The company’s quickest, road-legal sports car

Having launched the 2015 Lotus Elise S Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Lotus Evora 400 in 2015, Lotus is slowly but surely heading toward stability under the guidance of Jean-Marc Gales. The Frenchman joined the company in May 2014, when the Brits were struggling to stay afloat with net losses at more than $250 million at the end of 2013. Now that the British brand is somewhat stable, Gales reportedly wants three new vehicles in dealerships, including an Evora Roadster, an SUV, and a successor to the 2-Eleven. And the latter was just introduced at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Dubbed 3-Eleven, the new sports car follows in the footsteps of its predecessor in just about every respect. It sports the barchetta-style design and features a comprehensive aerodynamic kit that includes all the goodies usually seen on a hardcore track car, including a large front splitter and rear wing, as well as a race-spec diffuser.

What sets the 3-Eleven apart from its ancestor besides the updated styling is the significantly more powerful engine and the fact that it comes in two versions. The Brits will built models for both the road and the track. Both will feature the same powerplant, but the racing variant will feature improved aerodynamics to help it go faster around the track. Lotus also aims to lap the Nurburgring in only 7:09 with the 3-Eleven, which would make it the fifth quickest production car on the "Green Hell."

Updated 09/21/2016: Lotus took the 3-Eleven to the famous Nurburgring track. Hit "play" to watch how the sports car behaved on the track, having Nordschleife expert and professional racer Marc Basseng behind the wheel.

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

Exterior

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Lotus 3-Eleven High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Lotus 3-Eleven Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Much like the 2007 Lotus 2-Eleven before it, the 3-Eleven is based on the lightest and smallest sports car in Lotus’ current lineup. In this case, it’s the 2012-2015 Lotus Exige S. The front fascia is the most recognizable feature coming from the Exige. The bumper intakes are shaped in a similar way, while the headlamps are identical to the Exiges. However, the aero kit Lotus has designed for the 3-Eleven adds a larger splitter and reshaped fenders. The hood is also different, and because the 3-Eleven doesn’t have a conventional windscreen, it’s also longer.

Above the waistline, you can see the rollover hoop and the nearly flat windscreen so commonly found on barchetta-style sports cars and racers.

The rear fascia, on the other hand, has very little in common with the Exige. The round taillights are seemingly the only part the two sports cars share. Both the bumper and vents are different, as well as the two-piece diffuser. The large exhaust pipe, however, is still positioned at the center. The 3-Eleven is equipped with a decklid spoiler, as well as a large wing.

When viewed from the side, the 3-Eleven is also different than the Exige S. Both the front and rear fenders, as well as the side skirts, have been redesigned for optimized aerodynamics. Above the waistline, you can see the rollover hoop and the nearly flat windscreen so commonly found on barchetta-style sports cars and racers. A set of multi-spoke, lightweight wheels wrapped in Michelin tires round off the performance package.

Lotus says the Race version features "a more aggressive aero kit" compared to the Road model, but no specifics were given.

Lastly, the show car is wrapped in a metallic shade of British Racing Green and the yellow found on Lotus’ historic badge. I’m guessing customers will be able to order the 3-Eleven in a wider range of liveries.

Interior

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven Interior
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The single photo released as of yet confirms that the 3-Eleven comes with a no-nonsense cockpit devoid of any convenience features.

It’s looking like we’ll get a fresh taste of Alpine performance

Details as to what technology has gone into this car are scant, but the only picture available shows a digital display that enables the driver access to a range of parameters, including speed, rpm, gear, oil pressure and temperature, fuel, and many more.

In front of the screen there’s a leather-wrapped, three-spoke Momo steering wheel with aluminum paddle shifters for the sequential gearbox, while the right side of the dash features a small panel with an engine start button and other controls.

The road-going 3-Eleven is also equipped with a sports seat, while the Race version features an FIA-approved seat with a six-point harness. Other than that, the 3-Eleven’s cockpit appears to be an aluminum shell designed with pure racing in mind. And that’s just awesome!

Drivetrain

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven Exterior
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As speculated from the very beginning, the 3-Eleven is powered by a supercharged V-6 engine that’s likely based on the same 3.5-liter powerplant found in the Evora and Exige S. I say "likely" because Lotus hasn’t revealed displacement information. What’s important here is that the mill generates a whopping 460 horsepower in the Race version, which accounts for a massive 198-horsepower improvement over the most powerful iteration of the 2-Eleven. The Road variant, on the other hand, comes with 410 horses on tap.

Lotus also unveiled that the Race variant of the 3-Eleven tips the scales at only 890 kg (1,962 pounds), offering a power-to-weight ratio 517 horsepower per tonne

Lotus claims all that power is enough to send the 3-Eleven Race flying from 0 to 60 mph in only 2.9 seconds. This figure not only makes it the quickest Lotus ever built, but also gives the 3-Eleven supercar-like sprints. Top speed is estimated at 180 mph for the Race version. Though less powerful, the Road version is also pretty fast, needing 3.3 seconds to hit 60 mph, to go with a top speed of 174 mph.

