When Lotus first unveiled the 3-Eleven, it was supposed to be the proven sequel to the legendary 2-Eleven which scorched track records and managed to set a pretty unique legacy for Lotus in the process. Lotus did not want buyers to forget how potent the 3-Eleven is, and has unleashed a pretty formidable reminder with the all new limited edition Lotus 3-Eleven 430.
The standard 3-Eleven is already a formidable track weapon, and Lotus engineers have unleashed some pretty novel trickery to make it slip through the air as efficiently as possible. The 430 then can be best described as a shot of Red Bull in its fuel tank with Lotus engineers cramming even more aerodynamic enhancements into its flanks. Our personal favorite touch is the exposed carbon fiber elements, as well as the bold red paint that really give this car a purposeful, serious look.
The big news here is what lies under the engine bay with the 430 moniker representing more than just a mere set of numbers. Like its slightly tamer cousin the Exige 430, the 3-Eleven is powered by a 3.5 liter supercharged 24 valve V6 that is capable of producing 430 horsepower and 324.5 lb-ft of torque. This Toyota sourced engine shares only the basic essentials with the strip mall friendly Toyota Camry, but it rockets the 3-Eleven 430 to 60 mph in a brisk 3.1 seconds (a slight improvement over the car’s 3.3 seconds) and thunders its way to a top speed of 180 mph (up from 174 mph.) This is thanks in part to its slick six speed manual gearbox which retains its open gate layout.
Lateral acceleration while cornering is an impressive 1.5 g with the car even featuring a six position traction control system. The system offers five different levels, with slip ranging from 1 percent to 12 percent, as well as an off function for those daring enough to push the cars limits to the max. Beefier brakes are said to improve stopping distances, while also reducing vibration and high temperature distortion at the same time. Sticky Michelin Cup 2 tires help keep the 3-Eleven 430 planted, and work hand in hand with the increased down-force generated by the enhanced bodywork.
All this translates to new-found levels of potential. While the 3-Eleven 430 has not tackled formidable tracks like the Nurburgring, Lotus claims that it made a splash at the company’s Hethel test track. It did that by nabbing a 1:24 lap time which is 0.8 seconds faster than the Exige 430, and also smashes the time set by the 2015 model. Buyers interested in owning a 3-Eleven of their own will have to act quickly, Lotus is only building 20 examples, with each one starting at £102,000 which equates to $142,525
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.