Caterham Seven 420 Cup shakes up the lightweight hierarchy
The new Caterham Seven 420 Cup is a track warrior’s dream car, taking the tiny slice of Seven’s performance pie in between road-going shenanigans and a full-blown race car. While the new 420 Cup has a top speed of just 136 miles per hour, the other 135 of them should be an unmitigated blast. Slotted above the existing “S” and “R” packages for the Seven 420, the Cup bridges the gap from street performance to the Seven Championship Race Car thanks to a variety of strategic upgrades and available options, including non-street-legal Avon tires (ahem, sorry, tyres) from the factory.
The Seven 420 Cup is offered with the same engine as the standard 420 — a Ford-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 210 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque — but power reaches the wheels by way of a six-speed sequential gearbox rather than the standard Seven 420’s five(!)-speed manual. The Cup’s top speed (136 mph) carries over too, though Caterham says the gearbox knocks two tenths of a second off the standard 420’s 0-60 time for a sprint of just 3.4 seconds.
Under all four corners you’ll find 10-way adjustable Bilstein dampers and one of three Avon tires. The ZZR is standard, but a milder, more street-oriented (ZZS) and a non-street-legal (ZZR Extreme) compound are both available depending on your needs. Visually, almost nothing separates the Cup from the rest of the Seven 420 lineup apart from some semi-transparent graphics. The nose cone and LED tail lights are also new, but Caterham didn’t indicate that they’d remain exclusive to the 420 Cup, so they will probably trickle down to other Seven models in the coming years. Its dash is borrowed from the 620 race car.
The 420 Cup will go into production starting in early 2023. U.S. pricing has not yet been released, but at £54,990 in the UK, you can bet this little speed demon will command a decent premium over the standard 420, which starts at $40,000 on this side of the Atlantic. The bad news is that Caterham will not offer the Seven 420 Cup as a kit the way it does man of its other models; the good news is that Caterham says it has no plans to artificially cap production. If you want one and you can put together the scratch, you’re in business.