Lotus also unveiled that the Race variant of the 3-Eleven tips the scales at only 890 kg (1,962 pounds), offering a power-to-weight ratio 517 horsepower per tonne. The Road model weighs in at 925 kg (2,039 pounds), a fantastic figure for a 410-horsepower vehicle.

Prior to the unveiling, Jean-Marc Gales said that the 3-Eleven will lap the Nurburgring lap in 7:09 minutes, which is only a second slower than the 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo. While the official attempt has yet to happen, Lotus did publish the 3-Eleven’s benchmark on the challenging Hethel track, which stands at an astonishing 1:19.5 minutes for the Race version.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type V6 supercharged
Output 450 HP
0-60 mph 3.0 seconds
Top Speed 174 MPH (Race version)/180 MPH (Road Version)

Prices

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven Exterior
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Besides being the quickest Lotus in history, the 3-Eleven is also the most expensive production car the brand has offered yet. The Road version will start from £82,500 (about $119,180) including VAT, while the Race variant will retail from £116,500 (around $168,284) including VAT. Total production will be limited to only 311 cars.

Lotus has yet to announce U.S. availability, but it did say that the Road model will only be offered in Europe and Asia, while the Race version will be sold globally. This means that if the 3-Eleven crosses the pond to North America, we will only get the more expensive variant.

UK Prices

Recommended Retail Price in GB Pounds inc. VAT (20%) Recommended Retail Price in GB Pounds exc. VAT
3-Eleven Road £82,500 £68,750
3-Eleven Race £116,500 £97,083
Carbon Tonneau Cover (Road) £2,000 £1,667
Carbon Tonneau Cover (Race) £2,000 £1,667
Removable Steering Wheel (Road) £650 £542
Sports Passenger Seat and 4-point Harness (Road and Race) £1,200 £1,000
FIA Carbon Passenger Seat and 4-point Harness (Road and Race) £2,000 £1,667
FIA Carbon Driver Seat and 4-point Harness (Road) £800 £667
FIA Cage (Race) £3,000 £2,500
Fire Extinguisher and Battery Isolator (Road) £2,500 £2,083
2-Way Adjustable Dampers (Road) £2,500 £2,083
Adjustable Anti-Roll Bars (Road) £1,000 £833
Michelin Cup 2 Tyres (Road) £1,000 £833
Road to Track Logger and GPS Unit (Road and Race) £1,500 £1,250
Pro Analysis Upgrade to Data Logger (Road and Race) £1,300 £1,083
Metallic Paint (Road and Race) £950 £792
Black Pack (Road and Race) £1,000 £833
Colour Scheme 1: Metallic Green/Metallic Yellow Stripes (Road and Race) £3,500 £2,917
Colour Scheme 2: Metallic Black/Metallic Gold Stripes (Road and Race) £3,500 £2,917
Colour Scheme 3: Metallic Red//Metallic Gold Stripes (Road and Race) £3,500 £2,917
Colour Scheme 4: Matt Black/Phantom Black Stripes (Road and Race) £4,000 £3,333

Competition

2013 Caterham Seven 620R

2013 Caterham Seven 620 R High Resolution Exterior
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When it comes to no-nonsense performance cars, the Caterham Seven is among the best the industry has to offer. Although it’s been wearing a Caterham badge since 1973, the Seven was actually created by Lotus founder Colin Chapman in the late 1950s. Built around his "Simplify, then add lightness" ethos, the Seven has since been considered the embodiment of the brand’s performance through low weight and simplicity.

In 2015, the Caterham Seven is available in many forms, the most extreme of which is the 620R. Weighing only 1,200 pounds and powered by a 2.0-liter Ford Duratec engine rated at 311 horsepower and 219 pound-feet of torque, the 620R has the ability to hit 60 mph from a standing start in only 2.8 seconds, making it as quick as most million-dollar supercars. Unfortunately, the 620R’s availability is restricted to the U.K. and Mainland Europe, where it can be had from £49,995 (around $75,000 as of 03/18/2015).

There is a bit of good news for those of you looking to purchase a Seven in the U.S. Caterham has recently reached an agreement with Superformance, who now sells the 360 and 480 models, the first Sevens specifically designed for U.S. consumption. The same Ford-sourced, 2.0-liter four-pot motivates the two, but while the 360 comes with 180 horsepower and 143 pound-feet on tap, the 480 benefits from 237 horses and 151 pound-feet. Pricing starts from $44,900 for the 360 and $52,900 for the 480, but the sticker doesn’t include the drivetrain, which adds another $12K. Still better than not being able to import a Seven at all, right?

Continue reading our review here.

