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stoakseya4 Nov 11, 2006

  1. stoakseya4

    stoakseya4 Active Member

    Hi guys
    I've sorted out some finance and am after a new 2nd car.

    I'm after an occasional usage car on the road but also something that can be used for track days.

    I have a budget of up to c£17-£18k, and have been thinking of the following:

    Lotus Elise
    Lotus Exige
    BMW M3 (cheap E39 3.2 variant)
    Audi S3
    Audi TT

    Not in any particular order or preference.

    I'm aware of the audi's of course! And the BMW, but not the Lotus's.

    Anyone out there have any experience of owning/using them? What are the best models? Things to look out for etc etc?

    Checked out AutoTrader, and there's alot available in the Elise, but there are so many models I'm not sure of what's what...
    The Exige looks the Muts, but don't know what it's like to live with, as I don't know anyone who's owned one...

    Thanks for any advice...
  2. Ess_Three

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Forget both the Audis for track use...they are useless without serious mods to the brakes and suspension.

    I presume you mean E36 M3?
    Possible...heavy though, and bad brakes.

    The lotuses are the obvious, if you can live with them on the road.

    Others I'd add:
    Focus RS
    Integra Type-R (very good DC2 or DC5)
    Impreza or Evo? High running costs and dodgy image...but good on the track.

    If you can stretch the budget and live with 2 doors, try a 350Z - they are brilliant!
    Or an S2000.

    Or if you want to save a few quid and get an older car with a sublime chassis and have a perfect track car...seek out a Porsche 968 Club Sport.

    There are many options...but the first two I'd strike straight off are the Audis as you'll need to spend the thick end of £10k getting them fot for track work.
    Spend it on an S3 and you end up with a sublime and very capable car...but you can buy something just as good for less.
  3. Randomjim

    Randomjim Active Member

    Yea i would say s2000
  4. stoakseya4

    stoakseya4 Active Member

    Cheers for that.
    I did actually forget the 350Z, and yes I meant the E36...

    I have a missus and a bab, which is why I was considering the S3 and the M3, both have 4 seats. The TT and the lotuses, and the 350Z are only 2-seaters which means it's just me up front - which is fine by me!!

    Have seen a few 350Zs for mid teens, so quite attractive although most seem to be Jap imports - not sure if that's an issue or not yet?

    The M3 looks good on or off track, and has some sensibilities like the 4 seats, but keep looking at Exiges and Elises and think they're just the jobbie - of course Elises are quite a bit cheaper.

    Which model Elise should I go for? Have seen the 190bhp one advertised preseumably better?

    Differences between the ELise and Exige? Same engines? Exige much more expensive...? Why ?! IS it that much better ??
  5. A3_Turbo

    A3_Turbo Swaying towards IHI....

    If it were me i wouldnt care about the road capabilities id go for the best track car!

    And by far out of all them the Exige will out handle any of those cars you have listed there.

    Maybe not so practical on the road but.... well your descion isnt it!

    The trick is finding the best of both!

  6. Defratos

    Defratos You’re Dethpicable!!

    How about the new BMW 335? Very nice power, nice looking, 2 door but good and comfy rear seats
  7. Ess_Three

    Ess_Three Active Member

    You wouldn't do trackdays in one though, would you?
    I'd give the brakes about 2 laps...
  8. jojo

    jojo Looking for Boost! Staff Member Moderator Team Daytona Audi S3 quattro Audi A6 Audi Avant Owner Group

    Where the Elise is an open top sports car, the Exige is hardtop and has a stronger body which flexes less and probably goes round corners a bit better than the elise.
  9. C_Audiboy

    C_Audiboy Vroom Vroom

    Gotta be Elise mate......... such a good chassis. Perfect for what you want - occasional road use (dry days I presume) and on the track. It's no secret the Elise is one of the best handling cars you can buy. The grip is scary.

