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MAY 2016 ISSUE 646 £ 4 . 6 0 EPIC DRIVE

e Balkaninss! Jag SUV vsMth ountains! Hairp !

! Speed cops Kamikaze Golfs500-mile test e New F-Pace: th

Clash of clans New Porsche 718 Boxster vs BMW M2 vs Ford Focus RS Ferrari 488 GTB vs McLaren 570S vs Audi R8



Morgan’s makeover The olde worlde charm is still there. But the electric revolution has hit Malvern... MOTORSP ORT

How Schumacher changed F1 ‘His fitness was a pain in the ass!’




MAY 2016

114 Features


Stuff of dreams, part 1

Insider 8 Tesla’s Model 3: the electric breakthrough? 12 In the moment: XC90’s slo-mo crash test 13 Spied! New 911 GT2 RS, Panamera and M5 14 The very best of the New York show


S-class cab: boat, but not plain sailing

16 The CAR Inquisition: futurist Syd Mead 18 75 years of Jeep

24 Does it work? Ford Mustang’s line lock 26 Volvo’s ingenious anti-lag turbo 28 Continental’s ideas man talks gecko feet

First drives 30 Mercedes S500 Convertible Keep your top on, love 33 Hyundai i20 Active So the Streetwise was a good idea 34 BMW M3/M4 Competition Pack Just take my £3k! 36 Ferrari California T HS California, now with substance 38 Maserati Levante The Italians smash it out of the park


Stuff of dreams, part 2 Meanwhile, high in the upper atmosphere: Ferrari 488 GTB vs Audi R8 vs McLaren 570S


BMW: the next 100 years Not the next ultimate driving machine but the one after the one after that…

Tech 22 Why the fuel station is on borrowed time

2016’s dream team fights it out: BMW M2 vs Porsche 718 Boxster vs Ford Focus RS

56 Massive test, massive shock result

40 Citroën DS3 Perfomance Fiesta ST fails to panic


Inside Morgan Smell the history… and the EV investment?


Godzilla and the Voodoo child Ford GT350 Mustang and Nissan GT-R raise merry hell in the Californian hills


42 Quick Group Test Four seven seaters to, er, seduce

The Schumacher effect


How F1’s most successful driver changed the sport


46 The CAR columnists: Gavin Green & Mark Walton 51 CAR interactive: snappy name for our letters pages

F-Pace: 500 mad miles Drifting snow, wild dogs, arrests and close shaves

Rear End 124 Icon buyer

Mini Countryman good, used Evoque better?

130 Our cars

Defender plays hero, McLaren leaves, XC90 arrives


143 GBU: every car rated! What have we said about your car now?

162 The CAR Top 10

Hot hatches that burned with disappointment



82 BMW’s future shock: out go the engine, open wheels and a full-time steering wheel


IN OUR iPAD EDITION CAR’s beautiful imagery works brilliantly on your tablet. Subscribe to the interactive iPad edition, with video content, our Android replica edition, or the magazine itself, on page 80


The man making the lion king again F

Peugeot-Citroën boss Carlos Tavares: he turned incalculable losses into staggering profits


ORD, PEUGEOT, BMW: they made the cars my family bought, shaping my car world. The 205, 405, 306, 406 all did a shift – indeed my father was probably the only Brit to buy a 605! But now an E-class and Polo currently sit on his drive. McNamara Sr is representative of his fellow CAR readers: Peugeot has slumped to 19th in our ownership rankings, and 27th in the list of brands you’d like to own next. Citroën lies 21st for ownership, and is 17th most desired as a next car. CAR once revered Citroën for its comfort, trend-setting design and pioneering tech, more recently Peugeot was lauded for its ride and handling. No longer. But the company is changing, under a new name, PSA Groupe, and with a new strategy from CEO Carlos Tavares. He pulled off the automotive turnaround-equivalent of the moon landing, mused one analyst, by steering the bailed-out firm from a €555m loss in 2014 to €1.2bn net profit. Cost cuts and pricing discipline ensured survival, his new plan is all about profitable growth. Tavares inherited a bloated range of 45 models, with wasteful duplication in China and Europe. That range will be almost halved. In the pipeline are 26 new cars, most of them global. Eliminating duplication will enable R&D to focus resources to create fewer, better cars. PSA is rationalising the new models onto two architectures, with the capability to underpin seven plug-in hybrids and four EVs. Digitization will be critical to the tech push. Connectivity will enable wireless upgrades on cars, traffic jam assist will arrive in 2018 and ‘eyes off’ autonomous capability by 2021. PSA will also intensify its efforts as a mobility provider. What of the brands? Citroën, once synonymous with ‘cashback’ bungs to shift metal, grew transaction prices by 3% in 2015, despite the Cactus and C4 Picasso being the only cars I’d recommend to friends. The seven new models it launches by 2018 will prioritise comfort, charming design and connected features, largely the tenets that made the brand’s reputation in CAR. Peugeot measures itself against VW on price and quality. That’s fine, but risks sacrificing its once distinctive, pretty design on Germanic clones such as the 308. The GTis and RCZ R show the art of ride and handling is alive. Non-enthusiasts may value connected features more, and plans for Peugeot to build a digital relationship with 700,000 customers, offering them pay-as-you-go tailored to when and how they drive, are smart. Meanwhile the group will continue to build its aspiring DS brand. The goal? For the cars business to return 4-6% margin, and grow revenues 10-15%. And the ultimate test? Making cars good enough to relaunch in North PHIL MCNAMARA Editor America. That would be one hell of a turnaround.

CAR+ is our new digital online service, which allows you to read great articles from our archive, and also the latest issue of the magazine, on screen. Go to and click on CAR+


We were in typically irreverent mood back in December 1988, sending a bunch of our top writers – including Gavin Green, Steve Cropley, Roger Bell and Ian Fraser – off on a oneweek, 5000-mile odyssey to compare ‘Britain’s greatest supercar with the world’s top fast hatch.’ ‘It was generally, but not unanimously, agreed that [one of them] was the better car,’ we said. Who won? Read the test on CAR+ ALSO ON CAR+... Flat-out in the Alpine A610 GTa from 1991! Cizeta V16: the supercar that never was, from 1989














Cars, people, scoops, motorsport, analysis: the month according to CAR

Tesla Model 3: meet the breakthrough electric car

the Model 3 would cost $35,000; the saloon’s likely price is £30-35,000 in the UK. That excludes any clean car subsidies: it’s unlikely UK Model 3 deliveries will start before the £4500 EV grant expires in March 2018, although the government may extend that scheme. Then there’s the performance. The legacy car makers conceived their EVs as utilitarian compact cars: Tesla built its brand by spotting a gap in the luxury market for a fast, expensive limousine, the Model S. With its 5-series-size The big carmakers may have dismissed Tesla able to accommodate a potent, 90kWh battery pack weighing around a tonne, boss Elon Musk as a harmless evangelist. But acceleration is up there with that of as he launches an affordable, volume car, supercars. It takes just 2.8sec for the who’d dismiss him now? By Phil McNamara £90,000, 762hp Model S P90D to warp from standstill to 60mph. The base Model 3 will despatch N THE SEVEN DAYS after Tesla unveiled its 0-60mph in ‘less than 6.0sec. And versions will be much faster,’ 3-series-sized electric saloon, the Model 3, the company said Musk. ‘At Tesla, we don’t make slow cars.’ Standard cars took 325,000 orders. To put that into context, sales of have rear-wheel drive, although higher performance versions the Nissan Leaf, the world’s best-selling electric car, employ all-wheel drive. Unlike the aluminium-bodied Model totalled 201,000 units in its five full years on sale. Even S, the 3 will be largely steel, with costlier alloy employed more more astonishing, those initial Model 3 orders trump the sparingly. Tesla claims its small saloon will seat five adults in comfort, 245,000 electric cars sold globally in 2015, according to JATO. It’s clear this electric car has captured the imagination like thanks to a couple of packaging measures. Without the need to no other. Why did more than a quarter of a million people in- house a conventional engine in the nose, the cockpit extremity stantaneously stump up $1000, or £1000 in the UK, to get their and dashboard have been pushed forwards. With the front seats following suit, extra legroom is created in the rear. A large name on the waiting list? What’s so special about it? First and foremost, the range: Tesla claims the base Model 3 glass roof panel is said to maximise headroom and make for an can travel 215 miles on a single charge. That’s 60 miles more airy cabin ambience. With room to store cargo in both the boot than the most powerful (30kWh) Nissan Leaf; it should outlast and nose, Tesla claims peerless load-lugging ability too. How can Tesla offer an unprecedented level of range and America’s other incoming EV, the 200-mile Chevrolet Bolt. Nonetheless, range anxiety is the electric car’s Achilles’ heel, performance, at such a comparatively low price? The company something Tesla CEO Elon Musk is sensitive to. ‘All Model currently has a cost advantage thanks to its pragmatically 3s come with supercharging as standard,’ he said at the car’s homespun power pack: for the Model S, the engineers wired unveiling. ‘That’s very important: it means you can go where together 6831 cylindrical lithium-ion batteries, made by Panasonic for old-generation laptops. Details of the Model 3’s you want, when you want: having a car is about freedom.’ In theory. Tesla has funded 3608 supercharger points world- battery are still under wraps. According to a research paper by analysts Bernstein, forthwide, which charge the battery to 80% within 30 minutes. By the end of 2017 – when the first Model 3 deliveries are scheduled coming electric cars from Audi and Mercedes will adopt larger – it expects to have installed 7200 superchargers, and another format lithium-ion batteries specialised for cars, whose  15,000 destination chargers at hotels and shopping centres. The UK currently has 113 Tesla superchargers at 31 locations, Musk with the Model 3: note the glass roof, but if they’re occupied or out of order, you could be high and dry. said to help boost interior space The price is also a compelling draw. Musk announced that




