Zenos E10R review

Potent 350bhp Zenos E10R is more than just a track day animal

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Last year’s E10S showed that Zenos knows how to make a proper sports car without charging the earth. The E10R takes the game to another level, with major power and performance – even if it does now have a price tag to match.

Zenos Cars could quite possibly be the most successful British sports car company you've never heard of. The company is based in Norfolk and staffed by ex-Ford and ex-Caterham employees, and specialises in building track-focused (but road-legal) cars. Its first effort, the E10, actually outsold most other British sports cars from a similar segment in 2015. And this year that theme looks set to continue with the introduction of the altogether more potent (and more expensive) E10R.

Based on the 200bhp E10, the E10R has a far more energetic 2.3-litre turbocharged engine from the Ford Focus RS. This gives it a power to weight figure of 500bhp per tonne (it weighs just 700kg) and a 0-60mph time of 3.0 seconds dead. 

The E10R’s mid-engined, rear drive chassis is made partly from carbon composites, hence the lack of weight, but the overall engineering theme for the car is simplicity, rather than complexity. And in the flesh it very much looks – and drives – like the real deal.

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Intriguingly, around half the body panels on the E10R can be removed and swapped for those of other colours and designs, which means you can alter the style and colour of your E10 without spending a vast amount of money doing so. 

Beneath the skin the E10R blends huge amounts of power and torque (350bhp/475Nm) with a fairly conventional rear rive chassis, to deliver what Zenos describes as a pure, approachable driving experience. The steering has no power assistance, the brakes no anti-lock, and the rear tyres will spin up all on their own if you give the keen throttle a bootfull – untethered by traction control or ESP. 

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Yet despite its searing dynamic potential, the E10R doesn’t feel like a wild animal on the move. It rides amazingly well for a car with such potential, and its steering is precise, full of feel but in no way edgy. For something this quick, the E10R seems remarkably friendly and usable every day. And that’s just how Zenos has designed this car to feel. Fast, yes, but also manageable, driveable, civilised.

For £40,000 it also seems like remarkably good value beside rivals with similar amounts of power and performance. No wonder they’re struggling to build enough to match the demand.

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