Lotus Exige 2006

We live in a world where the boundaries of car categories are blurring more and more every year. BMW M modifications can lose a dispute in specific power to a conventional Skoda, which has all possible stages stuffed into it. But what about the brick-shaped Gelandewagen, which can compete with another Corvette at acceleration up to 100 km/h? Now let’s figure out what Lotus has to do with it.

Horsepower: Myth or Reality?

Horsepower has not won a single race yet. In any confrontation, whether it’s drag, circuit racing or any other motorsport, everything is decided by the total energy capacity of the car, a combination of weight, power and chassis operation. The same can be said about the pleasure of management: it cannot be seen on a piece of paper or subtracted from a press release.

The engineers of a small English – then – automaker had no chance to go wild with the choice of a power plant. We needed something cheap, affordable, but potentially capable of making a light car move. Ladies and gentlemen, the Toyota 2ZZ GE is 1.8 liters of insane infirmity in the inline four – but only on paper.

The role of Yamaha and VVTL-i

Yamaha had a hand in the engine, whose main task was to prepare the 2ZZ for high speeds. Yes, revving up is a pretty simple way to boost horsepower, often getting a high peak schedule without power in the lower and middle revs. But Toyota’s plan was more interesting: they developed the VVTL-i system. The main part of this abbreviation – VVT-i – refers to the valve timing system, which is still used in engines of this brand. Only on most basic models, its task is to knock on cold oil and reduce fuel consumption, rather than increase power. The letter “L” has changed a lot in technology.

L stood for “lift”, and VVTL-i itself did about the same thing as the classic VTEC is famous for. This is a double camshaft cam profile: up to certain revolutions, the engine runs on the “grassroots” profile, after which the “high-speed” cam profile turns on and takes the car into the stratosphere. The second profile was switched electronically and only after reaching the temperature.

Let’s go back to the turnover. Depending on the sales market and the car for which the engine was designed, the moment of switching on the VVTL-i ranged from 6000 to 6700 rpm. The cutoff limited the RPM at around 8,400-8,600 rpm, which is more than a good result for a civilian car. 2ZZ GE is still among the leaders in the number of hp per liter of volume, competing with the same Honda. The Lotus Exige Series 2 was equipped with 2ZZ GE supercharged – that is, a belt compressor was screwed to the already weakest engine and 223 hp was obtained. This is exactly the engine installed in the car that we are talking about today.

Aerodynamics and Power: The Lotus View

Enzo Ferrari was credited with a phrase that translates as “Aerodynamics is for those who do not know how to build powerful engines.” In part, the Commendatore really followed his words, because in any incomprehensible situation he sought to install a V12 in a Ferrari. Lotus engineers, on the other hand, were famous for their ability to find the balance of the car and make it literally stick to the asphalt.

Low, Light and Powerful

Let’s go back to Exige. Do you remember such a Ford GT40, they also made a good movie about it where it was the brainchild of Enzo Ferrari who won? The 40 in the model name is its height in inches. Even from the movie footage, you can understand how low the car is. The height of the Exige is 46 inches – that is, 1.16 meters. We would love to see Shaquille O’Neal get into it.

A ton of weight at 223 hp with an abundance of fiberglass and composite materials. Mid-engine layout. Rear-wheel drive and a manual 6-speed manual transmission. 4000 small, inconspicuous engineering touches like air screens, door handles and radiator arrangement made a small sports coupe a favorite of the public.

The Last Real One

We have already done this – we told you about Exige. The desire to own a sports car does not go away over the years – it can only be stopped. Modern cars have become too smart, heavy and expensive – they don’t have a single piece of the values of Colin Chapman, who tried to overcome the harsh power and budget with simplicity and constructive perfection. But this Lotus and its like are still on the market – the secondary one – and are ready to open up the world of real motorsport to the new owner. And not for the cost of a good apartment, but for the price of a new parquet from the land of the rising Sun.

He’s not an MR-S, he’s a Lotus – one of the last real ones. And it’s a pity, we won’t see anything like this again.

The material was worked on by:

Owner:  alexander__us
Photographer:  mccarthy606
Text:  its_sokol