On this week’s episode of The Grand Tour, we were treated to the beautiful surrounds of Morocco where Jeremy, Richard and James introduced us to a range of lightweight affordable sports cars, comprising of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, the Mazda MX5 and the Zenos E10 S.
The Zenos E10 was a particular favourite of mine, so on to the review!
My first glimpse of the Zenos was actually about a year ago during a motorshow shortly after the E10 range was announced. The Zenos stand was attracting pretty much everyone that passed by with its futuristic design and the fact that it’s on the verge of being an affordable sports car. What’s more is that it’s 100% British-owned (from Norfolk to be precise) and available now in the UK, USA, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, China, Italy and Switzerland.
James May was behind the wheel of the Zenos E10 S this week, and one thing to point out that I’m sure you will spot very early on, is that it has no roof, nor does it have any doors or even any heating or radio system. Although you can get heated seats as an optional extra.
Some would say this is definitely the “summer adventure” type car, not your typical run-around.
But you do get four wheels, somewhere to sit, and an engine and that is it, because it is a sports car. But if rains, you will need a rain coat.
The Zenos is very close in comparison to the Ariel Atom, the BAC Mono and the Lotus Elise. The two founders of Zenos did work together previously at Lotus Cars and Caterham Cars.
It is an extremely remarkable car. It’s powered by a 2-litre turbocharged engine from the Ford Focus ST giving you 250 horsepower with a no-nonsense old-school 6-speed gearbox as James put it, and the driving position is near perfect.
It weighs less than 3 quarters of a ton (725kg), so along with 250 horsepower, it’s quicker off the line than the Alfa Romeo 4C that Jeremy Clarkson gets behind the wheel of this week.
The E10 S accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 4.0 seconds, and can reach 145 mph (233 km/h).
With a starting price of £26,995 for the standard E10, or you can opt for the E10 S featured in the episode, which starts from £32,995. Or for 500bhp, you can go all out and get the top of the range E10 R for just under £40,000.
So what’s it like to drive? Well after you climb over the side and get yourself into the unpadded seat and attach the optional six-point harness, and by which time the bloke in the Mazda MX5 has already completed a lap of the track.
It’s a well-balanced sports car around the track, and so it should be with the engine sat in the middle behind the seats. But it’s more than just a track-car with lights to make it road-legal, it’s a cleverly thought out piece of machinery.
The Zenos does have a party trick, though. The noise. It is guaranteed to wake your neighbours up in the early hours when you’re nipping down to the local track.
I really want one, as second car, of course. But then again, there is always the MX5 or the 4C.