Caterham 7 620R review

Caterham 7 620R is supercharged racer for the road and is the fastest 7 ever produced

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

With the 620R you don't get a lot of car for your money, and it’s punishing to drive long distances or anywhere near a town centre. But on the right road, only the Ariel Atom matches it for heart-in-mouth thrills. Other Caterhams deliver purer handling, but the 620R feels truly special every time you climb in.

The Caterham 7 620R is a the latest and most extreme addition to a Caterham range that has never been so diverse. Later this year a more affordable, turbocharged three-cylinder 7 will go on sale to bookend the line-up along with the 620R.

The 620R (a reference to its phenomenal power-to-weight ratio) dethrones the Superlight R500 as the fastest roadgoing 7 to date. Under the clip-on bonnet is a new 310bhp 2.0-litre supercharged engine that propels the car from 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds – enough to challenge the Ariel Atom Supercharged’s position as one of the very fastest things on four wheels.

It goes without saying that the 620R isn’t for the faint-hearted. At the launch, company CEO Graham Macdonald warned: “I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this car for drivers with little or no experience of Caterhams.” And after experiencing the full-throttle rush of the 620R first-hand, we see exactly what he means.

Sat just inches from the road, hugged tightly on all sides and peering over the carbon-fibre aero screen, you feel like you’re sitting in a pure racing car. Fire up the engine and it splutters into life, followed by a blare from the exhaust next to your right ear.

The main problem is finding somewhere to safely deploy even a small fraction of the available performance. The sheer force of this car exploding towards its 7,200rpm red line – with the exhaust note and speed intensifying beyond 5,000rpm – is shocking. You need big biceps to handle the sequential gearbox (which bangs through changes without requiring you to dip the clutch) and a strong neck to keep an eye on the road.

In corners, the 620R feels like your typical Caterham, reacting instantly to the slightest turn of the tiny Momo steering wheel.

There’s no body roll to speak of, and you live in constant fear that a mistimed twitch of your right foot could send you into the hedgerows. Fortunately, the sticky Avon track tyres fitted as standard ensure remarkable levels of grip in the dry – we suspect it would be a different story in the wet.

Most Popular

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021
New Toyota RAV4 Adventure heads up 2022 model refresh
Toyota RAV4 Adventure
News

New Toyota RAV4 Adventure heads up 2022 model refresh

The rugged Toyota RAV4 Adventure targets lifestyle buyers with a tough-looking new front bumper and interior tweaks
14 Sep 2021
E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?
Petrol pump
News

E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?

E10 petrol is up to 10 per cent ethanol and is available at UK fuel stations now as part of the bid to cut CO2 emissions
1 Sep 2021