A new British-built lightweight sports car will make its debut at the 2016 Performance Car Show. It’s called the Avatar Roadster and it has been developed by the Devon-based Marlin Sports Cars.
According to Avatar, the 700kg Roadster is perfect for those who seek a ‘balance of pure performance and affordability from every driving experience’, but as yet hasn’t confirmed any pricing details. That said, Avatar has already received four orders and hopes to deliver up to 25 cars by the end of the year.
The Roadster is powered by a 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine developing 252hp. It’s driven through the rear wheels by a five-speed gearbox sourced from the Porsche Boxster, while the likes of Nitron dampers, Quaife LSD, Tilton pedal box and HiSpec brakes complete its arsenal. Avatar claims the Roadster will sprint to 60mph in 3.9 seconds, before going on to reach a top speed of 150mph.
Avatar is also planning a 350hp version, powered by the same 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine found in the new Ford Mustang and forthcoming Ford Focus RS. In a 700kg sports car, the performance figures are likely to be eye-watering. Sadly no figures have been released, but we’d expect that 0-60mph time to drop to around 3.0 seconds.
The Avatar – which has completed 1,200 laps of testing at the Castle Combe racetrack using a test mule – features a four-piece bodyshell, with front and rear sections that can be removed in less than 30 seconds. The design team created a custom laser-cut, tubular space frame chassis that sits the driver close to the centreline of the car.
Dylan Popovic, Avatar’s designer and race driver, said: “This arrangement not only offers better weight distribution and, we think, a purer driving experience, but also provides storage space alongside the driver for the optional ‘get me home’ roof.”
[bctt tweet=” The Roadster will sprint to 60mph in 3.9 seconds, before going on to reach a top speed of 150mph.”]
This is a critical part of the car’s development, because Avatar sees the Roadster as more than just a track car. Using what it calls ‘high quality components’, Avatar says it hopes owners will drive to a track, ‘thrash around all day’ and drive home again without wielding the spanners. This is positioned as a road and track car.
To this end, Avatar is also offering an unlimited mileage, three-year warranty, along with ‘comprehensive’ back up and technical support. Each Roadster will receive a pre-delivery ‘tailored’ session, with the car set up to the buyer’s weight, driving preferences and planned use. Terry Matthews, Avatar founder, said: “Owners can pick up the phone to us at any time and get one-to-one support that is often lacking from larger car makers.
“We also want that ‘community’ element that might see Avatar owners plan a trip together through The Lakes, a coffee and doughnut meet every three months or perhaps a track day on the continent. We want Avatar owners to enjoy a spirited drive on a crisp Sunday morning or turn up to a track day, surprise a few owners of more exotic machines and drive home with a big smile on their face.”
The question is, does the thought of a new British sports car, complete with the promise of coffee and doughnuts, appeal to you? Will the Avatar Roadster’s modular design – which will allow owners to retrofit the likes of the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, a six-speed gearbox, three-way dampers and numerous other ‘hardcore’ track options – be enough to tempt you out of a Lotus Elise, Ariel Atom or Caterham Seven?
We’ll bring you more news on the Avatar Roadster – including the price – when we visit the Performance Car Show, later this week.