Caterham Super Seven 1600 review (2020)

13 Aug 2021, 11:37  •  Review  •  Door koen

The beloved British sports car brand Caterham is expanding the Seven range with the new Super Seven 1600. And that is what you would call retro, because in terms of styling the model is inspired by the Sevens from the 50s to the 70s of the last century. But this Super Seven 1600 is also nice and old school in terms of soundtrack.

Retro edge

That retro edge of the Caterham Super Seven 1600 can be clearly seen in the polished grille, the chrome mudguards and the flared, classic wheel arches – also known as cyclewings. Other details: SMITHS instruments & dials instruments, retro 14-inch alloy wheels and a spare wheel on the back, just like the original from 1973 had. And also check out the beautiful Moto-Lita wooden steering wheel with chrome-plated frame. A joy to watch. And to hold.

Caterham Super Seven 1600 (2020), speakers on ten! – AutoRAI TV

Caterham Retro

Under the skin, the Caterham is also nice and retro. At least, that’s the impression he wants to give. Under the hood with 47 louvres is just a modern 1.6-liter four-cylinder Ford petrol engine with 136 hp, a power source that we already know from the Seven 275. But Caterham does give this engine a vintage sauce thanks to the use of Jenvey throttle bodies and K&N air filters. Opting for real carburettors was not possible with a view to emission standards, hence the choice of this proven system from Jenvey. Those K&N air filters don’t actually fit under the hood, hence the cutout. Now, like a jewel, they can also be seen by bystanders while driving.

Caterham Super Seven

Thanks to the design of Jenvey throttle bodies and K&N air filters, the block sounds nice and solid and raw, like earlier engines with carburetors. Just think of the Ford Escort RS types of the past or the rousing induction sound of a BMW E30 M3. Actually, the Super Seven 1600 sounds like a rally car. And that sound is so addictively delicious. Striking through to almost 7,000 revolutions per minute is a party time and again. You also switch with a manual five-speed gearbox. That requires – especially when the engine is still cold – a firm hand.

Caterham Seven 275

The character of the engine cannot be compared with that of the Caterham Seven 275, which actually has the same power source, but without the stuff from Jenvey and K&N. This bike sounds really old school, where the Seven 275 sounds more racy. In any case, the Seven 275 drives completely differently than this Super Seven 1600. The ‘1600’ is softer, has narrower tires and is more of a cruiser. The Seven 275 is – especially as a 275R trim – more hardcore and much sharper in its handling. Yet the Super Seven 1600 also turns the corner extremely fast, if you would like that by the way. You can stroll calmly, attack roundabouts up-tempo as well. Due to the softer wheel suspension, the comfort for a Seven is above average, although that is also due to the fine leather-trimmed seats.

Caterham power

The engine power of 136 hp seems little, but do not forget that such a Super Seven 1600 weighs only 565 kilograms. That is less than the battery pack of, for example, a Tesla Model S. Thanks to the low weight, you can sprint to 100 km/h in about 5 seconds and reach a top speed of 196 km/h. Hard enough for a car where you sit so low that you can have your nails sanded over the asphalt.

Anticipate

Speaking of safety, a Caterham is extremely low. You can even drive under certain barriers. That means that not everyone sees you directly. Anticipating driving is therefore important, make sure you are seen. And heard. Now the latter is not very difficult with such a Super Seven 1600, because this beast sounds wonderful. Goosebumps all over the place, as soon as you put the four-burner to work.

Caterham Super Seven personalised

Of course, a Caterham Super Seven 1600 can be extensively personalised. You can choose from four colors as standard, but Caterham has developed seven special colors for the Super Seven 1600. These are Racing Green, Caribbean Blue, Tuscany Red, Saxony Grey, Serengeti Orange, Bordeaux Red and Oxford White. There is a choice of six colors for the leather-finished dashboard and five shades for the leather seat upholstery. The chance that you will encounter the same Super Seven 1600 is therefore quite small. Options include an upgraded chassis, ventilated discs and larger brake cylinders.

Price Caterham Super Seven 1600

And what should such a Caterham Super Seven 1600 cost? Cheap is not for a car for ‘on the side’. Caterham asks for 51,938 euros, while the Seven should cost 275 at least 43,764 euros. The added value is of course in the upgraded engine, the beautiful finish and the retro look and feel. You pay extra to relive the thrill of a classic rally car with carburetors. Trust me, it’s well worth the extra cost. This car feels great on so many fronts. You can also order from Caterham importer Van der Kooi Sportscars in Houten.

Prices Caterham

Caterham Super Seven 1600: 51,938 euros
Caterham Seven 275: 43,764 euros
Caterham Seven 485: 75,086 euros
Caterham 485 CSR: 82,951 euros

Conclusion

The Caterham Super Seven 1600 is a godsend in several ways. First of all, because Caterham allows the buyer to enjoy a car that sounds and drives like a rally car from the 70s and 80s. Secondly, because this Seven shows just as well that it is still very possible to buy a car that involves you on all fronts in driving and gives you a kick time and time again. There are no alternatives with an engine that sounds so rousing and rally-like. This is more pure than pure. This is ‘the new old school’, as Caterham puts it. And there’s very little we can say about that.

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