This is Caterham’s vision for the future of its car range: the AeroSeven concept. Dragging the Seven template into the 21st Century, the two-seater AeroSeven reportedly uses F1 knowhow in its design, and will launch to 62mph in less than four seconds. It’ll go on sale in production form in late 2014, two years before the Alpine-Caterham sports car deal comes to fruition.
What’s under the bonnet of the Caterham AeroSeven concept?
The AeroSeven concept uses the same 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine currently used in the Caterham Seven 485: it develops 237bhp and revs to 8500rpm, yet conforms to EU6 emissions legislation. Drive is sent to the car’s rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. However, don’t place all your chips on the production AeroSeven retaining this engine – Caterham says other powerplants are being considered, with the Clio RS’s 1.6-litre turbo unit from new partners Renault a possibility. That doesn’t mean the AeroSeven will use the Renault’s dual-clutch transmission, but it hasn’t been ruled out either, as the company considers the best driveline options from the wider Renault-Nissan technology pool.
Tell me about the bodywork
The minimalist body, which has been aero-optimised by Caterham’s F1 department, is made of carbonfibre. Despite this, the larger dimensions and extensive on-board tech come at a cost: the AeroSeven weighs in at 600kg – 75kg more than a comparable 2.0-litre Seven.
What about the chassis?
The AeroSeven uses a regular Seven CSR chassis. Inboard pushrod suspension is used on all four corners, tuned to take advantage of the car’s low mass. There’s variable traction control and a launch control function to, to help the car make the most of the grip provided by its Avon CR500 soft-compound tyres. The engine management system is controlled by toggles mounted on the steering wheel, in the best F1 tradition. When the engine is started, the car defaults to its most hardcore ‘Race’ mode, but a more sedate ‘Road’ setting with a lower rev limit can be selected via steering wheel button.
Looks spartan inside…
…but rather beautifully finished too. The new central graphic display shows engine speed, current gear, road speed, plus fuel and oil levels as well as the traction control setting, rendered in a 3D display.
Caterham is promising first customer deliveries of the production version of the AeroSeven in late 2014. Final assembly will take place at Caterham’s factory in Dartford, UK.
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