Remember the Zenos E10? The dinky little sports car was revealed at the turn of the year, and with the brains of former Caterham chiefs Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards behind it, its chances of success ought to be strong.
Zenos sports car gets Focus ST power
The latest entrant on the British sports car scene gets 250bhp thanks to the Focus ST's turbo engine
Following news of the £24,995, 200bhp launch E10, there is now a more powerful E10 S. Like the base car, the S uses a 2-litre four-cylinder Ford engine, only this time it's the Ecoboost engine you'll find in the frantic Focus ST. That means it's turbocharged, and with 250bhp and 250lb ft to propel a car weighing circa-650kg, the resulting power-to-weight ratio of around 385bhp/ton is a match for a Ferrari 458.
Performance is predictably potent, then: 0-60mph takes an estimated 4.5 seconds, while the E10 S's top speed is quoted as 135mph. The latter might not instantly set your pulse racing on paper, but it should prove plenty enough in a car with no roof or windows...
Priced from £29,995 - a £5000 rise over the less powerful, naturally aspirated E10 - the E10 S is primed to take on established competition in the shape of the Caterham Seven and Ariel Atom. Like those cars, its spec sheet is flexible, with the choice of five- or six-speed manual gearboxes and trackday-focused options like a limited-slip differential, adjustable dampers, vented brake discs, and the like.
A £32,995 Track edition attempts to round up the most desirable options in one package, with the diff, uprated suspension, race harnesses and even heated seats among its additions.
It's what many of the 70 or so Zenos buyers so far have plumped for. Those who put deposits down on the base E10 were shown the E10 S at a driving event at the weekend; 80 per cent of them have scribbled out their original order sheet and upgraded to the more powerful car.
Zenos development is at full-pelt at the moment, with final prototypes testing towards the end of the year and production set to begin in January 2015. The company has set up shop in Wymondham, Norfolk, just down the road from another British sports car maker, Lotus. You might have heard of them.
While the E10 follows a fairly well-thumbed sports car recipe - light weight + proven engine = a complete giggle to drive - Zenos is hoping it can bring something new to the class, too. Affordability is high on the agenda, running deeper than just the asking price; the car has been designed to be cheap to work on, with the engine easily removed and vital components protected and kept away from the car's extremities to help keep the cost of any off-track ‘exploration' to a minimum. Two further models - an E11 roadster and E12 coupe - will follow the more extreme E10 further down the line.
So, over to you: would this get your money over the traditional Seven/Atom/Elise trio?