RE: Lotus Exige S2: PH Carpool

RE: Lotus Exige S2: PH Carpool

Monday 5th March

Lotus Exige S2: PH Carpool

This PHer's Exige had done 3,000 miles in five years, and then 2,000 miles in his first six weeks - bravo!



Name: Kieran Lee
Car: Lotus Exige S2 (N/A Touring)
Owned since: July 2017
Previously owned: Peugeot 206 1.1, Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch 1.7 CDTi, BMW 335i (E92), Porsche 924S, Honda Civic Type R (EP3), BMW 540i Sport (E39), BMW M135i (Fiancée's car and for errand running)

Why I bought it:
"After accumulating six points after being caught at a slightly silly speed trying to get back to watch a Six Nations game (awful excuse, I know), I realised that driving a reasonably fast (in a straight line) car on UK roads wasn't really viable. Six months later the E39 died when an elderly gentleman emerged from a side road unexpectedly and I decided that it was time for a change.

"With a likely need to upgrade the flat in a few years, a wedding on the horizon and a new A2 licence in my hands to cover commuting, the world was my oyster. I decided I wanted something a little less refined, something entertaining on the road at lower speeds and a little more capable on track, but I had a few conditions: fun, obviously, but ideally without chronic depreciation and with reasonable running costs. Why leave savings in the bank when you can drive them?

"A friend with an S1 Elise planted the idea of a Lotus in my head and I scoured the classifieds, ruling out most TVRs on running cost grounds. Being the powerfully built director type I knew I'd need an S2 for reasons of accessibility, but hadn't fully decided between Elise or Exige; I was, however, fairly set on a Toyota-engined car to avoid HGF ribbing and because I was one of the few that liked the power delivery in my old Civic Type R. Unfortunately, I was limited by budget: I could stretch to either a mint N/A 190 Exige or a supercharged Elise, and the SC I loved the sight and sound of was a good £5k over budget. Although my man maths is fairly good, the gap was still a step too far for me, especially when it amounted to only 30-50hp (and a very nice whine). It was a dilemma, but surprisingly Exige insurance costs were significantly below an Elise's and I far preferred the shape, so the decision was made.


"As is always the way, my Exige was the first and last car I looked at. Thankfully it was a good one, common issues had been rectified (the air-con pipe and paint crazing, mainly), the bodywork was mint and the splitter and spoiler had been sprayed in the body colour, something I far prefer. Despite covering minimal mileage over the past five years (and less than 3,000 per annum prior) it had been serviced annually at a reputable specialist, service items were nearly new and the previous owner was anal for the warm up procedure and car cleaning - very good signs.

"Lastly (and most importantly) the colour: Magnetic Blue is fairly rare and in my opinion suits the car perfectly; the last thing I wanted was a black, grey or silver car - I'd had enough of them!"

What I wish I'd known:
"That buying a low, fibreglass car would make me too paranoid to leave the car in a supermarket and that any food would be cooked on the journey home; that a standard size numberplate can't be mounted to the front without trying to dislodge itself at each speed hump or undulation in the road (even with a smaller plate you still have to be very careful with ground clearance); and that even when using the front seat it can be difficult to fit a full set of golf clubs in the car!

"My other intention for the car was to start doing a few more track days; however after testing at Brands Hatch showed static readings of 101.6dB (pre-cam change) and 103.3dB (post cam change), I am limited by noise restrictions at a number of circuits!"


Things I love:
"The smile it puts on my face when you reach an open flowing road, the surge in power above 6,200rpm, the pops on each upchange and the non-stop gurgling on the overrun when you ease off the throttle courtesy of the Larini exhaust system. The car actively encourages you to drive a gear or two lower than you should be.

"Also the reactions you get when out and about. People let you out of junctions, don't get angry when they're overtaken and kids (plus those who are still kids at heart) often stop and stare at it."

Things I hate:
"There is very little I dislike beyond trying to get out with dignity, although there are several slight annoyances. The glue used in Norfolk isn't up to much; despite being stored in a dry garage I've had a piece of interior trim fall off, landing on my head whilst driving down the A21. Also the Alcantara across the instrument binnacle is bridging and the headlining is beginning to sag, but they are all small and easily rectifiable.

"It's also not too waterproof when it rains, the boot leaks a little (another area that will get some attention this summer), the windows drop a bit despite regular adjustment and the front nearside indicator, after getting caught in a monsoon on the M40 (not fun on R888s), seems to have swallowed a lot of water. Again, all easily fixable and fairly minor annoyances for a weekend car.

"Lastly, the fuel gauge lies. Stopping on the side of a Belgian road with a quarter of a tank remaining required a push to level ground (the fuel pickup appears to be on the offside of the tank...)"


