There are five petrol engines to choose from: a turbocharged 1.0 with 113bhp, a 1.2 with 69bhp, a 1.4 with either 86 or 99bhp, and turbo version of the 1.4 with 148bhp. The 86bhp 1.4 is not too bad; it feels flexible enough at low revs and fairly sprightly when you work it harder, so it’s not worth paying extra for the 99bhp version, which doesn’t feel much faster in practice.
As for the 148bhp 1.4, this is only available in the Adam S and Adam S Rocks. It’s easily the fastest version but is expensive and has quite high CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. The pick of the range by a long way is the 1.0, which is punchy, smooth and cheap to run.
Ultimately, none of the Adam models are particularly fast next to rivals such as the Audi A1, Citroen DS3 or Mini, all of which offer smoother-revving engines with better performance.