The Lotus 3Eleven is one of the craziest and most compromised cars ever made, for this reason alone I love it! Even former CEO at the time, Jean-Marc Gales stated on its launch ‘It condenses our engineering know-how into one, hard-core package and is so focussed that it won’t suit everyone.’
Who wouldn’t want the condensed version of Lotus’ engineering as your toy?! Granted, it’s not for the daily commute, weekly shop, the family holiday or even pulling up to a fancy restaurant with your wife in her glam outfit. For these reasons I love the 3Eleven. When I jump behind the wheel it’s a bit of ME time, to grin from ear to ear incognito behind my crash helmet. It’s a car you exclusively go for a drive in, not a car you use to get to a destination.
I had an Exige V6 Club Racer before this having progressed up from an Elise prior to that. Neither of those cars ever really got taken out in the rain, the roof was almost never fitted even when they did get taken out, so not having a roof for me wasn’t a turn off. The 3Eleven needs to be approached in a different way to be understood to other cars. It’s basically a 4 wheeled superbike. Once addressed in this way, it starts to seem less compromised. You check the weather, you dress accordingly, put your helmet on and you go out and enjoy the twisting roads without having to put a leather suit on. Fortunately, I’ve not yet been caught out by the weather in my ownership – but waterproofs are on standby in the boot for when that miserable day comes (Yes it has a boot).
The screen-less, full panoramic view creates a whole new level of interaction with the car and your surroundings. No A-Pillar in your view opens up a totally different perspective and leaves nothing in your peripheral vision aside from the iconic Lotus haunches over the front wheels. The drama of speed is heightened by the wind rushing over and pressing back your helmet. Lotus cars are designed for the drivers, the 3eleven is 100% meeting that brief.
I was more than happy in my Exige, but when I saw the 3Eleven for sale my knees went weak. It’s in the exact same colour spec as my previous car and it just felt like a bit of me. They’re incredibly rare and their performance level cannot be matched without spending significantly more. I love a manual gearbox; this is pretty much the fastest road car that money can buy with 3 pedals and a stick. For context – it reaches 0-120mph faster than a McLaren F1. I’m planning to fully explore its capability on track this year.
I let Seenthroughglass drive the car, where he did a video with it on his YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PztA-ZvIyI0
I love the sense of occasion you feel in the first minute of approaching the car. From the moment you climb over the sill (No doors) and lowering myself into the drivers’ seat and fastening the race harnesses. Concluded with putting your helmet on and pressing the start button and hearing the raw supercharged V6 come to life just over your shoulder. You know you’re about to go on another drive that you will remember forever.
I love driving around the Cotswolds and North Wessex Downs. I enjoy taking the car to events and sharing it with others to see in person- usually for their first time ever seeing one.