Standard Exige vs Upgraded Elise

Elise with upgrades Vs stock Exige

Hi folks:

Well, I’m back in Portugal after a quick visit to London.

Let em tell you… You can have a very good meal with good wine in Portugal, for the price of Happy meal, in London! Jesus!

Anyway, I went to Wilson’s in Chadwell Heath (Thank you Stephen for your invitation) to appreciate some Lotuses, as they virtually don’t exist in Portugal.

Saw a couple of S2 in Aubergine (beautiful), a red S2 Exige with a white stripe (beautiful) and a marvelous, wonderful, espectacular S1 Exige in Blue with Magnolia seats and a glass engine cover, that really took my heart away.

I loved it!

As I would like to finally get into the Lotus world until the end of year (probably by next summer) I’m now starting to consider several options more seriously, specially because it has taken a long time to get the money and I have to follow my head as well as my heart.

So, and although I love the S1 Exige, and considering a tight budget (�23k at the most), I would like some views on what’s the best car to buy, considering that 95% of the time, the car will be used on the road. I’m looking for a very fast road car, instead of track biased.

The options are:

1 - Stock S1 Exige (keep the extra dough)

2 - S1 Exige with some Nitrons and upgraded brakes

3 - S1 Exige with other upgrades (please specify which)

4 - S2 Elise with Honda NA or Duratec 220 engine conversions (please specify which), upgraded suspension, brakes and some aerodynamic tweeks (front spoiler).

5 - S2 Elise with Honda NA or Duratec 220 engine conversions (please specify which) and other upgrades (please specify which)

6 - S1 Elise with Audi 300 bhp or Honda NA engine conversions (please specify which), with upgraded suspension, brakes and some aerodynamic tweeks (Exige spoiler and S160 rear Wing).

7 - S1 Elise with Audi 300 bhp or Honda NA engine conversions (please specify which), and other upgrades (please specify which).

Is it easy to sell a VHPD?

Doesn’t the aircon work well in the S1?

Can’t I fit one of those fit-all AC systems on an S1 Exige?

Thank you all for your input. Help me clear my mind!

P.S: Mr. Pesky, I knew I shouldn’t have gone to the UK. Now I can only think of Lotus.

P.S.S: Hum… did also see some lovely TVR Cerberas… The engine music was WOW! But, I must think maintenance! Can’t afford to ship the car or engine to TVR!

Start with 1. You can always get Nitrons and brakes shipped over later. Yeah the A/c is pants, but I wouldn’t bother with an after market item.


I would start with 1. also - but remember that you will be buying second-hand and so many cars have had all the “basic” upgrades such as braided brake hoses, 2 part discs, SRF fluid, harnesses, 190 ECUs or Emeralds…the list goes on.

agree with steve and IDG

you might find an S1 in your budget that already has nice upgrades

Wouldn’t decent A/C be a sine qua non in Portugal; driving without it would be a nightmare, no?

Surely any sportcar racer has a much harder time in full overalls doing the equivilent of a jog for about an hour at a time? They get a bit of a draft, but no serious A/c.


Wouldn’t decent A/C be a > sine qua non > in Portugal; driving without it would be a nightmare, no?

That’s what i’m afraid of. It gets really hot in the summer (40�C+), so i’m not sure I can live with it.

Regarding choosing an option, I have some issues that bring some entropy to this decision.

1st - The car I’ll buy will be in my hands for a Very Long Time! This is because each time I import a car, there’s a tax to be paid to register the car with portuguese license. That Tax depends on the capacity of the engine and the car’s age, and for a 2000 car, it’s about �2500, and for more recent ones it can get up to �4500. That’s a lot of money and I won’t be paying that import tax in the next 8 years.

2nd - Maintenance issues. There’s no Lotus dealer in Portugal, and, because there are almost no Lotus in Portugal, I doubt that there’s a specializes Lotus mechanic.
So, where will make the car’s services?
I have a trusty mechanic that maintains my Alfa, but I don’t trust him to maintain a car such as an Exige or Elise.
Are Rover/MG mechanics capable of dealing with a VHPD?

3rd - When importing the car, it will be subject to a special MOT. In this MOT, they will record every car parameter to place it in the pink slip. Once these parameters are recorded, there’s very little to room for upgrades or changes. Power, gas emissions, ride height, width and length and tire sizes are just some of those parameters.

If that MOT registers the car as having 190 bhp, I can never make a later upgrade to an engine conversion. This is because the car can only have 5% fluctuations around that 190 bhp figure. The same goes for those emission figures and noise.

So you see, I’m in a big dilema. Should I go for the standard one, knowing that for the next 10 years I won’t be upgrading anything on the car, or on the other hand, should I bite the bullet and go for a conversion prior to import, be it in an Elise or Exige?

Opinions are very welcome.


I think the best upgrade I can recommend is a new country to live in …what you describe is crazy!

Perhaps the Honda or Audi engine conversion would be your best bet? Presumably any Honda or Audi qualified engineer would be able to service and order parts for these engines? Unfortunately, cars with these engines, unless one were to come up for sale second-hand, would be out of your price range. I hope you manage to get an Exige, though, Jose.