Dream Garage: Lotus 2-Eleven
The Lotus Elise/Exige is one of the most wonderful purpose-built machines on the road today (other than in the US, of course). It works wonderfully on the track and less well on the street, due to its hard suspension, short wheelbase, thin seats, tight cockpit, and much more. It does, however, go like stink around a race track, with a 190hp 1.8L Toyota 4-cylinder pushing less than 2,000lbs; a supercharged S version can be had with 218hp. In European markets, an Exige S has been available since 2012 with a V6 borrowed from the Evora, making 345hp. With the Elise/Exige conforming to Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s emphasis on extreme weight saving measures, this incredibly inexpensive supercar could beat most anything around a track in the hands of a skilled driver. Roadgoing cars couldn’t get much more extreme, could they?
Enter the Lotus 2-Eleven. 400-500lbs lighter than the Exige S (depending on market) and strapped to the same supercharged I4 but this time making 252hp, the 2-Eleven is the most extreme road-legal car that Lotus has ever made. That “road-legal” status has a caveat, as that option cost an extra £1,000 or so, and the cars outside the UK could not be ordered as such. The package included front and rear lights, a less extreme rear wing, an exhaust catalyst, and other bits to make it compliant to UK standards; everywhere else, the car is track-only. As such, the car detailed here will be the track version, as it is available in all markets.
The car itself has roll bars, a carbon fiber rear wing, a racing seat certified by the FIA, virtually no windshield, and an aggressive aero kit including a front splitter. It also features a unique adjustable traction control setup, so drivers can specify at which of 18 different points they would like the system to kick in. Also adjustable is the suspension setup, and Lotus includes instructions on how to change the settings. Inside is standard Lotus minimalism, with bare aluminum covering the cockpit and dashboard. No stereo, A/C, or even glovebox are present, as any extra accessory adds weight and thus distracts the 2-Eleven from its only purpose: getting around a corner as quickly as possible. Hell, this thing doesn’t even have doors, and the roof was lopped off, I’m sure, because the car was already stiff as a board and Lotus saved a few extra pounds by getting rid of the top half of the car.
Chris Harris reviews the 2-Eleven for Autocar.co.uk:
Finding a 2-Eleven today is challenging, to say the least. There weren’t many made, and you’ll have to go to more exotic websites like Jameslist to even find the 2-Eleven, like this one, on sale for the meager price of roughly $95,000 (plus some serious delivery fees to get it from Switzerland).
An even more incredible version dubbed the 2-Eleven GT4 Supersport was created by Lotus. It featured a full roll cage, no passenger seat, a 266hp engine, and a sequential gearbox for faster shifts. Only 10 were made for about £80,000 apiece.
The world loses a Lotus 2-Eleven: