The characteristics of the Elise are most similar to what other cars? I was thinking the MR2, but can anyone comment from experience? I am thinking about getting a car to take to the track to learn how to drive while I'm waiting for my Elise....any advice
Gotta be the Renault Alpine A110. Although it (Alpine) weighed only 1,350 lbs. with a 130Hp Gordini Motor, the HP to LB. ratio is pretty much dead on when comparing to the Elise. Similar Body, Frame, and Size, both handle almost identically. Truly unmatched in over all performance. Both of these cars are among the elite when it comes to "outperforming" the driver.
I've always thought it reminds me of a Ferrari 246 GTS Dino more than anything else.
I found it interesting (and wasn't too surprised) that in the Lotus Elise Official Story book (p. 46), Lotus has on hand the following cars for inspiration: Lotus 23, Lotus Elan, Caterham Seven, and Ferrari 246 GTS Dino.
The general curves/voluptuous shape, small size, air intakes, sail panels, targa-roof, low stance, low weight/modest power, round tail-lamps, etc. - all join together to remind me of the Dino. As a Ferrari nut, I always thought Ferrari should have an entry level car (below the Modena) that is light and modestly powered, but Lotus went and built it!
talking new'ish - as for performance, price, content etc.. i would say Ginetta build some pretty close cars. TVR are a bit more upscale, heading to viper comparisions and well beyond. as would be the nobel. old school there is the whole slew of lesser mid engined italian slow pokes ..x19, monte carlo (scorpion), merek, etc.. too ban porsche refusses to build a boxster "RS"
Funny, most A110 owners I've met say the Elise is a modern Alpine.
Renault worked on a project two years ago but dropped it, a friend of a friend at Renault Sport saw it.. It was really appealing apparently.
Of course there is nothing quite like the Elise but several sports cars remind me of the Elise.
As I have said many times, probably the closest car in driving sensations to the Elise is a junior formula race car.
Limiting the discussion to production cars - the direct and mechanical feeling of the car reminds me of a MGBs from the 1960s. The frenetic nature of the engine is similar to the S2000. The only two cars I have ever driven with steering feel approaching the Elise are first generation MR2s and FiatX/19s. The Elise's handling reminds me quite a bit of my 1985 MR2 but the Elise is harder and has dramatically higher limits. But those "right now" reflexes are similar. The car's lightness reminds of the X/19 and older Lotuses I have driven.