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What power unit ??

6459 Views 44 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  SirLotus
Bit of a cross over, after my dig in the Maintainance forum, my serious question is better asked here ;

What's the latest of the power unit you guys will be getting ??
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Lotus will not make an official announcement until sometime later this year. Strongest rumours still seem to center around a Toyota powerplant, the 1.8 l vvti, currently used on the Celica. Lotus isn't saying either way, but they have tested a number of other manufacturers' engines as well. One fellow that I spoke with recently who is quite well-connected with Lotus wasn't saying what the choice was, but his demeanor indicated that the Toyota may not be the choice, after all. So, the intrigue will be an exciting year as more of the details about the US-bound model emerge !

The UK press have got a 190 bhp V6 Elise down for release in Summer 2004, but there remains no official word.

There's been strong talk of a Camry V6 "lump" being in an Elise already but the debate is is that for the Elise or is it a donor for the M250 replacement.

The other thing that nags at me is why would Proton want to allow a "competitors" engine in one of their cars. The Rover K series is easily explained away, it's a UK company, been used for years . . . . a move a little closer to home may be a move too far ??

But . . .

I don't beleive they have a V6 power unit (I think the biggest they have is a 1.6 straight 4) but would / are they prepared to develop something ?
My feeling is that a V-6 would be great for a slightly larger and heavier car (an M-250/260 or the like), but a 4-cylinder is just about right for the Elise. In other words, even if I had the choice of a 4 or a 6, I would probably opt to order my Elise with a 4-cylinder. I think that the balance is everything for this car, based on my limited test-drive of the car and what I've read etc.
I agree, i've had mine for 8 months, there's constant debate about more power being needed but personally I don't need it, if I wanted straight line speed i'd have gone for something else. I know that i've still got a lot to learn about this car and it's limits (if i'm ever good enough to get it to its limits !).
I believe that Proton is in collaboration with Mitsubishi. It makes more sense for the Elise engine to come from Mitsu. I doubt Proton has an engine that would meet US regs without major tweaks. Mitsu on the other hand has several interesting 4 about an EVO motor?

My lil contribution to the rumour mill.....:D
Appearantly, the Rover motor will Not meet European smog requirments in 2004 so I'm assuming that whatever motor they choose will be destined for the world market and not just a U.S. spec car. Lotus knew what they were doing when they designed this car. They had a very linear and narrow focus. Build a lightweight no compromises race car for the street. I hope, that whatever motor they choose does not stray too far from their initial target when first designing the elise.

Thats been my main concern ever since I placed a deposit for the Elise. I hope they do not dumb down the car for the U.S. market.

Don't put a heavy motor just to get HP #'s that Americans are used to.

No power steering, brakes or even ABS!

No A/C or at least a delete option

no power windows, power seats, cruise contol etc.

I don't even want a friggin cup holder!

The Elise has one purpose... driving enjoyment.

Hopefully Lotus will remember that.

Jose Soriano
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I can live with or without cruise control. Truly, it's kinda nice on a 1500 mile trip.

Power windows on many cars actually weigh less than manual windows, so that would be okay.

As I understand it, we will get A/C. I am not sure about a delete option.
I spoke to someone at Lotus USA back in January and he told me we would be getting ABS.
I can of course only comment of what goes on in the UK, Lotus understand their UK customers pretty well, we believe in "performance through light weight".

My fear is that the marketing guys will make some assumptions about what you want and there may be some compromises.

I hope it's only those that have to be made for the US safety regs etc.

It's a little way off so let Lotus US know what you DONT want.
Couldn't agree more about keeping the car simple, simple, simple:

-No power anything !

-No cup holders!

Re: A/C, now there I've gotta admit, I'm a wimp when it comes to heat, So Cal summers are long and hot, and so that's one concession to the simplicity thing that I have to make.

Cheers, Mike

I have more than a little sympathy for AC given where you live, here in the UK it's a bit of a joke to be honest (IMHO), I have AC, it works something like this ;

Soft top off = AC ON
Soft top on = AC OFF

We NEVER think of the hard / soft tops as anything other than to stop the rain / cold, NEVER to keep the sun off :p
just getting my two cents in here (and as a method of procrastination)...

