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I'm also into motorcycles, so I have some experience forgoing comfort. I love how connected you feel on a bike, and how immersive the ride can be. If you translate those experience to a car, I imagine an Elise would fit that bill, correct?
The Elise absolutely fits that bill. These cars are more similar to a sportbike than they are to other cars. You are directly connected to the road which is a positive for enjoying a nice road but is a downside when commuting on a crappy road. You also need to drive it on the freeway like you're riding a motorcycle: assume nobody can see you. If you go into ownership ok with the fact that the Elise is only slightly more practical than a motorcycle, then you won't be disappointed. And if you can live with this impracticality, you'll be rewarded with an unmatched driving experience.

This quote from me73's review hits home with me, as this was the exact reason I sold my M3. The Elise is an experience every time I get into, the M3 only felt special at its upper limits:
...but I like a car to take up into the mountains for a couple of hours or drive to work every now and then and still enjoy the handling traits when not pushing the car to the outer limits. The Porsche has incredible limits, and behaves beautifully at those limits, but under 80%, it’s just not as engaging as I’d like.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
The Elise absolutely fits that bill. These cars are more similar to a sportbike than they are to other cars. You are directly connected to the road which is a positive for enjoying a nice road but is a downside when commuting on a crappy road. You also need to drive it on the freeway like you're riding a motorcycle: assume nobody can see you. If you go into ownership ok with the fact that the Elise is only slightly more practical than a motorcycle, then you won't be disappointed. And if you can live with this impracticality, you'll be rewarded with an unmatched driving experience.

This quote from me73's review hits home with me, as this was the exact reason I sold my M3. The Elise is an experience every time I get into, the M3 only felt special at its upper limits:
What me73 said kinds of reminds me of the reason the guy I bought my 911 from had for selling.

He also had an AC Cobra replica with like 400 hp, and he because the 911 was so well composed it had to be driven at a level that he couldn’t really bring it to in order to have the same amount of fun as he would in the Cobra.
 

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I sold my Elise about 18 months ago and just picked up a base 987 boxster as I miss the Elise but wanted something fun, convertable and more usable. My wife loved the Elise and hates Porsches but a week in and shes coming around to the Boxster as its easier to live with, quieter, and perfect for putzing around the local back roads, whereas the Elise was an occasion every time. I guess the best way to describe it, is it's a toy so fits most, if not all, of what you're looking for except the mundane bits I mentioned. I guess the best way to describe it is an Elise is very focus and very good at what it does - ie its not compromised to give a pure driving experience whereas a Porsche is really good at everything but lacks a little in the pure experience. Just be wary of that if you like the useability of the 911. I'm 6'4 and fit fine in the Elise, so you'll be fine. On a side note, an Evora is a lot closer to the 911 in the useability terms while still being sweeter to drive and more of an occasion than the Porsche.

One last thing is the Philadelphia club has a get together this saturday about 2 hrs from you if you want to take a drive as there'll be plenty of Lotus models there to check out.
 

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I bought my elise to replace the motorcycle sized hole in my life after I crashed my bike. I find thinking of the elise like a motorcycle is a better comparison than thinking of it like a car. I found that to get the same driving joy I got on the bike with the elise I was going about 15-20mpg faster. I also recommend upgrading the stock suspension and if I could do it again nothing else. I ended up buying a convertible bmw 3 series as a DD/ touring car and keep the elise as my "motorcycle"
 

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I live in Allentown, NJ and can give you a spin/ test drive if you want to drive up. 2005 NA mostly stock Elise. A few track specific modifications (harness, baffled oil pan etc). Let me know.
 

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Hi,
I own a 2006 Elise and a 1977 911 targa with a 1982 3.0 SC engine. I've owned the Porsche for 14 years and love everything about it. I've had the Elise for 6 months, and I'm still in the honeymoon phase. I find that I drive the Elise when I have dedicated time to just drive for fun. I drive the Porsche for any other occasion that I might be able to drive a "fun" car (I have a separate daily driver) like errands, shuttling the kids, date night with the wife. She hates the Elise and adores the 911.

