Lotus has taken the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed by storm with the unveiling of the hardcore new 3-Eleven. The track-ready model sports a supercharged 3.5-litre V6 producing 443bhp, and a sub-900kg kerbweight making it the fastest car the Norfolk-based firm has ever produced. It also starts at £82,000 for the race-spec model, with a road-legal version at £115,200.
The 3-Eleven is a reinvention of the highly-focused 2-Eleven that we tested back in 2007, but the performance figures are in another league. Its power-to-weight ratio of 500hp-per-tonne means it sprints from 0-60mph in under three seconds and tops out at 174mph for the track version and 180mph for the road-legal model.
Whereas the old 2-Eleven featured a 1.8-litre four cylinder engine, the 3-Eleven gets the supercharged 3.5-litre V6 from the Evora S sports car, mated to either a conventional six-speed manual in the road version and a six-speed sequential gearbox for the track car. Lotus claims it laps its Hethel test track a full ten seconds faster than the next quickest car it makes.
The styling is also an adaptation of the 2-Eleven, with an Exige-based front end, an open cockpit design and sleek composite body. It based on a ‘bespoke’ extruded and bonded aluminium chassis, with roadgoing version featuring a twin side bar rollcage and racing versions receiving a full cage to comply with FIA regulations. The roof scoop and rear spoiler combine to produce 215kg of downforce at 150mph.
The suspension is a lightweight double-wishbone design all-round, with an adjustable anti-roll bar, Eibach springs and Ohlins adjustable dampers. It also gets a limited-slip differential, lightweight forged alloy wheels and 332mm vented brake discs with four-piston calipers.
The interior doesn’t give away much compromise to road use, with four-point harnesses (six-point in the racer) a removeable steering wheel and a TFT information display.
Lotus boss Jean Marc Gales describes it as a “giant slayer, capable of embarrassing far more expensive rivals”, showing its speed projection towards the latest hypercars.
He went on to state “It condenses our engineering know-how into one, hard-core package, and is so focused that it won’t suit everyone”.
Get all the latest news from the 2015 Goodwood Festival opf Speed here…