Alternatives to the Elise Considered While Waiting
I originally created this page out of frustration because the Elise was not available here in the United States. Now that it is here, this page is retained for historical purposes. Some of the cars here are considered by some at Lotus as the real competition.
Some of the cars displayed here are in jest. Some are not even being built, others are not imported to the States, and still others are very expensive. These cars may appeal to the enthusiast who covets the Elise.
While awaiting the arrival of the Elise, we bought a new minivan. It never occurred to me that it is the identical color as the Elise I have on order, Storm Titanium! I ordered the Elise with the Sport Package (LSS) and the wheels even look the same! My cars will match!
The Enjoy is a concept developed by Pininfarina and is a open wheeled, race car during the day and a normal car with fenders during the evening.
Type 119 (Lotus)
The Lotus 119 was built for the Goodwood Speed Trials, run similar to an event held for years here in the US called the Soap Box Derby. There are more pictures as well as a couple of articles about "active mass distribution". I am sure I could import this car.
Ford introduced the GT (retro) at the Detroit International Auto Show in January 2002. It is slightly larger than the original, has a super charged 500hp V8 engine, and will cost approximately $130,000.
At one point, I seriously considered buying one since the wait time was so long for the Elise. Production stopped in October 2006 and the price has become very reasonable. For the money, it is an amazing super car, capable of over 200 mph.
You can also get a built (not kit) GT40 from CAV in South Africa, and imported by California Advanced Vehicles. You will still have to install the engine and gearbox.
You can tell I am desperate when I include one of these. My wife has an BMW M3 and I rarely get to drive it. This may be my only alternative.
BMW (yes, I know, this one does not exist...)
Lamborghini introduced the Murcielago first and then followed with the Gallardo. The Murcielago was expensive but the Gallardo is not out of range and while a baby V8, still has performance equivalent to its big brother. (This image under strong copywrite, Lamborghini. Requests to remove it will remove this entry in the alternatives list.)
The more I think about this car, even now that I have my Elise, I think it is an amazing alternative. I am still considering buying one!
Also not available here, and although in the same spirit as the Elise, it suffers by comparison.
Top performance with a V-8, 1,600cc, DOHC, twin-turbo engine (250 hp!)
Compact and yet with top performance, the C2 aims to make exhilarating sports car enjoyment more accessible to a greater number of drivers. Its engine packs a 90-degree V-8 DOHC twin-turbo performance design in its relatively small 1,600cc size, and features highly accessible power with smooth, strong torque at low-rpm range and smooth-revving, exhilarating power at high rpm. Utilizing Suzuki's special expertise in compact designing, the engine features top standards of high performance and light weight with designs like all-aluminum construction, hollowed camshafts and direct chain drive. These, together with other new designs like a 6-speed manual transmission, provide a direct operating feel that puts the driver in full contact with the dynamics of piloting a sports car.
This car was never introduced in America.
WRX and Sti (Subaru
Subaru has always designed cars differently than other manufacturers. The WRX, recently introduced in America, is a car that performs and is very inexpensive. Lotus attracts people who are willing to consider cars even if they are different and they will appreciate the WRX.
Subaru is now bring the Sti version which has over 300hp. I may replace the family minivan with one!
General Motors has released as similar car in the Solstice and Vue. It is larger, has more horse power than an Elise and some more creature comforts. It is not as quick. See also below.
The Speedster uses the same technology as the Elise. It is currently being manufactured by Lotus for Opel. Perhaps Bob Lutz can cause enough change at General Motors so as to bring the Opel Speedster here. It does lack power and is heavier. Later versions are turbocharged and have more power than the Elise.
There are renewed rumors that GM might renew the Opel name here in the States and one of the cars mentioned is the Speedster. Perhaps Lutz will be the force that brings the car here afterall.
I did not include the expected list of Miata class cars, including the Porsche Boxster, BMW Z3, Mercedes SLK, and the new Miata itself. None of these perform like the Elise, however the prices are similar. The Boxster S and the M Coupe add performance and cost to the base models mentioned but total performance and feel are still not equivalent to the Elise. I did not include pictures or references to these cars as they are common.