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Elise vs Cayman S, Your Thoughts?

 
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:10 AM
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Elise vs Cayman S, Your Thoughts?

So I'm a new guy here but enough about that. I currently own a 2005 Ford Mustang GT which I have built out to almost 500hp naturally aspirated, and have since grown tired of it. I have rather recently moved from a rural area in New England to busier Sin City, and while I love the city, a big cammed V8 with 4.10 gears does not. The car barely makes it out of the garage now and I hate to do that to a car, so I am afraid she will be sold.

Rest assured, I cannot go without a toy, and I have narrowed my options to two vehicles.

Option one: (which I am leaning toward) is an early Elise. I love the style, it handles great, gets great gas mileage (compared to my current 6mpg), and I love the fact that I can remove the top like a convertible, yet keep the hard top look, as well as an actual hard top cover.

Option two: would be an 06 / 07 Cayman S. I am a huge Porsche fan, and love the boxer engines. Albeit, not a huge fan of the back end (just my preference).

That being said, I assume reliability between the two to be very similar.

My question to you is, given the options, which would you choose? why? Obviously, I posted this in the Lotus section so I am prepared for more biased responses to the Lotus, but I would also like to hear what you don't like, or wish you could change about your Elise / Exige.

And just to get some of the basic questions out of the way, no its not a DD, it would see minimal track time (maybe two track days a year as well as a handful of auto x).

-B
 
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:41 PM
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I drove an Exige S240 and a Cayman S at Lime Rock on the same day - as well as several other cars.

The Exige was the best handling car and had lots of power. They Cayman S was very good as well. Everything else - 911, M3 etc did not have the feel of the Exige or Cayman S. The non S Cayman is not in the same league with the S or Exige/Elise

Beyond that pick the one YOU feel most comfortable with.

I have an Elise with an aftermarket supercharger making almost 300hp at the wheels. That along with the suspension mods makes it faster than the above mentioned cars.

If you're going to do track days I would pick a Lotus. If not I might move to the Cayman S
The Lotus is much less expensive than the Porsche in terms of pads, rotors and tires etc.
 
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:28 AM
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Id say hands down the Lotus!
 
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:06 PM
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I owned a Boxster S for several years before buying my Elise. I installed the European Sport suspension parts on the Boxster soon after buying it. The Boxster had great responsiveness, decent feedback, and even with the RoW M030 suspension and some other chassis stiffening, it was really easy to drive for hours at a time. Great fun on the track too. But for me, it always just felt a little too portly. I wanted a sports car to connect with and connect me with the road and it was just never visceral enough.

The Elise is a completely different animal. It's loud, the seats are hard, it rattles over the road, it's hard to get in and out of, and it's perfect. If you're buying a sports car based on it's practical features instead of the way it makes you feel to drive it, you're buying it for the wrong reasons.
 

Last edited by blue2000s; 05-26-2013 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:55 PM
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The Cayman S will be more practical and handles nearly as well. It's easier to get in and out of, has a larger foot box, and much more storage space. It could easily be your only vehicle.

I have a Cayman R and it is more fun to drive than an Audi R8 or Carrera S. (not faster, just more fun) If I had to pick between the Cayman and the Turbo S, it might be a different story. Maybe.
 
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:33 PM
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If you want any sort of luxury the Porsche wins... If you want just pure fun the Exige wins... If you want something inbetween then you need to test drive both and decide which side pulls you more.

I have no driven a Lotus yet, they are very rare in MN... But I loved the way the Cayman felt. Very fun car and quiet/luxurious compared to others I have owned.
 
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:27 PM
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The Lotus should be wayyy cheaper to own, barring major fiberglass repair, and will hold value much better as well. You might even make money if you hold onto it for a little while. Even if Lotus goes out of business the motor is from a celica GTS, so getting parts wont be a problem.

I could very easily DD an Elise, but I also DD a motorcycle for a while... Your wife/GF probably wont like the Lotus, but in terms of pure driving excitement and price point, the Lotus will be very hard to beat.

Good luck! let us know what happens
 
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:57 PM
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Lotus Elise for sure!
 
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:36 PM
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I used to have a boxster and it was a nice car. very reliable, comfortable, and practical. handling was nothing special with too much understeer and the steering was too light. I enjoyed having it as a dd and de car but don't miss it

I now have an elise AND I AM IN LOVE WITH IT!! looks so special, best handling of any car, period. best steering. very reliable, so far. use it all the time when weather is nice. easy to live with without top. used it one day in rain with top, a/c, wipers and was fine. I hope to never ever sell it
 
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:05 PM
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Hi Sonic,

I’ve owned an Elise for aprox seven years, and was considering replacing it with a Cayman S. I’ve been test-driving Cayman and 911’s and here are my thoughts.

