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VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing and Lift intelligent system) is an enhanced version of VVT-i that can alter valve lift (and duration) as well as valve timing. In the case of the 16 valve 2ZZ-GE, the engine head resembles a typical DOHC design, featuring separate cams for intake and exhaust and featuring two intake and two exhaust valves (four total) per cylinder. Unlike a conventional design, each camshaft has two lobes per cylinder, one optimized for lower rpm operation and one optimized for high rpm operation, with higher lift and longer duration. Each valve pair is controlled by one rocker arm, which is operated by the camshaft. Each rocker arm has a slipper follower mounted to the rocker arm with a spring, allowing the slipper follower to freely move up and down with the high lobe without affecting the rocker arm. When the engine is operating below 6000-7000 rpm (dependent on year, car, and ECU installed), the lower lobe is operating the rocker arm and thus the valves, and the slipper-follower is freewheeling next to the rocker arm. When the engine is operating above the lift engagement point, the ECU activates an oil pressure switch which pushes a sliding pin under the slipper follower on each rocker arm. The rocker arm is now locked into slipper-follower's movements and thus follows the movement of the high rpm cam lobe, and will operate with the high rpm cam profile until the pin is disengaged by the ECU. The lift system is similar in principle to Honda VTEC operation.
The system was first used in 2000 Toyota Celica with 2ZZ-GE. Toyota has now ceased production of its VVTL-i engines for most markets, because the engine does not meet Euro IV specifications for emissions. As a result, this engine has been discontinued on some Toyota models, including that of the Corolla T-Sport (Europe), Corolla Sportivo (Australia), Celica, Corolla XRS, Toyota Matrix XRS, and the Pontiac Vibe GT, all of which had the 2ZZ-GE engine fitted. The Lotus Elise continues to offer the 2ZZ-GE and the 1ZZ-FE engine, while the Exige offers the engine with a supercharger.