The 2022 Caterham Seven 170 Weighs Only 970 Pounds
Sports cars don’t get much simpler or lighter than this.
Even lightweight sports cars are putting on weight these days. The redesigned 2022 Toyota 86, for example, has just crept across the 2,800-pound mark. What we need is some momentum in the opposite direction, which we're mercifully seeing from the 2022 Caterham Seven 170, which weighs in at under half a ton.
Caterham's latest, lightest variety of its Lotus Seven-derived track toy is its new entry-level model, with a turbocharged Suzuki three-cylinder under the hood. Because it displaces just 660cc and comes in significantly smaller than a 2021 Mazda MX-5 at 29 inches shorter, 10 narrower, and 5 lower, Caterham says it qualifies in Japan as a kei car.
That Suzuki engine may be small, but it's spunky, swirling up 84 horsepower and 85 pound-feet of torque which it sends through a five-speed manual to the rear axle. Those don't sound like much until you remember this thing weighs 970 pounds, giving it 170 horsepower per ton—hence the name—or more than the last-gen Subaru WRX. Consequently, the Seven 170 does zero-to-60 in 6.9 seconds and tops out at 105 mph.
Caterham Seven 170s will be available either prebuilt or as a kit, in the base S or optional R trims, for street and racetrack respectively. The standard model is equipped with softer suspension and the barest of comforts, such as a heater and windshield, while the R is a track special through and through. It gets a limited-slip differential, lightweight flywheel, and track suspension, plus other appropriate mods like a shift light on its carbon fiber dash, and four-point harnesses over composite seats.
Basic it may be, but cheap, not really, starting over in Britain at the equivalent of $31,100. It's not yet listed on Caterham's stateside site, the 170's URL returning a 404 page. We have reached out to Caterham to determine whether it'll sell the 170 here, and we will update when we receive a reply. If they give it the green light, though, be very careful not to drive it to Rhode Island.
Want to let me drive your U.S.-legal Caterham Seven, or Morgan Three-Wheeler? Offer it up here: firstname.lastname@example.org