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The 3-Eleven 430 is now the fastest ever street-legal Lotus
Yet another special edition: roofless 3-Eleven gets 430bhp V6 for maximum track madness
It’s Lotus’s special edition of the week! In what’s becoming a regular feature on TopGear.com, Lotus has pulled the wraps off a faster, sharper, more serious trackday toy. Just like it did last week. And the week before that.
This one is the fastest yet, though. It’s the Lotus 3-Eleven 430, and its recipe is reassuringly simple: take Lotus’s lightest, most roofless car, the 3-Eleven, and insert its most ferocious engine, the 430bhp supercharged V6 from the Exige Cup 430.
That Exige had snaffled the old 3-Eleven’s ‘fastest Lotus road car’ title at the company’s Hethel test track, but nicking its engine has got the 3-Eleven its record back, with a 1min 24sec lap being 0.8sec ahead of the Exige.
Want more stats? The 3-Eleven does 0-60mph in 3.1secs and hits a 180mph top speed. You might want to wear some face protection if you’re aiming to replicate either figure.
As well as more power, there’s better aero – as you’d hope – with a longer splitter and taller rear spoiler, while its floor is completely flat. The end result is a 15 per cent increase in downforce, which is now 265kg at its top speed.
There are lots of helpful mechanical bits beneath the skin, too; a proper mechanical limited-slip differential, a complex traction control system and some massive brakes. There’s a pleasingly traditional six-speed manual gearbox, too.
Just 20 will be made, and they’ll be the last 3-Elevens produced, we’re told. It costs £102,000 before options; if you want a tonneau cover and a removable steering wheel, roofless car essentials, add another £2,650. There’s also a £5,500 titanium exhaust that you ought to tick if you like noise. If you’re buying a V6 sports car without windows, you probably like noise…