‘Range is very important. It means you can go where you want, when you want. Having a car is about freedom’




In Musk we trust? His Model 3 claims SAFETY ‘The Model 3 is going to be an incredibly safe car,’ vows Elon Musk. ‘It will have a five-star rating in every safety category’

PERFORMANCE The 215-mile electric range is a baseline, 0-60mph in 6.0sec a ceiling. ‘And versions will be much faster,’ the CEO pledges

SPACE ‘The Model 3 will seat five adults comfortably’ – aided by no engine to package. Classleading cargo space claimed too

PRICE, DELIVERIES $35,000 in the US. ‘I’m confident deliveries will be next year,’ giggles Musk, referencing the two-year delay that hit Model X

Picture Steve Jobs with an iPhone up on the screen, and you get the idea

remote software updates. Musk promises to double Tesla outlets to 441 locations by late 2017. ‘If you’re in a midsized metro area, you’ll be able to buy a car and get it serviced,’ he says. Tesla’s business plan calls for 500,000 units a year by 2020, the level of installed capacity at its Fremont factory under previous owners GM and Toyota. But it will be an enormous supply chain and manufacturing challenge to satisfy 325,000 potential orders, and an epic quest to grow Tesla tenfold in just five years. Investors have been incredibly benevolent towards the company, which hopes to break even for the first time this year. Musk isn’t projecting a ‘meaningful’ profit until 2020. The Tesla brand is clearly as alluring to financial institutions as it is to consumers. It’s a tech company, the darling of the markets. And the cars are undoubtedly leading edge, from the pioneering, supersized touchscreen, to the matchless electric range, to the autonomous capability. ‘All Model 3s come standard with autopilot hardware,’ pledges Musk, promising self-driving within the white lines, potential lane changes at the flick of an indicator stalk, and the capability for summoning a car from its parking space, while an owner stands outside. Tesla took an existing concept, the electric car, refined it, made it desirable and charged a premium price for it. The company is led by a charismatic, evangelical leader: ‘our goal is not to make profits in and of itself, our goal is to change the world and accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,’ is Elon Musk’s battle cry. And the brand has developed a cult-like following. The similarities with Apple are obvious. ‘If my supposition is correct that ultimately all cars go electric, any companies that don’t go electric in the long-term will be out of the car business,’ floats Musk. The flipside is that Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar will all be looking to put Tesla out of the car business, as they embrace alternatives to the combustion engine. But with the Model 3, Tesla looks to have a concept that could keep it a step ahead for now: a mass-market electric car. @CARPhilMc

10 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016


Standard Autopilot hardware, for exponential rise in hair-raising self-driving demonstrations on You Tube

chemistry offers superior durability and power – according to the Germans. However, the price – roughly $400 per kWh – could be double what Tesla is paying. That’s why the premium Europeans’ new electric cars will be big SUVs, whose price point can mitigate the batteries’ cost: Tesla has already been there and done that, with the Model S and Model X SUV. Economies of scale will improve and drive down the European’s battery costs – although Elon Musk is confident he can remain a step ahead in this area too, thanks to Tesla’s Gigafactory ramping up in Nevada. ‘To produce 500,000 cars a year, you need the same level of battery production,’ he says. ‘That’s why we’re building the Gigafactory. Its size is second only to the Boeing factory in Washington; it will produce more lithium-ion batteries than all the world’s other factories combined.’ The Gigafactory, in partnership with Panasonic, is the starkest example of Tesla’s extreme vertical integration, from funding superchargers, to owning its retail outlets, to building its own battery factory. The latter could prove disastrous, if rival suppliers come up with a stepchange battery technology Panasonic and Tesla can’t match. When CAR spoke to Musk a few months ago, he seemed sanguine about that prospect. ‘There’s a new battery thing announced every day, usually it doesn’t pan out. I’m not aware of anything that’s better than what we’ll be producing in the Gigafactory. Tesla is usually the first company [developers] call because we have more volume in batteries than anyone else.’ As the Gigafactory attests, the Model 3’s volume will propel Tesla into the big league, compared with the 50,000 cars delivered in 2015. And with volume comes greater sales and servicing pressures, although much Tesla remedial work can be done via

In the moment

Volvo XC90 vs Euro NCAP crash test barrier Richard Schram, technical manager for Euro NCAP, explains what’s going on in an offset frontal impact crash test









Safety cameras

Good job, Volvo

Keep it real

‘This is an offset frontal impact test, replicating a collision where one car drifts into the lane of another – representative of many impacts in the real world. The car hits the barrier at 64km/h (39.8mph), which doesn’t sound all that fast driving yourself, but if you see the test car driving into a concrete block at that speed, it makes an impression.’

‘What really amazes me when I see a crash test is that the actual event is really, really short. It takes only about 0.2sec, the blink of an eye. There’s a very loud bang, the car bounces back and it’s all over. Including preparation and post-crash analysis, a test like this would require roughly three days of work by a whole bunch of people.’

‘In this picture, the blue block represents an impact with another car, reproducing the behaviour of its crumple zone. For the future, Euro NCAP is looking at developing an actual car-to-car test. This could provide key data for situations where a smaller car collides with a larger car, where there is a bit more energy involved.’

‘We use high-speed cameras, 1000 frames per second, which need a lot of light [hence the spotlights]. The footage lets us investigate the way the airbags deploy, while sensors in the dummies themselves record the forces and acceleration. After the test we look at the pillars, passenger compartment etc.’

‘The XC90 scored so highly [97% rating for adult occupant protection] because Volvo has done a great job of keeping the forces on the dummies low – airbags, seatbelts, seat design, all have an influence. We now also look at active safety systems, which help to prevent the crash in the first place.’

‘Generally [in the course of testing one model], we buy four cars minimum for different tests, spare parts for compression tests and seats for whiplash tests. I don’t see virtual testing replacing physical tests; it’s a supporting tool, but what everyone wants to see is it happening for real, to know that it works.’






Plug-in baby – Toyota’s given the new Prius Plug-in a much more distinctive appearance than its predecessor. Sharply redesigned front and rear, it’s a deliberate effort to attract tech-savvy customers keen to signify their insight (no pun intended) and eco credentials.

Double everything – new 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack means a 31mile electric range, twice that of the last socket-ready version. The car also doubles up on electric torque output by using both e-motor and generator to deliver drive, a Toyota first.



Maximum EV – capable of 84mph without troubling the 1.8-litre Atkinson petrol (itself now at worldbeating 40% thermal efficiency), the Plug-in claims a class-leading 202mpg and 32g/km CO2. Full battery recharge takes 2hrs 20min on the mains.

