For Top Gear magazine’s 300th issue, we celebrated the best 50 cars over 299 issues: here’s our pick of the best lightweight cars
These days, you see Colin Chapman’s “Simplify, then add lightness” quote all over Instagram. But it was uttered way before the endless scroll of social media. Even before Top Gear’s first issue and way before minimalism was cool. See, the reason that Colin’s philosophy still stands up is simple: it works.
Look at his creation, the mighty Seven. 2017 marks its 60th year in production, and in an era of three-phase charging, electric torque- vectoring and turbine range-extenders, the Seven is as simple as things get this side of a pedal car: a steel spaceframe chassis, engine at the front, power at the rear, and driver slung over the back axle to feel everything the featherweight is doing. It’s driving purity.
The 620S shows how far the Seven has come. It’s the slightly less hardcore version of Caterham’s most hardcore car: the 620R. But weighing 610kg and having a 310bhp 2.0-litre, supercharged Ford Duratec engine, it’s still pretty hardcore. But the violence of lightweight cars can be turned up or down depending on the levels of sadism of the people bashing them together in leaky sheds around the world.