Since I live 5 miles away from Silver Star, I zoomed down there to take a peek at Steve W's storm titanium (not silver, apparently)/touring/no hard top/no LSS car. It's gorgeous, of course. It's sitting in the showroom with the soft top on, windows rolled up, doors locked and alarm activated (little red light keeps flashing). It's very difficult to scope out the interior due to the reflections from fluorescent lighting.
I spent 10 minutes circling the car before a salesman finally asked if he could help me. I said that I was here to pick up Steve's car. He said sure, how about taking it for a test drive first. Wow. Didn't even have to offer my $100! Off we went and soon had the car up to 130 on the 101 freeway ...
Oops, I thought that I was sending a PM to Sownman. Edit. Delete. Nevermind.
Turns out that Steve was at the dealership for an hour last night, so they already knew what he looked like. So of course, they wouldn't let me drive it, or even sit in it (not that I would have).
First impression: we are sooooo lucky to be buying this car. It looks sooooo great just sitting there. It attracted the attention of other customers coming into the dealership. A 60 or 70-something woman was admiring the car, so we chatted a bit. Her husband has a Corvette, which she loves, but she was quite taken with the Elise. Thought it looked smashing and was surprised at the $40K price, "Looks like it should cost more".
Second impressions: The front end is shorter than I recall. The tail pipes aren't very noticeable, so being in the center isn't a big deal. The reflectors are not that bad, but still an undesirable feature. Oh well. The black plastic thingys are very cheap and almost tacky in comparison to other elements of the car. And they don't look like they will age well - I suspect that they will be hard to clean and will discolor in time. Shinoo - we need inexpensive metal replacements with glossy dark black finish, or perhaps color matched to body. . Does anybody know how easy it is to remove these? It is a little displeasing to look through the hood slots and see the radiator, but not really a big deal. Standard wheels look great. Lotus letters on the back look better than I expected - raised metal letters might not be an improvement, after all. Front license plate plinth is pristine, no holes drilled in it and no predrilled and filled guider slots - not sure what you do if you plan to mount a plate there. The single wiper blade looks awesome.
Dealership - The salesman that I talked to (not saying who) was not really into Lotus. He seemed bored and not at all excited about the car. I asked about the demo - he had no idea when it might arrive and wasn't sure that they even were getting one. Said he hoped not, since it would cause too many problems. They have 140 people on their list, roughly 2 years of sales (although he admitted that they don't know their allocation for the first year, much less the second year). He seemed skeptical about Lotus increasing production, i.e., I'll believe it when I see it.
Sticker - EPA gas mileage estimates seem very poor for such a light car (23/28 I believe) and lower than I remember reading elsewhere. Another sticker indicates that 53% of the parts come from the UK, 20% from Japan and 0% from US/Canada - no indication what happened to the other 27%, which supports my theory that Lotus is using spare parts to make those "extra" cars.
Star Shield - ***Please note that the following comments represent my opinion only; they should not be construed to represent how you might feel about it.***
It sucks big time.
It really is a tradeoff. I have 20:15 vision and the damn thing is far, far, far from invisible. Perhaps it's the silver color. In any case, a number of seams are visible. The most noticeable seam is across the hood. In fact, the 70-year old woman next to me noticed it immediately, as did I. You also can see the circle around the front Lotus emblem and the inner light ovals on the front. And very noticeable on the backs of the side mirrors, since it only covers half of it for some reason. And under the front grill, although that's not too bad aesthetically. And you can see where pieces end along the sides, although again not too bad.
For me, I would rather drive the car and not worry about a few dings here and there instead of looking at these seams all the time. On the other hand, it will offer a lot of protection from those dings. So I suppose it comes down to which bothers you more. In fairness, perhaps in time your eye will become accustomed to the look and not notice it so much, but my initial reaction was WTF, I can't have this. So unless it looks dramatically less noticeable on Saffron Yellow, I plan to do without Or perhaps try to have it placed on just the front "bumper" area, which will take much of the abuse anyway. But I'm thinking that touch up paint would handle it for me, with the occasional re-painting of that limited area if things get out of hand.
Please make up your own mind, but caveat emptor.
Sorry for the ramblings. In summary, the car is great, storm titanium looks great (as do all colors, I would venture to guess), heads will turn everywhere you go, and any negative features are really tiny compared to the big big positives of the car.