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8 September 2003
A High Revving High Power Engine for the US Version of the Lotus Elise
Nine months before the Lotus Elise goes on sale in the U.S., Lotus Cars Ltd. announces its choice of powertrain for the "Federal" version of the "world’s finest sportscar".
The 2ZZ-GE 1.8 litre 4 cylinder 16-valve engine with Variable Valve Timing and Lift-Intelligent (VVTL-i) system has been chosen. This class-leading engine, mated to a six-speed gearbox and mounted amid-ships, has been tuned by Lotus specifically for the U.S. Elise and produces around 190hp.
Manufactured by the Toyota Motor Corporation, the VVTL-i engine was selected after a thorough and extensive study of all the possible powertrain units available. The Toyota engine and gearbox was selected as it is lightweight, with a high power output and most importantly, ideally suited to the character of the Elise.
By choosing this engine, Lotus has once again ensured that the pure character of the Elise – a racecar for the road – is exploited. The VVTL-i system affords the car increased low end torque for greater acceleration from low engine speeds, before unleashing the full 190hp at the higher end of the rev range.
In January 2003, Lotus announced it will expand its presence in the U.S. with the introduction of a U.S. specific version of the world-acclaimed Elise. U.S. sales of the 2005 Elise are scheduled to begin in mid 2004. The "Federal" Elise will retain the benchmark performance, handling and dynamics that have proven so popular particularly in the U.K. and Europe while being fully compliant with U.S. regulations.
The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades for design, performance, drivability, and handling, the Elise is constructed around a strong, rigid, yet lightweight extruded and bonded aluminium chassis. Consistent with the Lotus design philosophy of achieving performance and efficiency through lightweight, this high tech chassis weighing less than 150lbs allows for a complete vehicle weight of less than 2000lbs.
A comprehensive study of the U.S. market and the success of the Elise in Europe and world markets have shown that there is a demand for a small, lightweight and very high performance sportscar in the U.S. While remaining a hand-built car, a new state of the art manufacturing facility at its Headquarters in Hethel, England has enabled Lotus to build cars at a higher volume and introduce unprecedented quality standards, vital for today’s discerning customer.
Lotus Cars U.S.A. is implementing a plan to provide the highest quality sales and service support throughout the dealer network and is adding new dealers in key market areas, making the brand more accessible to its expanded customer base.
Complete specifications and price for the U.S. Elise will be published in the next few months.