If you’ve grown tired of the legions of nanny-mobiles employing active city braking, lane departure warnings and steering correction, and more and more electronic components further isolating us from the experience of driving, Caterham introduces the 180-proof antidote to driving isolation. Introducing the Caterham 7 Supersport R, with 180 hp courtesy of a 2.0-liter Ford Duratec four-cylinder. Doesn’t sound very exciting? Well, when it’s only motivating less than 1200 lb, it makes for a very entertaining motoring experience indeed.
Although it may offer supercar-level performance, its price is much more attainable for the working bloke, at the equivalent of $39,751 in kit form, or $44,522 fully-built. Although not quite as extreme as the firm’s R600 dedicated racer, it’s less than half the price fully-built. But you’re not going to find LED accent lighting, lane-departure warning, or active braking on this model. It’s the epitome of driving purity, and is a distinctly analog experience. But you will find a unique Supersport steering wheel, composite racing seats with four-point harnesses, and a windshield.
As part of the announcement about the Supersport R was the reiteration of a previous announcement of a joint-venture engineering collaboration with Renault, with the aim of reviving the storied Alpine, and the creation of a range of new vehicles, including an ‘everyday’ sports car aimed at delivering Caterham’s philosophy of ‘accessible fun’ to new markets.
Caterham cars are currently available in the U.S. through selected regional distributors, but are for “off-road use only.” Could the announcement of the collaboration with Renault mean a new generation of street-going, ultra-light performance machines could be heading stateside? We sure hope so.