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Discussion Starter #1
I'm stuck between buying an elise or a porsche 964. I know most of you will say the porsche is big and fat but I love them. My questions about the elise are:

1. How easy is it to get more power? I know it's light, but 189 hp is lack luster. I'm not saying I need 400+hp but 240-260 would be really nice. How expensive would it be to get it to this power range? Would it be reliable? Would it still get decent mileage?

2. While driving on the highway, is there good pick up when you want to pass another car?

3. How is maintenance? I know it's a toyota engine, so logic would say it's relatively cheap engine wise. Is that sound? I feel like I've heard other parts of the car aren't cheap to replace?

4. Are there any HUGE gremlins with elises? I'm pretty new to them in all honesty.

I really appreciate all the help I can get. I would search but I'm on quite a bit of a time crunch and just looking to get some quick answers. Thanks!
 

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There are plenty of options to get 250+ hp. Even more if you do a built engine and upgrade the trans.

as to the other questions - search the Elise board - lots of info there to skim.
 

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Easy enough to do basic maintenance yourself, but if everything is done by a dealer, it becomes quite costly
 

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Carbon Fiber
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Oil coolers will fail,

Get a Vision function supercharger kit, put it on in your garage, call it a day.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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if your life is in a time crunch, buy the P car. And open your wallet. I say that because the last thing you want to do is buy an Elise, and not have the time to drive and enjoy it. That would be a crime. With the P car, not so much.
BTW, my car is 335hp, and there is nothing like it. Figure 5k-15k to make your stock Elise "fast".
 

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1. How easy is it to get more power? I know its light, but 189 hp is lack luster. I'm not saying I need 400+hp but 240-260 would be really nice. How expensive would it be to get it to this power range? Would it be reliable? Would it still get decent mileage?
its not hard to get more power, but it all depends on what your budget is…

with that said, 190hp on an Elise isn’t that lack luster... the car doesn’t weigh a whole lot & in my opinion high 4ish second 0-60's & high 13 second 1/4 mile times bone stock isn’t considered slow

if you want 240-260hp range from the factory, they offer that in some versions of the Exige… otherwise adding 1 of many different quality supercharged setups are readily available from vendors here

2. While driving on the highway, is there good pick up when you want to pass another car?
yes... downshifting & hitting 'cam lift' will be just fine to pass

3. How is maintenance? I know it's a Toyota engine, so logic would say it's relatively cheap engine wise. Is that sound? I feel like I've heard other parts of the car aren't cheap to replace?
the suspension/shell & chassis are the expensive parts (if you can avoid crashing, then its very affordable)... the drivetrain is very cheap to maintain since you can go into any parts store/Toyota dealer & order any 2zz powered Celica parts (& the lotus specific electronics are hit & miss, but those failures aren’t nearly as common for the majority of us)


4. Are there any HUGE gremlins with elises? I'm pretty new to them in all honesty.
a few... & i would recommend replacing these in order
-factory oil line/oil cooler fittings (DIY & some lotus vendor options)
-rear toe links (variety of upgrade options from lotus vendors)
-radiator (many options & all about the same price)

this forum offers a wealth of info though... just be patient & search & search some more... it took me a few months or so to really get an idea of what i was getting myself into before i bought my Elise
 

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Yea driftwood hit it on the head.

And FWIW A LOT of this stuff has been talked about before if you search around.

The Toyota running gear is generally pretty reliable and cheap to repair. The Lotus stuff isn't as good, and can be more costly... especially if you are not a DIY kind of guy/gal. Rear toe links, oil coolers, radiator, failed blower motor resistors are known issues that plague most of the cars. Other stuff has been known to fail but in smaller sample sizes (turn signals popping out, failed MFRU, gauge cluster issues, etc).

The BIGGEST thing to remember is that like most exotics the car is fragile. There is no such thing as a fender bender in the Elise/Exige and a little accident tends to be VERY pricey to fix. It's awfully easy to total an Elise.

All-in-all I would say in comparison to most "exotics" it is cheaper to keep on the road. Compared to a regular cars (or compared to some of the reliable sports cars like the S2000, WRX, etc.) it's worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
you'd rather I did that to an Elise? lol No I'm not a stretch and poke and slam kinda guy. I like a lower car, with a proper set of wheels and tires that sit flush with the car, but stretched tires is stupid and poke is even more stupid.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's quick and easy to modify and live with every day of the year, but also holds sentimental value to me. That's why I want a 964. I like lotuses, but lets be honest here, they're not the easiest things to live with on a day to day basis.
 

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It's quick and easy to modify and live with every day of the year, but also holds sentimental value to me. That's why I want a 964. I like lotuses, but lets be honest here, they're not the easiest things to live with on a day to day basis.

