Lotus 3-Eleven Elise 250

The Lotus 3-Eleven and the Lotus Elise Cup 250 have driven off the production line for the first time at the famous Hethel factory. The Malaysian-owned sportscar maker, which is on its way to being profitable for the first time in its 68-year history, describes the lightweight duo as “two of the greatest, most extreme Lotus models ever produced.”

“The lucky owners of these will be the first to find out just how special the latest Lotus cars really are. We’ve raised the bar yet again, to produce two vehicles which the competition cannot hope to match. From the outright firepower of the 3-Eleven, to the sublime handling of the Elise Cup 250, these cars, better than any other, encapsulate our ‘light is right’ mantra,” said CEO Jean-Marc Gales.

The 3-Eleven, announced earlier this year, is Lotus’ quickest and most expensive series production car ever. It utilises a new lightweight composite body and a bespoke chassis based on the proven Lotus design of extruded and bonded aluminium sections.

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With a revised 3.5 litre supercharged V6 engine developing 466 PS and 525 Nm of torque having just to haul 890 kg, the over 500 hp per tonne machine is capable of sprinting from 0-100 km/h in three seconds flat. Top speed is 290 km/h. With an open cabin and no windscreen, helmets are a must.

As part of its development, the 3-Eleven spent time at the Nurburgring, where it was one of the fastest road going cars to ever tackle the track, capable of setting a sub-7 minute lap time. It also set the fastest lap time ever recorded by German car magazine sport auto at Hockenheimring in March.

Meanwhile, the Elise Cup 250 is the faster Elise ever. Announced in February, it’s powered by a new higher-output version of the familiar supercharged 1.8 litre Toyota engine. With 243 hp and 250 Nm hauling just 931 kg, 0-100 km/h is done in 4.3 seconds on to a top speed of 248 km/h.

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It laps Hethel’s test track in 1 minute 34 seconds, four seconds less than the Elise Cup 220’s best time. Customers wanting to cut weight still further can select the optional Carbon Aero Pack to reduce the flyweight’s mass to 921 kg. Limited to 200 units a year.

The arrival the new cars coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the famous factory in Norfolk. In 1966, Lotus founder Colin Chapman moved the company to the purpose-built Hethel facility. Lotus is marking this milestone in the company’s history with special edition cars and events throughout the year.

GALLERY: Lotus 3-Eleven


GALLERY: Lotus Elise Cup 250