Ariel Atom

2004 Ariel Atom
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Ariel Atom

Although it lacks the heritage of the Caterham/Lotus Seven name, the Ariel Atom is equally suited as a track-day vehicle. It’s less appealing for road use, but it’s not like you buy one to drive it on your daily commute. The Atom features a much simpler exterior design, with a wrap-around roll cage replacing most of the body panels. The standard Atom comes with a Honda-sourced, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 245 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque and a six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox. Reaching 60 mph from a standing start takes only three seconds.

Then there’s the newly launched 2015 Ariel Atom 3S, which comes with added F1-style pods, a full glass windscreen, and a larger, but still Honda-sourced, 2.4-liter engine that sends 365 turbocharged horses to the wheels. A new, race-spec, six-speed sequential gearbox built by Sadev enables the 3S to hit 60 mph only 2.8 seconds. The good news here is that, unlike other Atoms, the 3S is finally available in the U.S. Pricing is set at $89,975, which makes it the most expensive of the bunch.

Continue reading our review here.

Conclusion

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven Exterior
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Needless to say, the 3-Eleven looks ready to kick some arse in the sports car world and judging by the preliminary numbers, it should be able to outgun a couple of supercars too. With 450 horsepower at its disposal and a Nurburgring lap time of only 7:09 seconds, the 3-Eleven could become one of the most exciting track-prepped sports cars yet. In the meantime, it’s Lotus’ first brand-new vehicle since the 2009 Evora and that’s a very good reason to celebrate. The 3-Eleven might just help Lotus get back on track after many years of financial hardship. All I want is to see this beast delivers some quick laps on Europe’s hottest race courses and, why not, maybe see it star in a one-make series.

  • Leave it
    • * Lotus needs to back those claims with facts
    • * Plays in a tough niche
    • * Likely no U.S. availability

Rendering

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Update History

Updated 06/24/2016: The first Lotus 3-Eleven rolled out of the production line at the famous Hethel factory. The first 3-Eleven built features a matt and gloss Black colour scheme and will be on display at this years’ Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Updated 01/13/2016: Lotus announced full pricing details and drivetrain specifications for its new 3-Eleven.

Updated 10/09/2015: Lotus 3-Eleven just completed a two-week testing session at the Nurbrugring race track during which period a total of 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) were covered as part of a comprehensive test and development program. Check out Lotus’ new video to see if the test was a success or not. Enjoy!

Updated 10/05/2015: Lotus dropped a new video sowing the new 3-Eleven in action at the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. Enjoy!

Updated 09/09/2015: Lotus announced that the new 3-Eleven just finished a two-week test session at the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, in which over 1,200 miles were covered. During the test sessions, the 3-Eleven achieved one of the fastest ever lap times around the Nürburgring: 7 minutes and 6 seconds — which is even better than the company predicted. The time however, was obtained combining the quickest sector times achieved during the fastest 2 laps on the “Sport Auto” magazine lap configuration.

Updated 06/26/2015: Lotus dropped the official details on the new 3-Eleven, which will make its public debut this weekend at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Updated 02/30/2015: While all we have so far on the Lotus 3-Eleven is speculation, we decided to create a rendering of what we think the car will look like. We hope you like it.

Press Release

Heralding a new generation of Lotus high performance sports cars, today saw the unveiling of the company’s quickest and most expensive series production car ever, the 3-Eleven, at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Designed as an uncompromised manifestation of the Lotus spirit, the new car is focused on providing an undiluted driving experience, and unde
rlines the company’s ability to deliver legendary handling and blistering speed.

Working on the concept of less is more, and keeping close to Lotus’ track roots, the dramatic new vehicle features an all-new lightweight body, with
an open cockpit design and a revised V6 supercharged engine developing 450 hp. Two variations of the Lotus 3-Eleven will be available: Road and Race; both delivering an impressive combination of high performance, agility and precision. Based on the Road version, the Race includes a more aggressive aero kit, a sequential gearbox and an FIA approved driver’s seat with a six-point harness.

With a dry weight of below 900 kg (Race version), the 3-Eleven offers an enviable power to weight ratio, in excess of 500 hp per tonne, and is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds before reaching a maximum speed of 174 mph (280 km/h) for the Race version and 180 mph (290 km/h) for the Road version Speaking at Goodwood, Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus plc, stated, "We always say that to make a sports car better, yo
u make it faster and lighter. The new Lotus 3-Eleven carries that philosophy to a new level, and is perfectly in keeping with our brand values.”

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven High Resolution Exterior
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Jean-Marc Gales continued, “This new car is a giant slayer, capable of embarrassing far more expensive rivals. It condenses our engineering know-how into one, hard-core package, and is so focused that it won’t suit everyone. This is a perfect demonstration of the faster and lighter concept, something which will be crucial to all Lotus cars in the future.”

2016 Lotus 3-Eleven Exterior
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The new Lotus 3-Eleven will enter production in February 2016 and deliveries will commence in April 2016. Production will be limited to just 311 vehicles in total.
Prices start at £82,000 for the Road version (including VAT and on the road costs) and £96,000 excluding VAT for the Race version (£115,200 including VAT)

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Press release
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