Caterham unveiled the most important all-new version of its legendary Seven sportscar today.

The British built Caterham Seven CSR sees the return of Cosworth to the road car market after a ten-year absence with two bespoke, high performance engines. The new model will also benefit from the introduction of a fully independent rear, and inboard F1-style, front suspension plus major aerodynamic and chassis enhancements.

Internally, the famous two-seater will boast the most dramatic overhaul of its dashboard and trim in the model’s entire 48-year history.

The heartbeat of the Seven CSR will be the new Cosworth developed 2.3-litre Ford Duratec engine. The all-alloy, four-cylinder twin cam unit will produce either 200bhp or 260bhp. The 200bhp engine is Euro IV compliant.

Developed in association with world leading specialists, Multimatic Inc, the new model will benefit from a racetrack honed double wishbone fully independent rear suspension to increase grip and adjustability. At the front, an F1-style push-rod operated inboard unit will improve the aerodynamic performance with a 50mm increase in the front wheel track aiding high-speed cornering for those venturing on circuit.

The new suspension system, which required adjustments to the chassis, paved the way for Caterham to revise the Sevens tubular spaceframe. The resulting overhaul sees a 25 percent increase in torsional stiffness.

Internally, the new Seven CSR is barely recognisable from previous models. To improve driver ergonomics, the traditional flat mounted toggle switchgear has been completely dispensed with, replaced by a driver focused curved fascia wrapped around an exposed steel tubular framework. Alloy style dials, gear-knob, handbrake and a bespoke steering wheel complete the stylish new interior, with room created for storage space in the central console and in the armrest.

Aerodynamic improvements have majored on the face of the famous Seven. The introduction of re-profiled cycle wings, which are mounted even closer to the tyre to cut drag, and a new larger nose cone complete with a floor mounted chin, have combined to reduce the front end lift by 50 percent. The net effect for the driver is a major decrease in high-speed understeer.

With one eye on the heat and humidity of some overseas markets, the new broader nose cone houses a larger radiator, and an underside intake and top positioned outlet duct to improve airflow management.

Working in conjunction with long-standing partner, Avon, the Caterham Seven CSR will squat firmly on Formula Three engineered 15-inch tyres, which measure 10 inches wide at the rear to assist traction and handling. Bespoke 15 spoke lightweight aluminium wheels will be fitted as standard.

As the world’s biggest manufacturer of race cars, it’s no surprise to hear that the Seven CSR, has been developed from an intensive 18 month test programme for a new International Race Car. With a 260 bhp engine, the latest Caterham racer will continue the firm’s long-standing and hugely successful worldwide motorsport programme. A new series for 2005 will take in six of the finest driver’s circuits on the Continent including Spa Francorchamps, Estoril and Nurburgring.

Simon Nearn concludes: “Caterham has to remain at the pinnacle of its chosen niche – lightweight, high performance sports cars. We feel we’ve taken the next giant stride forward with the Seven CSR.”

“Caterham’s role as custodian of the legend is not only to ensure its continued existence but also its continued development,” explains Simon Nearn, managing director of Caterham Cars.

“Ideas for the development of the Seven are always ongoing. Yet it was clear from the start, that many of the changes being considered throughout the company would come together and be introduced to create one truly, original all-new model for the world market.”

The Caterham Seven CSR goes on sale with prices starting £27,450 for the 200bhp version and from £33,950 for the 260bhp.