Lotus Unveils Its Fastest Road-Legal Car, the 3-Eleven

The 3-Eleven is the quickest and most expensive series production car ever made by Lotus

Unveiled at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Lotus 3-Eleven promises to deliver “an undiluted driving experience”, as well as “legendary handling and blistering speed.”

The 3-Eleven will be offered in two versions, Road and Race, both featuring the same powertrain but a different philosophy. While the former offers a compromise between road and track use, the latter is for those who want to go racing, offering a more aggressive aero kit, a sequential gearbox and an FIA approved driver seat with a six-point harness.

As the photos show, this is no ordinary sports car. It’s a track-focused beast with an open cockpit design, an all-new lightweight body and a revised V6 supercharged engine delivering 450 hp at 7,000 rpm and 332 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque between 3,500 rpm and 6,500 rpm. If this sounds like an explosive combination to you, you’re right: the Lotus 3-Eleven is capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph (0-96 km/h) in less than 3 seconds before reaching a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h) for the Race version and 180 mph (290 km/h) for the Road version.

The Race version has a dry weight of under 900 kg (1,984 lbs), offering an impressive power to weight ratio in excess of 500 hp per tonne. The engine is paired with a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox for the Road version, while the Race derivative uses a six-speed sequential transmission with shift paddles and a semi-dry sump.

The Lotus 3-Eleven has lapped the company test track at Hethel in just 1 minute and 22 seconds, making it the fastest road-going Lotus ever built. “This new car is a giant slayer, capable of embarrassing far more expensive rivals. It condenses our engineering know-how into one, hardcore package, and is so focused that it won’t suit everyone,” said Jean-Marc Gales, Group Lotus CEO.

Lotus will start building the 3-Eleven in February 2016, with deliveries scheduled to start in April 2016. Only 311 vehicles will be made, with prices starting from £82,000 for the Road version (including VAT and on the road costs) and £96,000 excluding VAT for the Race version (£115,200 including VAT).