When a car company’s very own website uses the phrase ‘mildly saner’, you get an idea of the kind of product we’re dealing with here.

Neither BMW nor Audi, you suspect, would advertise one of its sports car as ‘mildly saner’ than another; nor even, for that matter, would Ferrari or Porsche. Welcome to the world of Caterham. And welcome to the Seven 620S.

We’ve been waiting a little while for the 620S, which sits atop a recently revised Caterham range, whose numerals equate roughly to each model’s power-to-weight ratio, if you’re feeling a bit generous and assume a half-tonne kerb weight.

The range starts with the 80bhp 160 – the 660cc Suzuki triple-cylinder-engined model, which was the last Seven we road tested, in 2013.

Then there are 270 (1.6), 360 (2.0) and 420 (2.0) models, each with half that number in brake horsepower. There’s also the road-focused 2.3-litre CSR, which you can still buy (but few do).

And then there are the 620 models. First came the 620R, a car not overtly different from the stillborn Caterham R600 racing car. With its supercharged 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine, it was designed to create the premier Seven race series and be less highly stressed than a naturally aspirated R500.

But although competitors liked the R600, most of them preferred to stick with the similarly less stressed, albeit less powerful, R300 race car; and that remains the top Caterham race series today. The engineering of the R600 went looking for a home and found it in the shape of the 620R road car.

At its launch, Caterham promised us that a less focused – yes, ‘mildly saner’, if you like – S version of the 620R would follow; no less powerful, just a touch easier to drive. And now it’s here, tested in arguably its softest form, with full weather gear and an ‘SV’ wide body. We’ve eight pages to see just how sane, or otherwise, it is.

Top 5 Lightweights

  • Ariel Nomad
    Ariel Nomad is powered by a tweaked 2.4-litre normally aspirated Honda engine

    Ariel Nomad

    1
  • Morgan 3 Wheeler
    The new Morgan 3 Wheeler is a characterful, evocative and terrifically fun car to drive

    Morgan 3 Wheeler

    2
  • Caterham Seven
    The Caterham Seven is the essence of a stripped-down sports car

    Caterham Seven

    3
  • Ariel Atom
    The Ariel Atom is superbike-fast, and as exhilarating as cars get

    Ariel Atom

    4
  • Zenos E10 S

    Zenos E10

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be
  • Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Plug-in petrol-electric Panamera makes a better case than ever to supplant the diesel best seller, but it still appeals more to the head than the heart
  • MX-5 RF 2.0 160
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    The distinctive 'retractable fastback' roadster promises typical MX-5 dynamics coupled with better refinement. It achieves the former, but the latter isn't quite there yet
  • Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi Premium
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Facing increasingly formidable opposition, the Hyundai i30 has been overhauled for 2017. The result is a recognisably mixed bag
  • 2016 Infiniti Q50 Country Road
    First Drive
    12 January 2017
    Infiniti’s premium mid-sized saloon packs a serious punch, but lacks the dynamic prowess of European rivals