LOTUS HAS TAKEN the wraps off the 450bhp 3-Eleven track car.
Lotus has somewhat lost its way of late. The Elise is getting on a bit now, the Europa was a commercial flop, the Evora was a good car but certainly wasn’t the Porsche 911 rival it was meant to be and let’s not even get started about the many rumoured attempts at a new Esprit.
Lotus used to make out-and-out performance cars, that blew pretty much everything else out of the water when it hit the track, and the 2016 Lotus 3-Eleven looks set to return to that mindset.
Unveiled at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 2016 3-Eleven is powered by a modified version of the Evora 400’s 3.5-litre V6 engine which produces 450bhp. Combined with a dry weight under 900kg, thanks to a bespoke chassis of bonded aluminium sections, the 3-Eleven has a power-to-weight ratio of over 500bhp per tonne and will hit 60mph in 3 seconds, putting it on par with the new Ferrari 488 GTB.
That powertrain is backed up by adjustable suspension from Öhlins and Eibach, a sequential paddle-shift gearbox, AP Racing brakes and an aggressive aerodynamics package, meaning the 3-Eleven is now the fastest Lotus to ever lap the Hethel test track.
This all sounds great so far and the news gets even better when you find out that Lotus will also sell you a road legal version at a cheaper price. It all goes a bit wrong though, when you find out that even that cheaper price is a whopping £82,000. The track version? That’ll set you back £115,000.
That’s a pretty step price to pay for a small British track special and given the fact that Lotus plans to sell 311 3-Elevens, it may be somewhat ambitious. We’ve no doubt it’ll be spectacular on track and road, but the question remains whether there are enough people out there willing to pay in excess of £100k for a Lotus track car, especially given the competition that now exists in the market from the likes of Caterham, Ariel, Westfield, Radical et al.
Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, Jean-Marc Gales, said at the Goodwood launch, “This is a perfect demonstration of the faster and lighter concept, something which will be crucial to all Lotus cars in the future.”
Only time will tell, but we’d love to see the 3-Eleven be as successful as Lotus believes it will be, because it is one of motoring’s truly great marques and deserves to get back to the top.