2015 Caterham Seven 360
Designed by automotive genius Colin Chapman and launched in 1957 under the Lotus badge, the Seven has become one of the most iconic sports cars ever built. Sold as a Lotus until 1972 and as a Caterham since 1973, the tiny, no-nonsense Seven has been offered in many configurations. However, the little roadster has yet to lose its classic charm, despite being fitted with modern technology and increasingly powerful engines. Although the Seven lineup has included at least four to five models over the last decade, Caterham has yet to bring it to the United States on official terms. The drama ended in January 2014, when the Brits reached an agreement with Superformance, and the first U.S.-spec Sevens appeared on the company’s drawing board. In August 2014, Caterham finally announced that the Seven will hit U.S. shores in part-built form.
Two versions are now offered Stateside, being set apart by the number of horses hiding under the hood. The base model is the Seven 360, similar in specifications with the Roadsport 175 currently sold in the United Kingdom. Hopefully we’ll get to drive one and share our impressions soon enough. Meanwhile, make sure you check out the in-depth review below.
Click past the jump to read more about the Caterham Seven 360
2015 Caterham Seven 360
Horsepower @ RPM:180 @ 7300
Torque @ RPM:143 @ 6100
0-60 time:4.8 sec.
Top Speed:130 mph
It features the same classic body, "cycle" front fenders, a standard windshield and a two-sided rollover hoop.
Visually, the U.S.-spec Caterham Seven is not different than the regular British model. It features the same classic body, "cycle" front fenders, a standard windshield and a two-sided rollover hoop. Although the model depicted here is finished in yellow with twin black stripes running across the hood, Caterham offers a wide range of exterior colors. The options list includes a bevy of metallic colors ranging from plain Starlight Black and Crystalline White to exotic hues such as Fez Red and Viper Blue.
The aluminum body can also be painted in non-metallic colors, including Caterham’s classic Vintage Green, a hue similar to the familiar British Racing Green. This would be our first choice!
The Seven 360 can be customized in many ways, but everything comes at extra cost. A wider body can be fitted for $3,995, while a range of carbon-fiber parts are available to replace the nose or the front and rear wings. If you’re nuts about lowering the vehicle’s curb weight as much as possible, a set of carbon-fiber mirrors is also available.
Shipped to the U..S in part-built form and sold as rolling chassis, the Seven 360 will require some assembly. Make sure you’ve got the proper tools before ordering one from Superformance, Caterham’s official U.S. distributor since January 2014. If you don’t have the time or space, you can have the engine and the transmission fitted by a third party that will be recommended to you by your local Superformance dealer.
On the options list you'll find check boxes for composite race seats with race harnesses, leather upholstery, leather tunnel top, leather boot cover, a carbon dashboard, a Momo quick-release steering wheels, and a track-day rollover bar.
As with most Sevens, the interior is spartan. It includes everything you need from a dashboard to essential gauges and a steering wheel, but you shouldn’t be looking for an infotainment touchscreen or an air-conditioning unit. Adjustable, cloth seats are standard, but leather-wrapped seats can be ordered for an additional fee. Other standard equipment include inertia reel seat belts, a suede steering wheel, and push-button start.
On the options list you’ll find check boxes for composite race seats with race harnesses, leather upholstery, leather tunnel top, leather boot cover, a carbon dashboard, a Momo quick-release steering wheels, and a track-day rollover bar.
Power is provided by a Ford-sourced, 2.0-liter Duratec engine that delivers 180 horsepower and 143 pound-feet of torque. It might not seem very impressive at first sight, but the Seven’s body and chassis weigh so little that the 360 is as quick as a sports car. The model tips the scales at only 1,179 pounds, which accounts for a power-to-weight ratio of 336 ponies per tonne. Think of it as a BMW M4 with nearly 550 horsepower. Outstanding!
The naturally aspirated engine, which is not included in the base price if you opt for a rolling chassis, enables the Seven 360 to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.8 seconds. The figure should see a slight increase once the optional carbon-fiber parts are fitted. Top speed sits at only 130 mph, which is quite common for Caterham vehicles. Two transmissions are available, a five-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, and neither of them included in the base price.
|Engine||2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec|
|Max Power||180 HP @ 7,300 RPM|
|Max Torque||143 LB-FT @ 6,100 RPM|
Suspension and Brakes
Keeping the Seven 360 on its best behavior on the road and track is a wide track front suspension and De-Dion rear suspension units, both fitted with race dampers. Also included in the standard package is a set of 13-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Avon CR500 tires. If you’re looking for something more track-oriented, Caterham will be happy to provide you with the optional aerofoil wishbones and larger, 15-inch alloy wheels. Braking power is provided by ventilated front discs and quad-piston calipers, but these items are also listed as options.
