Caterham’s first electric car will make its public debut in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The EV Seven showcases a future battery electric Caterham and uses a 51kWh immersion cooled battery pack capable of up to 152kW rapid charging.
Just as importantly, the battery results in a weight increase of less than 70kg compared to the current production Seven it is based upon.
Caterham says the EV Seven to be capable of a 20-15-20 track drive cycle. In other words, it will have the ability to drive on track for 20 minutes, then recharge in 15 minutes with enough energy to drive for a further 20 minutes.
The EV Seven is being developed in partnership with Swindon Powertrain, the engine developers for the Seven JPE from the early 1990s.
“Any future EV model we produce must be true to the DNA of a Caterham: lightweight, fun-to-drive and driver focused,” said Bob Laishley, CEO of Caterham.
“We do not have plans to put EV Seven into production at this stage – it’s a test bed to see how well an EV powertrain works for our customers’ specific use cases.
“We’re doing this project with our eyes wide open so that we can learn how to deliver the specific Caterham vehicle attributes necessary for a Seven: lightweight, simple and fun to drive.
“We’re going to bring this to market at the right time, when the future generation of battery technology allows it, and that’s why now is the time for us to trial the concept.”
EV Seven Specification
Caterham EV Seven
Bespoke Swindon HPDE E Axle
Single-speed, two-stage reduction with bespoke ratio
The all-new, all-electric MG Cyberster has been announced at Auto Shanghai 2023.
The exciting two-seat roadster marks a much-anticipated return to sports car production for the now Chinese-owned MG marque.
“Our intention was to create a completely new roadster ready for a new generation of sports car drivers and which opens a bold and compelling new chapter for M,” said Carl Gotham, Advanced Design Director of the company’s Marylebone design studio in London.
“The focus for Cyberster was to create a design that was respectful of the brand’s illustrious past and to bring back that sporting bloodline, while also being absolutely clear that it should be modern and forward-facing like the MG of today, completely in-tune with the rapid transition to electric vehicles.”
The Cyberster’s styling pays homage to much-admired roadsters from MG’s rich heritage, with its distinctive long bonnet, low nose and curvaceous surfaces, while also introducing striking new features such as its distinctive scissor doors and Kammback rear design.
“This is the perfect time to introduce an MG that completely reconnects with our performance DNA and is designed to enthral the driver on every level,” said Guy Pigounakis, MG Motor UK’s Commercial Director.
“MG is all set for an electric, sporting future and it is the perfect way to start celebrating our 100th anniversary.”
The Cyberster is expected to arrive for sale in the UK and Europe in the summer of 2024.
There are a handful of affordable new cars worthy of a genuine fanbase, and the sports coupe previously known as the Toyota GT86 is one of them.
At the end of the ICE age of motoring (Internal Combustion Engine), there will be a special place in heaven for this thrilling, budget buy.
Before we continue, let’s deal with the obvious question – why has the new version of the GT86 confusingly morphed into the GR86?
Well, Gazoo Racing is Toyota’s motorsport division and it’s recently been turning out acclaimed GR versions of the Yaris and Supra.
Now it’s the turn of the GT86, which has been re-named for its latest incarnation so that it fits in with the Gazoo Racing family of sports cars.
At first glance, the Toyota GR86 looks not unlike the old GT86. In other words, there’s a long, low bonnet and the same pert rear end with twin tailpipes. The GR86 is actually slightly lower (10mm) the wheelbase is a tad longer (5mm) and it’s lighter.
The reality is that it has a more aggressive stance than its predecessor, thanks to the addition of aerodynamic front air intakes and outlets, sleek side spoilers, rear wheel arch fins and a rear spoiler.
To simplify matters, there’s just one standard trim level available, and the GR86 is offered with either a manual or automatic transmission.
But don’t feel that you’ve been short-changed because the level of equipment is a marked improvement over the outgoing model, with more on-board tech and safety equipment, more power and suspension tweaks.
The GT86’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine has been replaced by a larger 2.4-litre unit, giving the GR86 a 17% power boost to 231bhp. Just as importantly, there’s a claimed 22% increase in torque with the 250Nm peak now arriving at almost 3,000rpm lower down the rev range.
As a result, the 0-62mph acceleration time has been cut by more than a second to 6.3 seconds, while the top speed is now 140mph. The automatic is slightly slower, but not much (6.9 seconds/134mph).
Considering the power on tap and high enjoyment factor, it’s no gas guzzler either. Toyota claims up to 32mpg, while CO2 emissions are around 200g/km.
GR86 goodies include 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights and automatically-folding door mirrors. Inside, there’s a central 8-0-inch infotainment screen, suede and leather seat upholstery, and heated front seats.
Other tech highlights include a 7.0-inch driver’s digital display, smartphone charging, cruise control and a reversing camera, as well as safety features such as blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance.
Overall, the cabin has a classier, more solid feel, but there are still a lot of hard surfaces and it’s definitely old school in terms of layout.
The best news is that the GR86 is essentially the same classic front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car that it ever was – except even better.
We tested it on the challenging Monteblanco Circuit near Seville in southern Spain, followed by an entertaining road route.
There’s plenty of space up front, but clearly the rear seats are next to useless thanks to the almost complete lack of legroom, while boot space is limited (226 litres).
That said, the new front sports seats are slim yet supportive, while the rear seats can be folded down to reveal a load space big enough to hold four wheels (ideal for enthusiasts driving to and from a track day).
The low-slung driving position is almost perfect, while the flat-four engine’s growl sounds the part, though many enthusiasts will disapprove because it is augmented via the audio system.
There’s noticeably more power and a much broader torque curve, making it feel quicker, while the increased body rigidity and sports-tuned suspension makes the handing more responsive and improves handling through faster corners.
The addition of grippier Michelin Pilot Sport 4s hasn’t robbed the GR86 of any its playfulness either, so there’s still scope for drifting (on track of course).
In a nutshell, the balance of this sports coupe is spot-on. A near-perfect blend of power, nimble steering and well-managed body control. Tremendous fun on the road and track, it generates generous amounts of driver confidence.
If I had to nit-pick, I’d say the six-speed manual gearbox is on the notchy side (a slick-shifting MX-5 is still hard to beat), but overall, it’s hard to fault – especially at the price (£29,995).
As for rivals, the obvious ones are Subaru BRZ (it was developed alongside the GT86/GR86), plus the Audi TT, BMW 2 Series and Mazda MX-5 RF.
Now for the bad news. The entire two-year allocation of GR86 coupes has already sold out. And because of forthcoming changes to European safety regulations, this car will only be sold for two years before being withdrawn from sale in 2024.
Verdict: Toyota has pulled off a masterstroke with the new GR86, retaining the outgoing GT86’s fun-to-drive character, but also successfully improving it where it matters. More power, more torque, a classier interior and sharper handing only add to the magic. Enjoy the Toyota GR86 – an affordable, living legend.