Okay, so here goes, a summary of my first proper drive in #138;
Woke up at 7:00 am, and left the house at 7:45 am - the first step was to familiarise myself with the lights (switches) and hazards. No rearview mirror to adjust, but the N/S door mirror needed a bit of an adjustment, so with no power mirrors, and with the rest of the household still in bed, I did a best guess setting and when I got back in the driver's seat it was perfect! Good start...
Eased out of the garage, and then had to do a 180-degree maneuver to get out on to our driveway and then through the gates, whilst having to squeeze past my wife's car in the process. No problem as I was quite used to that maneuver back in the days of the 964RS, but I had forgotten what a workout it is without power steering.
Headed through the 30 mph zone through our area and on then to the A40 for a quick sprint up to the Beaconsfield exit, at which point I thought I will continue on the A40 through Denham, Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross....on to Oxford. Bad decision since there was road works, too many 30 mph zones, and this route had quite short stretches where I could exercise #138 to learn its abilities, but since I was learning about its characteristics that didn't matter (remember this is my first drive in a Lotus, let alone and Exige). However, the NVH became all too familiar when I cast my mind back to the days I used to take the same route in the 964RS and 993RS, and the numerous Porsches in between - the last run on this route was in the Clio V6 255, but that was around 4 years ago!
The 'Bucking Bronco' that the 964RS was back in the day is certainly back in the guise of #138, and, boy, am I pleased about it!
However, I did notice a touch of understeer, especially under acceleration as if the front end is losing grip - it was bone dry, so need to check how old the (front) tyres are, and if they need changing and if that doesn't improve matters, then maybe further set up will be required. A trip to Centre Gravity may be in order, but probably in the Spring since it is unlikely I will get many days to really understand #138 abilities in the remaining months of 2020.
Took a break at Oxford services and whilst sipping a cappuccino, admired the lines of #138, its proportions and its stature, all of which are absolutely perfect, and boy am I glad I didn't go for an Exige S3. I first started looking at LF1s, which looked quite striking, but the bloat and increase in weight bothered me, and chatting to WillB further convinced me that the Exige S2 was the right Lotus for me. Happy to say it is, and the RGB is absolutely perfect.
The journey back home was much better since I punched a route into the satnav to get me home by avoiding motorways, so drove via Thame and Chalfont St Giles, back to Denham, and then home. No road works, and not much traffic, though closer to home the traffic started to build up. Pronounced understeer was felt rounding one particular roundabout. However, the Ohlins seem to absorb the bumps and undulations well in that the car never felt too stiff, and I never felt like losing control when hitting a bump or dip at speed.
All in all a 2.5-hour drive of close 90 miles, with a 20-minute stopover at Oxford services. Must say it was very enjoyable, and I look forward to meeting up with fellow Exige owners and go for drives come spring/summer 2021, and, hopefully, by then, this dreaded pandemic would have eased, or be a thing of the past.
Lastly, is the gear shift meant to be stiff? This is the stiffest gear shift I have ever experienced. Is this normal? I mean the gears engage, and I have the Powerflex engine mount inserts and ATF90 oil in the box, but there is no way I could do quick shifts as I was used to in the Porsches , and especially the Honda S2000, which had the best gearbox of any car I have driven so far.
So, here are some photographs as requested, taken at Oxford services - taken with my mobile, so not the best, and it was rather cloudy, and #138 is still covered in road grime following its journey from Yorkshire yesterday;
Sorry no video footage as, in my haste to get going, I forgot the GoPro.
Can't wait to take #138 out again - hopefully the weather will be kind next weekend as well.