In the case entry-level version the engine will be coupled to a five-speed manual transmission, of Suzuki origin. This engine is adapted by Caterham’s engineering division. Caterham claims it has “fine-tuned” the engine to match the Seven’s characteristics while having improved economy and emissions.
Suzuki said: “It has been a very interesting and unique project for us. We trust that supplying our powertrain to Caterham with a respected reputation for building lightweight, low-volume sportscars will enhance our ‘sporty’ brand image.”
Besides that, this will be the most affordable and the lightest Caterham ever created, and it will be the most efficient in the range of the British manufacturer. The changes applied to the entry-level version do not end here, as it will receive a sports chassis, redesigned suspension and other modifications.
Caterham Cars CEO Graham Macdonald stated: “As we celebrate our 40th anniversary at Caterham, it feels good to be taking the brand right back to where it started. Colin Chapman designed the original Seven to be entirely ‘fit-for-purpose’ – a racing car for the road with the driving experience at its heart. With that in mind, the new entry-level Seven will be uncomplicated, easy to run and, most important of all, an intuitive and exciting drive.”
Caterham said this new model was designed with maximum weight saving and that it pays homage to the ultra-lightweight foundations of the original Lotus Seven.
“Price shouldn’t be an entry barrier for customers,” said Macdonald, “You see people who own Fords for example because that’s what they’ve always owned. They started with a Fiesta then moved to a Focus, and then onwards and upwards. Our philosophy, especially when we’re competing against other niche brands, is to get customers at that starting point and give them the option to upgrade.”
This new focus on fuel efficiency will aid in enhancing appeal, but it will not mean the car will lose its sporting prowess. Caterham Cars CEO Graham Macdonald said “This will be a car built for the driver who wants to drive.”
He continued: “It is not engine size that matters; it is the grin factor that is our barometer, and we believe we have got the formula for our new entry-level vehicle just right. Our intention for this car is to offer the joy of the Seven in distilled form, so the new entry-level car is lighter, cheaper, more economical and more accessible than ever. Unfussy and easy to run, it is designed to give a neutral, supple ride yet carrying the sporting edge and turn-of-speed expected from any Seven. For a sports car at this price point, it delivers on many fronts and we cannot wait to open the order book.”