Monaco. A principality of excess, wealth and glamour. Why, then, has Caterham decided to give a special-edition version of its base Roadsport model the same name? My guess is that the Caterham Merthyr Tydfil just didn’t quite have the same ring to it.
A daft name matters little, though, when this car is cheaper than the standard Roadsport 125 it’s based on. The Monaco costs £20,995, compared with £21,200, and has leather seats and red carpets thrown in. If you get in quick then the savings are even better, as the first 20 cars ordered can be had for a thousand pounds less.
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It would be wrong to call this a beginner’s Seven, for that would imply experienced Caterham drivers would gain little from the Monaco (or the Roadsport 125). The 125bhp 1.6-litre Ford Sigma engine may not be the last word in power, but it has a good spread of torque and there’s still a very useful 227bhp per ton. With unaggressive Avon ZV3 tyres, the power-to-grip ratio is a good match, too. The balance is spot-on and the overall ride/handling compromise is not far away from the Roadsport 150 that we recently helped to develop.
If you can live with the slightly dubious stripes, then this special edition makes a strong case for itself.
|Engine||In-line 4-cyl, 1598cc|
|Max power||125bhp @ 6100rpm|
|Max torque||120lb ft @ 5350rpm|
|Top speed||112mph (claimed)|