If you are a Porsche guy, you might consider an older 911, 1977-1985 or so. The 1980-1982 SC CIS engine is almost bulletproof, 205 horsepower, and pretty darn quick in stock configuration. Not as quick as the Elise, but the smaller, more basic 911 delivers a great air-cooled, seat of the pants driving experience. Way more sports car-like than the newer 911s.

Now both of these cars require TLC, and you will get more out of the experience if you are not afraid to wrench. Just like the army, your Elise will not love you the same way you love the Elise. The older 911s are a little more forgiving.

You could probably get into a well cared for 1980-1982 911 for less than the Elise. Not to downplay the Elise, but it is a very specific machine. You'll get way more attention in the Elise.

My 2 cents,
Peter
 

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Hi,
I own a 2006 Elise and a 1977 911 targa with a 1982 3.0 SC engine. I've owned the Porsche for 14 years and love everything about it. I've had the Elise for 6 months, and I'm still in the honeymoon phase. I find that I drive the Elise when I have dedicated time to just drive for fun. I drive the Porsche for any other occasion that I might be able to drive a "fun" car (I have a separate daily driver) like errands, shuttling the kids, date night with the wife. She hates the Elise and adores the 911.

If you are a Porsche guy, you might consider an older 911, 1977-1985 or so. The 1980-1982 SC CIS engine is almost bulletproof, 205 horsepower, and pretty darn quick in stock configuration. Not as quick as the Elise, but the smaller, more basic 911 delivers a great air-cooled, seat of the pants driving experience. Way more sports car-like than the newer 911s.

Now both of these cars require TLC, and you will get more out of the experience if you are not afraid to wrench. Just like the army, your Elise will not love you the same way you love the Elise. The older 911s are a little more forgiving.

You could probably get into a well cared for 1980-1982 911 for less than the Elise. Not to downplay the Elise, but it is a very specific machine. You'll get way more attention in the Elise.

My 2 cents,
Peter
I completely agree with @probilio. I've had the pleasure of being able to spend days in older 911s ('77S, '82SC, '87 3.2) and they are fantastic cars with respect to involvement and feedback. They're much smaller, lighter and pretty much completely different from the cars that came after (yet still called 911s) and I would also consider them sports cars. The big part of this is that they are also fun at all speeds. The Elise is a sharper tool with the lower profile tires, double wishbone suspension, stiff chassis, and 300-600 pound advantage but with that, it sacrifices the livability that the 911 provides.

Having said all that, there are alot of great old sports cars that provide the more mechanical, connected feel of the Elise but none with the same capabilities and competence. I have a personal problem with the current market swelling of older Porsches. I think they're far overpriced at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I’m sure the air cooled 911’s are very involving. When I bought my 997, almost all the air cooled cars I saw in my price range had odometers well into the six figure range typically (I was looking at coupes). I agree that they are priced very high right now. I don’t mind wrenching, but I would be worried that a 35 year old car with a hundred thousand miles would wind up needing some expensive head work or something.

Elise’s seem to be pretty affordable right now. They’re a plenty of examples in the mid-30k range with lower miles.

The cost of maintaining or possibly having to rebuild or upgrade a Toyota engine is much more appealing than having to do the same on a 911, 997 or 911 gen.

If I had the money and garage space, I would have both. Unfortunately I don’t. KTM also released a new bike somewhat recently I’d love to get as well...
 

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They both cost in different ways. My 911 chassis has 150,000 miles on it, no rust, every part can be readily and easily restored as needed. My engine has 80,000 miles on it and is going strong. Not unusual to see an 82' with 200,000 miles in great shape. If you do need serious engine work, you can drop a 911 engine with 2 guys and a jack in an afternoon. Plenty of resources and parts available.

The Elise has a Toyota engine, yes, but it is a little sensitive. Just search wiped cams or oil starvation on this forum. The engine is also hard to get to with the rear clam and the under tray. If you are mechanically inclined, you and a buddy can remove the rear clam in a couple of hours (or pay for a nice clam shell hinge!). And if you need any fiberglass work, even for the dumbest crack, be prepared to pay stupid money. I learned to do my own glass work to avoid this.

My Elise needed some work up front, so I had to put in more money than I had planned. I don't really have a sense of long term operating expenses or reliability, yet. All this to say that you might need to allow for a maintenance budget for an Elise.

Both are super fun!
 