Pump it up – other developments include solar roof charging and efficient gas injection heat pump air-con. We already know the new platform is a better drive. On sale late 2016, pricing will be subject to the plug-in grant; expect to pay £29k.



Developed by Porsche, the Panamera’s new Modular Standard Platform (MSB) will also underpin the new Conti GT

Bentley Continental GT (2017) Next year’s all-new Bentley Continental GT will be lighter and bigger. The former is achieved via the aluminium and high-strength steel content of the new MSB platform, while the latter makes room for a smaller coupe in 2020, based on the EXP10 Speed Six concept that’s already influencing big brother’s styling. Initially powered by the latest 600bhp 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12, an updated entry-level 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and a new plug-in hybrid V6 model will follow. The same platform will also underpin the next GTC, Flying Spur, Mulsanne and the EXP10, as well as the new Porsche Cayenne.

Mk2 Panamera (2016) Porsche’s second Panamera (codename G2) arrives later this year boasting an updated all-turbo engine line-up and a new modular platform that will stretch to a shooting brake based on the Sport Turismo concept. The ceramic brakes and big spoiler suggest this mule is a high-performance Turbo-with-acaptial-T version, promising 600bhp.


Unmasked! 6 prototypes spied testing CAR’s hedge-dwelling photographers strike again. We unwrap the disguises

Nissan Micra (2017) Beneath this curiously lumpen disguise lurks next year’s Nissan Micra. The pointy styling is influenced by the 2015 Sway concept and it’s built on the same Renault-Nissan CMF-B platform that will also underpin the next Juke. Three- and four-cyl engines will make it frugal, Nismo will try to make it sporty.

Citroën C3 Picasso (2017) Twinned with the new Vauxhall Meriva, the next C3 Picasso is more mini-SUV than mini-MPV, inspired by the Cactus and 2015’s Aircross concept. It’ll have split headlights and Airbumps, disguised on this prototype by the black panels on the doors, while the engines will be three- and four-cyl turbos.

Will the next GT2 RS be manual or PDK? Dual clutch suits track work, but Porsche didn’t commission its new ZF six-speed stick shift just for the 911R…

Porsche 911 GT2 RS (2018) The quad exhaust cleaving the hacksawed rear valence of this 911 starts the countdown towards a new GT2 RS, confirmed by Porsche performance guru Andreas Preuninger and rumoured to be gunning for 690bhp. Already out cold-weather testing, it will be wide-bodied and turbocharged but rearwheel-drive only. However, the days of riding bareback are gone, so expect this GT2 to be packed with cutting edge chassis tech, too.

BMW M5 (2017) Hot version of the forthcoming ‘G30’ 5-series is set to start where the old M5 left off – with the 592bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 from the 30 Jahre edition. Fully active body control and the multi-material CLAR structure that makes it 100kg lighter will lead the dynamic evolution, the option of xDrive 4wd seeks to spread the appeal.



Notes from the Big Apple 100% pure New York motor show juice Behind the yee-haw V8 pick-ups, supercharged 707bhp Dodges and a whole host of oddities, here’s what really counted, and what’s coming soon. By Lewis Kingston

Audi R8 Spyder Unlike the MX-5 RF, the latest iteration of the Audi R8 Spyder proves to be an eminently predictable affair. The fixed roof gets hacked off, a folding soft-top goes in its place, the kerbweight creeps up fractionally and the performance worsens marginally. Quelle surprise. It has to be said that the freshly decapitated version

of the second-gen R8 isn’t as well resolved, on the looks front at least, as its tin-top sister – nor is it as slick as the Huracan drop-top. Still, at least it’ll be as easy to live with as an A4. One small saving grace is that it’s far stiffer than the previous cab and, yes, it still retains that sonorous, naturally aspirated, zeitgeist-bucking V10. Enthusiasts rejoice!

NEED TO KNOW > What it is An R8 for those who like to expose themselves in public > Engine & performance 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10, 533bhp, 398lb ft, 3.6sec 0-62mph, 197mph > Aimed at Those who find a Lamborghini too flamboyant – or expensive > On sale By the end of 2016, £130,000 (est)

Mazda MX-5 RF The launch of a folding hard-top version of the new Mazda MX-5 comes as a surprise to absolutely no-one at all. Mazda has been heavily hinting at such a model – and every iteration of the diminutive roadster has been offered with a tin top of some form at some point. But no one, we’ll wager, expected the svelte, straightforward roadster to

adopt the Rube Goldberg-inspired retractable roof panel mechanism from the 911 Targa. The price to pay for all this additional complexity? A weight penalty of around 50kg, and a premium of £2500, compared with the standard convertible. Buyers can pick from 1.5 or 2.0-litre versions, while a fun-blunting six-speed auto option also joins the line-up.

NEED TO KNOW > What it is A cut-price, front-engined Porsche 911 Targa > Engine & performance 1.5 or 2.0-litre naturally aspirated 4-cyl, six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, fast enough to not be boring > Aimed at Areas prone to knife crime > On sale 2017, from £21,000 (est)

Nissan GT-R The Porsche fighter’s been pulled to the ropes, had its face wiped clean and been slipped a shot of steroids before being cast out for one final, controller-smashing bout. Yes, the GT-R’s getting one last update before being replaced in its entirety. In comes a fresh exterior look, a massively revamped interior – about time – and a whole host

of performance upgrades. A new ignition system helps boost power from 546bhp to 562bhp, while more compliant suspension reputedly makes the Nissan more forgiving to drive. What’s next for the engineering brute? Well, reputedly nothing’s been decided yet – but we hear the next generation of the Japanese sledgehammer will pack hybrid tech.


Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe ‘We have to go deeper,’ cried Mercedes’ product planner. ‘BMW and Audi are filling all these niches, we must catch up!’ Yes, the Stuttgartbased manufacturer – no, the other one – is doubling down on its Inception-inspired scheme to create ranges within ranges. The business case is simple: give your customer somewhere to go, everywhere, and

stop them jogging off to a rival like Audi – the Russian doll-alike range of which serves it well in the sales charts. It does mean, however, that you’re going to create cars that people love to hate. So, when you see the new GLC-based coupe cruising along, don’t expect it to be let out of many junctions. It’ll still be annoyingly competent, though.

NEED TO KNOW > What it is ’Low-roofed, lowered, coupe version of the GLC SUV’ > Engine & performance Range of diesels, some petrols that will never sell and a plug-in hybrid that’ll look nice in showrooms. All sub-9.0sec 0-62mph and claimed 40mpg+ > Aimed at ‘You’d like a less practical GLC, you say?’ > On sale Autumn, around £40k



> What it is A revitalised supercar-slaying middle finger to physics > Engine & performance Hand-built twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6, 562bhp, 470lb ft, 2.6sec 0-60mph, 196mph, more G than your neck can handle > Aimed at Those who absolutely must decimate everything else on the road > On sale Autumn 2016, £78,000 (est)

The CAR Inquisition

‘We don’t use horses for transport anymore but people still ride’ Syd Mead is one of the most influential car designers of the last 50 years, despite only having designed a single tail lamp for production. CAR meets the legend


ESPITE LITTLE OF his work existing beyond two dimensions, ‘visual futurist’ Syd Mead has inspired countless professional car designers. He’s worked on vehicle, city and character designs for cult films like Blade Runner and Tron (both 1982) and more recently Elysium (2013) and Tomorrowland (2015), product design for Sony and Phillips – including an electric car concept as far back as 1973 for the latter – plus aircraft, ship and hotel interiors and pretty much anything else you (or he) can imagine. Which is why car designers love him. Ferrari design boss Flavio Manzoni calls him a ‘visionary mind’ while ex-BMW Group design chief Chris Bangle dubs him ‘the Oscar Wilde of designers: when you think you have a new idea, you find he’s drawn it all before – and usually decades ago.’ In March 2016 he was awarded a lifetime achievement award by specialist website Car Design News. The key to the breadth of his influence is that unlike other imaginative artists, Mead is very much a designer too, and one specifically trained in car design. He started his professional career in 1959, at Ford’s advanced design studio where he jokes that his ‘contribution to American automobilia was the tail light CAR’S CURVEBALLS on the ’64 Falcon Futura’. In fact he also 6 questions only we would ask… designed the 1961 Ford Gyron show car – a suitably space-age wedge of wonder Saudi Arabia and the Tell us about your first – before quitting to become a full-time Emir of Oman because car... commercial designer and illustrator. they had such critical ‘It was a ’44 Ford design parameters. The roadster. My brother Throughout the ’60s he worked on third one was for the tracked it down; he’s an lucrative accounts for large American Sultan of Brunei but the intuitive mechanic. We corporations including marketing books Swiss screwed that up.’ bought it and used the for US Steel. These featured brilliantWhat’s the best thing hell out of it.’ ly-imagined and rendered futuristic you’ve done in a car? Which achievement ‘We’ve done “grid makes you most vehicles that became an overnight sencircle” tours. In a Mk7 proud? sation in the design world and are now Lincoln. We took off ‘It would be the three highly sought-after collector’s items. from Pasadena, went Boeing 747 designs Hollywood came calling in the late north to Cheyenne, for heads of state, Wyoming, turned including the King of ’70s when special effects maestro John



right and ended up at Bismarck, North Dakota, then turned right again at Omaha and took another right back home. It was a twoweek right turn. The route sort of followed the Interstate network but we’d go off on little side trips too. It’s fun to do because it’s spontaneous.’ Tell us how you screwed up… ‘Working with clients that don’t tell you the truth (on several occasions).’ Supercar or classic?

