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RE: Driven: Westfield Sport Turbo

RE: Driven: Westfield Sport Turbo

Thursday 22nd October 2009

Driven: Westfield Sport Turbo

We find out if the West-Mids lightweight is more than just a cut-price Caterham



Look at the power and performance figures of the new Westfield 1600 Sport Turbo, and it’s going to be mightily tempting to see it as cut-price rival to a Caterham R300. After all, for £3k less than you’ll have to shell out for the Caterham, you get 192bhp vs 175bhp, and 0-60mph in 4.7secs against 4.5secs. The Westfield even shadows the R300 on top speed, topping out at 142mph against the Caterham’s 140mph.

The thing is, although it’s tempting to look at the Westfield this way, it is also utterly wrong. You realise this as soon as you see the Westfield in the metal. It has a proper, lockable boot for a start – an almost unthinkable luxury in a Caterham. Slide into the surprisingly well padded seat, and you’ll see a ‘proper’ instrument cluster.

The instruments themselves are taken from the current Vauxhall Corsa, but rather than a slapdash, er, dash, there actually seems to have been some thought put into where the switches and dials have been put (including the use of a symmetrical design to ease the switch to left-hand drive – this the first Westfield to gain European small series type approval). The overall effect is to almost make the Sport Turbo feel like a ‘real’ car, even if the way it’s all put together doesn’t quite reach the same level of integrity as a mainstream car’s cabin would.


The turbocharged 1.6-litre engine is also taken from the Vauxhall Corsa and, as well as being gutsy, you can, in theory take it to your local Vauxhall dealer and get the oily bits serviced. Vauxhall mechanics will even be able to plug in their own diagnostic equipment.

Out on the road the Sport Turbo is perhaps not as pant-wettingly rapid as a near-200bhp turbocharged lump ought to be in a Lotus Seven-style car, but then it does weigh a comparatively portly 650kg. In fairness, the linear power delivery of the little turbocharged motor, while it takes away some of the fear factor, also takes away some of the explosive excitement that a really peaky turbo motor would give it.

Still, the Sport Turbo is more than quick enough, and the turbocharger means that mid-range overtaking punch is always available at the twitch of the right foot. The slick, short-throw gearbox is no chore if you want to explore the upper echelons of the Sport Turbo’s power band, either.

Push hard on a really challenging, bumpy B-road and you might find that the steering, which feels meaty and secure on sweeping A-roads, suddenly becomes a wee bit leaden, but its always faithful, if a little short on feel.


The soft suspension works really well at a medium to brisk pace, almost smoothing out road imperfections with Lotus-like aplomb. Get back to that tough B-road, however, and the Sport Turbo begins to heave and float on its suspension as you push harder over bumpy roads. It rarely becomes genuinely unsettled, but it does miss out on that last five per cent of damping control that marks out genuinely ballistic cross-country weapons.

In the end, the Sport Turbo is a bit of a paradox – it looks and goes like a pukka hardcore roadster, but the ‘proper’ interior, comfy suspension settings and a 40mpg-plus cruising ability make it possibly more appealing a less flat-out proposition. If you intend to do a lot of track work, this probably isn’t the car for you. If, however, you want a good-value toy for the occasional country blast that doesn’t compromise too much on refinement, then the Sport Turbo could be just the ticket.

 







   

 

 

Author
Discussion

jason61c

Original Poster:

2,678 posts

97 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
you can buy/build a better kit car for the money than that.

Westfields are overpriced. Looks boring too.

sniff diesel

13,050 posts

135 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
WTF does this thing weigh a massive 650kgs?

Steamer

10,296 posts

136 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
Blimey - I didnt even realise there was a 1.6 Turbo Corsa let alone a factory standard turbo westfield.

Thats a mightly large can on the side isnt it!?

Marf

22,907 posts

164 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
Steamer said:
1.6 Turbo Corsa
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article1808578.ece

J5

2,445 posts

109 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
Steamer said:
Thats a mightly large can on the side isnt it!?
I would think there's a big heat shield around it to stop leg burning? smile
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Steamer

10,296 posts

136 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
Marf said:
Steamer said:
1.6 Turbo Corsa
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article1808578.ece
Sounds like a right hoot! Slipped under my radar that one.

tombstone

185 posts

136 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
stick a 2.0 turbo from the Zafira/vectra then it might be interesting... Turbo'd Caterham-esque cars are huge fun, but a 1600/1800/200 with carbs for the 'purist' and big bhp turbo for the 'nutters'... my friends Robin Hood pinto turbo is such a giggle, HUGELY fast, but a 1600 turbo...erm..no thanks! Too refined!

