Caterham has announced its new entry-level Seven will cost less than £17,000 and use a three-cylinder, turbocharged engine sourced from Suzuki. The new car will go on sale in the autumn of 2013, with first customer deliveries expected in November.
What’s the specification of the new Caterham Seven?
Under the bonnet is a 660cc Suzuki three-cylinder engine, boosted by a turbocharger and mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, also from Suzuki. The powertrain is currently used Suzuki’s Japanese market models – even in the Jimny 4x4 – but it’s had a thorough retune and new ECU for its high-performance Caterham application. Performance and economy figures are yet to be tested, but will be revealed later this month.
Caterham has retuned the new car’s suspension and revised the chassis to make best use of the downsized powerplant. The car will ‘hark back to the spirit of former Sevens’, reckons Caterham – but hopefully offer modern reliability, of course.
So it’s going to handle like a retro Seven then?
That’s the hope. Caterham has repositioned the steering rack for ‘refined steering feel’, and used narrow front suspension arms and a Suzuki-sourced beam rear-axle, like the original’s set-up. The low-tech but tried-and-trusted layout, complete with relocated axle mounts, will save weight, cut costs, and make for decidedly old-school handling characteristics.
How’s the Caterham Seven range shaping up?
The current entry-level Seven is the £19,995 Roadsport 125, which uses a Ford-derived 1.6-litre engine to develop 125bhp and hit 60mph in 5.9sec. The new Suzuki-engined Seven will likely produce 90-100bhp, but its extremely light weight will still allow hot hatch-shaming acceleration.
Not only is the new 0.7-litre engine the smallest ever fitted to a Caterham, it’s also the most efficient. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions will be at an all-time low for the 40-year old Seven – offsetting the manic performance of the new R620 model, which boasts a massive 310bhp and costs £49,995. Both cars will be in attendance at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013.