Retro race car company Caterham, which builds modern road-legal track cars based on the iconic Lotus 7 of the 50s and 60s, has launched not one, but three new models.
The Caterham Seven 270, 360, and 420 go on sale in the company's native UK from Monday and are an attempt to make the current model range simpler to understand and to cater to serious drivers' changing expectations. Five existing models have been discontinued to make room for the new cars, meaning that the Caterham range has been cut down to five very distinct models.
The Seven 270, the baby of the new bunch, sits one rung above the entry-level Seven 160 and offers a 0-100kph (62mph) time of 5.0 seconds, a top speed of 122mph (196kph) and 135bhp from its Ford Sigma 1.6-liter engine. However, seeing that the car weighs just 540kg, it actually offers 250bhp per tonne.
The Seven 360 has a 2.0-liter Ford Duratec engine on board and so can shave 0.2 seconds off the 0-100kph time and nudge the top speed up to 130mph (209kph). In the Caterham's 560kg body, the 180bhp engine actually produced 321bhp-per-tonne.
The Seven 420 is one step below the company's flagship sportscar and, like the 360, uses a Ford 2-liter engine. However, thanks to supercharging output peaks at 210bhp, which translates as a 2.8 second 0-100kph time, a top speed of 136mph (219kph) and a power to weight ratio of 375bhp-per-tonne.
As well as making the range easier to understand, Caterham has also introduced two new options packs to make all of the cars easier to live with. The S pack throws in a fully carpeted cockpit, a windshield, plus side windows, a heater and road suspension as standard so that those who want to take to the roads and enjoy some weekend drop-top fun can indulge their passions without earache, backache and without a nose, eyes and mouth full of insects.
The R Pack offers bigger 15-inch wheels, a limited slip differential, sports suspension, race seats with four-point harnesses and a carbon fiber dashboard for those who are really committed to track-day or competition racing.
"With our all-new, simplified model line-up and equipment packages, we feel we have a Seven for everyone, whether your perfect drive is a Sunday drive through the countryside or a hardcore blast around a race track," said Caterham Cars CEO Graham Macdonald. "The Caterham brand has always had simplicity at its heart. While the pure thrill of driving remains at the core of our iconic Seven design, the experience of selecting and buying a Caterham is one that now reflects the brand's values of effortlessness and intuition."
Prices for the new cars start at £22,995 (€32,000) for the standard Seven 270 up to £29,995 (€41,000) for a standard specification Seven 420.