An older/second hand car will always hold its value better because somebody else has taken the initial hit in regards to depreciation this bit is no different from any other car.
Things get a bit different when it comes to options, touring packs are popular but add little come resale time, hard tops are great if the car is going to be used all year round, having said that, a dry and bright winters day with the roof off is hard to beat. I’ve never purchased a new Elise with a hardtop and those that came with a hardtop I’ve sold the hardtop on as a separate item, some people like them for track days but personally I think they are an expensive option which is also a bit of a faff to change over, and if your looking at newer cars the soft tops have got better over time.
Most newer cars come with a stereo, they’re pretty pointless over certain speeds this will certainly be the case with the factory supplied units and most prefer to listen to the soundtrack of the car, however there are a few out there that have upgraded the head unit to Knebworth* matching standards, adding huge amps and speakers so they can drive aimlessly around their local town centre playing a choice of crap music at ear damaging levels for the benefit of people within a 3 mile radius of their car, not only does this go against the Lotus ethos, it also makes you look a weapons grade bellend to boot, and should be avoided.
A/C is a real anomaly, I’ve just purchased my 10th Elise it’s the first I’ve ever had with air con, I was strongly advised to add it as an option, I don’t think it adds value at resale but it probably does make the car more desirable, I’m very much in the no A/C camp here, the car is a convertible take the roof off if it’s hot, but that’s from someone who has always been very aware of the cars power to weight ratio and in the end I figured that losing 25kg from my personal fat bastard framework and the addition of the extra bhp from my previous 111s the addition of a/c wouldn’t be noticeable and I can report it isn’t, although it is renowned for breaking so if your buying second hand check it works well.
The single biggest thing in regards to Lotus ownership is the mindset, don’t expect it to be on a par with German/Japanese build quality, it will have “issues” even new ones do, be prepared to have to take a screwdriver or spanner to it occasionally, if something squeaks or falls off be prepared to roll your eyes and sort it yourself, fast Audi and Fords will beat you off the lights and probably be faster too and every Chavved up shit bucket will want to race you. Your car will probably leak too. I’m not sure what age you are or your personal situation but they are not a fanny magnet, young boys will take a very keen interest in the car, girls will think your missing something in the trouser department and give you a very wide birth.
The above are just my opinion, but one thing is a given, get it onto a decent road or track and you won’t stop smiling!
Hope the above helps.
*age related content, google for information if required.