A pure driving experience with power and pace that's fully exploitable on the road
6 June 2008

What is it?

If you can’t justify spending Porsche Cayman money on the mighty, mental Caterham Superlight R500, then this Ford Sigma-powered Seven Roadsport could be the answer.

It’s the most powerful version of Caterham’s 1.6-litre Seven, with 150bhp rather than 125bhp. While that may not sound like a lot of extra grunt, it adds up to a power-to-weight ratio of 270bhp per tonne, which should be plenty to provide more fun than the lower-powered model.

What’s it like?

Although a hoot in corners, the standard 125bhp version of the Sigma-engined Seven Roadsport has been criticised for feeling a bit underwhelming in a straight line.

This fettled 150bhp version feels far more different than the relatively small increase in power suggests: 25bhp is a big increase in a car that weighs just 550kg.

The Roadsport 150 dismisses the 0-60mph sprint in 5 seconds dead – nearly a second quicker than the 125 model. The extra urge puts another 10mph onto the 125’s 112mph top speed, too.

Peak power is delivered at a rorty 6900rpm, and the engine is happier to rev than that of the basic Sigma. Low down the rev range, though, there’s noticeably less shove.

Happily there’s plenty more noise, with a louder exhaust yelp making its presence felt up to about 5000rpm, where a hard-edged mechanical thrash takes over. It’s wonderfully unsubtle and there’s plenty of overrun pop from the pipes to go with it.

Problem is, on the example we tried, we’re not sure the complex engine mapping had been properly sorted to work with the 150 model. Our Seven felt as if it was running a bit lean when held at a constant speed. It’s something Caterham will need to address.

Should I buy one?

You’ll still struggle to find a purer driving experience. The 150 Roadsport offers power and pace that’s fully exploitable on the road without constantly propelling you to licence-losing speeds.

Some potential Roadsport owners won’t see the point of investing £1500 more for an extra 25bhp, and many will likely settle for the 125 model. But if you’re after a road tool, rather than a hardcore track weapon, the faster 150 Roadsport is the best all-rounder pick of the range.

Will Powell

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