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Lotus models, news & reviews
By Angus Fitton
03 June 2007 02:36
This is the Exige 265E - the fastest ever Exige and the first bio-ethanol Lotus. The digits 265 denote the 265PS power output, or 261bhp in old money – up 46bhp over the standard car. The 'E' informs people that this car runs on ethanol, alcohol made from the fermentation of crops, mixed with petrol. Using this greener fuel results in a claimed 70 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The Exige 265E is a development prototype created by Lotus Engineering, the Norfolk firm's fiendishly clever consultancy arm. In only five weeks between July and August 2006, its engineers completely re-engineered the Toyota engine powering the standard Exige S to run on the wheat-derived fuel. The result is the fastest road-legal bio-ethanol car (and the fastest Exige) ever built. Performance is sensational - 0-60mph flashes up in only 3.88 seconds before running out of puff at a mind bending 158mph. Who says being green is boring?
Far from it. The technology to make all this possible is remarkably low-tech. The basic aluminium block (built for Toyota by Yamaha) is exactly the same as that fitted to the Exige S. The supercharger and intercooler combination is tweaked slightly to cope with the increase in power and the ECU has been remapped for the new fuel mix. These tweaks do nothing to make the Exige faster, the extra power is entirely down to the fuel. Ethanol burns more efficiently than conventional petrol thanks to the extra oxygen atom attached to the ethanol alcohol molecule in its makeup. In English this means the combustion process is more effective and more power can be produced.
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Lotus Exige 265E (2006) CAR review
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