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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My impressions in 4 parts>>>

I sent a rather extensive review of my test drive etc to be posted and it got 'poofed' figure that I used too much bandwidth due to many pics etc so I am breaking this up into 4 parts. These are my impressions and a few criticisms but first...

The Elise is a extremely well balanced car and truely shows its light weight in the corners. Could do very controlled power drift (with a bit of understeer...nother bad) and chassis communicates with the driver...no sudden unannounced oversteer..this will make for a great AutoX car. Enjoyed testing this out in a parking lot. Small steering wheel, quick turning (BTW totally forgot this car does not have power steering...just doesn't feel 'heavy' and power steering would have been a waste) all makes for a very fun competitive drive. Of course the car is small..no news here but did a side by side comparison pic of the Elise next to my AMG SLK...
<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A441238E8A911D8.jpg">

<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A442E64E8A911D8.jpg">

<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A4466CFE8A911D8.jpg">

The Elise does not look that much smaller than the SLK..except in height of course. Both are interesting and very different drives: 1925 lbs 190 hp 133 torque vs 3150 lbs 360 hp 335 torque
For those used to bigger torque engines (the SLK has close to 2 1/2 times the toque and on full at around 2200 rpm as compared ot the Elise) you will understand that there is no *big* rush of power from the Elise engine and you will be keeping it about 6K rpm for any spirited driving. Really apple and oranges type thing but I like both of the cars...

Concerning the interior.. it is tight fit which I like but the passenger definitely gets the brunt of the fit...shift 4 to 5 and 5 to 6 and passenger better have legs and knees back away...for you single gents and ladies that might not be a bad thing:eek:
Lotus did an excellent job with the pedal position..know there has been quite a bit of discussion about spacing etc. but I found wearing my size 11 Piloti DTM shoes no problem...in fact very easy to do a roll style heal & toe brake/accel/shift since the way Lotus set up the pedals is than when you are just beginning to brake the pedal becomes perfectly aligned on a plane with the accelerator and thus easy to do heal & toe.

<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A4349E6E8A911D8.jpg">

Two things in this pic...the door hinge has to be the best I have seen on any car..beautiful extruded aluminum. And PLEASE someone come out with a aluminum replacement for the center console..it is not bad looking under normal circumstances but with all the real beautiful and high quality aluminum in the interior a faux aluminum console sticks out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK...Part II>>>

The underside of the car is a great example of air flow control from the front all the way to the rear air difusers. The suspension system represents a well engineered custom built set up...no stamped parts here!

<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A43E6A1E8A911D8.jpg">

I am one of those who perfer the stock alloys over the LSS ones...but that was based on pics and once I actually saw the LSS set up on the Ardent Red Elise I found I did not object to the alloys...in the real they have a character that is not captured in a pic. So if they had come as standard that would have been OK but I still like the standard alloys...strictly a taste thing.

<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A43CA3AE8A911D8.jpg">

I found getting in and out of the Elise (with top on) much easier than I expected..it is all technique but will say unless you are very careful the sills are going to have a number done on them..scuff city! Also the hardtop is nicely finished off on the inside...no exposed fiberglas etc and will window up the car is quiet for a sports car...listen to the exhaust note!
<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A44831CE8A911D8.jpg">
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Part III...some issues>>>

Like any car there are things that are good and then some that need attention...this is the territory of pure opinion...

First..and no suprise to some here... I do not like the seats. I found the padding too thin (my back was touching the seat shell) even under the genre' of being a 'sport seat'. With that said this actually is not a big issue for me and certainly not reason for not getting the car (I guess I did not talk myself out of getting the Elise :D ) since I planned to pull the seats and send to a custom auto upholsterer (used before and located in Maryland) to mod by adding a yellow leather inserts (match the saffron yellow paint) and in yellow stitching the Lotus logo on headrest...now I just have them add padding to form up the seat better.

The gas filler cover..the metal one you see is close to the Mitsu Eclipse quality..a little rough...they need to look at the Audi TT version for the standard

Now this area most people will never notice but I am one of those who gets under cars to examine.. found this opening just above the rear license plate....
<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A440437E8A911D8.jpg">
rough...can see the fiberglas fibers around the edge...really needs to finished off...also not sure of its function but appears to directly access the engine bay... air flow for cooling??

A quiggly point...everyone knows it is a Toyota engine but would perfer not to see Toyota strickers etc in plain view...sorta tarnishes the Lotus mystique... but I guess that can be corrected with selective removals of plaques.

Last..the rear L O T U S name are terrible stickers...the Ardent Red Elise the things actually were curling a bit on the edges...those have to go and hopefully someone will make nice aluminum relief versions...this car desrves more than stickers

I like the overall fit and finish and was impressed with the clear bra install...barely can see and have to really look for it (on the silver anyway)

The suspension system... I have been in Formula and club racing and have owned sport/GT etc car for many years (alright..I admit I am 53) so having a sport feel suspension system is not new to me. I found the standard suspension to be excellent and extremely firm (suggest avoiding small potholes and road repairs...the suspension does not give much away and coupled to a super ridgid chassis and jar you a bit)... for my taste I think I would find the LSS suspension a bit to harsh and should satisfied the hard core track enthusiast without question.

