Lotus Elan

Elan & +2 Viva La Difference

PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:11 pm

Casting no aspersions at our French neighbours I would like to give my impression of the two very different cars that are the +2 and the Elan.

These very brief points are based upon my own cars that are mechanically modified, but I have driven freshly rebuilt standard cars and can perceive no difference apart from braking efficiency, engine power and drivetrain robustness.

Looks: I prefer the elegant shape of the +2 over the very iconic British small sportscar look of the Elan, but it's a very close run thing.

Driving fast: The Elan is far more poised than the +2, I feel very confident driving into corners that would require a brave pill or a stab at the brakes on the +2.

Touring: The +2 is a far better tourer, much more relaxed, refined and practical, but the Elan is surprisingly refined below 60mph with the hood up and bearable at motorway speeds, the choice of car depends on whether you want to hold a conversation or not and also on how much luggage you need.

Ride and handling: The +2 rides better, but the Elan handles better. In theory the longer wheelbase and wider track of the +2 should eclipse the Elan, but this doesn't appear to be the case on the road, the extra weight of the +2 is a factor here.


To a casual onlooker the Elan & +2 are very different cars, under the bodywork they are very similar as we all know, but I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that they are so dissimilar that they should have been named and marketed as distinct models and that would have removed the poor relation stigma that has blighted the +2 at times. They are both great cars and I wouldn't choose one over the other, my Elan is a new toy at the moment and is getting more driving time, but I'm so pleased it's a lot different to the +2 as this means I have the perfect reason for keeping both.


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Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:35 pm

Alan

Thank you for your interesting comparison, I enjoyed reading your observations.

Tim
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:33 pm

I reckon that with the same twincam engine, gearbox, suspension, steering and brakes it makes sense to have them as brother Elans.....one is beautiful and the other is cheeky, one is a G.T.and the other a go-kart, but I find that they feel so similar to drive in so many ways.

Mind you most of my miles have been done in a Coupe S3 Elan (a great cruiser as well as blindingly fast) with a few in a hot S/130 and a BDA Plus 2. The Coupe is of course a lot more refined than the Convertible, and probably hence more similar to the Plus 2 for me, but the convertible is much more fun on the B roads and lanes...and much more noisey, especially the S4 with its ear splitting twin silencer exhaust system.

I would imagine that your cars feel quite different to standard Elans to drive, and it sounds like your Plus 2 needs some suspension tweeks to get the handling up to the level of the Elan....lowering it to standard settings may be a start!

I'm looking forward to seeing them both at Castle Coombe this year.

Mark
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:14 pm

Elanintheforest wrote:snip
I would imagine that your cars feel quite different to standard Elans to drive, and it sounds like your Plus 2 needs some suspension tweeks to get the handling up to the level of the Elan....lowering it to standard settings may be a start!

I'm looking forward to seeing them both at Castle Coombe this year.

Mark


Hi Mark,

I'm looking forward to Castle Combe as well, it will be interesting to see how Kermit goes on track, hopefully I will remember that I have to drive it home and keep within my talent level. My brother will probably be driving the +2, so there may possibly be a ride going spare, he's a very good track driver and well above trackday level.

Imagining things and actually experiencing things are very different viewpoints. I have driven standard Elans & +2's in the past and had the same impression regarding the handling experience, there's not really that much in it, but you can always feel the Elan is the better, my findings are based on driving fast on the road around curves and bendy roads where most cars would encourage you to slow down by their unwillingness to go around the corners without slowing a bit. My +2 has very much the same suspension setup as my Elan, so no further tweeks possible and as for lowering to standard settings it's actually at the standard settings. Tired old +2's sag quite a bit gaining the lowered look, you only need to look at original photo's or brochures of the day to see the proper ride height.
ride height.jpg and
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Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:01 pm

Indeed you do! Remember as time went on the height had to raise up to appease those across the Atlantic....

Mark
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:07 am

Having enjoyed my Elan and Plus 2 for many years I agree with many of the comments on the differences.

However I find the handling on my Plus 2 on the limit sublime and totally controllable even in its standard road form with grip that puts most modern cars to shame when its is fitted with modern sticky tyres. The Elans ultimate grip is less and on the limit it can be harder to control especially instandard form with modern sticky tyres.

My Elan on race springs set uo and similar sticky tyres to the Plus 2 is more controllable than a standard Elan but still not as sweet as the Plus 2 especially in a high speed sweeping corners where it get nervous with its narrow track and short wheel base.

On a tight twisting road the Elan beats the Plus 2 with more punch out of the corners due to its lighter weight ( and its 180 hp engine) but the Plus 2 goes into and through the corners quicker with its better handling.

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:23 am

Mark,
I don't think anyone will ever agree on the ride height of the +2 regarding what's right and whats wrong, your pictures still show the front tyres at least 2 inches under the wheel arch edge and not almost inside the wheel arch as per the Elan. A good reason for not lowering mine a bit is that the expensive exhaust manifold is the first item to ground out and indeed get ground away. It's normally a 2 person car carrying me and Mrs T, add her petite weight to my gross weight and the ride height looks quite sexy :wink:

Rohan,
Interesting what you say about the +2's handling at the limit, I wasn't being very scientific and perhaps it needs further investigation, it's going to be hard to work up the enthusiasm to drive these old cars to do that :) . Castle Combe will probably give a better indication providing I run both cars on the same rubber. The +2 runs on AO48 yoko's for track or it's yoko C drive road tyres, the Elan has yoko A drives. On previous track days the +2 has embarrassed many more modern Lotus including some kitted out track day specials, it feels very balanced on track, better than on the road, but perhaps the greater speed is what it needs to really exploit the handling.
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Alan Thomas
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