Caterham 7 Roadsport 150

More power for the 1.6-litre Sigma-powered Seven

Evo rating
  • Plenty of raucous, top-end power
  • Lacks refinement at lower revs

No, we haven’t made a mistake. This isn’t the car that featured in our recent Road and Track Car of the Year test (evo 105). It may look similar, but this Roadsport 150 is a very different beast to the Roadsport 125 we drove at that event.

As its name suggests, the 1.6-litre Sigma engine’s power output is up 20 per cent in the 150, thanks to spikier cams. (Torque remains the same, but then 120lb ft is more than adequate in a car weighing just 550kg.) This much we do know. However, the rest of the 150’s final specification was still undecided when we tried it, so what you see here is a Roadsport fitted with a generous sprinkling of Superlight options, including wide-track suspension, a six-speed gearbox and 15in anthracite alloys. Of course, as is the norm with all things Seven, every option on this car will be available, but a basic Roadsport 150, painted and fully built, will cost you £20,790.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

Press the red starter button and, after clearing its throat, the 150 growls grumpily into life. It’s immediately apparent that this Sigma unit is closer in character to the R400 than the 125. Blip the throttle and a hard-edged, racy bark fills your ears. Lift off and you’re treated to a full chorus of pops and bangs reverberating from the exhaust running alongside your right thigh.

The 150 engine is not smooth like the 125, and currently there are flatspots above 5000rpm (following our comments the engine is being remapped), but it produces a very strong 150 horsepower, ripping through this car’s six gears so quickly that you barely pause for breath before grabbing another cog. Throttle travel is short, giving the impression it’s designed to be in one of two positions only: fully open or closed.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The Roadsport 150 certainly makes for a very intense drive; on a cross-country run your feet work faster than Michael Flatley on a hot tin roof. Which is exactly what the cockpit feels like after half an hour – heat soaks through the pedal box, burning the soles of your shoes. The final version will have more insulation.

It’s a cramped car too, thanks to the heavily bolstered leather seats and the absence of a lowered floor. We know the composite Superlight seats are perfectly comfortable without upholstery, and you’re better off with the lowered floor because it’s only then that you feel hardwired into the controls – vital in a car that reacts so instantaneously to your bidding.

For us, the raw, energetic 150 engine better suits the road-racer philosophy of Superlight range than the more laid-back Roadsport ethos. It still needs a little work too. Another drive is promised soon – we’ll let you know how we get on.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1595cc, 16v
Max power150bhp @ 6900rpm
Max torque120lb ft @ 5600rpm
0-605.0sec (claimed)
Top speed122mph (claimed)
On saleNow
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/ford/mustang/201952/ford-mustang-mach-e-uncovered-as-all-electric-suv
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Mach-E uncovered as all-electric SUV

The Mustang has been hit with the all-electric, SUV treatment
20 Nov 2019
Visit/porsche/911/201958/porsche-911-gt3-vs-gt3-rs-vs-gt2-rs-track-battle
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 GT3 vs GT3 RS vs GT2 RS - track battle

Porsche’s GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS are the most hardcore of the 911 breed, but pitched head‑to‑head which will we crown champion?
15 Nov 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
15 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019