Exhaust note... stock is very good..better than I thought it would be but I still like a bit more *throat* in the note...so the Stage 1 exhaust is the route I am taking...
Michael
 

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Nice review Michael- Interesting that you did'nt have a problem with heel and toe. I did, and I think it's because w/ my BMW, I can just roll the outside of my foot over to blip the throttle. I guess w/ the Elise I'll have to learn to do a "genuine" heel and toe:)

While I agree with you that the pedal spacing is good, I do think the brake pedal has too much travel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Finally Part V>>>

I was glad to have the opportunity to drive (with gusto :D but not too harsh since the car was new and I hate trashing a unbroken- in engine...but when you get 'into the cams' it is nice!)

So I end in one humor and one serious note...

When the trunk/engine lid is up you see to comical things:

<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A449F92E8A911D8.jpg">

50 kilo weight limit in trunk (boot)...hell the only way to do that in that space is to load it up with sand bags :rolleyes: AND the little lever to let yourself out in case you lock yourself in the boot...lordy who is the first that is going to try and fit in thererotfl

We all know about the NHTSA exemptions, but this makes it seem more real
<img src="http://homepage.mac.com/eerickso/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-07%2012.40.37%20-0700/Image-0A44ADF6E8A911D8.jpg">

and lets you know that the only thing between the chassis and you is fiberglas...sobering thought with those SUV tanks out there

So safe drives and fun times to Elise drivers...
Michael
 

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Hey MichaelTT, thanks for the write up, it definitely caught my eye becuase I just sold an SLK 230 with AMG upgrades...which included a new Pro Eibach spring and sway kit and Koni race suspension.

The ride on mine was pretty stiff because the sways were almost an inch in diameter each, but do not know much about the factory AMG version.

When I grabbed the roll bars behind the seat in the SLK I could barely rock the car. Is yours the same way?

Specifically in comparison to the SLK what did you think? You mentioned that the car was roughly the same length...I believe its 8 or so inches longer than the Liz, but has a significantly higher roofline.

How is the view from inside Elise? By virtue of the race suspension, my SLK was lowered roughly 2.5 inches but still had fair visibility.

Are the mirrors in the SLK bigger or smaller than those in the Liz? Did you notice any side pillar blind spots in the Liz like the SLK with the top up?

Any extra info in comparing the cars would be great because I specifically sold my SLK for the Elise.

Thanks!.......................
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Jason>>>

The AMG SLK has a totally modified (Eibach) suspension and is extremely firm...and as you described there is practically no movement when you try to move the car pushing on the roll bars. But the big diff between the extremely firm suspension of the AMG SLK and the Elise is the weight/mass... 3150 vs the 1925 lbs and there in is the differing feel..when compressing and releasing the suspensions of each car, weight makes the SLK feel *softer*.

Side by side the was not much visual diff between the two cars as far as wheelbase (looked almost the same) and length (yes the SLK was a bit longer)..yes the SLK is bigger overall in the *bulk* area and height, but it was just interesting that it did not overwhelm the Elise.

You have a much better view outwards with the SLK...not unexpected since you are lower and in less of a 'greenhouse' with the Elise. The Elise side mirrors..smaller than the SLK BUT since the stick out further you actually have more of a rear view (which you most definitely need with the Elise and its 'tunnel' like rear view thru the back window). One thing on my SLK is I got the Euro split mirrors which are actually wide angle mirrors on both sides and that makes for a big diff..hoping that someone makes the same for the Elise.

The AMG SLK is a GT type car and the Elise is a light weight sport car...very different feel/drive/accomodations etc. I know for my taste I can make the SLK a daily driver and also have it on the track/AutoX..done it....but with the Elise I personally could not see the it as a daily driver, but absolutely will love it on the track and AutoX
Michael
 

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>>>and lets you know that the only thing between the chassis and you is fiberglas...sobering thought with those SUV tanks out there<<<

The bumper exemption has no effect on the safety of those in the Elise. It just means that the car is a poor candidate for routine parallel parking on the street. Few will do that anyway I suppose. In crash tests the Elise did quite well and was driveable after a 30 MPH crash into a wall. Many cars cannot do that, yet have 5 MPH bumpers. Again, 2 1/2 and 5 MPH bumpers are a parking and wallet issue and not a safety in a real crash issue. Best thing for the Elise is ACTIVE as opposed to PASSIVE safety.

Stan
 

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Thanks michaelTT for the info. I thought the AMG suspension would have been the same...though I ran Koni adjustable shocks instead.

I am surprised that the SLK is softer than the Elise, but then again mine might have been stiffer(race setup) than the stock AMG version. I don't plan on using it as a daily driver as I have more than one car, but will be putting miles on it. Is it "kidney bruising" hard?

I appreciate your info on the outward view as it was a bit of a concern. Since the Elise is a LOT lower and smaller than just about any other vehicle out there I want to make sure that the blind spots are manageable...

When you sit in the Elise vs. the SLK, does it feel like there is a significant difference in height? It LOOKS a lot lower, but sit position dictates a lot.
 
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