Caterham has unveiled its most powerful Seven variant yet, the 620R, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The track-focussed car replaces the R500 at the top of Caterham’s range.
The latest incarnation of the range uses a supercharged version of the 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine used in the R400 and R500 Superlights, tuned to develop 311bhp at 7700rpm and 219 lb ft at 7350rpm.
Caterham claims the 620R is capable of reaching 60mph in 2.79secs. A six-speed sequential racing gearbox from ZF is the only transmission option for now.
Although its kerb weight is still to be officially confirmed, its name is though to underline its power-to-weight ratio of 620bhp per tonne.
The 620R features a gunmetal chassis, a new nose cone optimised to improve airflow and a race-developed cooling system. Like the R500 it replaces, it has de Dion rear suspension and 13in alloy wheels, although they are wrapped in Avon ZZR tyres, opposed to the 500’s Avon CR500 rubber.
Caterham says the 620R features a number of interior upgrades including “performance-focused instrumentation and ergonomic switchgear”. Other features include carbonfibre interior panels and race seats and a Q/R race steering wheel.
The new car, which will be available later this year, will be priced at £49,995 — £7500 more than the R500.
Caterham Cars CEO Graham Macdonald said that despite the increased power in the 620R, he still thinks the R500's chassis can take more: "We will keep developing both the engine and the chassis as long as we can. Clearly there is a limit to what it can take, but we’re not there yet. I’d like to think we can do even more than this.
"It’s the first time we’ve put a supercharger in this chassis. The SP300R was what made it possible - we did that and then decided to put it into the Seven. Whereas the R500 had a very rapid power output at a high rev range, this will pull all through the range because of the supercharger."
Caterham's 620R isn't without its foibles, though. Macdonald says that packaging both the supercharger and the new intercooler into the R500's constricted space was a challenge.
That said, he doesn't see any end in sight for Caterham's Seven brand, promising that there will be "plenty more to come" from the British firm's iconic sports car - including a slightly less hardcore model, the 620S, which will be launched before the end of the year.
For all the latest news from the Goodwood Festival of Speed, stay tuned to Autocar.co.uk.