Lotus 2-Eleven

British firm ditches supercharger on ‘entry-level’ flier.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

No other company in the world offers sports cars like Lotus. And the latest 2-Eleven is another great example. It effectively plugs the driver directly into the road surface to provide an incredibly involving experience. And although the newcomer misses out on the supercharger found in its sister car, it remains incredibly fast. Relatively speaking, it’s a lot more affordable to boot. So if you’re looking for a track day special, this Brit flier is definitely the one to go for.

Track days are hugely popular in the UK – the thrill of driving on a race circuit simply can’t be beaten, say enthusiasts. And what better way to do so than behind the wheel of a Lotus?

Since its launch just over a year ago, the 2-Eleven has found plenty of track day fans, but with a price tag of just under £40,000, it’s not exactly cheap. So, the Norfolk-based company has brought out this entry-level model.

Packing the same 1.8-litre Toyota-sourced engine, but minus a supercharger, it still produces a healthy 189bhp (against 252bhp). Yet the newcomer costs £31,490 in road-legal form – and that puts it in direct competition with the Ariel Atom, Caterham Superlight and KTM X-Bow.

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Road tests

So what do you get for your money? Well, the same bonded aluminium chassis as the Elise, but no windows, windscreen or roof, and a glass-reinforced plastic body. The 2-Eleven looks like a scaled-down Le Mans racer. It tips the scales at 720kg, and so has sensational pace – 0-60mph takes 4.3 seconds and 0-100mph 11.1 seconds!

Even though it does without a supercharger, the four-cylinder unit is really flexible, too. All of the controls – the six-speed manual gearbox, brakes and steering – are amazingly precise, while the track-tuned double wishbone suspension and semi-slick Yokohama AO48 tyres ensure that the 2-Eleven handles supremely.

You can literally feel every single surface change through the scalpel-sharp steering, which allows you to play with grip and balance the car right on the edge of adhesion. A handy safety net is Lotus’s clever adjustable traction control system, which enables you to increase or decrease the level of assistance according to how confident you’re feeling.

Owners can upgrade their car with options such as adjustable spoilers and dampers, and even a carbon fibre body, to create a truly bespoke machine.

Rival: Ariel Atom The Atom can’t quite match the pedigree of the Lotus badge, yet thanks to a screaming 2.0-litre VTEC engine from the Honda Civic Type R and an exposed chassis, it’s hardly lacking in thrills.

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