‘Definitely classic. My ’72 Chrysler Imperial.’ The curveball… You’ve spent a lifetime imagining the future – if you could invent one real transport-related gadget to make your life easier, what would it be? ‘It would be an antigravity transport module. We don’t really know what gravity is but we’re going to figure it out. I think that’s the next huge breakthrough in controlling the real world.’

Connect 4 ‘EXTREME’ IMPREZAS From the sublime to the supremely dull – the latest Subaru Impreza meets its ancestors… Espace meets NASA. Car designers admit that, with most ideas, Mead got there first

I’m Subaru, what were we talking about? Impreza sedan and hatchback (2017-) Latest Impreza is extreme as in extremely dull. Yes, it has an allnew platform, 80% new engine, ‘EyeSight’ collision avoidance tech and 40% improved crash durability. Yet this is unlikely to be tested by impacting a tree just after a ‘flat-right-do-not-cut’ – and the car might look more interesting post-accident.

Cos you’re worth it Impreza Cosworth STI CS400 (2010) Yep, we’ve immediately jumped back seven years in an effort to refind a pulse. Unfortunately while Subaru’s collaboration with Cosworth was certainly extreme – to the tune of 395bhp and annual head gasket replacements – it also wasn’t especially good. Nice hatchback, though.


Dykstra – who had just won an Oscar for Star Wars – asked Mead to work on his next project, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). ‘I did the final design for the V’ger spaceship’s back end on a cocktail napkin at a hotel bar,’ recalls Mead. He then designed the vehicles for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and was listed in the film’s credits as ‘visual futurist’, but quickly dispels any pomposity that label might infer: ‘I made the title up on the phone. I’m a visual futurist, because it’s visual and I do future stuff. I knew it had to be bumper sticker-friendly.’ Now 82, his long and successful career has allowed him to buy many desirable vehicles – from a ’50s Gullwing Mercedes SL to ’60s Corvettes – but the car he wished he’d designed was the ’61 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, ‘a fantastic car with this short cab and long hood fashionable back then. Now, because cars are getting shorter and people are not, you have the rear doors practically over the rear wheel – the cut and the rear window peak is either over the rear axle or a little bit behind. I admire today’s designers and what they are doing with these new proportions, because it’s very difficult.’ One car he’s very glad he didn’t design is the Pontiac Aztek: ‘Like “Hello!” What the hell is that supposed to be? I have no idea how it came about.’ And after a lifetime of future-gazing, his view on the future of the car is that they’ll turn into ‘mobility solutions’. ‘In my rendering The 200th running of the Kentucky Derby there are two guys wearing “gyro” or “wheel pants”. I came up with the need for something like a courier in a crowded environment where his footprint is no bigger than the person. Those wheels can fold up against your ankle when you walk and fold down when you want to skate. You have the gyro in the small of your back. A lot of car companies have made [bigger] mini-pods but I think it’s going to go to stuff like this: an individual transport idea. There are already ride-on things by Honda, with wheels made up of other little wheels so they can go diagonally; very ingenious. We don’t use horses for transportation anymore but people still have them as pets, to ride for pleasure, and I think cars will drift in the same direction. But anywhere in the world, if you can afford a car, you buy one. It’s still the mass-transit idea of choice.’ GUY BIRD

Visual futurist Syd Mead: his school book doodles were probably a little better than yours

22b or… no, just 22b Impreza 22b STi (1998) Now we’re talking. Limited edition two-door shell, bespoke flared bodywork, bias-adjustable all-wheel drive and a boredout 2.2-litre boxer turbo producing the ‘yeah right’ kind of 276bhp, as mandated by contemporary Japanese tradition. So good Colin McRae actually paid money for his.

World Rally eXperimental Impreza WRX (1992) With a 237bhp flat four and permanent all-wheel drive, the original WRX was basically a spaceship when it arrived in 1992. Foundation for the classic 555-liveried world rally cars, long may it hold a place in all high-octane hearts. Celebrated Type RA version – stripped, ready for action – was JDM only. May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK


An all-American tale 75 years of Jeep Jeep turns 75, and celebrates with a smorgasbord of pleasebuild-them-now concept awesomeness. By James Taylor



WILLYS QUAD War – what is it good for? Well, Willys-Overland Co. for starters, who won the contract to build the US Army a new breed of all-terrain runabout


WILLYS MB Where the Jeep name came from is a mystery; most likely it was military jargon derivation of ‘GP’, for ‘general purpose’


WILLYS JEEP CJ-2A Peacetime and civvie street beckons. CJ stands for just that: ‘Civilian Jeep’. Designed for farming, so fewer guns



‘The canvas roof and open sides are completely bulletproof, sir…’


FREEDOM CONCEPT Ahead-of-the curve design for a luxury two-door ragtop SUV, with power-folding roof and picnic basket rollover bar

1987 In a masterstroke of product placement, a pink Jeep Renegade becomes Barbie’s sports utility vehicle of choice for the next two and a bit decades


GRAND CHEROKEE Chrysler pushes Jeep into the posh 4x4 ring with the likes of Range Rover. Grand Cherokee the most upmarket Jeep yet

Time heals: 75 years ago Jeeps fought the Italians; now they’re in cahoots

Chrysler becomes Jeep’s new owner

WRANGLER The CJ series finally dies; the Wrangler is its replacement, inheriting its ‘great off-road, rubbish on it‘ DNA. The series is still going strong today


Another change at the top: Chrysler is now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

1953 Willys-Overland merges with Kaiser-Frazer – at the time the largest merging of two automotive firms

2016: Happy birthday to us! Why celebrate with one wild concept car when you can punt out an army of them?


American Motors Corporation – AMC – takes ownership (until 1987)

TRAILCAT A mutated Wrangler, stretched by 12in to accommodate the Dodge Hellcat’s 707bhp V8. Rally raid suspension and 40in boots

RENEGADE The platform-sharing Fiat 500X’s more macho alterego takes the Jeep brand into a whole new, potentially lucrative market

CREW CHIEF 715 A steely eyed salute to Jeep’s military history, inspired by the ’60s Kaiser M715. ‘Tactical green’ paint, aircraft control switches and Ride of the Valkyries looped on the stereo. Possibly



CHEROKEE The Cherokee name makes its first appearance, initially on a two-door ‘sports’ development of the long-running Wagoneer

WILLYS WAGON Jeep branches out from its military roots for the first time with wood cladding


SHORTCUT A stomach-stapled Wrangler with 26 inches cut from its length, 35in tyres and low-back leather buckets for that ’50s beach buggy vibe. Like Barbie’s ride made macho

FC150 Retro done right. Original battlescarred body from a 1960 Jeep Forward Control with 2005 Wrangler running gear beneath. Analogue compass, CB radio and vinyl seats

COMANCHE A super-stretched Renegade-based pickup with a 2in lift kit, 5ft loadbed, low-range transmission and possibly the greatest paint name ever: ‘Beige Against the Machine‘.


