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Lean, Green and Mean – Lotus Exige 2007


The perfect embodiment of the ‘Less is More’ principle – the brainchild of the late Colin Chapman himself, this Works Engineered Exige is a lightweight that scares the hell out of heavyweights.

We’re all more than just ‘familiar’ when we speak of Lotus cars; as it had the Malaysian factor at play circa 1990s which as history unfolded prompted the eventual ‘rebirth’ of the legendary marquee itself, the only caveat being the measure of the role thus played – as in major or minor. Be that as it may, we have been blessed albeit for a little while, with an unfettered access to the critically acclaimed ingenuity and innovation of Lotus cars.

There were a number of ‘unrequited’ matters that circulated thereafter concerning the direct contributions Proton had indeed utilized from the whole deal. I mean sure, there’s that famous (or infamous depending on your perspective and purview) ‘Handling by Lotus’ insignia which found its way onto a couple of the more spirited models back then. Of course the one glorious cult car that Proton has to its credit was the iconic Satria GTI, and sure enough its superb dynamics as well as that sweet and utterly accessible litheness as such did warrant the Lotus involvement and all; but still.

Admittedly the whole episode has been consigned to history and a deeply lamentable episode it turned out to be. Of course these days any talks concerning even the aforementioned Malaysian factor will be met by an even longer sigh, and just to add insult to the already ‘badly’ injured pride of a once proud and mighty car maker there’s the whole foreign ownership thingy, the subsequent political nuances and all the accompanying connotations as it were, ultimately rendering the whole matter almost, if not entirely, obsolete.

Well then, so much for the local Lotus connection, there’d be hardly a justifiable ‘point of dispute’ to warrant any further discussion therein, which is just as well, considering the fact that we’re not here to lament ‘what could’ve been’ or ‘what once was’ and all that hypothetical issues, or non-issue. In any case for this particular cover story, we do have yet another reputable local player that has made quite a name for itself on the international stage. Their brand name is as familiar right here in the local scene as it is abroad.

Works Engineering has indeed come a long way since their 1990s origin. From 2008 henceforth, the Works Engineering brand name has become a Registered Trademark, being exclusively licensed through US Technology Project S/B. It certainly goes without saying that Works Engineering is one of the most reputable and accomplished aftermarket tuner here in our blessed Motherland; their iconic logo is a regular feature in most if not all local car events with Works sponsored teams and drivers regularly being crowned champions in a multitude of events all across the region.

Works Engineering – its immense stature in the ultra competitive and challenging international car modifying industry have been further reinforced by a number of high profile tie-ups and affiliates in Asia; these include among others a number of stellar local racers, highly accomplished professional racing and drift teams based in Asia and many others. As a top aftermarket brand Works Engineering has quite a huge reputation as well; did you know that Works Eng is the only manufacturer in the world to provide a limited lifetime warranty on our Works Engineering range of fuel pressure regulators? Such is their rep in the ‘dog-eat-dog’ aftermarket industry that they have remained a genuine household name and a brand name that reflects the truest and purest spirit of Malaysia Boleh.

And so it is our honor to feature this classy Lotus Exige iteration given a ‘perfunctory’ do-over encompassing the fundamental performance and style requirements by none other than Works Engineering themselves. From the onset the Works tuning maestros decided upon a rather ‘mild modification’ approach revolving around a number of quintessential performance tweaks that cleverly enhance (instead of alter) the sweet and responsive nature of the 2007 Exige’s transverse placement Toyota-sourced supercharged motor – the 2ZZ-GE 1796cc DOHC VVTL-i inline-4.

With an 82 mm × 85 mm bore x stroke and 11.5:1 compression ratio this universally praiseworthy powerplant churns out a healthy 221ps at a notably high 7800rpm and a max torque of 215Nm at 5500rpm delivered via the mandatory 6-speed close ratio manual gearbox. Now these aren’t exactly a ‘set-the-world-afire’ figures yes but whence you have a mere 900 and 33 kilos (just over 2,000 pounds) wind-slicing low slung mass beckoning, the net result as per its acceleration and subsequent maximum speeds and all are nothing short of outstanding – a whisker over 4 clicks from standstill to 60mph, a smidgen under 10 clicks to 100mph and an easily pulled 236km/h top end!

With such handy and solid plus points at play Works Engineering opted for ‘just’ these: wet-type NOS kit worth a handy 50 ponies, Works Engineering Pro Air Charger 2 and a Works Engineering Oil catch can. You can imagine the net effect from the above tweaks is astonishing to say the least, and we’re not exactly known for overstatements or excessive exaggerations. You can bet your abundant year-end bonus that this Works engineered Exige has indoctrinate an entirely new cult following thereafter. Think of a featherweight mixed martial arts exponent kicking the shit out of the reigning heavyweight ‘chump’ whosoever he happens to be.

You’d inevitably find yourself gazing upon the ‘big picture’ which the clever Works Engineering tech wizards have been slowly priming you up for right from the off. You’d surely be able to see whence you’ve understood the ‘why’ following the ‘what’ as per this exceptional cover story. And sure enough at this very juncture you’d finally comprehend the entire ‘minimalist’ concept; afforded therein with yet another trio of Works Engineering aftermarket parts for the extremely snug interior of this Exige (Works Engineering Pro 2 Plus gauges for Boost, Oil pressure & oil temperature, steering quick release and short hub). And concerning its running gear – the pertaining lubricants therein, this Exige does its thing exclusively on Lucas Oil products as hinted by the stylized decals scattered about its strikingly vivid green paintjob.

Make no fuss about it guys, this Works Engineered Lotus Exige took the path least traversed in the exciting world of car modification, adopting the ‘pseudo-ironic’ stealthy shadowy approach on the one hand (style-wise) with a ‘mess with me and you’re done for’ ideals on the other (performance-wise).

An understated personification of an iconic sports car how’s that for sheer class?

Hyperfacts!

Car:
2007 Lotus Exige

Engine:
1,796 cc I4, DOHC VVTL-i(variable valve timing & lift-intelligent), supercharged & intercooled

Bore × Stroke:
82 mm × 85 mm

Compression ratio:
11.5:1

Max power (stock):
218hp (221ps) @ 7800rpm

Max torque (stock):
215Nm (159 lb-ft) @ 5500rpm

Performance Modifications:
Works Engineering NOS kit (50hp) wet type, Works Engineering Pro Air Charger 2, Works Engineering Oil catch can

Transmission:
6-speed close-ratio gearbox

Wheels & Tyres:
OEM 16 inch anodized black rims, 205/45ZR16 tyres

Interior Modifications:
Works engineering Pro 2 Plus gauge – Boost, Oil pressure & oil temperature, Works Engineering steering quick release, Works Engineering Short hub

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