    Try and get the 111R with the 190 VVTi-L engine - they are unbeleivably quick! Prices are coming down for the 111R to about 20k so just around your price range.
  10. stoakseya4

    stoakseya4 Active Member

    Thanks guys

    The 335 - too expensive, and not overly keen on the new 3-series shape to be honest. Dont forget the budget is c£18k.

    Like the 350Z - loads on tuning possibilities and still not a massively common sight on the road.

    Like the Exige - see even less on the road - but am concerned a little too extreme.

    Like the elise - even with a hard top not as nice as the exige, but still a lovely looking car, for both road and track.

    The car would be used primarily on the road, only now cover approx. 300miles per week so no biggy. But would like the occassional track day too, maybe 6 a year during the warmer/drier months.

    However - the drawback with all of them seems to be they're only 2-seaters (at least I think the 350Z is only a 2 seater?). The M3 has 4 seats so can be used for family fun days out (!!!) too...

    Seen some clean c40k mile versions on 01 plates for c&#163;17k. SO looks like although I'd love an Exige (which incidentially Trader has only 2 for <&#163;20k on 01 plates the S1 variant), would not get used as much as I'd like it too. Can't see myself running up and down the M2 on it each week !

    Thanks for the comments guys - any more comment greatly recieved...

  11. Ess_Three

    Ess_Three Active Member

    The Z is a 2 seater, yes.

    If you want a car you can do trackdays in and has 4 seats you are seriously limiting the fun you are going to have straight out of the box.

    The M3 fits...

    As does an Integra Type-R or RX8 (at a push)...or any of the hot hatches.
    But all the FWD hot hatch type cars will probably need you to modify them as you get quicker and more confident as if you don't, you'll soon find the limits and get bored.

    The 2 seaters are the obvious choice...if you can live with one.

    You'd need to draw up a short list and drive them...
  12. What about a Bi turbo RS4? They are now below £20k or even a Bi turbo S4 which you can pick up for much cheapness and tune to over 500bhp with hte extra cash..... After I was taken for a spin in Minheas S4(MRC Tuning) Im convinced thats the only way to go... I doubt much could touch it on the road or the track!

    AND they beat all of the cars hands down for practicality.
  13. Ess_Three

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Not really much fun on trackdays though...
    Fast, but not exactly chuckable...The RS4 is OK at best...the S4 bloody awful to drive road or track.

    My old s3 used to murder S4s round Knockhill...and even tuned RS4s.

    And that was against very highly modified cars...S4/RS4s aren't great track cars in my view...they are superb continent crossers but too big, heavy and unweildy on the track.
    The suspension is awful, brakes weak and steering numb.
    You can spend a fortune on them and still not get a great track car.

    Personally, I'd be looking at something sorted out of the box.
    Which, sadly, means looking elsewhere from VAG as frankly, they aren't.

    If it were my cash and I wanted 4 seats, it would be an Evo.
    £18k buys you epic on-road or on-track performance and you'll never get bored of it...or feel it's holding you back.
    The running costs are steep...but still less than sorting a VAG car to a comparable standard.

    2 seats and road manners and it's more difficult:
    ITR (OK...2+2), 350Z, S2000...

    Maybe a Boxster if you like soft tops...

    I'd be staying clear of the hot hatches though...I think you'd tire of them quickly.

    The Lotuses are ideal for the track, if you can get in/out of them and can live with the compromises.
    Personally again, I can hardly get in and out on them...and would like to think that if I hit anything bigger than a mid-sized dog out on the road I'd walk away...so the Lotus's are out for me!
  14. I of course am going agree to disagree with you on the "bloody awful". I agree they are not chuckable in std trim but with H&Rs coils and ARBs i think they are V competent and with enough power you can get em to drift..... although not born and bred for the track or rally like the others they are a practical road car that can mix it with the fastest track cars..... and I thought at least worth considering. possibly not the most exciting regardless of how fast they go. all depend on the need for the baby seat in the back ;)

    More of a practical road car that can go to the track if you want rather than a track car that can be used on the road if you want.
  15. stoakseya4

    stoakseya4 Active Member

    Again thanks guys.
    HAve thought of the Evo and Scoobie, but I'll be 40 next year, and don't want to look like a ponce, wiv a big rear spoiler!

