Welcome back, Saleen.
After a long hiatus building its own in-house cars, Saleen is finally making a comeback with this: the sleek S1. Unveiled at the LA Auto Show by company founder Steve Saleen, the small sports car was designed in-house in the US and features a carbon-fiber body mounted to an aluminium chassis. Unlike the Saleen S7 supercar, which was designed for straight-line speed, the focus was to make the S1 as light and agile as possible, while making it more affordable to increase sales and production volumes.
As such, its aerodynamic carbon fiber body and aluminium chassis brings the curb weight down to just 2,685 pounds (1,218 kg). It looks undeniably stunning in photos taken from the show, with a curvaceous shape, and a ventilated hood, large air intakes and distinctive LED headlights dominating the front. The styling of the back looks just as striking with a prominent spoiler and a stylish LED brake light strip, while a centrally-mounted dual exhaust system and rear diffuser add to the car’s aggressive appearance. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 450 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.
This enables the sleek sports car to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds before reaching a claimed top speed of 180 mph. Initially, the turbocharged unit will be connected to a six-speed manual transmission, but an automatic dual-clutch paddle-shifter option will also be available. Thanks to its Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires, Saleen says the S1 pulls 1.2 g of cornering grip on a skidpad. Inside, the cabin features two-tone upholstery and a three-spoke steering wheel, as well as a digital instrument cluster and an infotainment system. Initially, the Saleen S1 will be built by Saleen in North America before shifting production to China.
Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology will take over production as part of Saleen’s joint venture partnership with the Chinese company. An “entirely new line of Saleen vehicles” will also be built at the China factory in the future which have yet to be announced. Prices for the Saleen S1 start at $100,000, and the company is currently accepting $1,000 deposits to place an order. Deliveries will start next summer.