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450bhp 3-Eleven is the fastest, most powerful Lotus ever
Supercharged V6 lightweight is Hethel’s most potent road car yet. 0-60mph? Under three seconds. Be afraid
Enjoy simple, punchy soundbytes? Try this. You’re looking at the fastest, most powerful, quickest-lapping Lotus ever to hit the road.
The 3-Eleven is, if you will, a successor to the 2-Eleven. Remember that 2007 machine? A stripped-out, ultralight, barely-legal bathtub on wheels that nibbled at the very extremities of what any normal person would define as a ‘car’.
But for this all-new incarnation, it’s powered by something altogether more serious than the 2-Eleven’s supercharged 1.8.
For 3-Eleven duty, the Lotus-Toyota supercharged V6 is hopped up to 450bhp. In a car weighing just over 900kg. That means a Veyron-troubling power-to ratio.
The result is 0-60mph in ‘under 3.0 seconds’. That is properly violent acceleration. And Lotus is quietly saying no car under £100,000 will lap the Nurburgring quicker, hinting that the 3-Eleven could get very close to a seven-minute lap of the Green Hell. That’s closing in on Porsche 918 Spyder pace.
It actually comes in two versions: race and road. They’re not all that different. Both have the same powertrain, limited-slip diff and adjustable suspension. The Race version is slightly lighter and comes with track tyres, harder brake pads and an FIA safety cage, and slightly more downforce - a major-league 215kg at 150mph.
The bare-bones but savagely beautiful body is shared by both. You can just see the care that’s gone into aero for cooling and anti-lift. It’s made of a new type of lightweight composite, some 40 percent lighter than conventional GRP.
The interior - in so much as this car has an interior - is dominated by race seats, a colour TFT instrument and telemetry display. And a mildly quivering driver, we can only assume.
Price for the road version is £82,000, the track variant £115,000. Production will be limited to just 311 cars. Geddit?
The car was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed today, before an apparently satisfied and very sizeable crowd. People out there still have a thirst for Lotus. Do you, topgear.commers? Let us know below.