RE: Caterham Seven Levante V8 | Spotted

RE: Caterham Seven Levante V8 | Spotted

Sunday 4th August

Caterham Seven Levante V8 | Spotted

A 550hp V8 mated to a six-speed Sadev sequential in a 550kg Seven. What could go wrong?



The Caterham Seven 620R is a ferociously fast machine. On cold semi-slicks it can feel downright scary, what with its supercharged 2.0-litre so savagely providing its 310hp to a rear axle unburdened by anything as dreary as mechanical grip. Nobody who's driven the most exhilarating Caterham presently available has ever requested more power - it spins in third for crying out loud - yet once upon a time the British sports car manufacturer gave RS Performance the green light to produce something with twice the 620R's punch.

RS Performance's Seven SV-based Levante nestles a 2.4-litre V8 within its snout to produce a staggering 550hp. But the compact nature of the motor, which has its origins in bikes and weighs just 90kg, and an increased focus on weight saving means the car's kerbweight stands at just 520kg - 90kg less than the 620R. That gives the Levante a power to weight ratio of 1,024hp per tonne - just over double what Caterham's current highest-spec Seven offers. Even the old Superlight R500 'only' had 552hp per tonne.


That, unsurprisingly, means driving the Levante can be a violent experience. Such is the motorโ€™s high state of tune and the operation of the motorsport-spec Sadev six-speed it comes mated to, that even pulling away is a major, somewhat clumsy challenge. In fact, the Levante can feel a little silly at low pace in general, like a proper thoroughbred racer. It takes getting used to, although owners have claimed to master the technique after a few dozen miles. Something tells us the Levante is unlikely to ever become a โ€˜pop to the shopsโ€™ candidate, though.

Release it on the open road, however, and the carโ€™s dry-sumped V8 reveals an endless ability to haul the horizon closer as the foreground becomes a smudge on your pupils. While a small capacity V8 that revs past 10,000rpm will never provide much low-down grunt, the Levanteโ€™s feather weight means itโ€™s never short of being rapid. All the warp speed fun is to be found at the top end of the rev range, yes, but the Levanteโ€™s urgency means you must remain focussed no matter the angle of the accelerator.


The transformation of the Seven base extends past the mechanicals, of course, with Nitron three-way adjustable dampers and enhanced ventilated brakes all round, ensuring handling is appropriately sharp. Thereโ€™s also carbon for the wings, rear arches and spoiler, while the cabin gets Kevlar seats and a carbon dash, helping to give the car itโ€™s almost unbelievably low kerbweight. But there are still several recognisable Seven features, including a De-Dion rear suspension setup and the SVโ€™s widebody shape remaining largely unchanged barring the addition of RS Performance roll hoops and a slim front wing.

This is not a car for the faint hearted, obviously, but for those after the ultimate thrill on four wheels, what else is there at this level? Just eight Levantes were made by RS Performance back in 2008 and 2009, each priced at ยฃ115,000, so theyโ€™re special for far more than just the performance on offer as well. Yet the one thatโ€™s on sale on PH is up for a fiver short of ยฃ80k, with only 700 miles on its odometer. You can buy a lot more car (physically speaking) for the money, yes, but when it comes to pound for pound excitement, the Levante has to be the pick of the classifieds and then some.


SPECIFICATIONS โ€“ CATERHAM SEVEN LEVANTE V8

Engine: 2,400cc, supercharged V8
Transmission: 6-speed sequential, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 550@10,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 300@8,500rpm (limited)
0-62mph: Under 2.5 secs (est)
Top speed: Courage dependent
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
Price new: ยฃ115,000
Yours for: ยฃ79,995

See the original advert here

Search for a Caterham 7 here


Author
Discussion

only1ian

Original Poster:

577 posts

138 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
Massive cahoonas and change of underwear required at every corner

MDL111

3,675 posts

121 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
Would love to own that - am sure it sounds mental at 10k rpm

DoubleD

8,653 posts

52 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
I bet that is a huge adrenalin buzz! Over 1000bhp per ton is crazy for a road car.

redroadster

963 posts

176 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
Cheap for mental performance if u can handle it .

loudlashadjuster

3,338 posts

128 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
There's a video of one of these at Silverstone. Despite being driven quite cautiously, the way it dispatches stuff like Ultimas and Radicals is terrifying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiHZrm9_Y9w

p4cks

3,203 posts

143 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
loudlashadjuster said:
There's a video of one of these at Silverstone. Despite being driven quite cautiously, the way it dispatches stuff like Ultimas and Radicals is terrifying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiHZrm9_Y9w
That is very impressive!

