It would be tempting to call this year's Tokyo Motor Show an entirely domestic affair, but that's not entirely accurate, as a few smaller specialty automakers like Lotus and Alpina took advantage of a surplus of available square footage by nailing down prime floor space for themselves. As a belated addition to the festivities, Caterham, England's merry band of Colin Chapman acolytes marked the occasion with the world debut of its CSR 175.
The new model slots in as a new bottom rung to the CSR franchise, which is paradoxically the marque's premium range. The 175 joins the range's existing trio of variants, the 200 bhp CSR200, the 260bhp CSR260 and the full-house 260 bhp CSR Superlight. If you're paying attention, you can therefore deduce that the new addition possesses 175 bhp. That may not sound like a lot of power, but in a car that weighs as much as an anorexic gnat, we reckon the Ford-sourced 2.3-liter Duratec four-pot will still be plenty entertaining.
Either way, traditional minimalist roadsters like the Se7en have never been about terminal velocity, they've always been predicated on leech-like cornering and giant-kiling acceleration. And given that the 175 shares the CSR family's stiffer spaceframe chassis, updated suspension and refined aerodynamics, Caterham's latest should continue corner like a cat on carpet. And given the vast empty expanses of the stuff here at the show, we'd be tickled if someone handed us the keys for a bit of after-hours fun...
Related GalleryTokyo 2009: Caterham CSR 175
Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.
CATERHAM, UNITED KINGDOM – October 15, 2009: Caterham Cars will be one of just three European manufacturers exhibiting at this month's Tokyo Motor Show (Oct 24-Nov 4).
The iconic British sportscar marque will continue its surge into markets across the globe by exhibiting three of its newest models – the Japanese premiere of the Superlight R300 EU4, the world premiere of the CSR 175 EU4 and the Roadsport EU4 which have not only achieved pan-European homologation but have passed Japan's even more stringent regulations.
Japan has long been a key export market thanks to the country's fascination with all things connected with innovative British design. Caterham has sold cars successfully in Japan since the 1970s.
The exhibit at the Tokyo Motor Show is the latest move by Caterham importer, Premium Cars Import (PCI) to help promote the brand in the Far East. PCI was confirmed as Caterham's Japanese exclusive importer in January this year.
Caterham Cars managing director, Ansar Ali, will be attending the show and said: "Japan has always been one of our biggest export markets. During the early 1990s, Caterham was selling over 100 cars a year in Japan and now, with our new importer doing great work to highlight the company from their Tokyo base, we are looking forward to pushing sales up again.
"I have no doubt we will achieve this objective as we now have a retail network of over 15 dealers in Japan who are committed to making Caterham another British success in this exciting and dynamic market.
"The Tokyo Motor Show is a fantastic way to showcase our unique products alongside the numerous world premieres from other manufacturers. To be one of only a small handful of European manufacturers present shows our commitment to this market."