I want cars to become more dangerous. Well, obviously I don’t, but that’s the uncomfortable natural conclusion of the argument I’m about to make.

Modern sports cars are too fast for the road. Nothing particularly controversial there, I don’t think. “A Porsche 911 Turbo’s limits are only attainable under conditions of total brain fade on the road,” we once said.

Was that recently? About one of those big ones whose power output starts with a six? Hmm. Much as I would like to think that ‘during my lifetime’ counts as recently, it was in December 1978 – when the 911 Turbo’s engine had recently been uprated to a whopping 300bhp.

Today, a maker of hot hatchbacks will barely bother getting out of bed to produce one with 300bhp. The Hyundai i30 N has a little less than that, which in some quarters makes it deficient. Yet recently I drove one on an autobahn at an indicated 170mph.

In that same magazine in 1978, former race driver, special builder and long-time Autocar contributor John Bolster wrote that “one of the first priorities for sporting motoring was a narrow car”. And if you’ve ever threaded a modern family car that claims to be a bit sporty down a British B-road in an attempt to unlock some of that performance potential, I’d be surprised if you disagree. I would rather drive a BMW M4 than an BMW M5. I’d rather drive BMW an M2 than BMW an M4. And I’d rather drive a Caterham Seven than any of them.

The tremendous thing about little, light cars like Caterhams is that they feel good at any speed. But even so, it would be nice to be able to drive them closer to their immense limits, to feel like you’re getting more out of them: challenging them as well as yourself.

2 Caterham seven interior