I had AC in the RX7, but my MR2 does not. I hardly ever used it when i drove the 7, but having it there when it was brutally hot and when rolling down the windows offered no relief sure is nice. I'll take my Elise with AC, please.

Being that I've never driven the thing, I can't say anything on the power issue, however, from what I've read (e.g. this Road & Track article ), low power seems to be the *only* shortcoming of this little car. I'm not overly intersted in straight line speed either, but when I put my foot on the go-fast pedal after tearing around a corner, I like to feel something happening. Once the wheel is straightened up, I'd like to be putting down as much power as the tires will transfer to the ground and I'd be willing to bet that everyone in here will say the same thing.
I agree that "handling" (and everything that word encompasses) is the #1 priority, but let's hope they don't skimp on the engine. I really wouldn't mind a *light weight* V6, as long as it didn't pack on too many pounds. I said it before, and I'll probably say it lots more -

<broken record> I'm convinced the Honda K20 is the best motor for this car </broken record>

... even though I'm fairly sure we won't see it unless we do a Prototype Racing conversion.

It might also be intersting to see what the new Rensis rotary would do in the Elise - assuming it doesn't weigh as much as the 13-B REW from the 3rd gen RX7.
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A Honda K20 would be ideal, but not very likely from the factory. Looking at some dyno pulls from the Toyota:

Add ~15% at the crank & your at 140lbs, yeah I know it's a bit peaky but it's not that bad on the low end, add in the extra 70hp over the one R&T tested, with the light weight... but then again how fast is fast enough? :D

The other thing with the 6sp, it's going to be geared lower with closer ratio, which should help.
LarryB said:
but then again how fast is fast enough? :D
Good point. A 0-60 of no more than 5.0 sec and a quarter in the neighborhood of 13.5 sec along with some usable power in the lower rpm range (very important) would put a very large smile on my face.... for a few months anyway - at which point, I'm sure I'll start bitching and moaning about not going fast enough. ;)

In all honesty, I was quite pleased with the performance of my RX7 (which has the stats I mentioned above) for the duration of the time I owned it. It's very possible that the Elise will reach those numbers with the Celica powertrain, but if you can go faster without sacrificing anything, why not do it? (I know - it's not like Lotus can just buy the engines from anyone, but in an ideal world, I think we'd all like to see a big H on the cam cover.)
BrianK said:
Being that I've never driven the thing, I can't say anything on the power issue, however, from what I've read (e.g. this Road & Track article ), low power seems to be the *only* shortcoming of this little car.
You have to remember what they are comparing the Elise to.... a Ferarri Modena. Also, the Elsie used in the test was the 120hp version. Looking at it that way, I think the Elise did exceptionally well in those tests! I'm *assuming* that whatever motor they choose will be in the 180+ hp range. If thats true AND they choose a lightweight all-alluminum motor, we will have what we want.

After driving the 120hp version, I'd be content with that. The only drawback to the 120 hp Elise is its very narrow power band but once you learn how to drive it (read: keep the rrr's up), its a screamer.

The 180hp Elsie *should* be insane.... only if they keep the weight and the balance of the car in check.

Jose Soriano
I very much agree with that. It's about power to weight, combined with handling. My 42hp Kart goes like stink, because it's low and light. Anything around 180-200hp in the Elise will be very fun.

And yes, you can have too much hp. When it's very hard to drive the car because the tires can't handle it, most of the power is wasted.
The weight has to be kept in mind. I do not want a 6-cyl engine period. I'll stick witht the chant "I want the Honda engine" I am not sure what the weight difference is (can't be that much) but the additional ~60 horses will make a huge difference in my grin at the track :)
There's a prototype "TypeR" Elise conversion in the UK, this is all we've seen in terms of live action ! ;

Elise Type R

I understand that there's around + 30 kg with this power unit / transmission.
jrgibb said:
There's a prototype "TypeR" Elise conversion in the UK, this is all we've seen in terms of live action ! ;
HOLY COW!!! I'm going to have to take the 15 minute drive down to his shop for a closer inspection. ;)

That's amazing!
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