The Caterham 7 310R

Craig introduces us to the stunning Caterham 7 310 sports car

As cars go, the Caterham stands out from the crowd, breaks the mould and offers a totally different driving experience. For today’s post I want to share my experience of the Caterham 7 310R. An epic ride for those that want something totally different from the standard saloon.

Based directly on the original Lotus 7, this car takes you back in time. Compact, lightweight and crazy fast, this nippy little racer will take you from 0-60 in a tarmac blistering 4.9 seconds. Quoted by Caterham themselves as a ‘happy accident’ the 310R comes with an upgraded 1.6-litre Ford Sigma engine and an extra 20bhp.

The 310 is available with an additional ‘S’ pack or ‘R’ pack, as this one has,. The ‘R’ pack gives you 17 extras such as the racing harness, sports suspension, carbon fibre dash and a choice of 4 paint finishes to name a few.

This car is compact, and when I say that I mean really compact. If I were any taller or any wider I genuinely think I’d have struggled. As it was I felt quite constricted, particularly by the harness, and at times a tad uncomfortable in the simple moulded plastic seats.

A comfy family saloon this isn’t. Nobody’s going to take this out to get the monthly shop. With no radio to sing along to (not that you’d be able to hear yourself over the noise) no fancy dials and gadgets, this is a truly basic kit car, built to keep the weight down and to race.

The slight discomfort aside, this is a genuinely fun car to drive. Being so low and in an almost horizontal position, you really feel the road. Every bump, every dip and every buffet of wind. This is a true driving experience, in a car that you actually have to drive. That’s what helps make this car so different from the production line of samey cars that all look and feel exactly like each other. This car has a personality not afforded to other modern vehicles.

Essentially this car is a toy. A wallet busting toy at around 30k, but a toy nonetheless. It’s an attention seeking little rascal, and while I was driving I lost track of the number of other drivers who took time to look and stare. I’m not sure if that was because of the cars design, the ‘ballistic’ orange colour or the stupidly wide grin I had on my face. They don’t tell you about the grin when you collect the car, but it seems to be standard on all models.

If I’d had a choice of which model I could drive away, the 310R wouldn’t have been at the top of my list. I may have opted for the 160 with it’s comfier seats, or the slightly roomier 270, both of which come without the harness system and would have made for a more comfortable, and therefore more enjoyable ride.

I’m used to the comforts of a ‘normal’ car and this was a little out of my comfort zone, both figuratively and literally. I did enjoy it however and after we’d dropped the car back to the guys at the Caterham showroom in Crawley, I started to miss it. I started to wish I’d driven it more, and I started to wish I had one. Maybe not to drive every week, but just for those sunny weekends when you can pull the roof off, strap yourself in and become one with the elements. Grin compulsory.

So, what do you think of the car? Have you driven one before? What did you think? Maybe you own one? Either way, love it or hate it, I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment below.

This post was shot on location at Butley Priory.

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