There are cars and then there are big boy toy cars – the new Caterham R500 falls without doubt in the second category. The latest model from the British sportscar manufacturer takes the Lotus Seven philosophy to a new level combining more power with even less weight. To be precise, Caterham’s engineers shaved an extra 9 kg or 20 lbs off the already featherweight RS400, bringing the total weight down to just 506 kg or 1,115 lbs.
Powering the RS500 is a heavily modified all-alloy 2.0 litre Ford Duratec engine. The normally aspirated, four-cylinder unit delivers an amazing (for a non turbo engine) 263 Hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels by either a standard 6-speed gearbox or the optional Caterham Motorsport engineered sequential transmission. The flagship Caterham is capable of sprinting itself from standstill to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 2.88 seconds.
Apart from the modified powertrain, the 2009 R500 now comes with keyless ignition start, a redesigned digital dash featuring flush fitted switchgear, ACES sequential gear change lights and a new Stack display with scrolling textshift lights along with an optional launch control. On sale immediately in the UK, the factory built R500 starts at £36,995 or $72,900.