Elliot Brown Canford £325

Bespoke without the big spend

Truly amazing value How do they do it for the money? With the exception of an automatic movement (it’s quartz, but still Swiss) an Elliot Brown Canford offers you most of the features of a Rolex at a fraction (actually around a tenth) of the price. Some of those features are expensive to include, like the super-high quality 316L steel, the integral shock absorber and the triplesealed crowns. Others just show thought, like the smooth radiuses that won’t fray your shirt cuff. This Canford alone comes in 18 very different styles.

On this evidence £500 – or, inexplicably, ‘a monkey’ if you’re a car dealer – buys a lot of watch


HERE’S BEEN AN uptick in interest in watches costing around £500 recently, and it’s not hard to see why. You get a greater level of design and quality that you’ll find at £100. You’ll often get the ability to build your watch bespoke, with your choice of case, dial and strap. But you also feel like you’re getting value, and not subsidising a big Swiss brand’s marketing budget. Here are three British-designed, Swiss-made pieces that typify the trend. BEN OLIVER @thebenoliver

We hear Juicy gossip from the CAR grapevine WHAT’S GOING ON at Mini? The brand has lost its way, and is struggling to reboot the sat-nav for direction. Take the proposed Toyota small car alliance, due to be signed last October. It’s still pending, which suggests BMW wants to keep going it alone, despite its patchy record of building small cars at a profit. The current range uses

Sekford Type 1A £695

Farer Carter £420

New, limited run, but pricey Sekford is a new British watch brand. The watches are actually made in Switzerland, of course, but with input from British typographers, artists and leather makers. The look is ‘mid-century modern’ – for which read Don Draper-style elegance and a relatively constrained 38.5mm case size. The movement is quartz, when you can have an automatic from an established brand for less money. But fine quality, an on-trend look and a limited, numbered run of 500 for this first ‘1A’ model might tempt you.

Very cool look, and customisable Another new British-designed watch brand, made in Switzerland from top-grade steel and a quartz movement, offering seven different styles, each with up to five different strap options – are you seeing a theme here? Farer deserves your attention for their low prices (they start at £340) and really strong designs that bear comparison with Germany’s longestablished, super-cool (but much pricier) Nomos. All their watches are named after British explorers and adventurers: it’s worth springing the extra for this Carter for its good looks and second time zone hand.

the UKL architecture, but BMW’s demands for its fwd variants means a cost, weight, size and complexity burden. The Mini five-door is selling well, the Clubman sold only 5000 in the final few months of 2015. The Cabrio is imminent, and the Countryman XL follows this autumn, giving Mini its first plug-in hybrid. Then what? Mini has been banging on

20 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

about a range of ‘five superheroes’, but what are the other two, if you pair hatch and cabrio? Not thecoupe, roadster or Paceman – these Mk2 flops won’t be replaced. There are plenty of ideas, and these are the front runners: Roomba (a van bordering on 2-series Gran Tourer), Superleggera (above – a roadster with an i8 drivetrain turned through o 180 ) and MiniMini (like the Rocketman concept, left). Sadly, Superleggera would bust the budget, and UKL is too wide for the mini city car.

Longer shots are Coolbox (a hip four-door notchback), Traveller (a compact crossover), a tailor-made electric vehicle (a bespoke city BEV or Roomba derivative) and a five-door crossover coupe, smaller/cheaper than the Countryman. The only concrete decision so far is to extend the life cycle of F56 (the current three-door Mini) by a year until late 2021, which will be almost four years after the mid-cycle changeover

in 2018. This will see the introduction of the overdue dual-clutch ‘box and BMW’s 2.0-litre fourcylinder engine to replace the top-end 1.6-litres. In 2015, Mini sold 338,000 cars, up 10%, largely thanks to the five-door’s success. But the production capacity is in excess of 400,000 units, which makes you wonder why BMW took space at Volvo’s former Dutch facility, which needs 100,000 vehicles a year to turn a profit. Another reason to unmask those superheroes pronto…


The innovations transforming our driving world

RENEWABLE ENERGY For future mobility to be genuinely green its energy has to be entirely clean – which means renewable sources. Trouble is, solar panels only work in daylight and wind turbines are sometimes switched off to regulate supply. To maximise efficiency, this energy needs to be stored while it’s available.


VEHICLE-TO-GRID Nissan reckons the perfect vehicle for this storage is the electric car. Top up its batteries at a renewable supply, then plug it in at home, not to recharge but to power the house. Older batteries can even be recycled as scalable, affordable static storage for solar arrays at home.

The charge towards tomorrow’s fuel station Driver-less charging trips, a handy buffer for the national grid and a mobile charger for your house – your autonomous EV will be busy. By CJ Hubbard



I 4

AUTONOMOUS MOVEMENT Without the need to plug in a lead, autonomous cars could charge themselves, allowing several to share a single wireless charger without squabbling. Great for existing urban areas where a charging point per car is physically impossible.


WIRELESS CHARGING Already well into development at many OEMs, wireless charging does away with plugs and leads and uses inductive technology instead – instant convenience. Imagine charging pads in the road at every traffic light, topping you up while you wait for green.


MAGINE NEVER having to visit a fuel station in future. Not just because we’ll all be driving electric cars and traditional petrol stations will have been reclaimed as parkland for fluffy rabbits, but because your autonomous car will nip off to politely queue at the wireless charging pad at night, topping itself up for your journey to work in the morning. Follow this concept through and you’ll only ever need to physically plug in your EV when you want to charge your house, supplying it with renewable energy generated at times of peak efficiency and stored in the car. Or perhaps when you want to sell the car’s excess juice back to the grid. Sounds far fetched? Nissan is already working on it, and the requisite technologies are in the nascent stage of commercialisation. Together with architects Foster and Partners, the world’s biggest volume EV manufacturer has spent the last 12 months trying to figure out what the fuel station of the future might look like. The findings? That they won’t exist, and that their spiritual successor might be the electric car itself. ‘I think we both started out with the idea that this [fuel station of the future] might be an electrified version of an existing petrol station,’ says Foster and Partners’ head of design, David Nelson. ‘But as we got into the discussion, we realised there’s a bigger picture.’ That bigger picture traverses the tricky ground of self-charging autonomous electric cars – both technologies that are already in the pipeline. A BMW 7-series can already park itself in a garage, and BMW is working with Daimler to standardise induction charging – while also tackling the peaks and troughs of renewable energies’ patterns of supply and demand. As Nelson points out, ‘The big problem with renewable energy is: how do you store it? You’ve got to put it into a grid, and the grid may just let it dissipate because the demand isn’t there that day.’ Equally, solar panels aren’t much use after dark, and nor are wind turbines if you can’t leave them running. So why not pump that electricity directly into an electric car while it is available, and then drive it home to be redistributed when those renewable sources are offline. Recycled EV batteries could be used as static storage cells; Tesla’s Powerwall offers home energy storage, admittedly from solar cells. So Nissan, and other car makers, are rapidly pursuing all these concepts. Director of Nissan’s electric vehicle business unit, Gareth Dunsmore, believes electricity will soon become another ‘sharable economy’ and refers the cynic to the ‘vehicle-to-grid’ trials currently taking place in Denmark. ‘For me,’ he says, ‘both vehicle-to-grid and second-life batteries will be commercialised in 2016. So this is now. In five years’ time it will be common- The car goes full place.’ He admits that the legislative chal- circle, from hated polluter to enabler lenges are ‘huge’, but points out, ‘We’ve of a renewably spent the last five years pioneering electric powered utopia vehicles and really trying to drive legislation to allow for the adoption of electric vehicles, so we’ve built up all the right contacts.’ Besides, ‘Governments have to change – or they will fail on their [environmental] commitments.’ When it comes to cost, Dunsmore also points out that it’s ‘an awful lot cheaper to put in a charger than a petrol station’. Nelson adds that upgrading to wireless and then autonomous systems is ‘just a question of evolution and time’, especially since this solves the space-limited infrastructure legacies of existing cities by allowing vehicles to share a single charging point automatically. ‘You’ve got to start somewhere. And a starting point where there is a level of distribution in urban streets would be very, very good.’ @ir_427 May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK


Does it work?

