Squeezing the K-Series

Hello there:

This is my first post, although I have been reading the forum for the past 3-4 months.

I must admit i don’t know much about the Exige, or the Elise, for that matter. It seems that here in Portugal, the official Lotus importer isn’t even recognized by Lotus. There are no more that 10-20 Lotuses in the entire country, i’m sure.

Anyway, I’m completely in love with the Exige S1, and it will the next car I will buy (I currently own an Alfa Romeo 156), although not in a near future .

However, there is one issue with it, that I would like to discuss. The usability and praticality of the K-Series engine.

From what i’ve read, it’s rather dull on sub 5.000 rpm range, making it not very pratical for everyday comuting or anything besides really pushing it on the road or track.

Besides, it’s torque isn’t famous either.

Are there any good mods available to push a normal K-Series to a higher level, both to make the car less rev hungry (more torque, from a lower range??) but still beat the hell of a Carrera (or even a 911 GT3/Turbo), any day of the week?

What about compressor/turbo conversions?

What other options are available?

I’ve seen Turbo Technics and BBR-Gti web sites and they promise this world and the next, but… are they any good?

By the way, is anyone coming to the Euro 2004?

There’s been a few TT conversions and they are quick but will need a re-build in about 40,000 miles (if you’re lucky!).

A Honda K20 engine swap should be reliable and will easily take Carreras. An Audi 1.8T conversion with easily take GT3s. All conversions seem to be about the same money - �10,000. But you also need to think about other bits and pieces, such as bigger brakes, track rod upgrades, etc.


About changing the K-series to Honda, audi, etc…

Who does these conversions?? I’ve seen a lot of talk about this, but have never seen anyone actually producing nothing in form of a kit or something you can buy…

How much weight will it bring on over K-serie’s?

The audi conversion seems tempting, but Bernard is still not sure he will produce even in a small scale… I hope he does…

Anyway, what do you think about the K-Series in the low revs range (from 1500-4500)?


if you’re thinking about real world usability, believe me, it’s very usable.
I constantly pull from 1500 RPM when not pushing the car. It can be driven in traffic from 1500 to 4000 without problems, and even at those revs you leave most normal cars behind.
Now, to push it, you have to be in the 5000-8000 rpm. Not bad, I tell you, especially in the real world.

Probably the only place where other more powerful cars have an advantage is over a 1/4 mile, but you won’t see many of these cars there.
There is just no point on driving the car in a straight line, anybody can do it.

Now put it on track and it will show you (and them) what it can do.
So, don’t worry about power. A std one is plenty quick, believe me.
Just go to a track one day and you’ll fall in love


I wish i could go to track day to see an exige, or even an elise, but that’s something that doesn’t exist over here .

I don’t suppose anyone will come to the Euro 2004 driving…

So, you’re saying an Exige is pretty usable driving in a “normal” range? It’s just that I have read so many comments, stating that the engine only appears after the 5.000 rpm mark…

Do you use it for everyday driving?

Yes, I do.

And all those people that complain is just because they want more, and more, and more.
Then some buy a Laborghini

Think about it, how “slow” can it be with a 0-60mph time of 4.7 sec?


0-60 in 4.7? I thought the Exige did 5,2 to 5,4 0-60…

Hum… It’s becoming increasingly interesting.

Maybe the new S2 Exige, but remember the S1 is about 100Kg lighter.
And the VHPD is a comparatively powerful engine for its displacement and weight.
Ok, not as reliable as a Honda or Toyota but you get used to that.

It’s called “british character”

I’d agree with Udlis, it’s plenty drivable from 1500 rpm + I use mine most of the time, I still have my MR2 SC but it’s just no where near as much fun!

What people have said about the engine coming alive is when it really come “on cam” and goes mental, that’s the point where the adrelin is directly proportional to the noise! LOL!

It truly is a full on experience! The noise, the small, the lumpy idle And now I’m having fun trying to understand engine tuning! sob

I just sold my K series, which was heavily modded, and it was still a very tractable engine…

Yesterday I sat in the car with the buyer, and took off gently in first gear. It was easy to take my foot off the accelerator and the car was quite happy to trundle along all on its own…

The whole point of a high revving engine is to have the best of both worlds, i.e. high power at high revs, and then a more docile animal if you aren’t in that kind of mood…

Sure the idle is a bit lumpy, but that does not affect the driving!!

BTW 0-60 in around 4.2 according to my datalogger…

Wait till the audi engine is fitted!!!

You were making 4.2 0-60??

What mods did you have?

For engine mods see…

engine I have sold

In addition it was running 048s, and a Racespeed lightweight side exit exhaust, and as much lightening as I could dream up…

Did you have the AP clutch? That helps with 0-60s.

You kept the passenger seat (just to think up another lightening option for you ).



I use a sprint technique of reving up to a figure, e.g. 4000 RPM and then drop the clutch and if you get a little wheelspin that helps with the traction and warms the tyres for the rest of the run… You need to experiment on the exact figure depending on tyre temp and track temp etc…

Things I have taken off?

Passenger footrest
Rear luggage heatshield
Numberplate backplate
bits of the rear body behind the numberplate !!!
engine valences
gubbins to do with noise suppression e.g. the vacuum reservoir
plastic panel behind seats
standard exhaust, CAT and tailpipe
(replaced with much lighter racespeed)
intake air control valve
radio aerial
driving lamps
standard shocks (replaced with lighter Nitrons)

I am after:-

lightweight seats with harness holes
lightweight battery
replacement rear window in perspex
Speedlines (due soon now)
ally belled discs (probably Muts, but the jury is out)
I may lose the heater matrix… or just for the summer, but am worried about condensation on screen…)

Oh, and I am personally down from 76kgs to 68kgs…

Any other lightening suggestions, other than Blackadder style ones?

(i.e. Cut off your head!!)

Any other lightening suggestions


Any other lightening suggestions

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Ho Ho Ho

Washer bottle and fluid - gotta be 4 kgs if you haven’t already taken it out Drive with less fuel - save 1kg per litre?

Anyone seen the racing Exige at Bell & Colville - that has nothing in it except a seat!!

I always empty the washer bottle…

Geary does some lightweight wishbones…

After that I suppose I could leave off my underwear!!

After that I suppose I could leave off my underwear!!

What a horrible thong, I mean thought

There’s always the carbon steering wheel and aircraft fuel cap for about couple of kilos.