Caterham is expanding the ‘Seven’ family by adding a new ‘310’ version featuring an upgraded 1.6-liter Ford Sigma engine massaged to deliver an additional 17 horsepower (13 kilowatts). It now churns 152 hp (113 kW) and enables the car to hit 60 mph (96 kph) from a standstill in as little as 4.8 seconds before maxing out at 127 mph (204 kph).
Based on the existing Seven 270, the new kid on the block also marks the debut of optional LED headlights which Caterham says will soon be available across the range. If you already have a Seven 270, the good news is you’ll be able to upgrade it to ‘310’ specification for only £1,495 and the car will keep the same 540 kg (1,190 lbs) weight.
A fully-built 310 is going to set you back £24,995. If you would rather assemble the car yourself, you’ll save £3,000. An R package priced at £3,995 adds a limited-slip differential, Avon ZZS tires, a lightweight flywheel, sports suspension, composite race seats, shift lights, and a rear anti-roll bar. On top of that, you can spend another £2,500 and get the optional six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox.
Orders are already being taken, with deliveries programmed to begin early 2017.
The Sussex-based specialty marque is really happy with how the Seven 310 has turned out to be, saying “if Caterham was only going to make one car for the rest of its days, this would be it.”
Gallery: Caterham Seven 310
CATERHAM FINDS ITS ‘SWEET SPOT’ WITH NEW SEVEN 310
Caterham Cars will introduce a new addition to its range – the Seven 310 – and claims it represents the perfect balance of power and confidence-inspiring handling characteristics.
Harking back to the acclaimed Rover-powered Superlight R300 model, widely acknowledged to be the best-balanced Seven to date, the Seven 310 has emerged from engineering developments made by Caterham’s motorsport programme.
A necesary Sigma engine upgrade, allowing racers to move up to the Supersport category from Tracksport – which involved high-performance camshafts and revised mapping, generating as much as an extra 20bhp in the rev range – resulted in the surprise discovery.
While an associated aftermarket option was always mooted for owners of Seven 270s as a result of the race engine upgrade, the exceptional driver experience offered by the new set-up prompted Caterham to create a brand new model.
Priced £24,995 fully-built, the 152bhp Caterham Seven 310 is available to order now, with first deliveries estimated to arrive early 2017. For existing Caterham Seven 270 owners, the upgrade can be completed for £1,495.
The new Seven 310 will also be the first model to debut a new optional extra - LED headlamps; a first for Caterham, and an option which will be available across the range.
Reflecting the Caterham Seven’s historic beginnings as Colin Chapman’s ‘fit-for-purpose’ race car for the road, the 310 is also a perfect illustration of the company’s commitment to continue developing its iconic lightweight sportscar, already a benchmark in automotive handling and pure driving adrenalin.
Simon Lambert, Chief Motorsport and Technical Officer for Caterham Cars, said: “It’s entirely fitting that the Seven 310, which we feel perfectly synchronises power and handling, has come out of the motorsport engineering process.
“This car will be loved by Caterham enthusiasts but will also convert car fans in general who understand that creating a genuinely fun driving experience is not about simply adding more and more power; that often, less is more.
“When we were going through the engineering process on the race engine upgrade, we had one eye on the aftermarket, of course. But, once the re-worked car hit the road, we knew it was far too good to be marketed simply as an option. The Seven 310 was born.
“It’s like an unplanned baby. A wonderful surprise that instantly becomes your favourite. We weren’t expecting it but, of course, we wouldn’t change a thing now.
“If Caterham was only going to make one car for the rest of its days, this would be it.”