Smells almost more like burning tarmac than burning rubber. Ah…

Ford Mustang Line Lock

VER WONDERED what Ken Hooliganism thinly disguised as technology Block smells like? Well, Ford now offers you the opportunity to find out – no, not via some kind of secret fragrance diffuser activated by the Drift Mode function in the Mk3 Focus RS, but thanks to the Line Lock system that’s part of the Track App package on the Mustang GT. The theory is simple: engage Line Lock, roast rear tyres until the police arrive or you can no longer see. The re1 2 3 sulting odour of eau de atomised rubber READY! AIM! FIRE! will cling to you for days, unless you Use the steering-wheel After the thumb workout Hit OK again, and when have ready access to one of those dejoypad to access the Track comes the foot workout – the brake pedal goes light, App menu, then Line Lock. press the brake pedal HARD flatten the accelerator. contamination showers they use at the ‘Hold OK to initialise’. Very or Line Lock won’t activate. 15sec is a surprisingly long scene of nuclear accidents. But can Ford Tony Stark Show no sympathy time. Sorry, neighbours really have made it that easy to become a social nuisance? We obviously had to tomatic gearbox, and finished in a kind of overripe find out. In the name of science. You understand. Unlike Drift Mode, Line Lock actually serves a rec- salmon pink. Totally a drag-racing candidate. But DID IT WORK? ognisable purpose – if you intend to become a regular sure enough, all it takes is a few prods of the steering By Jove, yes – although creating competitor at Santa Pod. As with the aftermarket me- wheel-mounted buttons and you too can melt the house-sized clouds of smoke chanical solutions that have existed since the dawn of rear Michelins. And possibly the tarmac. Me? I felt is probably best not made a drag racing, the system locks the front brakes while like the nerdy guy out of American Graffiti. habit. Which may explain why Line Lock limits itself to a 15-second countdown, keeping the rears free, thus allowing them to spin. the dash-cluster instructions are somewhat pernickety. Still, if The resulting smoke is evidence of grip-enhancing but the mechanically sympathetic will cry uncle on you do miscue, the 410bhp V8’s heat, which increases traction (see: science!). Ford’s the Mustang’s behalf well before then, such is the 391lb ft so easily overwhelms innovation is the electronic Line Lock activation, and system’s appetite for tyre destruction. Given this, the rear brakes to spin those its inclusion as standard equipment on a car you can it’s remarkable that Ford confirms using Line Lock tyres that it’s only concern for won’t invalidate the warranty. But using your shiny now buy at UK Ford showrooms. disc/pad longevity that justifies Underlining this point, our chosen test subject new Mustang on track will. Odd, since Line Lock is Line Lock’s existence. Almost. was the least racy-seeming Mustang V8 we could supposedly for track use only. Hmm. lay our hands on – a convertible fitted with the au- CJ HUBBARD @ir_427



24 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Volvo’s turbo lag solution is just hot air It’s called ‘PowerPulse’ – one quick squirt and you’re spooled up. By Ian Adcock


AVE THE SWEDES cracked the perennial issue of turbo response in diesel engines? While Audi tinkers with electrically powered boosters and BMW pursues triple turbos, Volvo boffins have come up with a simple alternative: compressed air. Called ‘PowerPulse’, the patented system is fitted to Volvo’s latest D5 diesel engine and will be offered first in the new V90 estate. It’s being touted as a quickly available, cost-effective alternative to 48v e-booster systems.

‘We looked at e-boosters, but they require a 48v electrical loom, a larger alternator and an auxiliary battery, and that didn’t fit in with our new modular engine strategy,’ says Volvo development engineer Ragnar Burenius. ‘And nor do we think they are industrially mature yet.’ Even though the D5 engine features two sequential Borg-Warner turbos – a 38mm turbo feeding a 53mm one – to help reduce lag this is further aided by a pulse of compressed air injected into the exhaust manifold, spinning the smaller turbo from idling at 20,000rpm to a fully operational 150,000rpm in 0.3sec. Burenius claims the unique technology is ‘significantly’ cheaper than a 48v e-booster for the same result and could be scalable for different capacity engines. But could it work for a petrol engine? ‘It’s theoretically possible, although there would be a big question of how it would interact with the after-treatment system…’

Volvo’s revised D5 turbodiesel engine: ‘PowerPulse’ uses compressed air to deliver the power sooner


Pressurised air tank An electrically-driven compressor and a pressurised air tank are added to the powertrain in the space that houses the hybrid elements in other engine variants. Fresh air from the air filter is stored in the 2.0-litre tank at 12 bar and is constantly re-charged to ensure there’s a supply of pressurised air while driving or after being parked for any length of time.


More power, delivered earlier The key is when and where the power is delivered. The new engine delivers twice as much power within a second of acceleration from a standing start as the standard D5. It also reaches peak power earlier, marginally out-dragging 3.0-litre rivals over the first 60m.

Relative Power

3 More than twice the power

PowerPulse Baseline Time (s)

26 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016


Controlled by right foot

A tale of two turbos

The injection is triggered by the driver’s throttle action, for instance at launch or during transient overtaking manoeuvres. A pulse of air, nominally at 12 bar and lasting about a tenth of a second, is injected into the exhaust manifold creating a very sudden pressure increase which speeds up the smaller turbine.

The smaller, high-pressure turbo is predominant up to around an engine speed of 2500 to 2750rpm depending on driving conditions, ie, steady state acceleration or transient, before handing over to the bigger, low-pressure turbo which is now running at optimal speed of 160,000rpm for maximum boost.






Avon ZX7 is an ultra high performance SUV tyre with ‘A’ grade wet grip – the perfect choice for drivers who demand the best. Avon ZX7 delivers outstanding steering response and features noise reducing technology for


a quieter, smoother ride. For further information on the Avon Tyres range, visit


Tyre guru Richard Durance: ‘we’ve improved rolling resistance by 20-30%’


The next big things

Tyres made from dandelions? Continental’s auto engineering boss Richard Durance on the tyres of the future, Chinese knock-offs and geckos’ feet > CONTINENTAL STARTED out by rubber-skimming aircraft wings in the early 1900s. Now we have 205,000 employees in 53 countries and annual sales worth €34.5 billion. Only 28% of the business relates to tyres, and much of the remainder is brake systems, chassis technology and stability control systems. > OUR BLACK Chili compound was originally developed for bicycle tyres in 2005. It’s a special polymer combined with other raw materials, and was first used on the ContiSportContact 5 in 2010. It adjusts to the surface and keys into grip, helping to force away water. Black Chili also uses small suction pads like geckos’ feet; they’re microscopic. > WE CAN tune each tyre for individual OEMs, so even though two tyres might look identical, each can be specific to a certain car. The steel belt, ply material, apex and reinforcements in the bead area can all be tuned, and it has a big effect on how forces are transmitted, as well as the compromise between comfort and steering

FRESH THINKING: VW launches… a doorbell So your car can answer the door, obviously Cars answering doors? That’s a pretty big hallway… No, this isn’t a bizarre scheme to send autonomous cars out to welcome guests like some kind of wheeled roboJeeves, but part of VW’s plan to keep on extending the internet of things until literally everything is connected. In this case it’s the BUDD-e electric vehicle concept and the DoorBird WiFi-enabled doorbell. 28

I say, ding dong! It’s true – by combining the connected car with the connected doorbell you could answer your door while you’re on the M25. Pull the other one, etc Yes, yes, it’s got bells on. But we’re not making this up – DoorBird is an existing product. Kitted out with a motion sensor and a camera, it not only allows you to view visitors remotely on your smartphone but


actually open the door for them. VW’s innovation is to incorporate DoorBird’s output into BUDD-e’s infotainment system. So I’ll never miss a delivery? That’s the idea. And if your would-be visitor looks shifty you can always activate the 100dB alarm to convince them to clear off. Probably best if you don’t test this on your mum, but you’re unlikely to have a problem with cold callers for long.

