The new Lotus 3-Eleven 430 has retaken the title as Lotus’ quickest street-legal sports car – a fitting send off for the company’s legendary road racer.
The most extreme machine that Lotus builds, the new 3-Eleven 430 is the fastest Lotus road car to lap the challenging Hethel circuit, 0.8 seconds quicker than the second place Exige Cup 430, and two seconds quicker than the previous 3-Eleven, delivering a benchmark time of 1 minute 24 seconds.
Upgraded and specifically re-optimised for the 3-Eleven, the supercharged and charge-cooled 3.5-litre V6 engine produces 430 hp and 440 Nm, propelling the 3-Eleven 430 from 0-60 mph in an astonishing 3.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds) and a top speed of 180 mph (290 km/h) – up from 3.3 seconds (0-60 mph) (3.4 seconds 0-100 km/h) and 174 mph (280 km/h) for the previous version of the Lotus 3-Eleven.
Designed to provide enthusiast drivers with the purest and most direct of driving experiences, the 3-Eleven is cut from the same cloth as the most iconic Lotus cars. Remaining true to the company’s edicts, it employs a lightweight carbon-composite body and a bespoke extruded and bonded aluminium chassis. Sculpted part-exposed carbon side panels and striking carbon interior panels all contribute to the exceptional light weight.
Originally unveiled in the summer of 2015 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 3-Eleven was met by rapturous crowds and universal acclaim. Its unashamedly aggressive styling, lightweight design and hypercar-humbling performance set new standards for speed and agility at any price. From remarkable sector times on the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit during its development, the original Lotus 3-Eleven went on to lap the Hockenheimring short circuit in an incredible 1 minute 6.2 seconds at the hands of “Sport Auto Magazine”, setting a production car lap record for the German publication.
As the company enters its 70th anniversary, the new 3-Eleven 430 is a celebration of the company’s legacy of pure performance and intelligent engineering, as it readies its new range of sports cars.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc commented: “When we first unveiled the Lotus 3-Eleven it heralded a new generation of truly focused, world-class sports cars. It altered perceptions of what was possible at this price category, and today the new 3-Eleven 430 moves the benchmark to remain the ultimate weapon in focused road driving and track work.”
About the Lotus 3-Eleven 430
Historically, Lotus’ ‘Eleven’ nomenclature is reserved for models which bridge the gap between road and track in the most direct way possible. As a result, these open-cockpit specials have become some of the brand’s most collectable – revered for their lack of embellishment or gimmickry.
As production draws to a close, this final evolution of the formidable 3-Eleven raises the bar beyond the reach of aspiring rivals. Packing more power than before, thanks to the development of Lotus’ signature supercharged V6 engine, it’s a suitable send off for such a respected and highly capable sports car.
With new part-visible weave carbon-composite bodywork, the 3-Eleven shows it mettle as the very epitome of lightweight engineering. Revised for the 430 edition, the road car has a dry weight of 920 kg (5 kg less than the previous model), giving a power to weight ratio of a mighty 467 hp per tonne – an increase of 24 hp per tonne.
With an increased performance envelope, the Lotus 3-Eleven 430 has also evolved its aero accordingly. Already noted for its high levels of downforce, the carefully optimized design integrates a higher mounted straight-cut rear wing (50 mm higher than previous model) with re-profiled end plates, a long front splitter and lip spoiler, and a flat floor with rear diffuser to increase downforce by 44 kg to 265 kg at maximum speed.
The car’s standard specification does little to belie its intentions, with a Torsen-type limited slip differential, Öhlins DFV one-way adjustable dampers and Eibach® adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars. In addition, 6-position variable traction control, linked directly to the ECU, with five pre-set traction levels (1%, 3%, 6%, 9%, 12% slip and “off”) allows owners to tune their preferred setup. These features are joined by Lotus’ slick, six-speed manual gearbox and acclaimed open-gate design – precisely engineered for fast and seamless shifts.
The Lotus 3-Eleven 430 employs Michelin® Cup 2 tyres (225/40 ZR18 front and 275/35 ZR19 rear) to transfer its considerable power to the road. This mechanical grip, combined with the considerable aerodynamic downforce, allows drivers to tap into the model’s lateral acceleration potential of up to 1.5 g whilst cornering.
The Lotus 3-Eleven relies on AP Racing four-piston callipers front and rear and new, two-piece J-Hook brake discs (332 mm front and rear) which provide improved bite and debris clearance and reduce distortion and vibration. Each corner is finished by Lotus-designed ultra-lightweight forged aluminium wheels, finished either in gloss or satin black.
Launching the new Lotus, Jean-Marc Gales said, “The development of the original 3-Eleven focused our thoughts on a Lotus of pure simplicity and advanced our thinking on the sports cars of the future. The 3-Eleven 430 is the ultimate conclusion of that work, a super car killer and something that we’re all immensely proud of.”
The 3-Eleven 430 is available as a limited series production road car of 20 vehicles and can be ordered now, priced at £102,000 including VAT and on the road costs.
All images copyright Group Lotus plc