Cambs_Stuart

570 posts

28 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
That sounds terrifying. No wonder it's done so few miles.

CDP

5,718 posts

198 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
p4cks said:
loudlashadjuster said:
There's a video of one of these at Silverstone. Despite being driven quite cautiously, the way it dispatches stuff like Ultimas and Radicals is terrifying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiHZrm9_Y9w
That is very impressive!
The acceleration is brutal. I wonder what it could do with a professional driver after a test/setup day?

Pity they are so expensive - just imagine the racing series you could run...

AdamAJP

133 posts

121 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
This car puts a smile on my face!

Ultimate track day toy bar things with heavy downforce in the corners. I wonder how it compares to the Caparo T1 or properly peddled high end Radical?

On the linked track day video it almost looks like an exercise in restraint - you would be very aware of its lack of weight and safety features I think!

sideways man

683 posts

81 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
So that’s an XJ 13, GT40, C type and now a Caterham Levante. I’m in PistonHeads heaven laugh
Just wish I was rich enough...

Nerdherder

1,211 posts

41 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
Could do with a pinch of aero á la Donkervoort D8 RS06 to keep it on the tarmac. Does not improve looks, but at least you'll stay alive.



CDP

5,718 posts

198 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
Nerdherder said:
Could do with a pinch of aero á la Donkervoort D8 RS06 to keep it on the tarmac. Does not improve looks, but at least you'll stay alive.


No, you just crash at a higher speed.

kambites

57,216 posts

165 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
p4cks said:
loudlashadjuster said:
There's a video of one of these at Silverstone. Despite being driven quite cautiously, the way it dispatches stuff like Ultimas and Radicals is terrifying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiHZrm9_Y9w
That is very impressive!
It's funny how the straight-line performance makes the cornering look so slow, despite the fact it's pulling 1.1G thought some of the corners. Anyone know what overtook it at 8:30? Is that an Ultima or something more exotic?

Andy665

2,429 posts

172 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
Having been privileged enough to own a 340bhp, 380 lb ft tq Westfield V8 and experiencing the savage performance I can only being to imagine how ferocious this is

Absolutely pointless but so wonderful

borat52

177 posts

152 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
kambites said:
It's funny how the straight-line performance makes the cornering look so slow, despite the fact it's pulling 1.1G thought some of the corners. Anyone know what overtook it at 8:30? Is that an Ultima or something more exotic?
Radical RXC?

Not that I’m an expert but not many of those cars were actually driving to the cars potential (incl the caterham by the drivers own admission)

MCBrowncoat

199 posts

90 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
I was confused by the read out in the bottom corner. 62mph is 80...something....80 what?!


Nerdherder

1,211 posts

41 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
borat52 said:
kambites said:
It's funny how the straight-line performance makes the cornering look so slow, despite the fact it's pulling 1.1G thought some of the corners. Anyone know what overtook it at 8:30? Is that an Ultima or something more exotic?
Radical RXC?

Not that I’m an expert but not many of those cars were actually driving to the cars potential (incl the caterham by the drivers own admission)
It's a Radical RXC indeed.



Nerdherder

1,211 posts

41 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
CDP said:
Nerdherder said:
Could do with a pinch of aero á la Donkervoort D8 RS06 to keep it on the tarmac. Does not improve looks, but at least you'll stay alive.


No, you just crash at a higher speed.
In that sense the risk of dying increases indeed.

cheddar

4,174 posts

118 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
230bhp per litre and NA?

How the hell do they do that?

kambites

57,216 posts

165 months

Sunday 4th August
quotequote all
cheddar said:
230bhp per litre and NA?

How the hell do they do that?
It's supercharged, isn't it?