    Think it's gotta be the M3.

  16. The Slug

    The Slug Active Member

    my money wud be on the 350Z, good on the road, and im sure great on the track too :p
  17. Ess_Three

    Ess_Three Active Member

    I'd budget lots for new brakes, and often, if you track an E36...
    They are poor.
  18. stoakseya4

    stoakseya4 Active Member


    I've heard the brakes often are replaced with Porsche discs, or AP Racing eg items...?

    Wouldn't be an often excursion, but also dont want the things to fry up at the end of a straight !!

    Gonna look into extended warranties next - any advice?
  19. Ess_Three

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Yeah, as warranty's go...most will refuse to pay up after track use...and it's not hard to spot track abuse.
    Make sure for your own peace of mind.

    I think Porsche are the only ones who will honour track use...and even then it's seems it's getting more difficult.

    I very much doubt E36 M3 standard brakes will do much more than 2 laps before wilting...
    So aftermarket will be the best option.
  20. james0808

    james0808 Active Member

    Not on your list but what about a VX220 Turbo.
  21. benw123

    benw123 Moderator

    Only buy an Elise if you can put it in a garage overnight. My manager has a 98 S1 Elise and has had loads of problems with it, thanks to corroded earthing points and fuel system electrics. He has a friend who has suffered the same fate, and has researched this and found that owners who garage them have much better reliability!

    For the money, and as others have suggested, I'd buy an S2000 as well - great looking car, brilliant handling, bulletproof 9000rpm engine, excellent residuals and even open top motoring. I'm sure with RWD it'd be fantastic on the track too.
  22. OutLore

    OutLore VOIP Dude

    What about a Monaro? I had a quick peek on Autotrader, and although you can't get a 6.0VXR for 18k, you can for 20 so you never know, there might be some out there.... 4 seats (I think), comfirtable and quick....
    You can pick up a 5.7l V8 for 17k. There's even a stated "410hp" modified one for 14k

    Not sure about the handling side when it comes to track days though, I seem to remember the TG presenters liked it if that's anything to go by.

    (Dons flame suit, in preparation for getting shot down in flames for suggesting a Vauxhall)

    Alternatively, if you are not against an import... have a look for what I have at the moment - an Infiniti G35 Saloon - 280hp, RWD and four doors. It's basically a 4 door 350Z. Can't comment on the handling though cos there aren't any corners here.:whistle2:

    As far as I know they are only made for the domestic Jap (Marketed as Skyline) and US market, so it would have to be an import....

    There's an idea... you could almost certainly get an R34 Skyline....
  23. Hotscar

    Hotscar Four Wheel Drifting

    I'm not sure how big your driveway is but with that budget I'd buy a decent elise (111s/r) or exige (my mate sold his S1 for 15k but it did have 37k on the clock which is alot for one of those) and then get a 3k runaround (306 GTI?). There's lots of options out there but in my opinion an e36 M3 isn't a good one for round the track.
  24. S3Steve

    S3Steve Active Member

    If your after an M3 to do trackdays with surely your better off lookin at E30 M3's. You could pick up one of the last of the line Evo models for your budget, of course you would have to be prepared to live with left hand drive.
  25. stoakseya4

    stoakseya4 Active Member


    The choice is an E46 (so I've discovered) M3. Seen a few nice ones on Trader, 35k ish miles for &#163;17.5k.

    However a friend has suggested I could get a child seat into the back of a TT? And for the same money I could get a 3.2 version???

