A NEW baby has arrived at the MD Motors showrooms in Admiralty. Peeking out from between the giant Bentleys and Rolls Royces is the cheeky, bug-eyed face of a Caterham 7. MD Motors is the official distributor for Lotus cars and, as the Caterham is essentially a Lotus 7 under a different name, it made sense for the little sports car to be imported under the MD banner. But that is where sense must be abandoned because the Caterham 7 must be the most impractical car yet to be imported to Hongkong. There is no air-conditioning fitted to the little sports car and no glass windows, apart from the windscreen. The doors are cloth side-screens which clip into place. The soft roof, stowed in the rear, is incredibly difficult to erect and when the roof is up it is almost impossible to clamber into the car. But none of this seems to matter. Mr Holger Gossman, the manager of MD Motors, said it was a car ''to be driven for the sake of the heart''. The constant stream of passers-by who venture into the showroom to inquire about the Caterham suggests that looks alone are enough to sell the car several times over. The head lamps, on stalks, and the mouth-like radiator give the Caterham a definite face with the badge looking forever like a button nose. The fun continues as you attempt to wriggle into the driver's seat. Sliding into the car is like trying to push both legs into one trouser leg. Ample backsides won't fit and size 11 feet will be too cramped to work the pedals comfortably. Even the smallest feet will find there is no room to rest the clutch foot. Once the driver and passenger have worked their way into the tiny cabin all the available space is occupied. Shoulders rub together and elbows stick out above the sides of the car; movement is almost impossible. Fortunately, the steering wheel is tiny and the gear stick is so short only a flick of the wrist is necessary to change ratios. Once underway it soon becomes worth the effort of squeezing in. Without the weighty equipment fitted to most cars, the Caterham flies and displays an agility that is a revelation. Each tiny movement of the steering wheel is translated directly to the front tyres. The chassis is small and as rigid as possible and the Caterham shows absolutely no roll when cornering. The tight fit of the car means the Caterham needs no bucket seats with side bolsters to help its passengers resist G forces in cornering. A brief afternoon's drive wasn't enough to shake off the habits formed from years of saloon car driving and I came away with the impression that the limits of the Caterham 7's driving ability were beyond mine. Certainly, the chassis has no problem coping with the engine's power. MD Motors chose to homologate the Caterham for Hongkong with the comparatively tame 1,400 cc K-Series Rover engine, which lacks the fire of the larger capacity motors that Caterham offered to other markets. But the lightweight car uses the 102 brake horsepower of the K-Series engine to good effect. The claimed 0 to 100 km/h sprint time of less than six seconds is enough to leave most sports cars behind. The excitement of the performance is multiplied by the driver's exposed driving position. It is possible to trail your fingers along the road as you drive and the seat of the pants is only a couple of centimetres from the tarmac. Stones picked up from the tread of the front tyres whistle past the ears and the breeze makes the eyes water. The small engine is not a slogger and it helps to keep stirring that short gear lever to maintain the revs up high. But the exhaust note remains calm and pleasant, no matter what the revs, and the fuel-injected, catalysed motor offers impressive fuel economy. The $375,000 price tag is not astronomical but a car so impractical could never be described as a sensible buy. The Caterham 7, however, does give value.