I've not owned an Elise 250 but I have owned an S1 Elise, and S2 Exige and a series 2 Europa, the latter being very much maligned but when set up properly probably the best of the lot.
Putting aside performance if you are looking at useability the Caterham is no better or worse than any of the Lotus cars. With the roof on, the Elise is much harder to get in an out of, not just because of the entry slot but also the Elise has a very deep sill that you have to get over. Linked to this, I think the Caterham with the hood off is a much nicer place than any Elise variant with the hood or roof on. I have never used a hood of an sort on my Caterham, but in an Elise with the hood on there is not much headroom and with the engine behind you it can get very noisy, plus they steam up a lot in the winter!
I love all the Elise variant cars and if I had garage space would have another S1 in an instant. But, if useability is why its being considered then think really carefully as you may not get what you want in terms of comfort etc and for a pure driving experience the Caterham is better.
Have you considered a Boxster or a Cayman? Not quite a pure as a Lotus, but not far off, but much more useable day to day.
I did consider a Cayman but I was put off by the IMS bearing problem, plus I didn't think it would be much fun on the track. It is not the getting in and out of the Caterham that is an issue, I find driving it over 200 miles to track day is not the best with the UK's varrible weather. I was assuming an Elise would be much better with a roof and a heater. I think I need to try one.
If you have storage available spend about a grand on a trailer for the 7..... assuming you have a towcar and suitable licience too
I, too, was going to suggest a trailer. And if storage is an issue, consider hiring one for those occasions (trackdays and so on) where it would be better to drive to the event in comfort.
That way you get to keep the Seven. And trailers seem to hold their value, too, so the long-term cost would be close to zilch.
GP Sevens have a trailer for sale.........
I certainly agree with the Elise comments concerning entry and exit. The sill is high and the roof is low!
If removing the roof and putting it in the boot it will use up at least 25% of the boot.
No worries re the noise if you get the sound pack and stick with the standard exhaust on the S2
Working on the car is very restrictive compared to a Seven
Will the folded rolled up roof fit behind a seat?
Not easily, there really isn't any space behind the seats. You could squash it in but that wouldn't be good if it was wet.
The Elise roof was / is a complete afterthought, it was not meant to have one, so its not the best as far there was no real provision to store it once its off.
Get over to SELOC and get some real world owner experiences. The S1 roof was an afterthought, but the short roof S2 onwards is much better (and smaller), I think afterthought is unfair even if it's not to MX5 standards. The S1 I had had a fair bit of space behind the seats for stowage. Not sure what the S2 is like
My S2 had a sort of shelf behind the passenger seat where I think the roof is supposed to go. It looked a bit of a tight squeeze so I mostly put mine in the boot or just rolled it up and put it on the passenger side floor. Mine had the touring pack which I think included a roof lining layer so that may be why it was a tight squeeze.