Yes, there is a difference, the Etape is slightly more relaxed and a tad heavier. perhaps not quite as hard a ride. Definitely not as quick or as sharp as my Esprit, but then it has heavier wheels and tyres, plus mudguard drag.
The tubus rack should be perfectly adequate for loaded touring, other Enigmatics will hopefully be along to confirm that. Personally I use an old Blackburn rack on the odd occasion I go touring, and I've used that on both frames, with added Tubus fitments for the Esprit.
The reason I have both the Esprit and the Etape is that I use the Esprit when it's warm and dry, but the Etape comes into it's own on wet and muddy days, and for general clubruns. So I probably do at least twice the mileage on the Etape than on the Esprit, but I love them both. Of course, whilst you can't fit full guards on the Esprit, you can always take them off the Etape!
If you want to splash the cash and look flash, buy a race frame and understand you'll get wet and dirty sometimes. If you want an all-year-rounder, buy the Etape. At the end of the day the choice is yours so you have to be happy with it. What area do you live? If you can't get down to Enigma for a test ride, best bet is to find someone local who would oblige.
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.
I was interested that you said that you used the Etape for club runs - I'd have expected you to use the Esprit for club runs, with it being quicker. Although I can see that mudguards would be useful on a wet day when riding in a group.
Thankfully I have a very good bike shop within about 30 miles and they have Etape and Echo test bikes, so I'll be able to experience them both for myself, but the information that you kindly provided will be very useful as well.