Remember a Caterham Seven called the R600? We drove it in December 2012, in Lincolnshire on a damp track. Less than perfect conditions in which to try a supercharged lightweight racing car. But even then, Caterham talked about making a roadgoing variant of the 2.0-litre racer. This, the 620R, is it.
Caterham had messed with artificial aspiration before, but never really made it work. It’s hard to get a blown engine cooled in such a tight engine bay, and a turbo doesn’t have the ideal response for a lightweight car anyway. But this time, they said, they thought they’d cracked it.
Key details are still the same as the R600: it’s a Seven, with wide-track front suspension, a 2.0-litre Ford Duratec motor with a supercharger attached, making a pleasing/terrifying 310bhp and 219lb ft, and driving the back wheels through a straight-cut, sequential six-speed gearbox and limited-slip differential.
It weighs, in this trim, 572kg and is a few MSA-approved accessories and other ancillaries away from being a race car. It's still a Seven at heart, though. It doesn’t overheat or complain in traffic, the clutch is manageable and progressive, and the steering lock is the same as usual.
The Caterham's cockpit’s a bit cramped but, actually, quite beautifully finished for your £50k. The 620R comes with a high performance dampers, a De-Dion rear suspension, ventialted front brake discs, and 13in alloy wheels shod in Avon tyres. Inside there is a push button ignition, carbonfibre seats and dashboard, a quick-release Momo steering wheel and numerous conveniently laid out toggle switches.