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The common issues with the 2zz are easily remedied and/or avoidable. Generally, it's a reliable little engine The nice thing is that in the very unlikely event that it does need to be replaced, it's only about $3000 for the long block. A Porsche engine is 8-10x that price.
 

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I have a 2004 Boxster S and a 2005 Elise that were delivered within 2 months of each other. I still have both, still drive both, and still really like both. Both have been driven on multi-day 1000 mile plus trips, both have been driven hard. Neither car has been modified other than the Elise has a Lotusport ECU, which basically modifies the point where and how the VVT switchover happens at 6200 RPM. Suspension and tires are as the creators specified. The Elise shines on shorter, twistier tracks, the Boxster on more wide open tracks. Horses for courses.
 

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I will provide the potential minority viewpoint. I owned 2 Exiges - at one point having both concurrently. I started with a nearly stock '08 S240. Since I do track days, I started down the road of track mods before deciding to buy an '07 S220 that had already been set up to race. It was essentially converted to a Cup car with all the Cup car parts, including the Cup car cage, a fire suppression system, and window nets. Similar to everyone else, these were fun 3rd and 4th cars, not daily drivers. They are great cars. However, over time, I did find the impracticality to be a big downside. I thought I didn't want or need a compromise car. I could have a hard core driver's car/track toy and use my other cars for commuting and such. I ended up changing my mind. Every once in a while I do just want to take a fun car to dinner or a movie - not the sedan or the SUV. I want to take my wife and daughter for a drive in the mountains or take the long way home from a dinner out with them. I couldn't do that in the Lotus. I also want to take a fun car to work once in a while. With the Lotus, my wife didn't enjoy riding in it that much and my daughter wasn't even an option. I didn't want to take it to work because it was too flashy and I decided I didn't want undue (and possibly negative) attention from clients and coworkers. I couldn't even drop my laptop bag straight into the trunk. I had to put it in vertically and then slide it in to lay flat. If I didn't know exactly the route and parking situation of where I was going, I didn't want to take it because I didn't want to scrape the bottom of the front spoiler or have to parallel park it or park it in a questionable parking spot or questionable area. In a country where roads are full of big SUVs with clueless drivers who don't see you, it sometimes felt more dangerous than I wanted. It ended up being a car I only took to the track and maybe on a couple of other short spirited drives per year. I replaced it with a 997 turbo. Yes - on the track the turbo feels much heavier, and it is particularly noticeable in the braking zones. You really get spoiled with how late you can brake in a Lotus. On the other hand, I can take the Porsche in situations where I wouldn't take the Lotus. I can take the Porsche for a weekend getaway with the family to Tahoe. No go with the Lotus. It's a trade-off, and you just have to decide what trade-offs you can live with.
 

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The comparison of the elise to a sport bike is ludicrous.
But the difference between the Elise and the Porsche and the Elise is like maybe a crossover or smaller suv to the Porsche.

It's very different
 

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I've owned both cars, a 997 ('05) C2 and two Elise SC, starting with an Elise. They are equally fun driven hard on twisty roads. The 911 is a true marvel on the road when pushed hard, and has tons of practical advantages over an Elise: more room, less rattle, great stereo, more trunk space (and not one that bakes you payload), better brakes, nicer engine sounds etc etc. I wasn't driving the car daily, mostly for some fun and occasionally going to work or shopping. In normal traffic conditions, it was almost as usable as my Golf, but not much more exciting to be honest. And there's the fear of engine failure that will cost as much to fix as the car is worth. And everything feels heavy, steering, gear change, clutch ..... And it eats up so much gas, regardless how you drive it. In the end, I sold the 997 and another Elise SC came on my driveway. I much prefer the razor sharp tactile experience of the Lotus, and for that, I don't mind paying the price of the long list of cons it accumulates. Based on your description, you have the profile of someone who would enjoy the Elise, but it's really not for everyone, so test driving it is a must.
 

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I've always wanted a 911. Decided that when I retired I would buy one. Never did but the first lotus Elise I saw intrigued me ! I did some research and went and looked at a few used ones at dealerships. I was thinking 911s are pretty common and really no big deal when you see one but Elises are exotic looking and draw a crowd. I too was a little afraid of the getting in and out problems but once you’ve gotten in the drive makes you forget all about it. I love our Elise , only drive it as a Sunday driver type car and I’ve never gotten out without a huge smile on My face. I'm 6’3” Tall and 60 years old and love everything about these cars. In fact I like it so much my KTM is for sale !!! Go look at one , take a ride in it and you will buy one !!
 

