Saleen, the California-based sports car customizer known for its high-po Ford Mustangs, is set to begin production of its latest in-house design, a compact supercar called the S1.

With carbon-fibre body panels attached to a carbon-fibre structure, the S1 is otherwise notable for its turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which cranks out an enviable 450 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.

Saleen didn’t talk much about what would get that power to the car’s wheels, but the example unveiled at the LA auto show had a manual transmission.

Initial reports suggested the car would benefit from Saleen’s relationship with Ford in its use of a 2.3-litre turbo four based on that in the Focus RS, but Saleen has since confirmed it will build the 2.5-litre in-house.


Saleen says the combination of 450 hp and a sub-1,250-kg curb weight will certainly yield some impressive performance figures, like a 3.5-second zero-to-100 km/h sprint and a top speed that might touch 290 km/h.

The S1’s motor doesn’t sound significantly more power-dense than the Mercedes-Benz 2.0-litre that goes into AMG-tuned versions of that brand’s CLA- and GLA-Class models, which makes 375 hp and 350 lb-ft.


However, the S1’s lightweight construction will count for a lot here, with carbon-fibre body panels and an aluminum tub conspiring to keep curb weight below 1,250 kg and allow the car to pull 1.2g in corners before the tires run out of grip.

Saleen began taking pre-orders for the S1 at the LA auto show and said it will begin delivering cars in late summer 2018.

Early cars will be built in the United States, but production will move to China thanks to Saleen’s partnership in a joint-venture company called Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology.

That factory will eventually build “an entirely new” set of Saleen models, the details of which have not been revealed.

(via Road & Track)