Caterham has always been a favourite among driving purists with a penchant for open air hoonery, but there has never been one affordable enough to entice those on a strict budget. Until now.
The British car maker has just announced the Seven 160, a brand new model that aims to give serious performance for a not so serious asking price. It’ll cost you £14,995 if you want to build it yourself, or £17,995 if you don’t. That’s about £5k less than the next cheapest Roadsport 125 and three times less than the Superlight R600.
Admittedly, the performance of the cheapest Caterham ever is off the pace of its pricier cousins. But the 80bhp three-cylinder 660cc Suzuki turbo engine allows a still rapid 0 to 62mph time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph, largely thanks to the Seven 160’s svelte proportions.
“As the Caterham Group as a whole grows and expands into new sectors and industries, our commitment to keep evolving the Seven is very much alive,” Caterham Cars CEO Grahman Macdonald explained. “The 160 offers something truly different to the entry-level market. It’s more economical, more accessible and every bit as fun on the road as other Sevens but has its own unique personality.”
Speaking on the difficulty in making an affordable Caterham, he added: “The engineering challenges we faced when developing the new vehicle were significant. The engine, suspension and the overall dynamics all needed to work in harmony and the various arms of the Group have been successful in pooling facilities and expertise to achieve that.”
In Europe the Seven 160 will be known as the Seven 165, signifying its compliance with the EU5 emissions standards. Both versions will benefit from a live-axle rear-suspension design.
Production is expected to begin in 2014, with deliveries starting in Spring.
If your wallet happens to be slightly larger, Caterham recently unveiled a concept car called the AeroSeven, which is expected to arrive in 2014.
Caterham Seven 160 Pictures