Preview: 2016 Lotus 3-Eleven

By Bradley Iger

June 26, 2015

The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England is a buffet for the senses and a bucket list item for anyone with a fondness for motorsport and fast automobiles in general. Considering the theme and its locale, nowhere could be more appropriate for Lotus to take the wraps off their latest model, the 3-Eleven, which is both the fastest and most expensive road-going model the company has ever produced.
Two distinct versions of the 3-Eleven will be made, one for use on the street and the other exclusively for track use. Both utilize a bespoke chassis of extruded and bonded aluminum sections and will feature the company's 3.5-liter supercharged V6, here producing 450 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, which will be managed using a six-speed manual gearbox in the road car and a six-speed sequential transmission in the Race model.

Coupled with a curb weight of under 2000 pounds, the 3-Eleven is poised to offer some truly incredible performance. Lotus says the new car will be able to get from 0-60 miles per hour in under three seconds on its way to a top speed of 180 mph.
On the handling front, the 3-Eleven uses a double wishbone suspension design in the front and rear while adjustable Öhlins dampers are coupled with Eibach springs. AP Racing will supply the braking system, which utilizes four-pot calipers and a Bosch ABS system specially tuned by Lotus.

The 3-Eleven will sport forged aluminum wheels as standard, measuring 18 inches up front and 19 inches in the back, wrapped in either Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Michelin Cup 2 tires depending on whether it’s the Road or Race version of the car. The aggressive aero package included in the Race model offers 475 pounds of downforce at 150 miles per hour, and all told, it’s said to be the quickest Lotus production car ever, having lapped the Hethel track in 1 minute, 22 seconds.
Just 311 examples of the new car will be hand built at the company’s factory in Hethel, England, with production scheduled to begin in February of 2016 and first deliveries arriving in April. Pricing for the the 3-Eleven starts at £82,000 (~$129K US) for the Road version and £96,000 (~$150K US) for the Race version.

No official word yet on US availability, but it’s a near-certainty that someone will import the Race versions for track day enthusiasts in the States at the very least. 
Check out the video below for some footage from today’s reveal and be sure to have a look at the press release beneath that for some additional details.

The all new Lotus 3-Eleven
• The quickest production Lotus road car ever
• Dramatic, all-new lightweight composite body
• Two versions, Road and Race, both developed through Lotus Motorsport
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.
Designed as an uncompromised manifestation of the Lotus spirit, the new car is focused on
providing an undiluted driving experience, and underlines 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, you 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."
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."
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).
The Lotus 3-Eleven in more detail:
• Quickest Lotus production car ever, lapping the Hethel track in 1 min 22 secs
• Aerodynamic downforce of up to 215 kg at 150 mph (240 km/h) - Race version
The 3-Eleven utilises a bespoke chassis based on the proven Lotus design of extruded and
bonded aluminium sections. The Road roll-cage incorporates twin side bars for side impact
protection, whilst the Race cage has additional bars to meet international requirements for
The Lotus 3-Eleven's suspension features lightweight, double-wishbones front and rear,
adjustable front anti-roll bar and Eibach springs with Öhlins adjustable dampers. This allows
owners to fine tune the vehicle's handling characteristics.
• Supercharged and charge-cooled 3.5-litre V6 engine
• Limited Slip Differential as standard
• Lotus traction control system
The new Lotus 3-Eleven is powered by a revised version of the 3.5-litre V6 engine first shown in
the Evora 400, which includes a supercharger with integrated water-to-air charge cooler.
Maximum power output has increased to 450hp (456 PS / 336 kW) at 7000 rpm and torque has
increased to 450 Nm / 332 lbs ft with maximum torque available from 3500 rpm through to 6500
A close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox with a Torsen-type limited slip differential, featuring a
performance clutch assembly and oil cooler, come as standard on the Road version. The Race
model has a 6-speed sequential transmission with a semi-dry sump, oil cooler, limited slip
differential and paddle shift.
Brakes and Tyres
• Lightweight forged Aluminium wheels as standard
• AP Racing four-pot calipers
• Bosch ABS tuned by Lotus
Designed to cope with the 3-Eleven's potential, lightweight forged Aluminium wheels are fitted as
standard on the 3-Eleven, with either Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Michelin Cup 2 tyres
depending on if it's in Road or Race configuration.
At the front 225/40 ZR18 tyres are standard, and to help transfer the 3-Eleven's considerable
power and torque to the road, the rear tyres has been specified as 275/35 ZR19.
In order to deliver the stopping power required for such a quick car, AP Racing four-piston
calipers are complemented by two-part grooved and vented brake discs (332 mm front and rear).
Upgraded brake pads are fitted to the Race version.
Exterior Design
• Lightweight body panels, using new resin infusion composite technology
• Dramatic silhouette underlines car's performance-focused nature
Manufactured from very light weight composite materials, optimizing vehicle weight, aerodynamic
and structural requirements, the 3-Eleven's composite body is 40% lighter than the GRP
This new process is a first for a production car, and an example of Lotus' focus on utilising
pioneering new technology and lightweight materials in its vehicles. The choice of material
technology has allowed extreme vehicle performance targets to be met, and help realise the 3-
Eleven's dynamic styling.
Undeniably a track car, the 3-Eleven's aggressive stance leaves no doubt of its intentions. The
dramatically sculpted body perfectly balances the technical efficiency of a track car with the
surface refinement of a road-going supercar. Form follows function, with a minimised cross
sectional area that keeps drag to a minimum while optimising cooling.
As an extreme design evolution of Lotus predecessors, the Lotus 3-Eleven's new front clam shell
incorporates larger openings to deliver the necessary cooling for the powertrain and transmission.
This helps give the vehicle a much more aggressive stance.
Two front splitter configurations are available, depending on whether the vehicle is configured for
road or race use, and the front arches are wide enough to cover the car's wide track and the new
225/40 ZR18 tyres.
Dramatic side scallops provide a clean exit from the front wheels arches, and the car's profile is
dominated by an aerodynamically significant roll bar cover. The car is without a windscreen and
doors, with the roll bar fully enclosing the rear cage. As well as generating downforce, the roll bar
forms a vital part of the car's homologation to international motorsport safety standards.
The rear clamshell emphasises the aggressive stance of the car, with different fixed spoilers
available, depending on whether the vehicle is specified for road or race use.
The new rear diffuser and under-tray, which has been developed to ensure minimum drag,
complements an exhaust system designed specifically to minimize back pressure and enhance
engine performance.
Interior Design
• Focussed race interior
• New race spec colour TFT instrument cluster can be switched between road and track
Fitted with the standard aeroscreen and the optional passenger seat, a passenger can be easily
accommodated in the two seater. However, these can be removed and the optional tonneau
panel fitted - to envelope the driver and improve overall aerodynamics.
The new instrument cluster has been designed around a colour TFT screen, and can be switched
between road and track modes, providing relevant information direct to the driver.
A quick release steering wheel and Lotus sports seats with four-point harnesses are fitted as
standard, while the Race variant has the option of a data logger system, FIA approved driver's
race seat, and six-point harness - as well as a fire extinguisher & battery kill switch.
• Hand built in Hethel, England
The Lotus 3-Eleven will be hand made by the highly skilled craftsmen and women at the Lotus
Headquarters in Hethel, alongside the rest of the Lotus sports car range, supported by Lotus
Motorsport technicians. All 3-Elevens will then be finished in Lotus Motorsport's dedicated
workshops prior to delivery.
Official fuel consumption figures and CO2 emissions figures for the Lotus 3-Eleven are not
available at the time of going to press. They will be provided on the Lotus website as soon as they are available.