Review

Lotus 3-Eleven 430

by staff writer JP

The quickest street legal sports car Lotus has developed, this model will be the last of the 3-Eleven variant

Originally unveiled in the summer of 2015 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 3-Eleven 430 is the fastest Lotus road car to lap the challenging Hethel circuit in 2018. Being 0.8 seconds quicker than the Exige Cup 430, and two seconds quicker than the previous 3-Eleven. Delivering a benchmark time of 1 minute 24 seconds.

With an upgraded engine, the supercharged and charge-cooled 3.5-litre V6 produces 430 hp and 440 Nm. Propelling the car from 0-60 mph in an astonishing 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph. Designed to provide drivers with the purest driving experience, the 3-Eleven is cut from the same cloth as the most iconic Lotus cars.

Remaining true to the company’s edicts, it employs a lightweight carbon body with a bonded aluminium chassis. Sculpted carbon side panels and interior panels all contribute to the exceptional light weight. Its unashamedly aggressive styling we really like.

"Heralding a new generation of truly focused, world class sports cars"
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO Group Lotus PLC

From remarkable sector times on the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit during its development, the original Lotus 3-Eleven went on to lap the Hockenheimring. This short circuit was eaten up 1 minute 6.2 seconds at the hands of an Sport Auto Magazine driver. It then went on to set a production car lap record for the German publication.

Historically, the Lotus Eleven nomenclature has been reserved for models which bridge the gap between road and track in the most direct way possible. As a result, the open-cockpit specials have become some of the brand’s most collectable – revered for their lack of embellishment or gimmickry.

As production draws to a close, this final evolution of the formidable 3-Eleven raises the bar for aspiring rivals. Packing more power thanks to the supercharged engine, it makes a suitable send off for the sports car.