Caterham Roadsport 175: Wet Game

Frank Herzog
Caterham Roadsport 175
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E something old, but sprightly and adventurous gentleman from slim figure is looking for hardened and cheerful person with whom horses can be stolen in any weather. If the Caterham Roadsport 175 were to put up a personal ad to find the right partner - it would be something like this.

Pure driving: This is what Colin Chapman always wanted

The relationship that could result from this would probably be permanent. The Caterham is not a character to just spend a few nice years with - you will be loyal to him for a lifetime. Because the Lotus Super Seven successor, the design principle of which has survived for more than 50 years, is a car that you actually don't need. And it is precisely these superfluous luxury goods that we comparatively like to be loyal to for a lifetime.

Although many Caterham owners laugh out loud when they hear the word luxury. Radio, navigation system, heated seats - all bells and whistles. When driving in the Caterham Seven Roadsport 175, all you need is a leather hat, aviator goggles and a big cigar. The position behind the wheel of the tightly cut roadster is more reminiscent of a soap box than a car. But these extras make the racing driver feeling perfect. Everything else can be done without, in keeping with the current recession chic.

'Keep it simple' was the motto of the engineers. This is also noticeable in the price. From 38,500 euros, Caterham calls 175 for its road sport. The abbreviation gives an idea of ​​what the customer can expect for this amount: 175 horsepower. In itself, it is certainly not a spectacular number in the sports car segment. In combination with the flyweight of 550 kilograms, it does. So far, road racing has only existed with a 1.6-liter engine that develops 120 hp. With the new 2.0-liter Ford Duratec, it now has a big brother at its side. That one should sprint from zero to one hundred in less than five seconds. To test this, the driver first has to squeeze himself into the bathtub-sized cockpit with the roof closed with acrobatic contortions. A little tip: the removable, plate-sized steering wheel is a worthwhile investment - your knees will thank you for it.

The Caterham Seven Roadsport 175 makes driving an experience

And as if a few bruises weren't enough,the Englishman seems to have ordered rain for the first rendezvous in order to put the potential partner through their paces. But the leather hood over the head - put on and take off manually, whatever else - bothers you more than it helps. After laboriously attaching the press studs, the plastic window panes built into the soft top fog up. So let the raindrops splash on your face.

The mini cockpit actually transforms into a bathtub within a few minutes. The tiny windscreen wipers, which look like spider legs, are in constant use. With the spartan features of the two-seater, that doesn't bother either. In any case, the road sport is already considered an upscale variant among the Caterham models, which can also be customized to your heart's content, for example with different chassis variants or stabilizers.

Nine buttons are attached to the carbon-look dashboard that regulate the essentials: for example light, horn or start. If the start button is pressed long enough, the four-cylinder starts to bubble. A wild clatter during the journey then creates the real noise. The noise bothers wimps at best. For someone who has ever been on the racetrack in an empty racing car, it is music in the ears and at least as nice as the feeling of stepping on the accelerator. Acceleration from zero to 100 km /h in five seconds? Any doubts have now been dispelled at the latest.

The gears can be precisely controlled with the small gear stick. The Englishman with the long nose always provides enough power and pressure. However, if you want to stop the acceleration, caution is required. The extremely narrow and closely spaced pedals require a certain tip-toe feel. Especially for those who are used to being supported by electronic helpers. Because they are of course nil in the Caterham Roadsport 175. No ABS, no power steering, no ESP. In tight bends, it is therefore advisable to steel your muscles beforehand in the gym and to step on the brake pedal with gusto.

The rear-wheeled Englishman with the E.T.-look takes too much arrogance. In the rain, the rear axle including the differential lock prances across the water as the mood takes you. If the accelerator is stroked a tad too early out of the curve, the Englishman with the semi-slicks will immediately move across. But despite the bad weather and minor squabbles: he would have found a partner for life.


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