Lotus 3-Eleven final spec confirmed: fastest-accelerating production Lotus ever is very, very fast

Published: 15 January 2016

► Lotus confirms final spec for extreme 3-Eleven
► Fastest accelerating production Lotus road car ever
► 0-60mph in 2.9s, 0-100mph in 6.0s, 180mph flat out

Lotus first unveiled the 3-Eleven at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed but now we’ve got the final spec. This is the fastest accelerating, most powerful, most focused Lotus road car ever, and the stats live up to the hype – even if the definition of 'road car' is a little loose. Don't expect it to be any use for a trip to the shops, regardless of how much the name makes it sound like a local bus.

Essentially a decapitated, aero-optimised Exige on a very strict diet (ok, we’re simplifying, a lot), the 3-Eleven is available in Road and Race guises and powered by a supercharged V6. Pack a crash helmet. And an umbrella.

Find out more about the preceding Lotus 2-Eleven in My Personal Icon – only on CAR+

Come on then, how fast is the Lotus 3-Eleven?

The Road version makes do with 410bhp, which is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, and it has a dry weight of 925kg. It'll hit 60mph in 3.3sec and reach 174mph. It also produces 150kg of downforce at 150mph.

The Race version – which as the name suggests isn’t road legal – has 460bhp, and weighs just 890kg without fluids, thanks to its carbon composite bodywork. Combined with its standard fit Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission, this means 0-60mph in 2.9sec, 0-100mph in 6.0sec and 180mph flat out.

With additional front canards and adjustable rear wing it also produces 215kg of downforce at 150mph. But perhaps most impressive of all is its Hethel test track lap time: at 1min19.5sec it’s over 10 seconds quicker than the recently upgraded Exige Sport 350.

A sub-7min Nurburgring lap is claimed by Green Hell legend Marc Basseng, given ‘favourable conditions’ (7min6sec was the score in this official video), and the 3-Eleven generates up to 1.5g of cornering force. No wonder Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales reckons it offers ‘hypercar performance and handling’.

Read Rowan Atkinson's thoughts on the Lotus Elan S2 in the CAR+ archive now

What else about the 3-Eleven is going to thrill my mates down the pub?

The chassis features fancy Ohlins dampers (two-way adjustable for the Race version, a £2.5k upgrade for the Road car), AP Racing brakes and a limited-slip differential. The new TFT instrument panel can also be paired with a full data logger (£1500 plus another £1300 if you want the Pro Analysis upgrade), and there’s a lightweight lithium ion battery included.

The Race version gets additional goodies such as an FIA-spec roll cage, fire extinguisher, battery cut-off, removable steering wheel and a carbonfibre driver’s seat – all of which can be optioned onto the Road car. Lotus is offering the 3-Eleven in four paint schemes; we have to say that we like the sound of metallic black with gold stripes…

And the price for such single-minded madness?

Brace yourself: the 3-Eleven Road car costs £82,500 while the 3-Eleven Race car costs £116,500. Not cheap, but then nor’s the performance. Just imagine the look on the face of that LaFerrari driver when you pass them round the outside of that tricky right-hander…

Delivery commences March 2016, and the production run is limited to just 311 examples.

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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