Lotus might be mulling the possibility of a crossover SUV, but the disciples of Colin Chapman at company headquarters in Hethel haven’t completely lost their minds. Proof of this is the new 3-Eleven project, Lotus’ forthcoming featherweight track-day car and successor to the 2-Eleven. Rumors suggest the 3-Eleven could have over 400 horsepower and could be capable of lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife in the low seven-minute range.

According to a report from Autocar, the 3-Eleven will be powered by the same supercharged, Toyota-based, 3.5-liter V-6 from the Lotus Exige and Evora and could produce as much as 420 horsepower — far more power than the 2-Eleven, which used the company’s supercharged, 1.8-liter engine. Top speed will be in excess of 180 mph and 0-60 will take less than three seconds.

As you would expect from Lotus, low mass is a priority. It’s being built using the same suspension and extruded aluminum chassis found in the Exige S and will benefit from a stripped-out, race-style interior with composite seats and a protective roll bar. Larger, more aggressive aero elements will generate huge amounts of downforce, while a smaller windscreen reduces frontal area.

Expected to weigh under 2,000 pounds, the 3-Eleven will have a power to weight ratio on par with the Ferrari F12berlinetta, but will cost around $100,000 — a fraction of the Ferrari’s price tag. The base 3-Eleven will be a stripped-out, track-only model, but an optional road package will include lights and perhaps a few nods to everyday driver comfort at additional cost. However, don’t expect this to be the case here in the U.S. Like the 2-Eleven, the 3-Eleven won’t be certified for our public roads.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus 3-Eleven.

Why it matters

Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales has proven to be as shrewd as he is ambitious. He wants an SUV (which is something Lotus has to do), but he also understands the Lotus philosophy of slaying giants using low mass and clever chassis technology. The 3-Eleven represents the purest form of this philosophy and will use it to challenge the hypercar establishment. It won’t have the top-end, straight-line speed to compete, but who cares? The 3-Eleven will be an absolute track demon capable of embarrassing cars costing ten times more.

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review here.

Source: Autocar

James Wolfcale
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