A tarmac tearaway
Elfin reveals the concept form of its turbocharged Type 5 Clubman, writes NEIL McDONALD
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.