Lo­tus 3-Eleven

450bhp fly­weight is Hethel’s fastest, most pow­er­ful road car ever


Take the 2-Eleven, make it faster and hey presto, the 3-Eleven is cre­ated

Seven min­utes and 10 sec­onds. If that’s the an­swer, you can guess the ques­tion, be­cause you are the sort of per­son who watches ev­ery frac­tion of your car’s speed on a track. Es­pe­cially a cer­tain hilly, lengthy, treach­er­ous Ger­man one. And that’s the num­ber Lo­tus is claim­ing, ad­mit­tedly so far via its spook­ily ac­cu­rate sim­u­la­tion soft­ware rather than an ac­tual test, of the pre-limit Nür­bur­gring Nord­schleife.

There’s also a frac­tion­ally heav­ier, frac­tion­ally slower road ver­sion – it’s the fastest road Lo­tus ever. Like the 2007 2-Eleven, the 3-Eleven is a stripped-out, ul­tra­light, barely-le­gal bath­tub on wheels that nib­bles at the very ex­trem­i­ties of what any nor­mal per­son would defne as a ‘car’.

Both ‘road’ (but still track­able) and full-track ver­sions have a louder 450bhp ver­sion of the Lo­tus-Toy­ota su­per­charged 3.5-litre V6. The two ver­sions sit ei­ther side of 900kg. This means Vey­ron-trou­bling power-to-weight ra­tios and ab­so­lutely premier-league per­for­mance in­clud­ing 0–60 in “un­der 3.0secs”. It’s a man­ual ’box on the road car, sequential on the track one.

The bare-bones but sav­agely beau­ti­ful body is shared by both. You can just see the care that’s gone into aero­dy­nam­ics for cool­ing and anti-lift. Look at the vent­ing be­hind the front wheels, the aero-shap­ing of the roll-bar cover, and the way the side scal­lops feed into the en­gine air in­takes. The track is wider than the Ex­ige’s thanks to longer front wish­bones. The struc­ture is also stifer than the Lo­tus cars that have ac­tual doors, be­cause there are fxed bars in the sides. The race­car also has an FIA-com­pli­ant cage.

To cover it all, the skin is made of a new type of light­weight in­jec­tion-moulded glass-fbre com­pos­ite, some 40 per cent lighter than con­ven­tional GRP. Both ver­sions have a big, ad­justable rear wing, but it’s even more ag­gres­sive in the race ver­sion, mean­ing a star­tling down­force num­ber of 215kg at 150mph.

Prices start at £82,000; the track vari­ant is £115,000. Big money for a Lo­tus, but it’s a trusted name for driv­ing ma­chines: the frst three months’ pro­duc­tion was sold out on the morn­ing it was un­veiled. To­tal pro­duc­tion is lim­ited to 311 cars. Ged­dit?

The 3-Eleven: the ul­ti­mate bath­tub on wheels? Dis­cuss

450bhp ac­cessed via an unas­sum­ing steer­ing wheel

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