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Jonathan E

Is it time for a change? You'll need 5 minutes!

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Posted (edited)

 

S2 111s or S3 220/Sprint

 

I currently own an S2111s its the latest in a long line of Elises which have included many different variants both S1 and S2, some purchased brand new, some used. April this year was the 20th anniversary of my first Elise and with my current car being an 02 I thought I’d take a look at what the latest incarnation is like with a view to a possible new purchase.

 

I’m no driving God, and I’m certainly not a motoring journalist, I’m just someone who has a passion for Lotus cars and in particular the Elise so I thought I’d pass on my thoughts.

Some might agree, some will no doubt take me to task, the following are just my opinions on the cars. My Elise these days is used on the road, mostly in the more secluded areas of Mid/North Wales, but we also use it for holidays in the UK and occasionally Europe, sadly track days are few and far between at the moment, but I’ve done a good few over the years.

 

First impression of this Sprint is how good it looks in Exige Orange, the carbon fibre pack, which gives you carbon front  access panels, seats, roll bar, and bootlid are added to help keep the weight down. I liked the rollbar cover, and access panels, but have to say the bootlid gives the impression of trying a bit too hard, I also worry about it’s longevity dropping it from a very high level being the unformed way to close the boot as opposed to pushing down on it, and the seats although they are extremely comfortable the top of the headrest curves at quite an angle back into the car, I’m 6’1” and if I relaxed back into the seat I found the top edge cut into the back of my head, this would worry me  in the event of an impact even at low speed, having said that when in a normal driving position the seats are very comfortable and feel wider than those in my 111s.

The car also has the black pack which basically gives you black wing mirrors and a black transom, something that I’ve never been fond of, it looks better on the Sprint than some others but wouldn’t be on my wish list, I also like the “old” 4 rear light set up more too.

 

My 111s had a full suspension refresh less than 5k miles ago, I went with quantum zeros from Elise parts and I’m very happy with them, the Sprint uses Bilsteins and you notice the difference in ride straight away, the car rides out small potholes and rough surfaces really well, I’m not sure if that’s due to the springs that have been used or the sound pack that this car had fitted, perhaps this is something Lotus have done to make up for today’s poorly maintained tarmac, either way it irons out rough surfaces and small potholes like no Elise I’ve ever driven, even to the point that I could relax my “pothole eagle eye” by about 30%, that buttock clenching clang as you hit a missed pothole has somehow disappeared.

A 5:30am blast along Military Road Isle of Wight also gave an indication as to how the car handles when you get chance to push it a bit, I’ll run out of talent way before the Elise does, but happy to report that it’s everything you expect in the ride and handling dept and loved the fatter 195’s on the front. Oh, and those wheels, no longer available apparently which is such a shame.

 

Which brings us to performance. I’ve got to say that I was a bit disappointed with the Sprints performance, I don’t doubt it’s probably quicker than my 111s but somehow the refined way it gets to motorway speeds detracts from the sense of occasion I’ve come to expect from Elise’s, to the uninitiated it still feels like your going very quickly even at low speeds, perhaps I was expecting the Sprint to be considerably quicker but it’s not, or at least it doesn’t feel like it is, and that was a let down for me, it’s here that I noticed the added weight more than anywhere too although if I’m honest the extra weight in the car is noticeable everywhere when you sit and think about it, from its pothole riding abilities to the Golfesque “Thunk” of the door as you get in and out, it does make for a quality feel though, okay not quite a Golf but you know what I mean.

 

The interior of the Sprint really is a plush place to be, only the ribbed floor plates in front of the seats remain uncovered giving a glimpse of the aluminium chassis, everything else is covered and adorned with alcantara and leather all stitched with body coloured orange stitching, new cubby holes in the front dash are a great idea, with a USB port in the passenger side. The exposed gear sector mechanism is probably the most noticeable addition to the interior, I think it looks fantastic and is something that adds to the already talked about quality feel, the gear change less so, its certainly improved but still not in the same league as an MX5.

I thought I’d miss the iconic Stack speedo set up but the rev counter and speedo are clear and nicely done with an lcd temp readout that can be scrolled through to give outside temperature, speed kph, water temp etc, and also includes what seems to be a more accurate fuel gauge.

The passenger footrest has gone! much to the annoyance of my 5’2” passenger as too has the drivers footrest, and Lotus please please sort out some decent indicator stalks, like all previous incarnations they feel like they are made of cheese and will break at any moment, such a let down on what is otherwise a fantastic place to be, and if you spec cruise control there’s no chance of chopping them off and replacing with aluminium stalks like I and so many others have on previous cars. This Sprint had a bluetooth headunit which is £400 cost option and A/C, neither of which I’d spec.

 

Finally, The Sprint is no longer available as a new purchase you have to go for a 220 Sport and to spec it to the same level as this Sprint your looking in the region of £52000, my reason for taking the car for an extended test drive was to see if the 220 SC was for me as the Sprint is basically the same car.

 

The Sprint is a fantastic car, its more refined than my car, probably quicker(slightly) certainly rides todays roads better, out of the box its better built too, so many things I really liked about it, yet there are some bits I didn’t like, and some of those can’t be specced out.