Costs:
"Nothing beyond petrol, tax and insurance. The small re-trimming jobs should be solved by a local trimmer for a relatively modest outlay and a basic service is less than £200 at a Lotus specialist - thank you Toyota!"

Where I've been:
"The car had barely covered 3,000 miles in the five years prior to my ownership but covered 2,000 in my first six weeks. A week after collection I took it to Oxfordshire for the HPC young drivers day and a week later on a tour of the Belgian battlefields as part of the Passchendaele remembrance celebrations. Beyond that it's been used for regular Sunday Services and early morning runs, although it is regularly used to take me to the golf course as well when the sensible car is unavailable.

"I also try and give a little back; the car has been on display as part of the Roundel Run show at Biggin Hill air show, been opened up to disadvantaged children at a school in Surrey, and I use it regularly to give regular passenger rides on behalf of a charity supporting adults with SEN. Why not? People can't really damage the car as there is very little that hasn't already fallen off - might as well make somebody's day!"


What next?
"To carry on using it as it should be used, in all weathers. However, I am rapidly approaching my annual insurance mileage limit!

"The car is due a service and MOT in the spring. Forced induction/K20 swaps have always appealed, however with the condition of the car being so good I can't justify it currently; it would be a shame to potentially ruin what is such a straight car!"

 


If you would like to feature your car in PH Carpool, please email carpool@pistonheads.com

Author
Discussion

JackReacher

Original Poster:

1,202 posts

145 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
I had a magnetic blue NA just like this, although a 56 plate. Loved the colour but found most lotus “enthusiasts” didn’t rate it, preferring the bright colours or black. I’d also come from an EP3 so really enjoyed the nature of the engine and work it required. Think I sold it for 18k in 2012, probably risen in value since then.

Number9

61 posts

133 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Love it! Drove 700 miles on the day I bought mine!
And they are surprisingly practical - I managed to fit a child's sofa and a chalk board in the passenger seat on one occasion. Granted I had my face squashed against the drivers window and struggled to change gear, or breathe, but that's beside the point

lewisf182

1,725 posts

118 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Always had a soft spot for these!
When I bought my BMW 130i in 2013 you could get them for just under sub £20k and I was very tempted but couldn't justify the extra outlay over my £7.5k alternative purchase. what a mistake as those cars are now about £25k minimum...... gutted! will get into one one day though although the stories of water ingress etc put me off a bit as it would be a daily driver.

This looks fantastic in the blue as well.

b14

540 posts

118 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
I also had a 56 plate n/a Exige in Magnetic Blue - it isn't that rare a colour! Sold mine in December 2010 with 26k on the clock for 18k. It was a great car, one of the most reliable I've ever owned and wish I'd never sold it, but needs must at the time. One day I'll get another one.

unsprung

1,975 posts

54 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all



Looks sinister and a bit like a stealth bomber in that dark blue.

On a random Saturday you might see a dozen or more Elise / Exige cars, en masse, zipping up the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles.
Advertisement

JackReacher

Original Poster:

1,202 posts

145 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
b14 said:
I also had a 56 plate n/a Exige in Magnetic Blue - it isn't that rare a colour! Sold mine in December 2010 with 26k on the clock for 18k. It was a great car, one of the most reliable I've ever owned and wish I'd never sold it, but needs must at the time. One day I'll get another one.
Did you sell it to a specialist independent lotus trader? Was it running T1R tyres and 2bular exhaust? That is roughly when I bought mine, so possibly your old car. I only kept it just over a year, had to sell to fund a house purchase.

Snubs

670 posts

69 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Owner said:
I also try and give a little back; the car has been on display as part of the Roundel Run show at Biggin Hill air show, been opened up to disadvantaged children at a school in Surrey, and I use it regularly to give regular passenger rides on behalf of a charity supporting adults with SEN. Why not? People can't really damage the car as there is very little that hasn't already fallen off - might as well make somebody's day!
Fantastic attitude thumbup

gofasterrosssco

954 posts

166 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all

Always wanted one, especially in that colour (with some 240r wheels..).

Keep telling myself I will, but struggle with the man-maths considering my VX220 SC is appreciably quicker in a straight line / out of bends, and I've already fitted mostly Exige S2 bits (Bilstein suspension, similar wheels, ABS upgrade, geo), meaning I'd be paying mostly for the body..

chrissyh_1988

17 posts

3 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Congratulations on the new car... I have to say all of this sounds very familiar. After years of lusting after an S2 exige, I finally bought my own one last November... A 2006 Exige Cup 240 in Starlight black, number 17 of 55 made. I have to say that the car is everything I wanted it to be and more, and I cannot wait until the summer. Positives, its VERY fast, sounds insane, amazing steering feel, and drives like a proper little racing car. Negatives, I spent all of my money on it as I thought it would be a good investment, but now I'm scared s**tless of parking it anywhere incase somebody scratches it, and I won't leave it out in the rain. Being that anal isn't fun.

