Sixty-two mph in just 3.4 seconds should do the trick, right? That’s 240bhp, around 450bhp per ton on the power-to-weight scale, and a top speed of around 150mph. Yes, wig wearers beware, it’s the new Caterham Seven 485, and it’ll be snarling up the streets this summer.
We’re used to mega Caterhams here in the UK. We’ve had the rapid R400 for a while, and then came the rabid Superlight R500; the super-light Seven that worked wonders around the Top Gear test track a couple of years ago, lapping the quickest.
Well, this intrepid journalist drove that very same white R500 right after the Stig had finished with it, complete with the Stig’s Top Gear test track suspension settings still in place. It was rock hard, basically. The R500 is a monster, and while I didn’t hurl it around like the Super Stig, even us mortal motorists can quite easily extract pulse pounding performance from the R500 on our favourite back lanes. Yes, it’s viciously fast, but it’s got incredible grip; suspension and brakes, so if you show it respect you can still get a proper wriggle on without chewing through the nearest topiary.
Lots of carbon to keep it light and a high-revving 240bhp Ford Duratec motor thrashing around under the hood, the windscreenless R500 – you better wear a safety helmet to keep the bugs out of your teeth! – was a UK-only super-weapon that feared nothing on the road. Well, turns out that the rest of the world wanted some of that Super Seven goodness for themselves. And now they can – and so can we – with the Caterham Seven 485, on its way for the summer.
The Ford Duratec remains under the hood, but this one is tuned for extra grunt, and to meet the latest EU5 emissions regulations. The 2-litre, naturally-aspirated engine makes 240bhp at 8,500rpm and fires the resulting smoke out of a screaming side-exit exhaust. These things are loud!
New to any Caterham is a ‘Sport’ mode which further sharpens the 485’s driving characteristics – careful not to cut yourself – while a new exhaust set up chops a further 13kg from the already featherweight Seven. With only 525kg to haul, the flying Ford motor fires the 485 to 62mph in 3.4 seconds through 6 forward gears, and that’s pretty untouchable for anything else in the around-£40k price bracket.
These pictures pretty much speak for themselves; the new Caterham Seven 485 looks about as mean as a rattlesnake, and brings the big-bhp-bite to back up its tarmac skimming menace.
By Dan Anlsow