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My Owners Diary September 2000

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5th September 2000

Well it looks like my Rover 200vi is depreciating rather quicker than the Elise prices are dropping. List price when new was £17k2 and I paid £15k4 (thanks to an employee related discount). Nearly three years later and I'll be lucky to get £7k for it. The price of buying a new car I guess.

The Scooby has now done nearly 3000 miles and I can confirm that it is comfortably quicker than my Elise was, but only about half as much fun to drive (and that's not a bad thing). Acceleration from a standing start is probably lower than the Elise up to about 50mph, since a smooth gear change is difficult with the transmission shunt and turbo lag. In anything but dry conditions the sheer amount of traction that the Scooby has would win through. It is just so hard to spin the wheels under acceleration, even with 215bhp. With only 120bhp, the Elise could do it easily. Above 60mph and acceleration is awesome. It would take a Sport 160 to keep up, and even then it would be close. The downside of the Scooby is that its bulk simply can't be hidden and it's a fight to keep it on course compared to the delicate control required to direct the Elise. To be honest it isn't the speed and acceleration of the Elise that I miss, but the driver involvement. You can have much more fun in an Elise at much lower speeds, and on the road that is important. Also noticable is the transmission loss in the Scooby. Take your foot of the accelerator and it slows down noticably quicker than any two-wheel drive car.

The brakes of the Scooby are better than the Elises at actually stopping the car but don't have the same feedback and you end feeling the car stopped itself rather than you having much to do with it. The funny thing is that take it on to a track and the brakes would fade after a couple of laps, whereas the Elise would go on all day with me driving. Having said that I've had two emergency situations to date and I was glad to be in the Subaru. For a fraction of a 'brown trouser moment' I was sure I was going to hit the idiot reversing up the country lane towards me (in the middle of the road). I was amazed that we lost 80mph so quickly and we managed to pull about up 20' short of this idiot, giving him time to look in his mirror and stop before he hit my stationary car. Despite the massive amounts of rubber left on the road I had to smile at him. Kim had a bit more to say. I'm pretty sure the Elise would have stopped in the same distance if I'd managed not to lock the wheels but, I'm also sure it would have taken 5 years of my life in the process. Booked the Scooby and myself in for another skidpan session to experience life on the edge of traction. Can't do it safely on the road.

I actually find it hard to drive the Scooby quickly. This is usually because I've got my children on board but, that aside, its because it's such a relaxed drive. I find myself cruising at slower speeds than in my Rover. It's only on overtaking that you floor it and look down to find you've just passed a car at 120mph. I then find myself looking in the rear-view mirror rather too much, just to confirm that I am actually travelling at warp speed relative to the rest of the world. The power delivery reminds me of the Turbo Technics supercharged Elise. One nice long wave of intense acceleration and torque. If there's a better way of getting a family across country quickly and comfortably, I like to drive it.

So what import deals are there on Elises at the moment? A standard Elise from Denmark costs £19,375 including the VAT and a Sport 160 can be had for £24,710. Lotus finance are offering 0% finance deals on the standard Elise. Wonder if that applies to an imported car?

I see Lotus have finally updated their web site. It's only taken two years! Lets hope they update it more frequently in the future and actually have some up to date product information on it.

19th September 2000

Lotus have taken £3000 of the price of the Exige. If you ask you can get £1500 off of a standard Elise instead of the 0% finance. People that have ordered 111S cars are getting Sport 160's for the same money. What with the petrol crisis last week, the average 28mpg of the Elise looks very good compared to the Subaru's performance to dateRemote site.

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