Rate It: GM Europe’s Ecotec-Powered Lotus Elise

The story goes that because European safety standards changed for 2000, Lotus needed help to make a replacement for the first-generation Elise.

General Motors answered that call for help, and the two companies struck a deal to co-produce the new car.

Under the GM badge, the new cars would be sold as the Opel Speedster and the Vauxhall VX220. Instead of the Toyota powerplant found in the Elise, the Speedster and the VX220 would use an Ecotec engine good for 145 horsepower.

A turbocharged model would come later in the models' life cycles with 220 horsepower on tap.

Production would end in 2005 with no replacement planned, but some say that the Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice (sold as an Opel GT in Europe) was a spiritual successor.

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Comments
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nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
8/13/20 8:32 a.m.

Totally forgot the  Speedster and VX220 existed.  The styling looks a little down rent from the Elise, eh?

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/13/20 8:57 a.m.
nderwater said:

Totally forgot the  Speedster and VX220 existed.  The styling looks a little down rent from the Elise, eh?

I feel like there is definitely more GM than Lotus in that 'style'.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/13/20 9:00 a.m.

Honestly like better than the lotus body

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/13/20 9:11 a.m.
Patrick (Forum Supporter) said:

Honestly like better than the lotus body

Because it's a better design in your eyes or because this is something rarely, if ever, seen in the US?

BA5
BA5 Reader
8/13/20 10:20 a.m.

In reply to iansane (Forum Supporter) :

I agree with Patrick.  I like the speedster version of the body better.  I just think it looks better, I've always found the Elise to be a bit too insect-y.

I've always preferred a more "machine" look to my cars as opposed to a "biological" look.

For example: I like the way Honda's look (pretty much always), prefer the C5 or C7 over the C6, Fiata over the Miata, don't care for the '57 Chevy, and think the E36 M3 looks better than the E46.

I also prefer a 2mm lead holder over a regular wooden pencil.

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 SuperDork
8/13/20 10:34 a.m.

Having seen VX220s on the road, it is one of the very few cars that looks better in photos than it does in person. Still looks better than a base series 2 Elise though. Not better than a seies 1 though.

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
8/13/20 11:39 a.m.

Huh, I never knew they were directly related to the Elise.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
8/13/20 11:55 a.m.

Ecotec. Ew.

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
8/13/20 11:59 a.m.

To my eye, the Elise looks like a mini exotic car.  In the Vox I'm seeing Pontiac Grand Prix in the nose, MR2-S in the headlights, some Altima in the tail and SN95 Mustang in the tacked on side scoops.  Go figure. 

mblommel
mblommel Dork
8/13/20 12:00 p.m.

Those taillights. Ugh.

Any model Elise looks better to me. 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
8/13/20 12:29 p.m.

Looks like an mr2 spyder to my untrained eye.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
8/13/20 12:35 p.m.

We are getting between 400 and 500 bhp with the 2.0 Ecotec, without going inside the engine (although above the low 400s one is wel advised to consider some bottom end longevity mods).   That car would be interesting with one of those modern Ecotecs in it!

nocones
nocones UltraDork
8/13/20 1:40 p.m.

5 more years..   what are these selling for in Europland?

759NRNG (Forum Partidario)
759NRNG (Forum Partidario) UltraDork
8/13/20 1:59 p.m.
wspohn said:

We are getting between 400 and 500 bhp with the 2.0 Ecotec, without going inside the engine (although above the low 400s one is wel advised to consider some bottom end longevity mods).   That car would be interesting with one of those modern Ecotecs in it!

Hmmm  "We" can you expound on this .....I have a 1973 MGB/GT......perhaps PM would be more appropriate...

Sil80redtop
Sil80redtop HalfDork
8/14/20 7:48 a.m.

Any chance that either variant is import legal?  

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/14/20 7:50 a.m.

In reply to Sil80redtop :

Not yet.

Error404
Error404 Reader
8/14/20 4:37 p.m.

Definitely looks more like a Solstice than a Lotus and not in a good way. It's not bad, per se, but as iansane noted there appears to be a lot more GM than Lotus in the design.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
8/15/20 3:04 p.m.
759NRNG (Forum Partidario) said:
wspohn said:

We are getting between 400 and 500 bhp with the 2.0 Ecotec, without going inside the engine (although above the low 400s one is wel advised to consider some bottom end longevity mods).   That car would be interesting with one of those modern Ecotecs in it!

Hmmm  "We" can you expound on this .....I have a 1973 MGB/GT......perhaps PM would be more appropriate...

There is a large tuning community for the Solstice/Sky and Cobalt owners. I stopped when I got from a stock 260 bhp/260 Tq to 375 bhp/375 Tq (that just required a larger impeller wheel and a retune) but the limit is way above that. You can stick an Ecotec in an MGB but it requires some packaging work as it is a fairly tall engine. They have stuck them in Miatas, Lotus 7 etc.  At worst you would probably need a mild hood bulge but if it interfered with the front cross member you might need to do a front suspension conversion to make room (readily available kits, just a bit more money

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