As much as I love a plush Mercedes S-Class I equally love a no-nonsense lightweight sports car. My current favourite is the Alfa 4C. I love the way it looks, I love the company that makes it, and I love what it stands for. Simple, lightweight, and with just enough power. The 4C has 240bhp/177kW and only has around 930kg to shift. The car you see here weighs 700kg and has 250bhp/184kW. I like this a lot.
Meet the Zenos E10 S. If you haven’t heard of Zenos or the E10, you’re not alone. Zenos are a small company making equally small cars. The cars they make, the E10 and this new E10 S, were designed to be as lightweight as possible. Because lightweight is better for handling, better for fuel economy, and it’s just more fun.
The company was founded up by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards. Both have great backgrounds in the motor industry. Ali was previously the CEO of Caterham cars and General Manager of Lotus, Edwards was COO at Caterham Cars and Executive Assistant at Lotus. Clearly lightweight sports cars are a strong passion for these two.
What makes the E10 S different from its rivals is its real world modernity and (relative) usability. Okay, the point of these sorts of cars isn’t day-to-day usability but it’s nice to have a windscreen and some body panels to protect you from the elements. There’s a couple of TFT screens inside too.
Power comes from a Ford-sourced 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine pumping out 250bhp/184kW and 400NM of torque. 0-100 km/h is over in under 4 seconds while top speed is 250. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual, though a 6-speed is available as an optional extra. The performance is helped by the low 700kg kerb weight. The power-to-weight ratio is a mouth watering 352.86 bhp/ton.
Despite its back-to-basics approach there some must have branded equipment included. The adjustable dampers are from Bilstein, the wheels are from OZ, and the chassis was fine tuned with the help from Multimatic (who also help Aston Martin with their Le Mans cars). A limited-slip diff is available as an optional extra
Simplicity is the key. For example the front suspension is connected straight to the front spine of the car. The passenger cell is made from a hybrid carbon composite while the spine is made of steel.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I can’t help but fall head over heels in love with the way the Zenos looks. It’s like a mishmash of great sports cars. I can see hints of KTM X-Bow, Alfa 4C, and Mazda MX-5 in its design but it also looks unique in its own right.
The Zenos E10 S makes for an interesting track toy. It’s not as raw and undiluted as something like an Ariel Atom yet it’s less civilised than the 4C and Elise. What makes the E10 S even more compelling is the price. In the UK it’ll start from a shade under £30,000, or roughly NZ$59,532 at current exchange rates. Might just be worth brining one over as a way to “study” some of the roads in NZ.