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As the post title says, I'm thinking about trading my 2007 911 Carrera S Coupe MT for an Elise. I'd be happy to hear any perspective or advice you guys could offer. I can't deny the allure of the Elise, but I don't have any real experience with one, or Lotus for that matter.

First of all, wouldn't be a daily drive for me. It would be a weekend and occasional track day car. I'm 32 years old, 6'0" tall and athletic build. I assume I'd fit in it? Comfort really isn't the highest priority for me. Neither is having the faster car by the numbers (0-60, etc). I'm here for the driving experience. I know the car is light on creature comforts, but I've never been in one, so how can I really say how I would feel about it? That being said, I'm also into motorcycles, so I have some experience forgoing comfort. I love how connected you feel on a bike, and how immersive the ride can be. If you translate those experience to a car, I imagine an Elise would fit that bill, correct? I love the look the of Lotus as well.

I do like that the 911 is somewhat practical. I know my wife is comfortable riding in it. I'm not sure how'd she feel in an Elise. When I decided to get the 911 I also liked the idea of the back seats, figuring we could put our dog in the back and maybe future children. The reality is, we have a large dog and he can barely fit in the back, I don't know if I'd really want to put kids in the back. We also take her car on longer trips because she doesn't know how to drive stick, so we both can drive, and I don't care about racking up miles on her car. The most I've really ever carried in the 911 was either a back pack or a duffel back with some supplies for a track day.

I'm also a little worried about the bore scoring hysteria the 997 gen 911's are experiencing right now. Some 911's experience bore scoring due to the Likasil cylinder plating not holding up well. I imagine the Toyota sourced drive train would most likely hold up better and be cheaper to fix than the Porsche engine.

Response are appreciated. I tried the search function but didn't find anything.
 

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I had a Porsche 914-6 that I sold to buy my 2005 Elise 111s new I miss the sound and the smell (hot magnesium) both under 2000Lbs my 6 had about 160 hp, The Elise is even rawer as far as the interior and the Toyota power plant is much list expensive then a Weber Carb flat six. I miss the fun working on the Porsche so I brought a 1963 VW Bug with Webers and a 1800cc engine plus after driving it for a few day it makes the Lotus fill like WOOO! WHEEEE! Yahoo!
I don't mess with the Lotus engine just changed the oil pan/ and a ITG air box/ filter, Penske shock . I think ever body should drive a bug then a Lotus to really appreciate it and my Bug was fast so it felt.
 

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Everyone loves these type of threads clearly! :)
Some points that were very noticeable to me that don't always seem to get pointed out on 'first time into a lotus' threads:
1: You must test drive one, because they are so unlike any other car. They bang and rattle and feel like bits might fall off, but they also feel like the proverbial go-kart for the road. Nothing I've ever driven comes close to the sensation. Hence you really need to drive one to see what they're all about. But also, I've never driven two that feel the same, steering weight (perhaps from old worn racks) stability etc from alignment settings, all very very sensitive. So ideally....test drive more than one!
2. Many people say how reliable the toyota cars are very reliable and they are, or the toyota bits are, the rest of the car is still a low volume British built sports car and therefore prone to various "known issues" or niggles. But nothing really major and nothing that would scare me like bore scoring or RMS oil leaks like on my old Boxster etc.
3. Practicality: The car is practical enough to use daily, but most don't because it's not that sort of car. Things you might not realise that count against its practicality are things like getting in and out is harder than a normal car.....but becomes very hard if you are in a tight parking spot and cannot open the doors fully. Both the interior and exterior do not wear their miles well which is a pain if you like to keep the car pristine. The boot is decent, but gets hot (not so good for the food shop!) and also is limited in weight to 50kg (but I wouldn't put anything near that heavy in there).

But they really do drive like nothing like a 'normal' car. They're one of those cars that 'everyone should experience at least once" much like a 911 in fact! They can also be made very fast very easily too if you go see someone like BOE.
 
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