Lotus’s 3-Eleven sports car masters power-to-weight with 450 HP at under 2,000 pounds

Lotus has finally taken the wraps off its fastest, most expensive model yet: the 3-Eleven.

The formula is all about power-to-weight, and the 3-Eleven’s ratio is about as impressive as featherweights like the Ariel Atom. Weighing less than 2,000 pounds and developing 450 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque from a supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine, Lotus calls its new creation, “an uncompromised manifestation of the Lotus spirit.”

Lotus plans to produce the 3-Eleven in road-going and race-ready versions, which get to 60 mph from a standstill in less than 3.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 180 mph ( though likely a few mile per hour slower in the racing version due to drag).

The street spec model will use a six-speed manual transmission and the racing variant will utilize a six-speed sequential gearbox with paddle shifters. The racing version will meet FIA specs, and will feature a racing seat, six-point harness, and aerodynamic body kit.

The 3-Eleven is based on a new aluminum chassis with an open-top design. Up front, the sports car has 225 section Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, and at the rear, they are 275s. Michelin Cup 2 tires will be wrapped around the wheels of the racing variant.

“This new car is a giant slayer, capable of embarrassing far more expensive rivals,” said Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales during the car’s reveal. “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.”

Only 311 examples — a carefully chosen figure — of the 3-Eleven will be produced in February of next year. Since Lotus has yet to announce whether the new model will be sold in the U.S., only European pricing has been announced — £82,000 ($91,580) for the Road version and £115,200 ($128,660) for the Race version.

The 3-Eleven will battle it out with the Ariel Atom V8, KTM X-Bow, Caterham R500, and BAC Mono for the attention of track-toy buyers.

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