Wadeski

6,497 posts

136 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
this VX engine must be begging for a remap...

neilrallying

200 posts

146 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
The large silencer will be to get the correct noise level to pass the draconian ELVTA drive by test.

Crying shame but not allowed anything that sounds lovely anymore!

Westfield have potentially been very forward thinking with this car - good long term supply of Euro compliant engines with lots of tuning potential - European testing done and finished - even if the car is not as dynamically polished as some of the competition the fact that they can now sell it unrestricted over the 27 EU member states as a turn key car will do them an awful lot of favours.

Neil.

Marf

22,907 posts

164 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
Steamer said:
Marf said:
Steamer said:
1.6 Turbo Corsa
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article1808578.ece
Sounds like a right hoot! Slipped under my radar that one.
Yeah I reckon it'd be great, mild tuning nets 230hp by all accounts. Just wants a quaife in there and you'd have a great fun little car.

Accelebrate

3,972 posts

138 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
neilrallying said:
Westfield have potentially been very forward thinking with this car - good long term supply of Euro compliant engines with lots of tuning potential - European testing done and finished - even if the car is not as dynamically polished as some of the competition the fact that they can now sell it unrestricted over the 27 EU member states as a turn key car will do them an awful lot of favours.
That or it's because there's a Vauxhall dealer over the road from the factory. hehe

darth_pies

628 posts

140 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
article said:
Out on the road the Sport Turbo is perhaps not as pant-wettingly rapid as a near-200bhp turbocharged lump ought to be in a Lotus Seven-style car, but then it does weigh a comparatively portly 650kg.
Caterham R300 = 515kg = 339bhp/tonne

Westfield 1600 Turbo = 650kg = 295bhp/tonne

Good job its such a good looking car. Oh wait...vomit

Tom_C76

1,923 posts

111 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
For me, the full corsa instrument set in the middle is a throwback to the bad days of 80s kitcars. Nowhere near as nice as either the Caterham or older Westfields. And in a sports car I'd definitely want the rev counter in my eyeline...

Sam_68

9,939 posts

168 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
It's got to be said... Westfield seems to be losing its way badly since Chris Smith sold up.

The 'FW' bodywork is a bad, bloated pastiche of the original FW and 650 kilos is just not trying...


DJC

23,563 posts

159 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
Er...price?

Scotty996T

433 posts

126 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
650kg - what on earth are they thinking about. OK so I run Caterhams but that's nearly 30% more than our cars.

The more of these cars the merrier, but surely this is about lightweight thrills IMHO.

I was up at the Big breakfast meet in malton Yorkshire and there were some stunning Seven style cars. Apart from one westie V8 which was fab, I doubt much else weighed 650kg.

I wish them well but not for me. Sorry.

ZesPak

18,023 posts

119 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
Tom_C76 said:
For me, the full corsa instrument set in the middle is a throwback to the bad days of 80s kitcars. Nowhere near as nice as either the Caterham or older Westfields. And in a sports car I'd definitely want the rev counter in my eyeline...
I tought they did this on smaller (= often cheaper) cars to make RHD/LHD conversions easier (ie only steering wheel + pedals have to move).

Wouldn't like that in such a sporty car either, for exactly the same reason!

edit: gear lever & handbrake are bang the middle too, confirming my suspicion.

Edited by ZesPak on Thursday 22 October 13:16

ZesPak

18,023 posts

119 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
It does remind me of a certain fish. Tough I don't dislike it.

How does that price compare to C7 prices?

kambites

52,546 posts

144 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
I don't really get the "the rev counter should be in the middle" argument. If you can't tell when you need to change up by the noise and feel of the engine then there's something wrong with you. I can't remember the last time I looked at the rev counter in my car. I'd far rather have the speedometer where I can see it and no rev counter than vice versa.

650kg is a bit silly though. That's getting close to S1 Elise weight.

Edited by kambites on Thursday 22 October 13:29

ZesPak

18,023 posts

119 months

Thursday 22nd October 2009
quotequote all
kambites said:
I don't really get the "the rev counter should be in the middle" argument. If you can't tell when you need to change up by the noise and feel of the engine then there's something wrong with you. I can't remember the last time I looked at the rev counter in my car. I'd far rather have the speedometer where I can see it and no rev counter than vice versa.

650kg is a bit silly though. That's getting close to S1 Elise weight.

Edited by kambites on Thursday 22 October 13:29
+ 1 misread his previous post, I was talking about the dails (speedo/rev) in general.