Caterham's new AeroSeven Concept will become a production vehicle next fall, but that's only the beginning. Expect to see more mainstream crossovers and small cars wearing the badge, and a new Alpine sportscar jointly developed with Renault.
Let's start with the AeroSeven Concept:
It's a futuristic speedball powered by a 2.0-liter normally-aspirated Ford Duratec producing 240 horsepower at 8,500rpm and 152 lb ft of torque at 6,300rpm, giving the car a power-to-weight ratio of approximately 400 hp/tonne. It also has pushrod double wishbone suspension in the front, and an independent double wishbone setup at the rear. Zero to sixty stays under 4 seconds.
Wrapped in dry "pre-preg” carbon fiber body panels and equipped with a new fully active graphical display unit and a race-inspired steering wheel incorporating ‘Road’ mode, ‘Flash-to-Pass’ and ‘Pit Lane Speed Limiter’ functions, it's also the first Caterham with fully adjustable traction control, launch control and an anti-lock system from Bosch.
And since the AeroSeven Concept incorporates a completely new rollover structure and runs on road legal Avon CR500 tyres (195/45R15 and 245/40R15), it won't be too difficult to turn it into a production vehicle. Caterham promises that deliveries will begin in fall 2014. I say think of it as a much cheaper, simplified Aston Martin CC100 that's actually going to happen.
But this car isn't the only news up Caterham's sleeve. Apart from the already familiar joint Venture with Renault to produce an all-new sportscar for both the Alpine and Caterham brands, there are crossovers and small cars in the pipeline. While focusing on Asia commercially, Caterham will develop a range of cars for the global market, using all the expertise of Caterham Composites, the Caterham F1 Team and Caterham Racing GP2 Team.
Chairman Tony Fernandes said some interesting stuff regarding their plans:
Caterham will show itself to be a progressive, open and entrepreneurially powered car brand that will deliver and surprise in equal measure.
It has been a British institution for the last 40 years, and automotive secret in many ways, but in the very near future, the Caterham name will sit proudly on crossovers, city cars as well as a range of sportscars for everyone.
And because we’re a flat company, we’re a quicker company. When we say we’re going to do things internally, we do them. We don’t procrastinate and lose momentum through legions of middle-management decision makers, we just do it.
We’re focused on developing the right products; with the right retail experience, in the right markets, at the right time. The sales will then come.
Let's hope he's right and Caterham won't start sliding down the Lotus way...