It sounds like you answered your own question. Get the Porshe and leave the Lotus for those who will appreciate it.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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^ more for us :)
 

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The 190hp is more than enough to get you in trouble. Seriously.

Once the VVTi kicks in, you will not think the car is slow.

If you really want more power, drop around six grand for a Vision Function and have more than enough power for most mortals.

No real problems on my Elise. It's the little gremlins that seem to get some cars which I read about but I have not experienced it myself.

The Porsche is a fine car but maintenance on those things will kill you. Parts aren't cheap and neither are Porsche certified mechanics.
 

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I've worked on 964's before. They are great cars. As far as 911's go, they are tanks. They are simpler than the 993 that came after them, but upgraded from the 911 that came before.

They require little maintenance in way of drivetrain, yet so does the Elise. On the 964, valve adjustment is the only non-normal thing needed as far as cars go. The Elise's Toyota valves need lash checked and adjusted too, in a similar manner (but with shims instead of screws)

Suspension wise there are boatloads to offer as far as aftermarket, but in honesty it would take a few thousand dollars to make a 964 close to as briskly handing as an Elise, especially on tighter slaloms.

Body maintenance is where a huge cost difference lies. You can take dings to the 911, and repairs are not overly expensive- there is tons of aircooled sheetmetal out there. The Elise body is far more fragile. A hard curb strike will total an Elise. It is a different car to take care of in that respect. Porsche took the aircooled 911's to Dakar, after all.

Power wise- the Elise is far lighter and will respond to engine mods better. It is already a quicker car. With very little money it can be made far quicker even. Getting horsepower out of a Porsche is a long, long, expensive road. I've been there. It's not easy. There are no good, simple bolt on supercharger or turbocharger kits. Any power added will find weak areas to bring to light on the 964 and things get expensive inside the engine and transmission quickly.

The Elise's 2ZZ is a high strung motor, but thank fully has enough margin so that supercharging (which is widely available through several vendors) can yield 230-250 crank HP without touching anything else other than what the supercharger replaces. This is a huge improvement and is enough for many people.

For going 0-60 in less than 4 seconds there are higher horsepower kits and things to do, all which take more and more money- but on the 964 you would end up having to swap the entire engine to something bigger if you want that much power- 300 HP from an naturally aspirated 3.6-3.8L flat six is tough with the air cooled motors unless they have modern engine management or lots of expensive bits.
The lotus takes small amounts of power and makes use of it spectacularly. And if for some reason you cash out a 2ZZ- a long block can be found rebuilt for a few thousand bucks- compared to a rebuild flat 6 twin plug motor which will run you several thousand more. Everything drivetrain wise is cheaper due to it being shared with the Celica GTS.


Now, don't get me wrong, the 964 is a wonderful vehicle and one of the best used car deals out there IMO. It is a comfortable daily drive for almost anyone, does well in all weather conditions, and if taken care of is bulletproof- especially the 2 wheel drive cars. There are 964's out there that have done 300, even 400,000 miles (I believe there was a 964 for sale on pelican parts about two years back that had over 500K on it- I think it was an 89 or 90. It was red. May have been a 3.2 Carrera that had 964 bumper update.) Most people haven't gotten that far with Elises yet. Time will tell.

I think it comes down to your commute preferences and what the car is used for. both cars have vast tinkering potential- in slightly different ways. The Pelican Parts forums is a huge DIY place, especially for aircooled cars. Post there in the 911 technical forum with this same thread and see what they all say- It would be interesting to compare results.

The 964 is a very comfortable car for larger people- not just tall, but thick- if you have a lot around the waist I would suggest thinking hard about the Elise- I have known people who absolutely hate riding in my car after 15 minutes- they could never do longer trips and to me, the road trips are what the lotus is all about.

If you are not a DIYer, I highly suggest looking at independent service shops around you that work on these two cars- Depending on where you live, people to work on the Lotus may be hard to find. Engine work can be performed by a Toyota mechanic, but anything else and you need to find someone you trust. The Elise is not built like any other car short of a prototype race car and your shade tree mechanic types can have a hard time working on them or even go as far as accidentally damaging the cars if things are done wrongly.

But if you are lucky, you might find a shop that does Elise/Exige cars that is actually cheaper than a Porsche shop.

Parts, again, are varied but it depends on what you break. Engine and transmission parts are far cheaper on the Lotus than the Porsche, as stated above. However anything body related- headlight lenses, body panels, seats, doors, etc- will be more expensive for the lotus due to the composite construction and low volume.

Insurance rates will probably be wildly different. I have many late 80's Porsches in the last few years and the insurance for those was less than half that what my Elise insurance is. The Elise is one of the more expensive cars in the US to insure. Cost of repair for minor incidents in extremely high.


I hope I have been of help.
 
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