A tar­mac tear­away

Elfin re­veals the con­cept form of its tur­bocharged Type 5 Club­man, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

ATUR­BOCHARGED pocket-rocket from Elfin is about to hit the road. The Mel­bourne-based Elfin Sports Car group sur­prised the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show crowd in Syd­ney yes­ter­day by un­veil­ing a new 2.0-litre four-cylin­der turbo Type 5 Club­man, which will join its hot V8 line-up.

The Type 5 de­liv­ers ex­cit­ing lev­els of race­track per­for­mance priced from about $60,000. It is pow­ered by a 2.0-litre Ecotec turbo en­gine, which it shares with an­other Gen­eral Motors car, the Pon­tiac GXP Sol­stice, which is sold only in North Amer­ica.

The turbo en­gine de­vel­ops 194kW at 5300 revs and 351Nm from 2000 revs, and is mated to a slick five-speed man­ual gear­box.

Given the car tips the scales at only 750kg, the Type 5 is a tar­mac scorcher, hit­ting 100km/h in about four sec­onds. It has a top speed of well over 200km/h. Elfin spokesman Gary Beer says the car will be on sale late this year or early next year.

The show con­cept car is loaded with good­ies but Beer says race­track users will be able to get a stripped-down ver­sion without leather seats and the up­graded in­te­rior.

‘‘There are buy­ers who’ll want it purely for the track in a stripped-down form,’’ he says. Elfin ex­pects to sell about 100 a year. ‘‘But it’s largely de­ter­mined by the ca­pac­ity at the fac­tory,’’ Beer says.

Elfin pre­dicts the car will also be pop­u­lar in ex­port mar­kets such as the UK, where it will chal­lenge the likes of the Cater­ham sportscar.

The Type 5 fol­lows a sim­i­lar theme to the other Club­mans with its open-wheeler de­sign ‘‘but with a sharper and more mod­ern take on the car’’, Beer says.

It was sketched by de­sign­ers Ju­lian Quincey and Adam Dean Smith and takes in­spi­ra­tion from the her­itage of Elfin sportscars of the past, such as the Elfin C3, as well as looking to the fu­ture with a sleeker, more mod­ern look.

Un­der the guid­ance of the Tom Walkin­shaw Group, which ac­quired Elfin 18 months ago, the com­pany has un­der­gone a sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion with the prospect of newer, more road-friendly mod­els in the wings.

Elfin Sports Cars gen­eral man­ager John Clark de­scribed the ar­rival of the new ad­di­tion to the range ‘‘as a proud mo­ment for the com­pany’’.

‘‘Our ex­pe­ri­ence in this mar­ket has shown that en­thu­si­asts want more in­volve­ment and ac­ces­si­bil­ity to spir­ited track and road motoring, de­sires we have de­liv­ered on with the Type 5,’’ he says.

‘‘We have brought the show car to Syd­ney on the ba­sis that the fi­nal prod­uct will be de­signed 50 per cent for road driv­ing and 50 per cent for track work.’’

The car took 18 months to de­velop.

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