response. For instance, we can make the apex in the bead area taller, which increases steering response, but sacrifices comfort. Make it smaller and the reverse is true. It’s all about finding that compromise. > WE ARE investigating how we can manufacture tyres from dandelions. It involves refining the latex we require from the stalk. It’s too early to say if these tyres would give us the correct properties, and I’m not sure on yield per acre, but it will reduce the amount of synthetic oil required. > THERE ARE three conflicts to tyre performance: rolling resistance, wet performance, and wear. If you improve wet performance by 2-3%, the tyre might wear 15% faster. Tyre life has improved over the last couple of decades, but you have to consider how both vehicle dynamics and performance have improved. Tyres are now asked to do a lot more, even though we’re not always conscious of it. > TYRE COMPOUND accounts for 50% of rolling resistance. No-one wants to compromise on other factors while decreasing rolling resistance. In fact, we’ve improved rolling resistance by 20-30% since the 1980s, despite larger, wider tyres, but I think a 2% per year improvement is the limit. We’re trying to achieve even lower rolling resistance for electric cars. > A TYRE’S compound is so important to safety and performance, it’s not just about the tread pattern. A Chinese company copied our tread pattern exactly, and we did tests to show that the stopping distance was massively longer. > WE ARE looking at different polymers for run-flat tyres that react intelligently when put in a different load environment. For instance, a sidewall that can flex to give good handling, comfort and low rolling resistance when fully inflated, but the characteristics change to create a much stiffer sidewall in the event of tyre pressure loss. So you get the advantages of run-flat technology while minimising any negative attributes. INTERVIEW BY BEN BARRY @IamBenBarry

‘Sorry, I’m in Budapest. But do come in’


Luxury that never compromises safety With an advanced VAI system that allows drivers to track vehicle alignment and aerodynamic sidewalls that minimise noise and vibration levels, the Ventus S1 evo² GHOLYHUVWKHSURPLVHRISHUIRUPDQFHDQGHQKDQFHGIXHOHI¿FLHQF\ Hankook Tyre UK Ltd, Fawsley Drive, Heartlands Business Park, Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 8UG Tel: +44 1327 304 100 Fax: +44 1327 304 110

12 cars tested, starring S500 cabrio, Maserati Levante, Ferrari California T, Subaru XV & four seven-seater MPVs


Dropped the roof, dropped the ball The Mercedes S500 with the folding fabric roof is meant to be the reincarnation of the super-elegant 280SE 3.5. It isn’t. By Georg Kacher 30 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016


on top of the windscreen and a mesh device which pops up behind the rear seats, rear passengers still need fur hats. The driver and front seat passenger, however, travel in splendid isolation. No fewer than 12 sensors and 18 electric motors are busy adjusting the airflow and temperature to one’s personal preference from three air-con modes and five footwell temperature settings. Nice. Assuming the S-class is the world’s most complete luxury saloon, then the S-class convertible must surely be the best part-time tanning booth. But it isn’t, and here’s why. Despite the impressive level of craftsmanship and enough tech to run a space programme, presence and packaging are not entirely convincing. For a start, the convertible uses the same front and rear end design as the

Merc set out coupe, and with the E- and imagining C-class both pulling the something super opulent like the same trick it’ll be difficult Ocean Drive to tell the three apart. Then concept with a Maybach badge. there’s the compromised What happened? packaging. One glance at the different wheelbases tells all: S500 2945mm, C300 2840mm, E300 2939mm. Why are S and E separated only by a token 6mm? Why is the most expensive S-class derivative not based on the roomier 3035mm standard-wheelbase saloon? The convertible is not only handicapped by zero rear legroom when the front seats are pushed back, but also by a smaller boot than the shorter C-class. The best or nothing? We see room for improvement. 




VEN WHEN MONEY is no object, the world offers few luxury four-seater convertibles. In the wake of the discontinued Azure and Phantom drophead, the selection has narrowed to the Bentley GTC, RR Dawn, Maserati Gran Cabrio and BMW 6-series. And now the new S-class. Reasons why demand is dwindling include fear of air pollution and UV radiation, the sense of exposure in an increasingly hostile world, and that high speeds turn rear seats into job creation devices for hairdressers. A long trip in a convertible, four up with the roof folded, is an overt act of self-presentation at the expense of suffering back-benchers. Even when you specify your topless S-class with Aircap, a combination of self-extending wind-deflector net

U P AG A I N S T BETTER THAN BMW 6-series But only because the 6 is a shonky steer WORSE THAN Bentley GTC

Opulence like you mean it WE’D BUY Maserati Gran Cabrio

Gonna be compromised? May as well enjoy the drive

At £110,120 the S500 cabrio costs twice as much as the soon-to-be-replaced E500 soft-top. But then its aluminium-intensive architecture is stiffer, safer and lighter, and in terms of infotainment and assistance systems there is no other soft-top quite like it. Although the standard spec is generous, one can still spend thousands on colour and trim alone. Opt for the 577bhp 63 AMG 4Matic or the S65 powered by a new 621bhp 6.0-litre V12, and you’re in Bentley GTC territory. On the autobahn S500 is as hush-quiet as the coupe. Thanks to the triple-layer fabric top, redesigned door and window seals and sandwich glass, wind and road noise are very well suppressed, and the engine raises its voice only in response to kickdown. At 2115kg, the air-sprung Benz is heavy enough to ride well, even when fitted with

Mercedes-Benz S500 convertible > Price £110,120 > Engine 4663cc 32v twin-turbo V8, 449bhp @ 5250rpm, 516lb ft @ 18003500rpm > Transmission Nine-speed auto, rearwheel drive > Performance 4.6sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 32.5mpg, 204g/km CO2 > Weight 2115kg > On sale Now 32


Triple-layered roof + epic air-deflectors + cosy cabin = blissful serenity. But not if you’re in the back

soft-compound 19in winter tyres. on. The calibration of the brakes also matches the It’s a comfortable and cosseting character of a comfort-oriented waftmeister. Pedal car, totally unagitated yet clever pressure is tuned to the strength of a lady’s foot, enough to brake and steer by and deceleration is strong, though the initial bite itself. While the semi-active could be a little more aggressive, and at the end of a steering and the lane discipline long descent the pedal feels mushy. We try the descent in the opposite direction vibrator are not to everyone’s taste, the automatic cruise control with ESP off. Although power oversteer is not in keeps a watchful panoramic the nature of a four-seater convertible aimed at sileye – even if the driver happens ver-agers, the Merc certainly knows how to dance to be fiddling with his dynamic the g-force tango! Why don’t my trip notes make much reference massage seat or listening to his to the 4.7-litre 449bhp twin-turbo V8? Because emails being read out. Manoeuvring through Trieste’s steep, ancient this engine delivers without bragging. At 4.6sec lanes is a permanent threat to wide tyres, big from 0-62mph, it succumbs to the 621bhp V12 alloys, low-flying air deflectors and voluminous by a token 0.5sec, its limited 155mph top speed exhausts. But here’s the perfect proving ground for is way beyond top-down plausibility, and our the improved multi-camera surveillance system, average consumption over 1867km worked out at air suspension which generates an extra 40mm in a remarkably reasonable 24.5mpg. The S500 cabriolet oozes exquisite competence crawling height, and automatic parking. In theory, the on-board chips will search, find and occupy a even before night vision separates the deer from parking spot. In reality, the streets are so narrow the pedestrian, the 23 speakers of the incredible that one inch closer to the kerb is the difference Burmester sound system start playing a Schubert serenade, the LED light fingers cast constantly between door mirror and not. While the new E-class lets you choose from changing patterns into the dark. This car shields its occupants from most vagaries, a variety of drive modes, in the but despite all the bits and bytes, S500 it’s either Comfort or Sport. LOVE it still represents conventional Comfort will hurry into ninth gear It still wants to be luxury. Other qualities, however, which equals a leisurely 3500rpm driven rather than to drive you leave something to be desired. For at 100mph, while Sport seasons the its class, this is not a particularly drivetrain with later upshifts and a HATE spacious car, the generic exterior sharper throttle response. Pitiful packaging, lack of presence design clashes with the overdone True to its dimensions, the cabin, vehicle dynamics are capable 5027mm S does not feel like an VERDICT rather than thrilling. In the end excessively big car. Its steering may If you want to be considered classy, it is merely the XL version of a not be overly rapid, and it is a touch keep your top on generic style also offered in sizes on the light side, but precision, +++++ M and L. self-centering and feedback are spot-



Anyone seen Subaru’s mojo?

