Will Lotus 3-Eleven really be a game-changing car?

The new Lotus 3-Eleven promises hypercar handling at super sports car prices.

AFP Relaxnews| Updated: Jan 15, 2016, 11:34 AM IST
Will Lotus 3-Eleven really be a game-changing car?

The new Lotus 3-Eleven promises hypercar handling at super sports car prices, and the fact that it is going to be offered as a strictly limited edition will no doubt get aficionados excited.

"The Lotus 3-Eleven is a game-changing car, not only in terms of what has come before it from within our own rich heritage of sports cars, but also in terms of anything else comparable brought to market by any other manufacturer," said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus. "This is a car that exists within an extremely rarified performance envelope -- it offers both hypercar performance and handling. Nothing else provides a sensory overload of this nature, and all packaged under £100,000."

And, glancing at the car's figures -- 0-100km/h in 3 seconds and 0-100mph in 6 seconds, it certainly has the credentials to keep up with a Ferrari or a McLaren.

However, that performance comes with certain sacrifices. This car is so focused on letting the driver feel every bend and on weight-saving that certain things have been omitted -- such as a windscreen. And a roof. And doors.

Therefore, this is a car for track-day enthusiasts that want to drive the racing car to and from the circuit, rather than hitch a trailer. In fact, the quoted figures are for the track-only version.

Lotus will be building two models, one that's street legal and one that isn't. The road-going version is slightly heavier (925kg vs 890kg) and offers 410 rather than 460hp. That means that 0-100km/h takes .3 seconds more and the top speed is 171mph (km/h) rather than 180mph (km/h)

Still this car is about extremes and at the moment so is Lotus. As well as this racecar rocket, Lotus is also finally embracing the concept of customization.

Lotus Exclusive's services will include special paint work, interiors and soft tops. "In the past we have created a number of cars personalized to the specific requests of individual customers. These stunning cars were produced by a team of skilled craftsmen and women, using their expertise to create something exceptional and unique for the customer. Now all our customers will be offered this service, to create their own personalized car," said Gales.

The Lotus 3-Eleven will be offered in Europe and Asia in road and track specification but purely as a track car in the rest of the world. Prices will start at £82,000 ($118,000). And even though it is limited to 311 examples and offers no creature comforts, it too can be customized by the new service.