Lotus Sends off 3-Eleven with Faster, Lighter 430

Lotus is giving their ultimate roadgoing racer a proper sendoff. A new version with more power, less weight, and more downforce.

The automaker from Hethel is known for taking light cars and making them even lighter. Using carbon, aluminum, and just plain leaving out parts like the carpet, Lotus will slash kilograms from every car. The new Lotus 3-Eleven 430 is no different.

When the 3-Eleven launched in 2015 the aggressively styled flyweight machine turned heads for its looks, its agility, and its ability to deliver supercar-beating lap times. The new 430 is even quicker, slashing a full two-seconds off of the original 3-Eleven's 1 minute, 26-second time around the company's test track.

The 3-Eleven 430 starts with the 3.5L V6 from the base car. Borrowed from Toyota, then supercharged and intercooled, this car makes 430 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. That's up from 410 hp from the standard car. It pushes the tiny car to 100 km/h in 3.2-seconds and all the way to 290 km/h. That's 0.2-seconds quicker to 100 and 10 km/h faster on the top end. It drives the rear wheels and uses a six-speed manual transmission.

This Lotus is already carbon and aluminum-intensive, plus missing things like a roof, windshield, and carpets, so it was difficult for the company to trim much weight. That said, they've still made it 5 kg lighter through small tweaks like some unpainted carbon fibre bodywork, bringing the power to weight ratio up to a massive 467 hp per 1,000 kg.

The new model gets more downforce too. The wing is now 50 mm higher, with new end plates. The front splitter is longer, and the flat floor has a rear diffuser. The car pushes down 44 kg harder than before, with 265 kg of downforce at top speed.

Keeping the Lotus nimble, the car has Ohlins DFV adjustable dampers and Eibach adjustable anti-roll bars. The power is sent to the Torsen limited-slip rear differential through adjustable traction control. The driver can pick five levels of allowable rear-wheel slip, plus an off mode, to control how sideways the car is allowed to go. With 225/40ZR18 Michelin Cup 2 tires up front and 275/35ZR19 in the rear, the 3-Eleven 430 can corner at up to 1.5g. New two-piece brake rotors give better bite with better debris-clearing and increased resistance to warping and vibration.

Lotus CEO Jean-March Gales called it "a supercar killer and something that we’re all immensely proud of."

The 3-Eleven 430 is a very limited production car, but it's on sale now. The UK retail price starts from £102,000, which is about CAD $180,110.

More power, less weight, more Lotus 2/20/2018 1:55:02 PM