I too have just done my first track at Brands Hatch, and was just below the noise limit (mine has a 2bular exhaust)! I actually got black flagged on circuit at one point for noise, but then the car seemed fine after that... so I must have set off the noise limiters with all the exhaust popping and banging. The car was absolutely mega though!

andy_s

12,871 posts

189 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
"... People can't really damage the car as there is very little that hasn't already fallen off - might as well make somebody's day!" Fantastic!

Lost my Elise a few years ago and starting to look now for either an Exige SC or - left-field - a Europa S; I loved mine while I had it - you wore it rather than got in it and the purity feeling of 'you+engine+tyres' has not been equalled since.

Owlwood

173 posts

86 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Surprised about that colour not being so popular. I think the S2 looks great. Thats definitely the one I would have.

Cool to read about using the car for charity work, class act.

Europa1

6,427 posts

118 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
andy_s said:
"... People can't really damage the car as there is very little that hasn't already fallen off - might as well make somebody's day!" Fantastic!

Lost my Elise a few years ago and starting to look now for either an Exige SC or - left-field - a Europa S; I loved mine while I had it - you wore it rather than got in it and the purity feeling of 'you+engine+tyres' has not been equalled since.
I guess it's a classic case of horses for courses. I loved my Europa S, but it was my daily driver so I appreciated the additional creature comforts and the more usable boot. It was still indecently rapid on the right road when the mood took me, and I really liked the looks of it - looked better in the flesh than photographs.

cib24

599 posts

83 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Great looking car. How much quicker is the S220/S240 than the N/A car that you own?

And to anyone else out there, have you driven the S2 Exige back-to-back with the S3 Exige S or Sport 350? How much of a difference is there in how they drive? I know the S2 will be more raw but is the S3 worth the extra £15-20k?

dc2rr07

897 posts

161 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Owlwood said:
Surprised about that colour not being so popular. I think the S2 looks great. Thats definitely the one I would have.

Cool to read about using the car for charity work, class act.
+1

Leggy

739 posts

152 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Congratulations on your purchase.
Great to see you’re using it as intended.
Too many being garaged and polished but not driven as scared to put any miles on them.

SidewaysSi

4,278 posts

164 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
I love Lotuses and I very nearly bought an S2 Exige 5 years ago when I was purchasing.

In the end I personally prefered the lighter, less refined S1 so went with this:



Have probably spent Exige money on it since to get it to a spec I wanted.

A well set up car is a true joy. Mine overseers everywhere when asked!


Sion111R

30 posts

22 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all


Your exige looks fantastic in that colour. Time for a gratuitous photo of my two Elise.
Like the author, these two get used. Been to the Pyrenees and the Nurburgring in the S1, not to mention all countries in between of course. N. Wales is a decent Sunday run for me and it does track days whenever possible (See you at Oulton Park at the end of the month?) The 111R is supercharged and a completely different drive. Fantastic and quick with a capital F, but it doesn’t have the purity of feel of the S1. Went up to Scotland in the 111R this summer, bit boomy on the M6, but what memories zipping around the West Coast, roof off - and then back on again quickly!
The plan was always to sell the S1 after buying the 111R. But I can’t do it. And I am running out of explanations for my wife as to why I “need” two. So sadly, the 111R have to go.

warrenlovescars

6 posts

15 months

Monday 5th March
quotequote all
Hmmm, I can’t say I’ve seen many Magnetic Blue NA Exiges, there’s a late Supercharged 09’ plate one for sale in the classifieds now, but having owned x3 S2 exiges myself since they came out in 2004, this is definitely a defining year for them, I’ve never seen so few for sale on PH.

Not only is Magnetic Blue a rare colour to see on a NA Exige, but how many 07 plate NA cars do you
See now? Mine is a black 07 plate with FBW Throttle and LED lights, and I’d keep hold of it just for its rarity. I’ve not seen many NA cars built beyond 2005. 99% of cars beyond that model year are supercharged.

kiethton

9,972 posts

110 months

Tuesday 6th March
quotequote all
Thanks all, I really love the thing

The colour quote was more to do with what was offer for sale at the time, beyond a tatty Laser Blue car all were black/grey/silver.

Sure you'll all see it at various Sunday services over the next few years

Jual Mass Flywheel

2,477 posts

85 months

Tuesday 6th March
quotequote all
Colour really suits it and I agree about too many silver/grey ones. And I have two beemers, one silver, the other grey!! But my Aero is chilli red metallic............. : )