My Elise has been rock solid reliability wise. Keep in mind that the Lotuses that you are looking at have Toyota drive-trains in them. I owned an MR-2 before the Lotus, and don’t think that there is anything more bullet proof than a Toyota four cylinder as long as the oil is changed every now and then.

My research on Porsche indicate that they are the best ofthe German manufacturers for reliability. They have very good reputations among the European builders. I suspect that the Cayman will be a bit more money to own than an Elise, keep in mind how much heavier the Cayman is (almost a thousand pounds heavier), and how much more complex it is compared to the Lotus. But it should be a reliable car to own, and daily drivable.

As far as other vehicles to try, you could look at used Evora’s, depending on your budget. After test-driving some Cayman I’ve found that they don’t feel much at all like my little Elise. They felt so much heavier and solid than the Elise does, without the drama of the little four cylinder. I was rather disappointed with the feel of the Cayman in comparison to the Elise. I think the Cayman feels closer to the Evora.

I love the way my little Lotus feels. I know many claim that their car “handleslike a go-cart”. Mini-coopers, Miatas, BMW 335’s, Z-3’s, Boxsters, and 911 owners have all told me this, but none ofthese cars come close to the road feel of the Lotus. I used to think that my Mr-2 “handled like a go-cart”, but looking back it also was no way close to a real go-cart feel. I don’t think any car with power assisted steering that weighs over 2000 lbs is ever going to come close to the feel of an Elise or Exige.

After test-driving several Caymen I’ve lost interest in them. They are not close to the road feel that the Lotus has. After reading reviews I thought that they might be slightly heavier, more comfortable but powerful versions of the Lotus, a German Mr-2 with a little more power but more comfort. But they are not. Cayman are soo much heavier. To make up for the weight they have to have more power, and to make up for they power they have to have wider rubber. To make up fore the wider rubber they have to have power steering, and the weight and power steering kill the feel of thecar. I’ve decided that without the road feel of the Elise I need more grunt, and am looking at 911’s.

To be fair the Lotus is only good to drive in. It is horrible to ride in. I love driving the car, but am getting a little older, and am looking for a car that has a cupholder, glove box, cruise-control, and an entry and exit that does not scare woman that are close to my own age (I’m 43).

Forgive what may be a silly question, but have you driven a Lotus Elise yet? To me they feel nothing like a Cayman, regardless of what the car magazines say. If you have not driven the Elise yet, be sure to before thinking that you want one. They do one thing well, and are mediocre at every thing else. But that one thing that the Elise does, it does better than any other car, at least any that I’ve driven.
 

Last edited by Tormac; 09-15-2013 at 12:10 PM. Reason: I spel gud
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:51 PM
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Lotus = last pure sports car.
 
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:10 PM
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wonder what the OP ended up with
 
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:07 AM
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I own both an Exige S and a Cayman S. Both are two of the best drivers cars on the planet. The Cayman S can be a great daily driver, weekend ca,r or track car.

The Lotus is best for back road blast or track days. It is not an everyday car.

I won't be able to track mine due to a hectic work schedule. I use it for driving pleasure, taking it out on the best driving roads I can find.

It's a fifth car so i won't be putting a lot of miles on it, but it's a blast to drive. Think of it as a motorcycle, great in short bursts, but not a daily driver.

If you do plan on tracking the car and you live two+ hours from your nearest track you probably would prefer the Cayman S. The Lotus has a very harsh ride even on the smoothest pavement.
 
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:31 AM
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I think the I would take an Elise over a Cayman, but it would be hard to decide between an Elise vs a Cayman S. I couldn't make up my min
 
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:11 PM
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I have both, 2006 Elise with Lotus stage 2 Exhaust and 2006 Cayman S with Remus Exhaust + Chrono

Both great cars, but serve two different purposes, the Elise is a track car that happens to be street legal, the Cayman S is a road car that happens to work well on the track.

If you want a street legal go kart go with the Lotus, is has limit space and nothing inside, and is noisy and rattles, But is a blast to drive anywhere.

If you want some comfort with your spirited drives, and some track time, Porsche is a great choice.

As far as top speed and zero to sixty times, money can make anything faster.
 

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