Lotus won't launch a 3-Eleven successor until it overhauls its range

Ronan Glon


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Lotus has received an enthusiastic response to limited-edition models like the 3-Eleven. It's open to the idea of making similar cars, but Autoblog learned fans shouldn't expect to see one until it has overhauled its range.

"There is room for it, but we have so many things to do that we're already committed to. Getting a new product range out there is the priority," Matt Windle, the firm's engineering boss, told us during an interview.

The decision to wait is a wise one, because Lotus has a lot on its plate for a small company. It's putting the final touches on the electric, 2,000-horsepower Evija, it's allegedly working on a new Esprit with hybrid power, and unverified rumors sketch the outline of an SUV pegged in the same segment as the Porsche Macan.

On the other hand, the global market's appetite for few-off models is healthy. Bentley had no trouble selling 12 examples of the Bacalar, for example, and even Aston Martin wants a piece of the pie. This trend isn't lost on Lotus; it knows it's in a unique position to capitalize on it. It competes at a lower price point than most other companies making limited-edition cars, and its "light is right" motto is still revered in enthusiast circles. While its car-building division is busier than ever, its engineering arm has the bandwidth to work on special projects.

"Lotus Engineering, the consultancy side of the business, is going strong as well. We've been talking about bespoke programs with other companies. That's one way we could deal with that, and it would take it away from the main product development teams. Nothing is confirmed yet, but there are a lot of discussions going on," Windle revealed without giving too much away.

Lotus has been there before. It notably helped John Z. DeLorean bring the DMC-12 to the market, and it transformed the Opel Omega into the fastest sedan in the world. Some of our geekier readers will remember the "handling by Lotus" emblems on the Isuzu Impulse. It has worked on several General Motors engines, too, including the EcoTec unit that once powered several Saab, Saturn, Chevrolet, and Pontiac models.

The next limited-edition Lotus will have big shoes to fill whenever it arrives. The aforementioned 3-Eleven stood proud as the fastest street-legal Lotus when it made its debut in 2015, and the 430 variant (pictured) launched in 2018 put an even greater focus on performance. The upcoming Evija will obliterate its 3.1-second zero-to-60-mph time, so the company's product development team will need to find another way for it to stand out.

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