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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Additional weight kills acceleration in light cars such as the Westfield, so it’s no surprise that when we put two people and a tank of fuel on board the Sport Turbo, we recorded a 0-60mph time in the mid-4.0sec bracket. That’s a consistent, repeatable time, and a very respectable one, given the turbo engine’s whooshy, torquey nature and the fact that the Westfield wants a gearshift before it gets to 60mph.

On a lighter fuel load and with one occupant, the Westfield is capable of rather quicker times. How fast? In one direction we managed 0-60mph in 3.99sec. That’s not our official figure, but it’s the one you might choose to quote for impressing bystanders.

Turbo-boosted traction issues and a less adjustable set-up than the Seven are the reasons behind a relatively lacklustre performance on track

In-gear flexibility through each of the MX-5-sourced gearbox’s ratios is similarly impressive. The Vauxhall engine takes just a little while to spool up from lower revs, but while it offers a credible 185lb ft up at 5000rpm, it feels to us like plenty of torque is on offer from lower down. Coupled to a 665kg kerb weight, it makes for very flexible performance and the Sport Turbo is happy to be left in a higher gear than you’d pull in a Caterham or Ariel Atom if you were after the same acceleration. In fourth, the Westfield can accelerate from 30-70mph in just 6.8sec, while through the gears it takes a blistering 4.7sec. This is no shabby performer.

At higher revs it’s utterly responsive, too, as free of lag as you’d reasonably expect once you’re above, say, 4000rpm. Like most turbocharged cars, there’s not a great deal to be gained from thrashing out the final few revs. It feels – and proves – better instead to drop down into the torque spread of the next gear below.

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The gearbox itself encourages this more leisurely shift regime. It doesn’t have the snickety, accurate feel of a Caterham or Atom gearbox, but it’s short enough of throw and positive enough. Couple this with the softer engine response and a relatively muted exhaust note and you have a recipe for making progress that is less urgent and frenetic than in most cars of this type. Ultimately, it’s an unusual but satisfying way to get around.

The brakes look small but proved capable of hauling the Westfield down repeatedly on the track with no fade.