I was no longer a single man but I had a single garage/parking space
I had a 1997 Elise... the original car and loved it. It was $70,000AUD back then and I sold it 4 years later for $55,000 so it was good for depreciation here in Australia.
As a second car I would have another one tomorrow and drove a 2010 Elise S before I bought the 125i, it was as much fun as I remembered but with the addition of air con as standard which on a Sydney summer's day with the Temp at 40 degrees Celsius would have been greatly appreciated. While my heart said yes my head said it was just not practical.
They are certainly an acquired taste and if you go into the ownership experience without your eyes open you will be probably be disappointed. As far as a driving experience goes then you get it all, sublime steering, great performance, reasonable running costs and something not many other cars have, that lack of inertia that makes it so responsive.
The downsides well, if you have a certain body shape or lack of flexibility then you will not get into the car with the roof on. The ride is always noisy whether from the engine, the exhaust or the suspension, usually all three. The actual ride is okay but it just sounds worse than it is, especially over broken tarmac. You will be eye level with the running boards of SUVs with all that entails and people, both pedestrians and other drivers, will not expect you to arrive at corners without slowing down much at suburban speeds which means they will be always be in your way.
The car is hand built by English guys which is either a pro or a con depending on your point of view. But faced with a choice of the short or the long way home on anything other than a rainy day or night you would always go the long way.
You either get it or you don't but I can't think of another car that will give the grin factor for your dollar. It is not about the brute horsepower of a muscle car or about the technology of and STI or an EVO it is about you reading the information from your eyes, fingertips and your butt and you get that flow and a rhythm going with hands and feet that makes you want to just laugh out loud as you wind down after a blast down your favourite bit of tarmac.
But the big plus with the Elise is that you don't have to be travelling at 'rip up your licence' and 'throw you in jail' speeds to have fun. That information flow is always there not filtered away by the guys in N
ibration and H
arshness like most modern machinery.
The original car was a mix of old and very advanced engineering. Manual steering,transmission and brakes with no ABS or traction control and no airbags. Wind up windows, manual mirrors and no sun visors. Bonded aluminium chassis with a light weight body and carbon fibre parts for the self assembled roof and on the early cars like mine carbon aluminium brake discs. It weighed 675kg(1485lbs) with all fluids as against the current car which is 873kg.
But it is a car for people that get 'it' and if you look at the Elise and say 'but' then just move on folks there is nothing to see here