The Caterham Seven has never been, in any iteration, a heavy car. The range-topping Seven 620, with all its amenities (a heater! In this economy?) weighs in at just under 1,350 lbs. With the latest entry into their lineup, though, Caterham’s set a new personal best.
The new entry-level Seven, the Caterham Seven 170, weighs just 970 lbs. For reference, that’s lighter than the world record for heaviest deadlift — Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, if you’re out there, an attempt to lift this is an event I’d pay to see.
The 170 keeps its weight down by shrinking everything. The chassis, the engine, even the tires have been downsized to keep the car within Japanese kei-car specifications — 660 cubic centimeters of displacement, three cylinders and one turbo.
The 170's exterior dimensions are downright diminutive, coming out to just under 58 inches in width. For those of you that remember your aero packages, this entire Caterham is narrower than the wing on a 2016 Viper ACR.
With only 85 horsepower (84 bhp) from its Suzuki-produced engine, the new Seven 170 likely won’t be a straight-line monster. Caterham lists its 0-60 speed at 6.9 seconds, with a top speed of 105 miles per hour. Its narrow 155-section tires, however mean it’ll likely kick its tail out whenever you ask — what more could you want from a compact track toy?
Caterham’s release didn’t mention what countries will be getting the Seven 170, but the model doesn’t appear on their US site. The 170's predecessor, the Seven 160, does still appear on Caterham’s Japanese site.
UK pricing for the Seven 170 is listed at £22,990, or $31,546 after direct conversion. That’s about a hundred thousand dollars less than a BAC Mono, or just under half the price of an Ariel Atom 4.
For my money, I’d simplify, then add lightness.