From: Jeff Chan(removed to prevent spam)
Subject: Re: Next engine
On Wednesday, November 13, 2002,
3:33:59 PM, TheDog wrote:

There seems to be a bit of confusion about what may or may not power the Elise when it heads stateside. It is not proper to call the L850 engine a Saturn engine. This engine was designed with the assistance of Lotus as a corporate engine for GM. Corporate and worldwide. It first appeared in the Saturn LS and has since rolled out in the VUE, Ion and J and N cars stateside. It is in a variety of Opels and Vauxhalls and in it's latest incarnation, it is now in the Saab 9-3. What is in the 9-3 may be the best hope for the Elise. This version is rated at 170 and correct me if I am wrong, 210 horsepower. This engine is also what appears in the Opel Speedster and Vauxhall VX 220. Again correct me if I got the Vauxhall name wrong. There are some shortcomings with this engine but the upside is tremendous. There are things I have seen that I cannot discuss but already GM has spotted this engine in drag racing form and is getting some very impressive numbers while using lightly (in other words, not expensive) modified parts. It would be in the best interest of Lotus to use this motor. How would you attract more customers if you don't use something you played a role in developing?

I assume you are referring to the Ecotec block GM is using in sport compact drag racing, which got 600 and 800 horsepower with a lot of turboing.


To reach 800 HP they had to replace essentially all but the block and I think the crank. Still pretty good for a stock block and 1 year old program. At lower power levels, much more of the stock engine can be used. Less power would also be more durable of course.

I still prefer a normally aspirated "all motor" engine for a mid-engine "handling" car. Turbo lag is not really something I want when trying to balance a car on the throttle in a turn, or setting up for a turn, or exiting a turn. I'd much rather have a nice, linear, predictable, broadly- torquey engine. I don't need 400 HP to have fun in a 1800 lb car either.

It's nice to see GM getting serious about product and engineering again, and less about bland, oops... brand marketing. I certainly wish them success and if Lotus goes with the Ecotec it may not be too bad. The Toyota 2ZZGE is currently a better engine however.

GM is apparently investing a lot of effort into Ecotec as a future performance engine platform. As an example, GM is apparently working on Gasoline Direct Injection for it. They appear to have a lot of future plans for it also.


"I wanted to give you an example of a small car using our first new global power train. This is the first output, the so-called L850 engine. That's a 4-cylinder engine where the Japanese have tended to be leaders. Well not any longer. This engine will be introduced in the Saturn LS1 this year. As you can see, it has been recognized by the EPA as the most fuel efficient in its class at 32 miles per gallon. This is an interesting engine for other reasons. This is an aluminum head, aluminum block engine. We use lost foam casting technology for the casting of these components."


"Lotus Engine Expo 2002, Stuttgart, Germany Code-named L850, GMs 2.2 Ecotec engine family was designed and developed by Lotus Engineering to replace up to 7 engine families made in 13 production plants. Available from 2001, the L850 engine is a world-class powertrain and the benchmark for future 4-cylinder engines.

Lotus Engineering is showing a production L850 engine, installed in the exciting Opel Speedster"

I note that the L850 is designed as a world engine so it perhaps equals Toyota in that department. Nice to see the strong Lotus involvement in L850 also. L850 appears to be a showcase for Lotus Engineering. There would be marketing merit in using an engine that Lotus "designed and developed" in the M260.

L850 weight and torque apparently aren't too bad either:


"A 2.2-liter, four cylinder engine from the new aluminum ECOTECfamily - which will premiere in Europe in the Astra Coupé - also powers the Speedster. The engine is constructed from aluminum alloy and weighs a mere 138 kilograms. It produces 108 kW (147hp) at 5800 rpm with a maximum torque figure of 203 Nm, whereby 90 percent of this is available at 1800 rpm."

203 Nm is 147 ft-lbs. 138 kg is 304 lb. 147 hp is awfully low for a 2.2 liter engine, however. Hopefully it should be able to do well over 200 hp with some tuning (and no turbos). These are all press release numbers so I don't know how they match up to the real world.

Jeff C.