the top off of course as it's the only way to experience this car!! Climbed in and looked around. I noticed immediately the windows were tighter with the electric units (UK owners of the manual wind windows felt the electric windows would be less prone to rattling)and a very satisfying "thunk" when the door is closed. The dashboard has been redesigned and this was obviously a prototype piece, but I liked the layout of the stereo and the vents, it had a very integrated feel to it. All controls were easily reachable from the driver's seat. I was pleased to see the steering wheel was compact, it appeared to be the same size as a 111S wheel even with airbag, this again was a prototype piece. Key on, the engine comes to life. A nice pleasant exhaust note at low revs. The gearbox felt very tight, with relatively short throws, it took a few times for me to get the 1 to 2 but after that no problems.(mostly my fault as it's been some months since driving a stick). Acceleration was wonderful. Not earthshattering like an Esprit but very quick and steady. The acceleration isn't as quick as my 2 liter caterham was (low 4 sec. car) but I'm quite sure 4.8 is attainable as stated in Road and Track. Of special note, many people were concerned by the flat spot or lump in the 6000 rpm range on the Toyota engine, I can tell you quite conclusively, THEIR IS NO FLAT SPOT, NO FLAT SPOT. Acceleration was linear and smooth all the way up to 7000 or so rpm (I didn't want to be too aggressive with this test car). The Lotus engineers did a great job on the ECU. I found the braking to be quite good and felt connected with the road. The car handled bumps, etc, with firmness but no rattling. I could detect no appreciable difference in the suspension of this car and a 111S, ie the quality and firmness of the ride was still there, this is no land yacht! Looking at the car I could see no change in the ride height from the 111S. I think the daily driver and occasional track day participant will be quite happy with the standard suspension.

On returning to LCU, my ear-to-ear grin certainly told Arnie what I thought of this wonderful car.

Spent a good 30 minutes driving the car around, it was a blast. Immediately upon return I took the 120 hp S2 out for comparison. Development of the Elise has been a progressive improvement in build quality and performance. I enjoyed the S1, Spor 190, S2, the 111S I've driven, this prototype Elise is the best one I've driven yet! I'm glad my deposit is already in place, I can't wait!!!! Many people have voiced concern about ruining the car to adapt to the US market, that hasn't happened, this car retains all the magic that is the Elise!

Let me tell you guys, this car is worth the wait! This car is going to change perceptions and expectations here in the US of what a sportscar is supposed to be! Destined to be a landmark car.

Do I sound excited, you bet I am.
BTW> Please note this was a test prototype, some components may differ on the final car that we get.

a very excited Chris
PS>I'm in no way affiliated with Lotus Cars, just a loyal fan and future Elise owner.
 

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Dayummm.....

I can't wait.
 

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I almost shorted my computer with the puddle of drool that just developed.

Thanks for sharing! I am forever jealous!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
HI Jenn,
It's more of a coppery gold color as opposed to bronze which I tend to think as being darker.

It's a nice color, but personally it's not a color I'd go for. I'm still going for ardent red.

I did like the Star Midnight metallic black but black is such a difficult color to keep clean.

Can't comment on the rear badge or lettering!!

Chris
 

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Damnit! I thought as more information trickled out I'd be happier...but its just making me sicker because I WANT THE CAR RIGHT NOW!

Ardent Red is my love. Im sticking with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Believe me guys, it killed me not to be able to say anything about the drive all this time. Couldn't talk until after it hit the newstands. I tell, you I feel sorry for all the hundreds of people who are just now finding out about this car!!
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #11
HI Z0650th,
Unless your of unusually large proportions (read a fata**) you'll have absolutely no problems in this car. I'm 6' 2" 170 pounds and long legged, fit quite well.
Chris
 

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I'm still not on the list, but you guys leave me no choice! :) Well, in fact I probably would have done it this week, if I hadn't been fighting an annoying cold.

Unless something dramatic happens over the weekend, I'll be at the dealer next week. I'm thinking YELLOW! :D
 

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smura said:
CHROME ORANGE. WHOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:D OMG, now I made myself a target of the Chrome Orange mafia! Being kind of late to the party will have the advantage that I might be able to see cars in person before I have to specify a color. I loved some of the orange pictures posted, but wasn't so sure when I saw others. It seemed like one of those things that would look cool initially, but could get a little "old" after a while.

I always wanted a yellow car, and no car I bought was ever available in yellow. And I think it works great for sports cars. Then again, you can never go wrong with red on a great looking sports car. And the Magnetic Blue looks very nice on the web site. But I have a blue car already, and had red (and black) previously. Yellow is definitely in the lead!

Oh, and Sports Suspension, most likely. Will have to see the detailed specs of what's contained in the package.
 

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zvezdah1

Thanks, it looks like I will have no problems.

Is that Orange Color going to be available in the US? It's not listed as a color on the web site.

TIA
 

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Chris - Not sure if I love you or hate you! Thanks for the great write-up and the reassurance that we will be happy with the final product.

One question - are the twin tailpipes side by side in the center (as they appear to be in the R&T article) or widely separated as previously? I think I would prefer the latter, but I assume they will look great however it works out.

Conefusion - We have not been asked to commit to a color yet. Although, I believe that Jenn may already have placed her order for Chrome Orange ... oops, I meant Ardent Red. Clyde tells us that we will see good color samples and variously optioned cars at the LA Auto Show in January, so I'm assuming that we won't have to commit to colors and options until shortly thereafter.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
JML,
The twin pipes are close together, approx. 3/4"' apart. I'm told this has varied somewhat on the different prototypes.

In person the pipes look quite nice, not that horrid looking thing hanging out the back of the boxster. The elise pipes are very subtle, as they don't jump out at you right away, the car behind you has a great view of them.
Chris
 

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Chris, thanks for the great write up. With the motor was worried about the switch in cams. Would think of it more of a power spike then a flat spot... in any case your comment about smooth and linear power delivery has put that to rest. Glad I'm early in line just got to wait a little loooonggggerrrr... is it summer yet? :D
 

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ZO6 - we've been told that chrome orange will be a $500 paint option. Likely they will offer other colors too for a extra couple of bucks that are not on the official site yet IMO.
 

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Chris (Star1)
Thanks for the write up. Great comments. The info is appreciated by all of us I'm sure. I can hardly wait until next summer.

Zeeman
 
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