New buyer says hi.. S1 or S2?

Hi all, just signed up as hopefully sometime in the next few years i’ll be an exige owner.

Recently i’ve been thinking about moving on from my current car- and what i could move to; i’ve looked at the 350z, the new 370z and even considered the megane R26R. (Never got to drive the R26 tho)

For me most new cars i’ve driven just havent been raw or exciting enough- the 350/370z is great, its fairly fast but you get the impression of a fairly heavy car thats quite compromised- there would be loads of things i’d want to change from suspension, roll bars, exhaust mods, fixed back seats etc etc…

I look at the exige and I see a ready built road racer… which is what i want!

Now i’ve always prefered the ‘look’ of the S1 over the S2, however the car would be a daily driver and the rarity of the S1 seems to mean prices are similar to the Exige S (S2).

I’d be interested to hear opinions from people who’ve owned/driven both the S1 and Exige S S2 moderatly hard on the road, Pros/cons etc.

Is the S1 that much more focussed than the S2 that it makes up for any useability issues?.. are there even any useability issues with the S1 or is it all heresay from people that have only driven the S2?
I dont mind a bit a bass-head on long journeys, i always take the back route anyway!

Lastly whats the non-supercharged exige s2 like?
I’ve always thought that if a manufacturer brings out a car with more power then its a sign that the standard car is woefully underpowered?

Thanks all!

I don’t view the S1 as a viable daily driver - it is far to compromised, for this sort of use the S2 is far better. Having said that of course there are people who could live with it, after all some people can live with a Caterham or motorbike as daily transport!

I would also question the reliability of the VHPD in the S1 if it was clocking up big miles everyday. The S1 is a road legal track car, the S2 is an Elise with a hardtop and more track focussed suspension.

All factory Lotus’ lack power. I’ve never driven an ‘S’ but clearly it will be faster than an NA car, the only option is to try them. Personally, I have always found the NA cars quick enough and it is their ability to entertain which is the core appeal, rather than their ability to dispatch 0-100 in under 10 seconds!


Thanks Neal, i take it from your profile pic that you own an S1? What specifically about it makes in impractical over the S2? Is it engine relability, noise, suspension hardness or something else?

The car i currently own has hard suspension and currently R888’s, so i’m used to a little compromise- that said it is a daily driver.

I dont think i could handly a caterham for all year round daily duties, i need at a minimum the following in terms of practicality;

  • a roof!
  • carry 2 people
  • hold a large bag with ~weeks worth of clothes

I guess i’m also asking is the S2 hardcore enough?.. or is it all mouth and no trowsers? (Not suggesting it is, just trying to get a feel for the character of both cars before i go to a dealer or drive any private sales)

Does the S1 have the small boot behind the engine like the S2?

I run a S1 and do not have any issues. It is loud, getting in and out is not the easiest, it is always too hot (even in winter with the A/C on), it leaks water on your right arm when it rains, I can’t hear the radio, my phone or any passengers and even with Bi-Xenon headlights it is difficult to see at night :confused:.

That said it is my second favourite car (behind the Elan Sprint) and all of the above is not an issue. I much prefer using the Exige than the company car that does do all of the above correctly. I never really consider the down sides as everything about the S1 is perfect. Even the fact that getting in is not the easiest makes it special. The looks, the sound, the feel of the Exige can not be bettered (IMO).

You have to live for now so why should every road trip be comfortable but boring when it can be time best spent in an S1 Exige.

That said I am slightly mad :wink: according to my family who with the exception of my son prefer a comfy 7 seater :blush:

Why do people think there is such a big difference in “hardcoreness” between the S1 and S2 ? Why is the S1 so much more hardcore ? I have owned an S1 exige 190 VHPD and currently drive a honda’d S2 elise. They are very similar and offer the same level of road ability, from the driving seat they feel almost exactly the same to me. Im not sure what this big difference is …

Any elise/exige variant is the same ;o)


Your Elise is based upon the Rover engined spec Elise, not the Toyota one with ABS etc, etc, etc.

There is a marked difference in “feel” between the S1 & S2 Exiges.

OP needs to try both S1 & S2, & decide for himself which fits his purposes the best.

I stand corrected …

Can you describe the “feel” difference for me as I havent driven an S2 exige with ABS, etc. Does it just feel heavier or not as responsive ? Is it all down to the engine characteristics ?

Thanks for the info btw.


I’m biased - best try one yourslf… Chris Neils? :slight_smile:

I test drove an S2 Exige when they were 1st released, placed an order for one.

Then took an S1 out, cancelled S2 order and bought an S1.

Can use S1 as daily driver, one of the most comfortable cars ive driven, although ive thrown quite a few � at mine, the honda realy does take it to another lvl.

Get an S1, you know you want to…

…and the winner for understatement of the day goes to… :wink:

The S1 crowd seem pretty sure… no replies from the pro-S2 lot yet :slight_smile:

Thats because we are comfortable with our purchasing decision :wink:

HaHa nice… So what made the S2 a better buy for you Damon?

The S2 is a better day to day car in my opinion, but the downside is it has lost a little of the raw appeal the S1 had. If you get the right options on an S2 then big mileage is not an issue (air con is a must) however each addition takes some of the rawness away due to the extra weight, you can however use talent enhanceing power upgrade to make up for the slightly lardy S2 whilst keeping the extra comfort.
It realy is a personnel thing, my best advice is to drive both. however you might start with an S2 and then migrate to an S1 later on but that would only be a more of a second car. It doesn’t really matter what model of S2 you get as you can now add the required talent enhancers to get it to the top end of the performance envelope, when you either A have the cash or B feel the need for more power…
Overall there is NO wrong choice they are both great cars that will make you smile every time you drive them even if they break or drip water on your arm when it rains :wink:

I guess for me an S2 owner between the S1 & S2 the compromises seem of little issue for road use. I say this not having driven one but think on road the dfference is smaller then on track.

Btw I enjoy the cam change of my na engine but hate the lack of torque below 5750. Having said that I hate the noise of a sc but would love the extra power…On track with the correct setup (and driver ey) there’s not much between the two…S2’s I’m on about now but on road the sc is the way faward I think.

Must dash enjoying the Costa Del Sol and it’s beer :slight_smile:

Edited for accuracy…

Mr Pesky is quite right; you have to drive them both. I was all up for buying a S2 Exige even though I preferred the look and residual values of the S1. I went to have a test drive ready to buy an orange S2 and it just happened that there was a S1 there so I gave it a go. I was surprised that it was actually quite useable. The S1 and S2 are very different in my opinion, its not to say one is better then the other, it�s just that for me the S1 ticked all the boxes. Form a financial point of view I think the S1 Exige is now at a point where it will grow in value and not depreciate. This helps offset the running costs. If you interested I can share my first years cost with you which included about 8000 miles.

I guess the other question is that for 20k you could get either;

Exige S
S1 Honda

Now aside from the depreciation i’m guessing a Honda S1 would be all good; a fair bit faster in a straight line than an S2 and even more fun in the corners… with more reliability to boot… hurmm.

What about to sit in, apart from the S1 getting really hot are they pretty similar places to go about the business of driving in?

Edited for accuracy… [/quote]

Oi!!! I can only get comfy shoes on atm!!! :slight_smile: