It doesn't get much more basic than the Caterham Seven. The original Lotus design was – and remains – the ultimate embodiment of Colin Chapman's "add lightness" ethos. But even among Sevens, some are more basic than others. And this is the most basic of them all.

Caterham has unveiled the new Seven 160 (or 165 in Europe), which packs a minuscule 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine sourced from Suzuki (not from Renault or Ford like other versions) that produces just 80 horsepower. That may sound low, but it's more than the 64 hp it churns out before Caterham's engineers get their hands on it. And in a car as tiny and light as the Seven, it's still enough muscle to hustle it up to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds and on to a 100-mph top speed.

So the 160 will not be as lightning fast in the same way that the 310-hp R620 is, but those performance figures ain't bad coming from a 660cc motorbike engine. It's also got a new live-axle rear suspension and... well that's about it. Hey, this is a Caterham Seven, not a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. UK buyers will be able to order one for just £14,995 as a kit or £17,995 fully built.
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BACK TO THE FUTURE: CATERHAM LAUNCHES SEVEN 160

- Priced from £14,995 or 17,995 fully built
- Suzuki-powered 660cc Seven with new live-axle will be ultimate in 'accessible fun'
- UK variant named Seven 160; EU gets 165

Caterham Cars has opened the order book for the Seven 160 – its new entry-level variant of the iconic sportscar, powered by a super-compact, turbocharged Suzuki engine.

Priced from £14,995 in component form, the car's live-axle rear suspension, compact engine and low weight embody the pioneering spirit of early Sevens and represent a new entry-point to the Seven range.

The Seven 160 – EU customers will get an altered version, called 165 – produces 80hp from its 660cc, three-cylinder, turbocharged engine, enabling it to accelerate to 60mph in a brisk 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 100mph.

With fleet-of-foot charm and handling finesse, rather than outright performance dictating the driving experience, the new car redefines the budget sportscar segment while introducing new levels of efficiency and value for money to the Caterham range.

Caterham Cars CEO, Graham Macdonald, said: "As the Caterham Group as a whole grows and expands into new sectors and industries, our commitment to keep evolving the Seven is very much alive.

"The 160 offers something truly different to the entry-level market. It's more economical, more accessible and every bit as fun on the road as other Sevens but has its own unique personality."

The new rear axle, a throwback to early Sevens in terms of simplicity and purity of design, complements the Suzuki Motor Corporation engine and lower overall body weight, while delivering Caterham's acclaimed, intuitive handling experience and a balanced yet playful chassis.

To meet the desired performance criteria, the Caterham Group's engineering consultancy, Caterham Technology & Innovation (CTI), fine-tuned engine performance from its standard output of 64hp to 80hp, while boosting fuel economy and reducing vehicle emissions. The vehicle conforms to EU5, EU6 and JC08 emissions regulations.

Macdonald continued: "The engineering challenges we faced when developing the new vehicle were significant. The engine, suspension and the overall dynamics all needed to work in harmony and the various arms of the Group have been successful in pooling facilities and expertise to achieve that."

The number five at the end of the EU spec car's moniker signifies that the vehicle complies with the EU5 emissions standards, allowing it to be sold across mainland Europe and beyond.

Production of the Caterham Seven 160 and 165 is expected to begin in January 2014, with first deliveries later that Spring.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      Julio B
      • 1 Year Ago
      " ...but those performance figures ain't bad coming from a 660cc motorbike engine." I don't think the engine is sourced from a motorbike but from a kei car.
        jonnybimmer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Julio B
        "The engine currently powers the Japanese-market Suzuki Jimny and every compact MPV in Suzuki's range." - Autocar
      alice
      • 1 Year Ago
      My Uncle Luke got a nearly new silver Volkswagen Touareg SUV just by parttime work from a home pc. Discover More Here ................. WWW.BUZZ16.COM
      devs1980
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeah Autoblog. In what world would 64bhp (or even 80) for a turbocharged 660cc be described as "not bad coming from a ... motorbike engine?" Use you heads.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am all for simple, light and cheap, but what exactly is the advantage of using a 660cc K car engine? It is a compact engine. But I don\'t see the car taking advantage of that fact. The hood is just as long as before. It would be far more interesting if they manage to shrink the wheelbase by 8\" by using this engine. As it is, it seems like a pointless exercise.
        jj360
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Weight.
          icemilkcoffee
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jj360
          Yes, but is the K car engine any lighter than any number of motorcycle engines? Or for that matter- is it appreciably lighter than say a 1.3 NA engine?
        kickars
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Ok,. Here in the UK we have been following the development of this car for a long time. If you haven't, then it's not a surprise to see you being frustrated with the engine choice. There are several fact's to consider here. 1. Caterham has signed an agreement with Suzuki to develop future models together. Therefore, this engine deal isn't as expensive as people might think if it was a one time only deal. 2. This Suzuki K6A engine only weights 50kg dressed up, whereas Ford's 1.0L Ecoboost weights 97kg dressed up. That almost 50kg of save in a car only weights 490kg in total is the deal breaker. 3. Caterham does have all different kinds of engines for the Seven already (from 0.6L to 2.3L). They all share the same chassis just like any other car models (Ford Focus has engine from 1.0L to 2.5L). Car manufactures do just chop off a part of chassis just because one engine is smaller than the other. Plus, you have driven one Seven before, you would know it's only the engine matters, its the chassis. There's no way Caterham would chop off the chassis for weight saving. They are not trying to build a hotrod. It's a best handling and fun to dive (cornering) car they are building. Oh, trust me the Seven is already too short wheelbased for most people to handle. 4. This point is not for you but someone else who mentioned about the wheels not being proper wheels. I guess you just don't get this kind of basic model with everything going back to basic. If you don't like it, fine. Caterham isn't targeting you for this model, anyway.
          kickars
          • 1 Year Ago
          @kickars
          Oh, one more thing. You mentioned why not use bike engine. Well, firstly Caterham did try bilke engines before, and most Seven copycats still use bike engine today. Secondly, this K6A engine weights about the same as most Janpanese bike engines, anyway. Thirdly, remember Caterham isn't making a ultimate fastest Seven in the current line up. It is simply making a lowest model in the current line up (the cheapest Seven model ever). Finally, for pure driving pleasure bike engine/gearbox isn't the same thing as proper car engine/gearbox. I'm not saying which one is better. I'm only saying this time round Caterham introduced a simple car engine/gearbox based entry model to satisfy people who enjoy back to basic car gear changing and engine rev (but still the best Seven handling).
        Charrop
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Why do V6 and V8 trucks look the same? Anyways, I'm sure owners who build this car will appreciate the extra room in the engine compartment.
          icemilkcoffee
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Charrop
          Appreciate the extra room in the engine compartment? What can you do with that extra room in the engine compartment?
        chrismcfreely
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Because that's all the power it needs. They don't change the shape or size, ever. Saying they should make the smallest car around smaller, is stupid. What is wrong with your brain?
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        That engine is probably very cheap, this is supposed to be a stripped down, low budget racer.
          icemilkcoffee
          • 1 Year Ago
          @KaiserWilhelm
          The engine is probably very cheap in Japan where Kei cars are sold. In the UK, they would probably have better luck with the Ecoboost 1.0, since the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta are the best selling cars in the UK.
          SpacemanSpiff
          • 1 Year Ago
          @KaiserWilhelm
          While I'd love to see a Ecoboost 1.0 powered one (or a 1.6 or even a 2.0), it definitely wouldn't be a low budget option.
      KO
      • 1 Year Ago
      1. It's a kei motor, not a bike one, as others have already pointed out. 2. 64 is a Japanese HP limit on kei motors, like the 280hp general limit of yore. Considering plenty of aspro 660 kei motors make that 64, 80 from a turbo one is pretty weak.
      jonnybimmer
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really want to see a driving review of this car as it seems to sound like a perfect choice for those who don't have $30k+ to drop for a new weekend car. I wonder though, how the car feels with that motor since we know the chassis is capable. It's featherlight, yeah, so it doesn't need much to scoot it around, but then again, so are a lot of kei cars. Will the 79lb ft of torque be enough to feel like the car has enough kick to pull out of corners? Because it relies on the turbo for the power, is it laggy? Does have really short gearing to help it feel sporty or will you still climb for a while in the upper gears for the sake of improved mileage? These are just a few curiosities I'm interested in seeing addressed for a car that otherwise looks excellent.
        Jim R
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        According to the exchange rate, it costs about $30K. If you want a cheap weekend toy/track car, get a used Miata. You can find them in good shape for 5 grand.
          jonnybimmer
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jim R
          "for a NEW weekend car." The used market has hundreds of choices for great cars under $30k (heck, you could get a NA Miata PLUS an S2000 and E36 M3 for that money), I'm just sticking with new cars for the sake of keeping things simple. Under $30k, the RWD options slim down to pretty much the new Miata (eh...) and the FRS/BRZ. In the same way there are some people who always prefer leasing cars, there are some people who always prefer new cars just so they have full control on the condition of the car. Plus, the version kit goes for (directly converted) $24k. Not too shabby.
      Zaki
      • 1 Year Ago
      Would look 100% better with decent wheels.
      Lachmund
      • 1 Year Ago
      very cooll would look to try it.
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