Caterham Seven (2006): first official pictures

Published: 24 October 2006

Caterham Seven: the lowdown

Caterham has kicked out the K-series, replacing it with a tuned 1.6-litre Ford engine for the next generation Seven sports car. The Sigma engine – used in the Fiesta and Focus – is available with two outputs: 125bhp in the Roadsport (pictured), or 140bhp in Superlight trim. A third engine with around 160bhp will follow in spring 2007. With K-series engine production moving to China following the acquisition of MG Rover's assets by Nanjing Automotive, Caterham was forced to find a new engine supplier. The move ends 15 years of K-series-powered Caterhams.

Roadsport is no slouch

The Sigma engine is bolted to an overhauled Seven chassis. Caterham claims torsional rigidity has increased by 12 percent, thanks to a precision laser-cut manufacturing process. The new engine is an upgraded version of the 99bhp 1.6-litre four, which has run riot in the Formula Ford racing series. Power Torque Engineering has tuned the engine for Caterham duty. The 125bhp Roadsport sprints to 60mph from standstill in just 5.9secs. The base Roadsport costs £15,995, although the 140bhp engine is also available in Roadsport trim. The extra grunt cuts the 0-60mph dash to 5.0secs. The £16,995 Roadsport 140 is expected to be the biggest seller, with most buyers happy to swallow the expense of the extra grand in return for the added performance.

Superlight = super-quick

The track-focused Superlight, which runs the 140bhp engine, costs £19,995. The Superlight weighs in 50kg lighter than the Roadsport, due to carbon fibre pieces replacing heavier trim. It cracks 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds, thanks to a 280bhp-per-tonne power-to-weight ratio that eclipses a Porsche 911 Carrera S's. Orders for the new Sigma-powered cars can be placed from November, with deliveries expected in the new year.