Lotus has announced its last model in the current series of sports cars, and it’s the quickest street-legal Lotus sports car ever.
Calling it a fitting send-off to the company’s legendary road racer, Lotus is limiting the new car to just 20 units (each with a price of £102,000, or $180,541 Canadian), as it celebrates Lotus’s 70th anniversary. The original 3-Eleven was unveiled at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
“When we first unveiled the Lotus 3-Eleven it heralded a new generation of truly focused, world-class sports cars,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc. “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.”
Lotus has fitted it with a 430-hp supercharged 3.5-litre V-6 that generates 325 lb-ft of peak torque. That’s enough to propel the lightweight car (tipping the scales at 920 kg) to 100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds, to attain a top speed of 290 km/h, and to a lap time of 1:24-minute lap at the challenging Hethel circuit (Lotus’s legendary test track in Norfolk, England).
For comparison to the previous 3-Eleven, this car is 0.2 seconds faster to 100 km/h, can hit 10 km/h more at top speed, and laps Hethel circuit two seconds faster. A 6-speed manual is the transmission of choice.
The car features a carbon composite body, carbon side panels and carbon interior panels, on an extruded and bonded aluminum chassis. Notable aerodynamic changes include a higher rear wing (by 50 mm) with re-profiled end plates, long front splitter and lip spoiler, and a flat floor with rear diffuser (increasing downforce to 265 kg at top speed).
Handling features include a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, Öhlins DFV one-way adjustable dampers and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars. The traction control system features six pre-sets (including Off) to allow drivers to pick their traction assist to meet their limits.
Riding on Michelin Cup 2 tires (225/40ZR18 in front, 275/35ZR19 rear) wrapped around forged aluminum wheels in either gloss or sating black, the Lotus 3-Eleven 430 can withstand lateral acceleration up to 1.5 g. And to slow it down, AO Racing 4-piston callipers all around pinch 332 mm discs.
“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,” concluded Gales. “The 3-Eleven 430 is the ultimate conclusion of that work, a super car killer and something that we’re all immensely proud of.”