This is the most extreme version of Lotus’ most extreme car. With more power and less weight, the new Lotus 3-Eleven 430 is the fastest Lotus road car to lap the Hethel circuit, 0.8 seconds quicker than the Exige Cup 430, and two seconds quicker than the previous 3-Eleven, delivering a time of 1 minute 24 seconds.

Let’s start with the more power bit. Upgraded and specifically re-optimised for the 3-Eleven, the supercharged and charge-cooled 3.5 litre V6 engine produces 430 hp and 440 Nm here, which is similar to the Exige Cup 430 and 20 hp/30 Nm more than the regular car in Road trim. That’s good enough for 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 290 km/h, up from 3.4 seconds and 280 km/h.

The open-cockpit 3-Eleven employs a carbon-composite body and a bespoke extruded and bonded aluminium chassis. Sculpted part-exposed carbon side panels and striking carbon interior panels help to shave 5 kg for a 920 kg dry weight. As such, power to weight ratio is an astonishing 467 hp per tonne, an increase of 23 hp per tonne.

Drive goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, a single-mass low inertia fly wheel and a Torsen-type limited slip differential. The car rides on Ohlins DFV one-way adjustable dampers and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, with Michelin Cup 2 tyres (225/40 R18 front, 275/35 R19 rear).

Aero has been improved accordingly. The 430 integrates a 50 mm higher mounted straight-cut rear wing with re-profiled end plates, a long front splitter and lip spoiler, and a flat floor with rear diffuser to increase downforce by 44 kg to 265 kg at maximum speed.

Braking is courtesy of AP Racing four-piston callipers front and rear and new, two-piece J-Hook brake discs (332 mm front and rear) which provide improved bite and debris clearance and reduce distortion and vibration, Lotus says. Each corner is finished by Lotus-designed forged aluminium wheels, finished either in gloss or satin black.

“The development of the original 3-Eleven focused our thoughts on a Lotus of pure simplicity and advanced our thinking on the sports cars of the future. The 3-Eleven 430 is the ultimate conclusion of that work, a super car killer and something that we’re all immensely proud of,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus.

Just 20 units of the Lotus 3-Eleven 430 will be produced, each priced from £102,000 (RM557,688) in the UK.

GALLERY: Lotus 3-Eleven in Malaysia