Caterham is lowering the price and adding lightness to its newest entry-level Seven, with a sub-17,000-pound ($26,061) window sticker and a new engine from Suzuki, a 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder mill that will produce less horsepower than the current 125-hp entry level model (it was not mentioned if the Suzuki-powered Seven will replace any models). The new, lightweight engine complements a re-engineered chassis featuring major suspension revisions.

Without releasing actual horsepower or fuel efficiency numbers, the automaker said in a release that the Suzuki engine is the smallest, cleanest and most efficient engine ever used in a Seven. That's not surprising when considering that the engine we suspect Caterham will be using was designed for Suzuki's kei cars in Japan, such as the MR, which are restricted to a maximum of 660cc and 63 hp.

"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," says Caterham Cars CEO Graham Macdonald. Check out the press release below for a few more details, and sit tight for word on North American availability.
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Suzuki power for new entry-level Caterham Seven

- New model gets 660cc turbocharged Suzuki engine
- Designed for maximum weight-saving, efficiency and fun


Caterham Cars' soon-to-be-released, all-new entry-level Seven will be powered by a 660cc, three-cylinder turbocharged engine manufactured by Suzuki Motor Corporation – the smallest and most efficient engine ever installed in a Seven.

The new vehicle uses 21st-Century engineering to pay homage to early incarnations of the iconic Seven by utilising a super-compact and lightweight turbocharged engine to 'add lightness' like no other Seven in recent times.

The ultra-efficient, downsized engine matched with an equally compact Suzuki five-speed gearbox, has been adapted by Caterham Technology & Innovation (CTI) – Caterham Group's engineering division – to complement a re-engineered chassis, which also harks back to the spirit of former Sevens with major revisions to the suspension layout.

As a renowned specialist in compact and efficient vehicle design, Suzuki's expertise in the field meant it was the ideal partner for Caterham in achieving its goal of creating the most efficient, lightest Seven ever.

The powertrain specialists at CTI have fine-tuned the engine to suit the highly dynamic Seven, resulting in a car capable of strong performance while delivering vastly improved fuel economy and reduced vehicle emissions.

Caterham Cars CEO, Graham Macdonald, said: "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.

"Suzuki is a leader in producing compact vehicles with extremely efficient engines and that is clearly a shared passion. We needed a particularly light powertrain but it had to be a unit that suited the characteristics inherent to all Sevens – thankfully, after lots of hard work, we have a package that works brilliantly.

"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." Priced under £17,000, the new model will be launched in Autumn this year, with first deliveries expected before the end of 2013. He added: "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 sportscar at this price point, it delivers on many fronts and we cannot wait to open the order book."

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."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      If I remember correctly- cars with less than 800cc are even exempt from California smog tests.
        edward.stallings
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Being exempt from smog tests is different than being free to avoid compliance when initially registered, so unfortunately you are right but it does not get the car registered in California without compliance.. I wish you were right, but government types are good at one thing: Killing your freedom of choice.
        DRAGON
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        They seem to be: http://www.bar.ca.gov/80_BARResources/02_SmogCheck/Used_Vehicle_Smog_Equip_Req.html
          edward.stallings
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DRAGON
          Unfortunately, it is not exempt from new car regs. Your link is for used car regs, and if you read down, they say that the car has to be in compliance when new. Neither EPA nor California exempt any 4 wheel cars that can reach highway speeds.
      KO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Kei-terham? Anyone? *chirp chirp* There are NA kei motors that put out ~60hp, so 100hp with a turbo and no restriction seems realistic.
      username
      • 1 Year Ago
      No.
      waetherman
      • 1 Year Ago
      The 7 is actually more affordable than I realized already, though it looks like you could option it up quite a bit if you were so inclined. I'm not sure I'd really want a 7 with a 60-70hp engine though, even at a lower price. The 125 is pretty basic as it is.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @waetherman
        FWIW, if you got the prices from Caterham USA, I believe those prices are without the transmission and engine. I believe (but could be wrong) they aren't allowed to include the engine and transmission because they are sold as kit cars.
          Jim Young
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          Maybe that Suzuki G10/Samurai 5-Speed I salted away almost two decades ago can finally find a home.
          waetherman
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          No, I was looking at the uk prices. They're not cheap, mind, but for some reason I was thinking they were more like $80k not $30-$40k.
      Jim Young
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd always admired the Suzuki Cappuccino with this engine ( a riot in many videos showing what it can do in a heavier car) but they weren't available here. I've had my fill of big blocks (389/39 Chevy Coupe, 396 Nomad, 427 Camero, 429 T-bird, 455 Grand Prix, etc, and much preferred smaller engines in lighter cars (though great power to weight like a 350/350 L.U.V. PU). When I think back, my all time favorite everyday driver was an Austin-Healy 3000 MKII, but the most satisfying for sleepers, and filling some more practical driving needs around town or moderate commutes, were a Honda N600 (2-cyl), an 87 Chevy Sprint, and a 94 Chevy Metro XFi that I could nudge up to 62.5 mpg on longer commutes. There was a brief period where I commuted in a 72 Maverick that had an Ak Miller built turbocharged in-line six that surprised Porsches and still got great mileage after the turbo was pulled, after it kept cracking exhaust manifolds). I always got 50 to 52 mpg out of the 3-cyl Sprint, and it lived up to its name with a 45 mile run to the plant in 29 minutes (93 mph avg) when a non-life threatening, but mission critical equipment problem on a Shuttle spaceflight "required" immediate attention. (Fast enough for me on L.A. freeways at 3 AM) Though it is one of those possible bucket list items, I have kept a Suzuki G10/Chevy Sprint engine and a Samurai 5-speed that fits it for too many decades, looking for the right vehicle for the combination. They must have been reading my mind (and are tempting my wallet).
      GasMan
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is not 1960. The problem with Caterham pricing is the low volume, not the drivetrain so why not a Huyabusa or similar? Light, fast, sequential shift. Add power and lightness to increase value at the same price.
      ishmaelcrowley
      • 1 Year Ago
      Always wanted one. Maybe one day... Here's one driving through London circa 1967: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tra3Zi5ZWa0 Unfortunately youtube puts a commercial in front of it. You can skip it though. Great opening sequence.
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