Pricing for the Caterham Seven 360 starts from $44,900, but adding several options will rapidly increase the final price to more than $50,000, or even send it into $60,000 territory. The Sport and Racing Package are the most expensive packages available, fetching $8,150 and a whopping $15,550, respectively. Metallic exterior paints cost up to $3,275, while an F1 Racing paint scheme will send you back $5,395.
Those looking to save more weight can have their Seven 360 fitted with carbon-fiber wings, wind deflector and nose cone. These parts can be purchased separately, but the whole package costs $4,650. Add the fact that you need to build it yourself, and you got one expensive kit car on your hands.
|Caterham Seven 360 With Wider Body (SV Body) 15% more space||$3,995.00|
|Caterham Seven 360 delivered as an unassembled kit (CKD)||$2,395.00|
|Painted Aluminum Body (Ballistic Orange, Gravity Black, Exocet Red, Firecracker Yellow, Vintage Green)||$1,950.00|
|Stage 1 Metallic Colors (Viper Blue, Starlight Black, Platinum Silver)||$2,750.00|
|Stage 2 Metallic Colors (Atomic Grass, Fez Red)||$2,950.00|
|Stage 3 Metallic Colors (Plasma Blue, Detanator Yellow, Roulette Green, Krypton Green, Crystalline White)||$3,275.00|
|F1 Racing Team Paint Scheme||$5,395.00|
|Custom Color PPG Paint 2 Color Process (add to Stage 3 colors)||1,250.00|
|Painted Bonnet Stripe & Nose Band||$675.00|
|Painted Nose Band||$425.00|
|Painted "7" Grill||$275.00|
|Double Clear Coat||$1,275.00|
|Carbon Fiber Front Wings (Painting additional)||$875.00|
|Carbon Fiber Wind Deflector (Carbon mirrors supplied but not installed)||$1,275.00|
|Carbon Fiber Rear Wings (Painting additional)||$1,350.00|
|Carbon Fiber Nose Cone (available only on Standard Body)||$1,150.00|
|Painting of Carbon Fiber Components (Each)||$375.00|
Although it lacks the heritage of the Caterham/Lotus Seven name, the Ariel Atom is equally suited as a track-day vehicle. It’s less appealing for road use, but let’s face it, how many enthusiasts actually buy one to drive it on their daily commute? Featuring a much simpler design, with a wrap-around roll cage replace most of the body panels, the standard Atom comes with a Honda-sourced, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 245 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. The oomph reaches the wheels through a six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox and pushes the lightweight vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in about three seconds.
The only downsides of the Atom are that it’s not road-legal in the United States and you can only buy them as an import. Prices aren’t encouraging either, as they can fetch more than $70,000.
The KTM X-Bow comes in many shapes and sizes and with engines that can deliver more than 300 horsepower. The X-Bow GT model, however, is better suited to take on the Caterham Seven 360. It hides an Audi-sourced, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine under the shell and packs 281 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of twist. Routing all that power to the wheels is a choice of six-speed manual or DSG transmissions. Although not as fast as the Ariel Atom, the base X-Bow is quicker than the Seven 360 from 0 to 60 mph, with a benchmark sitting at 4.1 seconds. Top speed is also higher at 143 mph.
Pricing for the X-Bow starts from $88,500, which makes it way more expensive than the Seven 360. But unlike the Atom, the X-Bow GT is both road-legal and available in the United States.
The big news about the Seven 360 is that Caterham’s iconic sports car is finally available Stateside. And we’re not talking about U.K.-spec vehicle shipped across the Pond, but a model that has been specifically developed for the U.S. market. We’ve been waiting for Caterham to do the right thing for years now, and sports car enthusiasts can finally be happy with having the option to buy one from a local dealer. Sure, the Seven 360 is not exactly affordable. With a few costly options selected, it can fetch more than a 2014 Corvette Stingray. On the other hand, the Caterham Seven is reserved to a different type of costumer and we just know the British vehicle will see huge success in America.