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I’m not much for posting on forums but my Exige S is just too good not to gush about.

I’ve had the car for ~2.5 months and have put 2k miles in it in that time. The 997 911 i traded towards it was a car I owned for 14 months and put 4200 miles on during that time, even though the Porsche is more “daily friendly”. I just can’t stop driving the Exige.

I just returned from my first ever HPDE/track day in the car and beyond making sure oil level and fuel level were topped off each session (oil stayed perfect all day) I did nothing more than check air pressure and drive the hell out of the car.

I previously raced karts in several classes over 7-8 years so I have race/track experience but totally new to big cars on big tracks. The Exige (much more it than me) ate all but one car throughout the day. Including many track prepped/big HP cars on a 3mi course with a super long front straight. Obviously HPDE1 has a massive variance of driver skills but the car just made getting up to speed (literally and figuratively) super easy. We were working on fine tuning a few corners by the 2nd and 3rd sessions instead of just understanding the balance and character of the car.

Then this morning my wife and I hopped in it for 200 miles of fall/mountain driving to a great brunch.

I’ve had 9 different cars over the last 4 years with some standouts being a BMW 1M, the 997, E36 M3, E46 M3 and even a 500 Abarth and can say the Exige is so far and away my favorite that 2nd truly isn’t even close.

Anyway, wanted to share how much I really appreciate this car with this group.
 

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We as a community can get so finicky on nuance we forget the overarching elegance these cars represent.

I honestly only see or drive my car every few months now. Each time I am just stunned by it's characteristics. I also must admit that having committed the original sin, of getting older, I also appreciate n o t driving it regularly almost as much...

I look forward ( knock on wood) on being retired someday and having the next level modfest I have dreamt of. I just could not imagine the time nor expense of doing so right now. Like I said, I barely make time to drive it these days.

instead of stages of life theory it is stages of Lotus ownership theory! I wistfully recall the first few years I had my Exige. It has been a wonderful car to enjoy!
 

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I'm lucky enough to have both a Porsche 991 911 4s and a Lotus Elise, and like the OP, I find the Lotus infinitely more fun to drive. If I have a regret it is that Lotus stopped importing the street-legal version of these cars back in 2011 due to US safety regulations. What I find odd is that the newer version of these cars pass UK regulations but not US regulations. Either the US regulations are overly stringent, or the UK's version of the Department of Transportation is asleep at the switch. They can't both be right, can they?
 

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Not just the UK... pretty much everywhere Lotus is present you can still buy an Elise & Exige V6. The Exige V6 has been Lotus Cars best seller for recent years & of course the Elise is Lotus' best seller overall. All of Europe, Japan, Australia, SE Asia, Middle East... Lotus ME even sold a batch of Elises to Iran before the recent economic blocks. I'm not sure about South America or Mexico...

So unfortunately, yes, its USA & Canada that are missing out unless its track only :-(
 

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The only reason the Elise was ever legal in the US was because it got limited term special exemptions for headlamps and bumpers. Given the timing, I'm inclined to believe it was approved mostly for political reasons.

Bureaucrats gonna regulate. The purpose of a bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself. If the US admitted that FMVSS 108 (49CFR §571.108) is redundant and allowed E-code lighting standards on all US market cars, there'd be a huge batch of paperwork that didn't need to be created, verified, and filed, and the importance and budget of NHTSA would decrease. Of course the cost of building cars for the US market would also decrease, but they don't care about that.

The bumper standard is even more complex. It specifies that there's a maximum amount of allowed damage in a particular sort of collision. If the car has more damage than that, it fails. This was originally the '5 MPH bumper standard' dating from the 1970s, and was adopted as a consumer protection regulation. It requires a car to be damaged in a test collision and the resulting damage assessed. Knowing what a front clam costs, I think we can safely assume that nothing like the current Elise design would pass.

Given the hidebound nature of federal vehicle regulation in the US, we should be grateful that the Elise was ever offered for sale here at all. Otherwise, we'd still be counting the minutes until the S2 Toyota cars hit 25 years of age and could be imported under the vintage rules.
 

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Thanks for sharing. Yeah ...every time want to sell mines, I get in and drive it and the ‘selling’ part goes away. Lol


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