    Anyone know what they're like and if you can get a child seat in the rear?
  26. Ess_Three

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Great cars...**** brakes.
    And get an extended warranty, although that'll probably be invalid for track use!
    If you do go for one, make sure it's either had the engine work done that some suffered from, or is outwith the affected cars.

    If your kids are VERY small, you could...but there is no room for anyone over about 4 ft tall.

    You should drive on before thinking about one...the heavy engine makes it understeer everywhere.
    I found the Golf R32 a much better car for fast road / mild track use...the TT has an afwul numb chassis and no steering feel.
    Not a good track car in my view.
  27. john2garden

    john2garden Gonad

  28. stoakseya4

    stoakseya4 Active Member

    Christ ! Thought the Noble would have been alot more than that!? I did look at the TVR T350 as they're lovely looking cars, but think there's mucho reliability issues with TVRs generally, and massively expensive re-builds needed.

    The Noble though not sure - I seem to recall in the not to distant past a Buyer's Guide in Evo... Anyone ?

    Completely misses the park re taking the nipper out in it over the weekends...

    But would be different to be sure...

  29. mrbarry

    mrbarry New Member

    Well I have 2 Celica GT4s and an Evo 5RS. The Evo is great but every one knows what it is. Insurance is high, brakes are quite good, parts are easily available, great fun but high risk to park etc.
    The GT4s are both ST205 modles, forget the 165 and 185 ones they make circa 200bhp and are heavy, unfocased and old technology. The ST205 comes out of the box with 255bhp, 239lbs torque. 325mm disks all round with Brembo 4 pots, these are outstanding!! With a simple 3 inch exhaust and a cone filter on a straight intake the boost raises from 0.9 bar to 1.1 bar due to lack of back pressure, now it makes a reliable 307bhp and 289lbs. 60 is 4.1 and it tops out at over 160. 4 wheel drive with Torson limited slip diffs and viscous centre coupling as standard, MAP not MAF sensor. Gear box good for 600bhp. All in all fantastic for the track but the newest model is 1999, not so new. I also have a 550bhp one for track only. You will get a good one for about £6k, spend £4k on it and it will return 420bhp and out run most cars ontrack I assure you.
    I also have a A4 3.0 Quattro sport, great to get to work and back, low down torque as Diesels always have, brilliant car, but no track monster :happy:

    Some of the best others I have raced in are Lotus Exege, NOT a road car tho trust me, you would get bored in days! Atom, NOT a road car again but FANTASTIC! Ultima GTR, but again not realy for the road, and £35 for a good one. Worlds fastest car tho, 0-60 in 2.1 seconds. MX5 is a graet track car if you can live with the image of hair dresser. VX220, the turbo is even better! and they are not bad on the road.
    All of the other cars I have raced had been modded so I cant say what they are like as stock.
    The Honda S2000 isnt great on track IMHO, soft and for the road realy, and hair dressers cars again. Imprezas are weak in a crash!!! Made from tin foil and card board, rattly and knock, they are ugly as hell, common, not very quick (Its all reputation unless you get a 2 door version or a late STi PPP) they have poor brakes, the gear boxs are made from moon cheese, they only sound nice due to the unequal manifold, this saps power and reduces the engines life span, fit a equal after market one and the noise goes :Flush:
    M3 is a good choise with brake mods and is real hardy. Good on the road but will kill the petrol!
  30. mrbarry

    mrbarry New Member

    Oh, and the Noble M12 is great but the 400 is better in A BIG WAY.
    I dont like TVR but thats just me, great cars but unreliable and not cheap to run and get parts for.

    And sorry the last post was soooo long didnt realise untill I had posted it lol.
  31. macca

    macca Member

    i used to have e30 m3 which was good on coilovers, bit lacking in power though.
  32. K7ERG

    K7ERG Member

  33. 1animal1

    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!! VCDS Map User

    why not consider a BMW Mini.....im currently on the look out myself and it was suggested that these make excellant track cars!!

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