I have not driven the S2000, so I can't compare it directly to the Elise. I imagine that the "kit car" reference is a result of the Elise's somewhat minimal and non-plush interior. However, having driven a few kit cars, I would say that the Elise definitely does not have a kit-car feel; the interior and overall feel of the car is much more polished and feels more like a "real car" than any of the kit cars I've seen.
Although I haven't driven either one, I did look pretty closely at the Honda S2000 and the BMW Z4 at the last LA Auto Show. After sitting in both, the Z4 felt much more comfortable and plusher; the S2000 felt much rougher. The Elise seemed a little less refined than the S2000 to me (but not by much).
Personally, I'm not interested in either the Z4 or S2000 at this point. The S2000 gets no style points from me; unexciting appearance and the roll bars don't look good. The Z4 has an interesting look, but doesn't really appeal to me. Neither measures up to the Elise.
Kit car... Holy Cow that's Randy posting that comment
Where is that "BAN HIM" picture when I need it?
I can only speak for myself, but if I felt the Elise felt like a kit car I would buy a Porsche and wouldn't look back.
The fact that I have chosen the Elise is nothing to do with price, it's because I love the way it drives... Period
For those that don't know saying any car feels like a kit-car is no compliment. When most people think of kit-cars they think of fake Ferrari that are actually Pontiac Fiero and AC Cobras that a really VW Beatles
The euro demos that are making their rounds are full of rattles. I can see how an S2000 owner would be put off. Honda screws their cars together pretty well. Lotus is not in the same league as far as build quality.
His comments about performance are hogwash. Or it is possible that his demo needed some TLC. Either way, most people will have a hard time accepting the no compromise attitude of the Elise.
That leaves more cars for those of us who really see the 'light'
The yellow car I test drove had a noticable clunking in the doors over bumps. There was some body shake. I think that is what he is referring to.
If someone expects the demo cars to be as tight as a new S2000, they should face that the cars are not. It's not a new car.
If they think they interior is spartan like a kit car, they would be right. It's part of that makes an Elise and Elise. That is not a bad thing.
I found the comments about ride to be strange. But it would not help to go onto an S2000 forum and say that he is full of crap. This is a person that is on the waiting list and came away with an impression that differs from what most people have experienced.
I say let the guy drop his place in line (that way I move up one spot along with the rest of the those on the list!). I drove the same car and I don't agree with his statements. The only way I got any significant lean out of the car was on an empty parking lot, pushing the car to its limits, and the amount of lean was no more than an S2k at its limit! I think the car did show symptoms of test car abuse (brakes being most noticable), but that didn't detract from its performance in my opinion.
The Elise is meant to be a pure sports car for the road, not a soft GT. There are compromises that are made in the sake of performance at the cost of comfort - I expect this from the Elise. I also expect some "kit car" like features - Lotus cannot afford to design and produce its own switchgear and must rely on outsourcing to keep costs affordable. I was quite impressed with the level of trim and finish in the car - and I expect US spec cars may be better.
After driving the car, I do expect there will be some who drop out because of the compromises in comfort and practicality you must make to drive the car. I have seen other posts where people driving C5's or Porsche's may see the car as too crude or simple, and removed themselves from the lists. The car is not intended as a comfortable GT car, there are too many cars available in that category. The Elise provides the purest representation for a "sports car" than we have seen for >20 years! (at least an affordable one)
I have both (well, an Exige) and have tracked both.
The Elise feels much lighter than an S2000 and as Randy pointed out the interior may rattle and squeak. The S2000 build quality is MUCH better but then again, it isn't British.
As far as road feel - this guy probably has no idea what good road feel is since the S2000 doesn't really have good road feel with it's electric-assist steering.
The brake fluid on the test car may be shot since it's probably been beaten on it's whole life and never changed. The person has probably never driven a car without power brakes. You really have to get used to the pedal pressure in the Elise. The S2000 also has great brakes for the street - they get destroyed on the track.
I wouldn't let this guy sway your enthusiasm for the Elise - I will probably sell my S2000 for one (not sure yet). I'm the biggest S2000 fan out there since I started the S2000 Club of America, but they Elise is a special car so I may have to make room in the garage for it - everyone needs two Loti in the garage!!
It seems to me that his post is a case of sour grapes. Maybe he can't afford an Elise or maybe he forgot to take his medication that morning.
That being said... the "kit car" comment probably refers to the level of refinement of the Elise. The S2000 is like a palace compared to the Elise when it comes to the interior, I agree. The point is that this is by design, not because Lotus can't figure out how to make a plush interior. The primary theme of the Elise is "light weight", so a plush interior wouldn't make sense.
I have driven an S2000, I wasn't impressed at all! All that weight in the front. A nice kick when the engine gets on-cam but I wouldn't swap my 4yr old Boxster for 2 S2000's.
No offense intended but mid engine cars are like nothing else!
Isn't the definition of "mid-engine" usually that the engine is located at or aft of the center of the car? The S2000 engine is forward of the center of the car, isn't it? (Visually, it seems to be anyway...)
The S2000 is a fantastic car, I have logged considerable time driving one both on the street and at an autocross event. But there is no doubt, the Elise has better road feel and handling.
Is the Elise less refined? Absolutely. It's a tradeoff.
Mid-engined refers to the motor location - specifically between the axles of the car. The S2000 is a "forward mid-engine" design with the motor sitting completely behind the front axle - go look for yourself....
Adamant - <assuming you have a base Boxster> Do you like looking at the rear end of the S2000????
The engine is located in the center of the chassis directly behind the passenger compartment (normally these are only 2-seater vehicles) but ahead of the center line of the rear wheels. In most cases, the fuel tank is directly in front of the passengers. This provides much better weight distribution and handling."
This was a hot topic 4 years ago when the S2000 was released.
Your definition is a classic "rear mid-engined" layout. There were very few cars that qualified with "front mid-engined" layout before the S2000. I used to know what other cars qualified, but since I've been driving around my rear-engined car the past two years, I've forgotten.
Think about it - don't just read and follow. What if the engine sat right next to the passengers - would this be mid-engined? Note that your definition mentions specifically that the motor must be in front of the rear axle - could it also apply to a motor behind the front axle?
No need to accuse me of that. I practiced as an automotive engineer, advanced R&D for several years, I'm not one to be a follower.
The location of the engine is about its affect on weight distribution and its affect on the "mass centralization" (as Erik Buell would call it) of the car. Closer to the center allows the car to rotate quicker, as you know.
I wasn't saying that you were wrong, I was asking where you saw that definition. In the automotive industry (that is, engineering, the press, etc.) "mid-engine" conveys a specific meaning. I'm not challenging you, just asking where you saw the definition.
Personally, I don't care where the engine is located, if the car handles great.
I understand the meaning of "mid-engined" to mean the engine is between the front and rear axles. I have seen further definitions that say how to tell if the engine is between the axles.
I remember the 79 RX-7 as being a front mid-engine as the forward most spark plug was behing the front "axle".
the 1997-2004 Corvette also fits this definition.
A transverse mounting of the engine makes this definition a bit tricky as tilting of the block may make a car rear-engined. I would suggest if the center of gravity of the engine is between the axles then it is mid-engined.
It is a complex topic with marginal value, as the real issues is how does it perform (handling, braking, acceleration, crash protection, etc) not how the components are positioned in the car, by a matter of inches.