A minimalistic, lightweight approach to the engineering of the sportscar is how Caterham describe their Seven series of vehicles. There are now five models in the range, with each vehicle’s name roughly translating to the power to weight ratio of the car in question. The 270R is one of this set.
The 270R will set you back around £28,000, which is either a lot of money for what you get or a price worth paying, all depending on your viewpoint. As you might expect with Caterham, there is a strong emphasis on the ride and the excitement – no padded seats or entertainment suites for the kids here.
Of course, as always it can also take a fair bit of concentration when sifting through the catalogues to decide on the exact model of Caterham you want – it’s not just about deciphering why a model is called what it is.
Caterham supply an S-Pack or an R-Pack, with the S-Pack being suited more for the road and the R-Pack being more suitable for those with a foot firmly in the go fast camp.
The Caterham 270R is powered by a Ford 1.6 litre Sigma engine which throws out 135bhp. Again, it’s all about that power to weight ratio; whereas this might not be too exciting in a Ford Focus, in a lightweight Caterham weighing just 540kg, it makes a world of difference.
The ‘R’ part adds sports suspension, adjustable anti-roll bar, Limited Slip Differential (LSD) and a lightweight flywheel plus a bigger brake master cyclinder. If you want to forgo all this extra add-on excitement, the basic model will set you back around £20,000. There is also an optional six-speed gearbox over the standard five-speed too for an additional cost on top.
Of course, driving such a vehicle is an acquired taste; expect to feel either comfortably secure or claustrophobic – possibly depending on your mood – and, in the UK at least, more often than not – wet.
But that of course, is all part of the package you buy into when you sit in the driving seat of a car like this, the feeling of being virtually sat on the ground, the wind (and rain) in your hair and not just the sound of the grunting engine, but the feel of it too. Top that off with just five seconds between zero and 60mph and a top speed of 122mph and you’ve got the typical raw excitement of a Caterham.
I think I can live without the everyday comforts and luxuries of modern cars; I remember when heated steering wheels were laughed at and air conditioning was a luxurious dealer option that hardly anyone bothered with because we live in the UK. I can also remember once trying to start a QX test drive vehicle on a track day that was already poised in ‘ready to go’ position – I just couldn’t hear the engine.
There is no mistaking that the Caterham 270R is a beautiful looking beast with everything proportionally just right. Caterham don’t generally stray too far from their regular tried and tested silhouettes and this is why.
Images: autocar.co.uk, theguardian.com
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