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Old, slow, cheap and… brilliant?
This is the new Caterham Seven 160. It produces just 80bhp, and costs just £17,995, but might just be the finest Caterham you can buy.
OK, so the deranged R500 and 620R might go quicker - a lot, lot quicker - but this back-to-basics edition is what Caterham is really all about: simple, lightweight, cheap fun.
Very cheap and very light. The Seven 160 costs just £17,995, making it the cheapest Caterham, and weighs just 490kg without fluids or driver. That ‘160’ refers to the Seven’s rough power-to-weight ratio, which is the same as a Toyota GT86’s.
The 160 celebrates 40 years of Caterham Sevens, and keeps things as simple as the originals. There’s a live rear axle, anorexic 155-section tyres and 14-inch steel wheels.
The engine is a 660cc kei-car three-pot borrowed from Suzuki, boosted by a turbocharger to lift power from an embarrassing 64bhp to a devastating 80. Torque? 79lb ft. We didn’t know they made dynos capable of detecting such tiny amounts.
But despite the humble outputs, the 160 isn’t embarrassingly slow. Running through a five-speed manual ‘box also supplied by Suzuki, it’ll get from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds (1.1 seconds faster than a Toyota GT-86) and on to a top speed of 100mph. It should, driven carefully, manage over 50mpg.
If you’re overcome with a case of the James Mays, you can even build your own, saving £3,000. Sort of. DIY kit-form cars are only available in the UK, and Caterham reckons it’ll take 80 man-hours to construct.
Unless you’re Top Gear, that is…
Look out for our first drive later today