Caterham Seven 170 revealed – super lightweight Seven stripped to the extreme
There are lightweights, and there’s Caterham’s Seven 170 weighing in at just 440kg
The omnipresence of Caterham’s iconic Seven amongst the performance car scene might make you think any shock value is difficult to achieve, but the small British manufacturer has done it yet again. In the year 2021, Caterham has revealed a new entry-level Seven model with a kerb weight of just 440kg – less than a third the weight of a Porsche 718 Boxster S.
Available in two forms, 170S and the fully stripped 170R, the new Seven finds its basis in the previous entry-level Suzuki-engined 160 model, utilising the same 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine that produces 84bhp and 86lb ft of torque. This equates to a power-to-weight ratio of 170bhp/tonne, hence the new name.
The difference comes from the astonishing 50kg (or over ten percent) weight loss, finding and stripping weight from the suspension, wheels and tyres, and interior. This is then exasperated to the full by the 170R model, which does away with the standard adjustable seats and windscreen, replacing them for composite buckets and air deflectors as found on the more hardcore models further up the range. It also has a carbonfibre dashboard, four-point harnesses and an optional limited slip differential.
The astonishingly low weight figure of just 440kg typically aids almost all aspects of the new 170’s performance and handling, recording a 0-62mph time of 6.9sec and a top speed in excess of 100mph, while being both ULEZ and Euro 6 compliant and producing less CO2 than a modern Toyota Yaris. In addition to the new weight figure, the new Caterham 170’s footprint is also dimensionally smaller than any other Caterham, making it compliant with Japanese Kei car regulations.
This new, refocused entry point to the range gives the classic Caterham Seven yet another form for drivers to experience, pairing these more performance-oriented elements and setup with the turbocharged engine that has come to form a stalwart amongst its revvy Ford-derived siblings further up the range.
Available from £22,990, the new Seven 170 is also the least expensive new Caterham on sale. With all new cars getting bigger, heavier and more complex, the notion of being able to utilise all the performance from a sports car is growing in prominence – you just might need to skip breakfast to get the absolute best out of this one.