The return of Handling by Lotus is nigh.
It's been a while since Lotus had a lineup with more than one car in it. The Evora is currently the only car we can buy here in the United States. The brand is working on a major comeback though, which will begin with the Lotus Evija, a 1,973-horsepower all-electric hypercar. This certainly sounds exciting but we are more interested to hear when Lotus will get back to its roots of simplify and add lightness. Also, it would be nice to see a new car that costs less than $2.1 million.
According to Autoblog, Lotus is considering a potential replacement for the 3-Eleven but it won't come anytime soon. As a reminder, the 3-Eleven was a limited edition model based on the Exige Series 3, released back in 2016. Only 311 examples were built including a road-legal version and a race version.
"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," said Matt Windle, Executive Director of Sports Car Engineering for Lotus. This is likely a wise decision, as a limited edition model wouldn't bring as much revenue to a small company like Lotus. The company is currently working on the aforementioned Evija, a long-rumored SUV, and an Evora replacement tipped to be called the Esprit.
The 3-Eleven replaced the 2-Eleven and is still, to this day, one of the coolest cars Lotus ever produced. It was powered by a 3.5-liter Toyota 2GR-FE V6 engine with a supercharger, which produced 410 hp in road-going guise and 460 hp in the race car. Since it weighed just 2,039 pounds (in the road-going version), the 3-Eleven could hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds or just 2.9 seconds in the lighter racing guise.
Once Lotus reinvigorates its own model lineup, the firm could once again turn to help other manufacturers improve their handling prowess. "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 explained.
This means we could see the return of Lotus-improved cars with the "Handling by Lotus" badge. Lotus historically worked on several outside projects including the DeLorean, Isuzu Impulse, Vauxhall Carlton, and several other GM cars. We'd certainly love to see a sporty Volvo or Polestar (both of which are owned by the same parent company) with a Handling by Lotus version.