 

All in all, was the Sprint a better car than my 111s the answer is yes, it is, is it £20/30k better than my 111s then no I have to say it isn’t. If I didn’t already own an Elise I’d be buying a 220 Sport or better still I’d buy this Sprint, as it is I’m going to have to turn the Eagle eye pothole detector back up and have to put up with clenching the old bum cheeks occasionally.

 

 

 

Many thanks to Michael Taylor at Snows Lotus Hedge End who arranged the test drive and patiently answered my one thousand questions.

 

IMG_0497.jpg

Edited by Jonathan E

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Good review!  I suppose it goes to show how good a car the s2 111S is ....

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Great write up Jon and I'm sure the sprint is a great car and the lightest in the current Lotus range, however as you said is it £20/£30K more that your current model, definitely not.

 

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Thanks for posting Jon and very interesting thoughts. At any stage during your time with the car did you say to yourself ‘I’m going to purchase this’ and then change your mind during the experience or where you not convinced at any stage?

Kevin

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The only answer I can give to your question Kevin is yes and no. There were bits that I absolutely loved, and I guess the bits I wasn’t so happy with could always  be changed but then that would mean more money. 

We had the car from early Sunday morning until Tuesday afternoon and I think if it had been an hour long test drive I’d have been thinking “I’m having one of these” but having it as long as we did gave me chance to see that the differences weren’t really that epic, hence my summing up in regards the cost to change.

Lets face it, I could spend 10k on my car and end up with a totally different animal?

One thing I will say is that Sue wasn’t really very impressed with the car initially, but when we went to give it back she did comment that she’d really come to like it.

Of course there’s still a 250 Cup to try🙄😉and I really did like that Orange....111s in Exige Orange Hmmmmm🤔

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The 250 Cup is very similar to the 220, I doubt you would notice much difference unless you got them both onto a track and were moving at sufficient speed to get the aero working on the Cup. However,  love it or hate it the body kit on the Cup makes it look very different.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, duncx said:

The 250 Cup is very similar to the 220, I doubt you would notice much difference unless you got them both onto a track and were moving at sufficient speed to get the aero working on the Cup. However,  love it or hate it the body kit on the Cup makes it look very different.

 

 

I love the way the cup looks and of course it really is a track day/competition machine. Plus the fact that the front splitter would last about 2 minutes around by me😢

Edited by Jonathan E

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Thanks for the write up Jon. With your past cars and years of experience, its good to get a clear view of where the elise is today.

i often think of swopping back to the elise from my exige, but can never see a modern incarnation that i like more to look at as they seem a little sanitised, and find myself 

wishing i had bought your yellow S1 when you sold it, as that is proberbly the car i would want, with a few comfort upgrades for my aging bones.

that orange car seems to be riding quite high, i assume this also helps the ride comfort, but detracts from its looks, and i am not a fan of the led running lights.

it will be interesting to see what happens with the new model range that follows the 130 hypercar, hybrid and pricey or internal combustion and lightweight trickery.

I think i will keep mine for another 4/5 years and see what exciting route lotus takes, if Geeleys efforts at Volvo are a signpost it could be good

 

richbk

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Not sure on the ride height, it was only slightly higher than my Elise and that’s running around 1115mm at the front, and to be fair it was a close run thing getting it on the ferry, certainly wouldn’t have got mine on there.

That’s another reason behind my holding off Rich, knowing Lotus they’ll chuck out a new Elise from under the radar, let’s face it nobody had any idea about the S2 Elise when it suddenly appeared at dealers and they denied all knowledge of the S2 Exige and then suddenly there it was. All media coverage has been about the hyper car and that’s great but they keep banging on about how they need to sell more cars and the current line up isn’t going to do that, I’d love to see a new Elan, a hybrid, something to compete with the MX-5, I really think Lotus could pull that off, it wouldn’t surprise me if they haven’t got something up their sleeve, dealer is saying two to two and a half years before we see a new Elise, I’m not convinced.

All this talk of what’s going to happen next certainly makes a change from wondering if they’ll survive.

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Interesting write up - I've not driven any of the modern Elise's, but the Cup220/250 is definitely on my radar, but they're just so damn expensive!

If trackdays aren't really on the menu, have you considered either the Exige V6 or Evora?

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I’m not interested in the Exige or the Evora tbh. I want to have the roof off so that excludes the Evora and we use the car as a high days/holidays car, V6 Exige is too big and too thirsty for my purposes.

Im off to look at another 220 Elise tomorrow, for research purposes😉

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If i had some money i would have a cup 250 tomorrow. Would i let my S2 rattley old 190 go. Never  lol. More modern Lotus are almost too good at what they do as daft as that sounds. I like trying to wring as much out of the old un as possible. It would be nice to relax occasionally though   :)

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Perfect scenario Martin, keep the old one and buy a new one to go with it👍 Sadly I don’t think I’ll ever be in that situation. Lucky to have one, it’s certainly something lots of people never achieve..... we don’t want everyone owning a Lotus🤣

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