Lotus is preparing to usher out the 3-Eleven and replace it (and the rest of the range) with a new generation of lightweight sports cars. But not before it makes one last version of the superlight speedster.
Called the 3-Eleven 430, the ultimate edition of the most hardcore Lotus to date packs the company’s biggest engine into its lightest model.
That means a 3.5-liter supercharged V6, kicking out 430 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed manual gearbox. No trick all-wheel-drive system, no dual-cluch transmissions… just a power-to-weight ratio of 467 hp per metric ton.
With just 2,028 pounds to motivate – 11 fewer than before – the new 3-Eleven 430 will hustle to 60 in just 3.1 seconds and top out at 180 miles per hour with the wind in your face (or hopefully a full-face helmet). That’s measurably quicker than the previous version of the 3-Eleven, which took 3.3 seconds to reach 60 on its way to a 174-mph top end.
More to the point, the Lotus 3-Eleven 430 will hustle around the company’s famous test track at Hethel in just 1 minute and 24 seconds. That’s a new lap record, beating the Exige Cup 430 by 0.8 seconds and the previous 3-Eleven by a full two seconds. Put it on the short track at Hockenheim like Sport Auto did with the previous version and it’s bound to beat its own lap record of 1 minute 6.2 seconds.
Of course it’s not all about power. Those figures are helped by a Torsen limited-slip differential, Öhlins adjustable dampers, Eibach adjustable anti-roll bars, six-mode traction control, and Michelin Cup 2 rubber on 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels. Four-piston AP Racing caliper front and back keep it all in check, with 584 lbs of downforce to keep it planted at top speed and 1.5 g of lateral grip.
Those are some impressive figures, to be sure, and a proper sendoff to a beloved track toy. Sadly Lotus will only build 20 examples, priced at £102,000 – or about $142k at current exchange rates.