Caterham Sigma Roadsport 125

It's a perennial favourite of Greatest Drives, and this year's Caterham Roadsport is no different - brilliant on the track, a little rough on the road

Only twice in nine years – that’s how often a Caterham has missed our Greatest Drives shortlist. This tells you all you need to know about the success of the firm’s design philosophy. Simple engineering and low weight result in an undiluted driving experience.

And the new Sigma Roadsport 125 is the best example yet. Unlike last year’s firebreathing CSR260, the newcomer has a modest 1.6-litre motor. The Ford Focus-based unit has a bespoke throttle body and engine management adjustments, and now produces 125bhp. In a car weighing only 550kg, that makes for a huge performance.

A new welding technique has produced a 14 per cent stiffer chassis. As a result, the suspension geometry is more accurate, and the handling is sharper. At the track, it set a lap time of 68.9 seconds, which put it only half-way up the time sheet. But every moment in the car was great fun. Narrow rubber combined with relatively soft suspension to give a beautifully balanced, forgiving drive.

Once turned into a corner, the Sigma could be directed using a mix of throttle and steering, making it perfect company for expert and novice drivers alike.

On the road, though, being at the wheel of a Caterham can be tiring. A windscreen and pop-on roof are a nod towards practicality, but it’s still an extreme experience. Heat and noise from the engine in particular make long journeys challenging.

The Roadsport can’t match the sharp responses and staggering grip of the Lotus 2-Eleven, but it’s a wonderfully engaging track-day machine. In fact, it’s in this basic, low-powered specification that the Caterham makes the most sense.

Continue Reading

Most Popular

Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf
Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf - main
Car group tests

Hyundai i30 vs Volkswagen Golf

Can the updated Hyundai i30 provide tough competition for the latest Volkswagen Golf?
16 Jan 2021
BMW X2 M Mesh Edition on sale now priced from £34,510
BMW X2 M Mesh Edition - front
BMW X2

BMW X2 M Mesh Edition on sale now priced from £34,510

The BMW X2 M Mesh Edition features unique decals and upholstery, as well as – you guessed it – a mesh radiator grille
15 Jan 2021
Restructured Renault, Dacia and Alpine brands to launch into new segments 
Renault reveal
News

Restructured Renault, Dacia and Alpine brands to launch into new segments 

Electric revolution at Renault, plus larger Dacia models confirmed, Alpine sub-branding for hot Renaults and electric Alpines too
14 Jan 2021