Lotus 3-Eleven revealed at Goodwood {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

4 Jun 2015

In 2007 Lotus took the Exige S hardcore track coupe and decided to make it into the ultimate track weapon of the time. So it had the bare minimum of bodywork, a 252bhp supercharged Toyota 4-cylinder engine and seriously impressive handling. But then in 2012 the Exige grew up – a bigger body and more aggressive looks won the aesthetes out there over, but that body was there for a reason – the engine was now a supercharged 3.5 litre V6 (again Toyota sourced) producing 350bhp. Weight was up as well as power, but the whole package was like the old Exige multiplied. Fast forward to 2015 and new Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales wanted a car to show he means business – step forward the 3-Eleven.

The 3-Eleven takes the newer Exige S and pulls the same tricks as before, with a few new ones. So the engine is the same V6 but with power dialled up beyond even the new Evora 400, to an incredible 450bhp. Weight is less than 900kg, which means the performance is like no other Lotus – in fact the 3-Eleven laps Lotus’ Hethel circuit 10 seconds faster than the next-fastest Lotus. Lotus also intends to set a Nurburgring lap time too and expects the car to do under 7 minutes – the benchmark for truly exceptional cars like the £1m Porsche 918 Spyder. 0-60mph is done in under 3.0 seconds while the car tops out at 174mph in Race trim or 180mph in Road trim.

The Road trim is the ‘base’ car, with a slightly less exaggerated aerodynamic kit than the Race trim car shown in the pictures. Road trim has more side impact protection, while Race trim adds additional bars to meet FIA specs. The Road 3-Eleven gets a six-speed manual gearbox with a racing clutch, while the Race gets an XTrac sequential six speed paddle shift unit.

The new bodywork is made of a new composite developed by Lotus that is 40% lighter than glassfibre, and what a bodywork it is. The front end is instantly recognisable as Exige, but with a larger front splitter. The sides are much more deeply sculpted, with huge vents behind the front wheels. There is no windscreen, only a small deflector ahead of the driver beside which is a removable hard tonneau covering the passenger seat. The large roll cage has an aerodynamic covering and atop the rear sits a huge adjustable carbon fibre wing. The rear end features mostly mesh for ventilation purposes. All together the 3-Eleven manages to look slick, stylish and incredibly aggressive – quite an achievement.

Deliveries of the 3-Eleven start in April and there will be 311 made. Though we think they may struggle to sell that many given the pricing. The 2-Eleven cost around £40,000, but the 3-Eleven costs between £82,000 and £115,000 depending on Road or Race trim and spec – that’s in the realm of some serious machinery, though if the performance and lap time claims are proven it may actually be the cheapest way to get that performance. We hope to try one and see!