The fastest car I have driven lately was a 700hp 996tt. I am saying this up front because that always seems to be the answer to the question I get asked most often. People always want to know what’s the fastest. No one cares about the most fun, or even the best fuel economy. The most fun would be a Lotus Exige S 240 and the best fuel economy would be an Audi A4 Avant 2.0TDI.
I guess there was a long time when I considered the most fun car out there to be the fastest. That quickly wears off when you are constantly around truly fast cars. You begin to realize that just blasting around in a straight line gets old pretty quick. Take for example the 996tt compared to the Exige. The 996 is a huge, hulking vehicle compared to the Lotus. The thing is almost 70% heavier and bigger in every dimension. The clutch on this particular car was brutal to operate and basically felt like an on/off switch. The Lotus on the other hand has a weighty substantial clutch, but is easily managed in traffic and takes up like a standard Golf, no drama or jerking, just smooth operation.
The 996 feels as though you are always holding it back, keeping it in shackles and tamed. As linear as the power band is and as willing as it is to idle, it feels as though it is in pain driving around town at low speeds. The Lotus on the other hand is perfectly comfortable dawdling around town and performing daily tasks. It may be much harder to get in and out of, but once inside the comfort level is nearly as high as the Porsche.
To really drive either car you need to be on a racetrack. With that said however, the Lotus can prove to be entertaining driven at just about any level. Freeway ramps, traffic circles and just normal driving are all entertaining, even driving at 5/10 the cars ability just because of the amount of feedback the car gives. The Porsche on the other hand, doesn’t really reward until driving at nearly 8/10 of what the car can do, and with 700hp, all wheel drive and bi sticky rubber, that will more than likely land you in jail. The Lotus is by no means slow. It will hit 60mph in just a tick over 4 seconds; yet you don’t have to drive it like that for it to be fun.
The Porsche may make a more comfortable daily driver, but it certainly won’t be as fun a daily driver. It is ironic since Lotus bills itself as a company that makes track cars, yet its cars are still so much fun on the street. The beauty of it is, the Elise is actually very close in fun level on the street, and used Elises are starting to become rather reasonable. I may just have to pick one up soon.