Channelling Rover’s worst moment



T’S BEEN FOUR years since the Subaru XV was launched and, if you can recall having seen more than four since, I’d be surprised. The rugged SUV has proven as memorable as a starring role filled by Jai Courtney. The similarly complete charisma vacuum that is the XV, then, is in desperate need of a shot of adrenalin to remain in vague contention. Which, alas, is exactly what it isn’t getting. Nope, there’s no blue-and-gold blazing, no WRC-alike burble. Revisions to this year’s edition of unsurprisingly dull Subaru include a new 7in screen, fractionally more efficient engines and mild cosmetic tweaks. Outside of the more modern, perfectly serviceable media system, the updates are relatively moot and unlikely to entice. Similarly, on the road it’s much unchanged. The still-svelte kerbweight and slick, accurate steering mean the Subaru’s poise is more akin to its WRX relatives than you might expect, but the powertrain is inferior – the whining transmission, gruff diesel and long-throw gearshift lend it a distinct air of the late ’90s. The XV merrily continues its sub-par performance elsewhere; it’s noisy on the motorway, frequently unsettled and the suspension crashy over rough terrain – to the point where the ruckus from the underside leaves you wondering if Subaru’s fitted F1-style wheel straps for safety purposes. It’s not the most practical choice, either, offering room more akin to a conventional hatch. That said, buyers interested more in the cost of ownership, rather than the pleasure of it, will appreciate its five-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Our example also returned a sensible 39mpg. Ultimately, however, the revamped XV remains comprehensively outgunned by far more talented and easily justified options. Just like Jai Courtney. LEWIS KINGSTON @theseoldcars

XV? That’s 15 in Roman numerals. Coincidentally, this is the 15th best compact SUV on sale

Remaking a classic is risky enough, but reimagining a dud?

H, HOW FUTURE generations will look back on the Rover Streetwise (2003-2005, RIP) as a far-sighted piece of automotive visionary thinking. Today’s case in point: the Hyundai i20 Active. A new addition to the i20 range amongst a package of revisions for 2016, this so-called crossover is based on the existing five-door but glories in a visual makeover that modifies over Hyundai i20 Active 100 T-GDI > Price £15,225 > Engine 998cc 12v turbo 50% of the exterior. From the moustachioed 3-cyl, 98bhp @ 4500rpm, 126lb ft @ 1500rpm front bumper to the pseudo skidplates, it’s > Transmission Five-speed manual, fronta surprisingly attractive transformation, wheel drive > Performance 10.9sec 0-62mph, 109mph, 58.9mpg, 110g/km CO2 > Weight further flattered by the 20mm ride height 1181kg > On Sale Now lift. Nicely done. Sadly, such plaudits abandon all onwards travel plans at the door handles. Unique metal pedals and raised seating differentiate the Active, but in disheartening contrast to the ruggedly handsome outside, the inside is like some kind of retro ’90s plastics party, filled with generic shapes and uniformly finished in ‘black hole’. Blue illumination set to stun is not the best compensation for this; good job the instrument brightness adjuster is easily located. Hoping it might win it all back from behind the wheel? Sorry. There’s zero steering feel and the suspension seems poorly damped Interior was surely – thumping into bumps yet rolling round corners at the merest hint signed off on a Friday afternoon. Just before of enthusiasm. The single engine choice, a 98bhp turbo triple, quells Christmas. In the dark. this spirit by lumping its efforts into a mid- By an owl range wodge that leaves you lagging at the LOVE lower end and hanging at the top, an experiHyundai’s ence compounded by a horrid gearbox; the Streetwise looks oddly offset gate making it all too easy to great select third instead of first, while anything HATE to do with second requires such a firm hand Bland interior, you might be tempted to use both. forgettable drive All told, there’s a decidedly budget feel VERDICT about the entire thing – unusual for a modStylish lifestyle projection but it’s a ern Hyundai. Neat niche design does not a mirage holistic ownership proposition make. That +++++ Rover may have a lot to answer for. CJ HUBBARD @ir_427

Subaru XV 2.0D SE Premium manual > Price £26,995 > Engine 1998cc 16v 4cyl boxer turbodiesel, 145bhp @ 3600rpm, 258lb ft @ 1600-2400rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive > Performance 9.3sec 0-62mph, 123mph, 52.3mpg, 141g/km CO2 > Weight 1420kg/steel > On Sale Now > Rating +++++ VERDICT Tolerable, but among superior, more affordable rivals May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK



Pack’s more like it BMW keeps M3 in the game by cheekily asking £3000 for the juicy stuff it should have had all along. We’ll take it!


S THIS THE car the M3 and M4 should always have been? It’s rare for BMW to drop the ball, but it’s fair to say the latest iteration heartland M cars were not quite as fab as we’d hoped for when they arrived in spring 2014. Where the E90 was all V8 bluster and edgy handling, the newest models felt like a small step backwards, especially with the switch to a more muted six-cylinder turbo. Perhaps somebody at M division agreed, because just two short years after launch we’re presented with the new Competition Package on both M3 and M4 bodystyles. Past experience suggests this is the spec the majority of buyers will pick in the UK, with a whopping 80% take-up. When you see what you get for your money, you’ll understand the reasons behind their popularity. For a nice round £3000, BMW offers

BMW M3 and M4 Competition Package > Price £59,595 > Engine 2979cc 24v straight-six turbo, 444bhp @ 7000rpm, 406lb ft @ 1850rpm > Transmission Seven-speed M double-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive > Performance 4.0sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 34mpg, 194g/km CO2 > Weight 1595kg > On sale Now 34


a 19bhp power boost and ruder M sports exhaust, freshly designed 20in alloys shod with broader rubber and suspended by recalibrated springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. These engineering changes prove it’s not just a cosmetic makeover for posing purposes. And you can feel Illuminated seat it when you drive either car any disbadges? It’s a fine tance: the Comp Pack editions pour line, but this is also a fine cabin down the road with a subtle polish, feeling every inch an M division product. It’s that well-judged blend of taut body control and plump ride comfort their Shadow Line black gloss detailing – we that sorts the merely average chassis set-up from love the discreet dark badges replacing the usual the discerning ones. It rides surprisingly well chromed letters and numbers on the bootlid. The window brightwork is now smoked and so considering the large rims. It’s classic evolution not revolution stuff. are the kidney grilles, lending a modest menace Traction is bolstered by the updated driving in keeping with the German express genre. Inside you’re gripped by new lightweight M modes controlling the Active M differential and despite boasting a fulsome 444bhp and 406lb ft sports seats, with gaps in their backs – nominalof grunt, it never feels a handful as you rev out ly to save weight, though you may find yourself poked in the back by errant the straight-six, tapping up and children. The illuminated M motif down the instant-shift twin-clutch on the seatbacks is a bit naff, but auto. What of the soundtrack, one LOVE Subtle upgrades we were smitten with the subtly of our bugbears of the newest M add missing polish striped seatbelts, woven with an M twins? The start-up grumble is softo M pairing tricolor. tened slightly, but once warmed up HATE If you’re dropping nearly sixty the blown six sounds a bit angrier, Even with sports large on an M3 or M4, we’d heartmore tuneful. We still hanker after exhaust, that sixily recommend spending an extra the screaming V8, mind. banger is no V8 three on the Competition Pack. It So performance is gently substitute… feels like a more complete package upgraded (0-62mph takes just VERDICT – just pick your bodystyle to suit 4.0sec!), but there’s more to the You’d be mad not your lifestyle. Why not launch an Comp Pack than saving a tenth to upgrade to the Comp Pack M3 Touring, BMW? here or there. Anoraks take note: +++++ you’ll spot these M3s and M4s by TIM POLLARD @TimPollardCars






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HERE’S ALWAYS GOING to be a worst song on the album no matter how great they all are,’ an exasperated Johnny Ramone once said about End of the Century, the long player the New York punk quartet made with punctilious pop Svengali Phil Spector. It’s a maxim that can be applied to everything from trilogy films to Ferraris. But not Ramones songs, which all sound exactly the same. The California is not Ferrari’s best car, but it’s a good car. To compare it with the vastly more expensive 488 is to miss the point. It’s a Mercedes SL or Aston rival designed to pull in new (and often female) customers to the brand. But what if, having been welcomed to the Ferrari family, you want something more, a stepping-stone to the mid-engined car you might get further down the road? That’s where the Handling Speciale pack comes in. This isn’t a Speciale in the mould of the 458 with the same name. There are no changes to the lag-free twin-turbo V8, no changes to the hefty 1730kg kerbweight. What you do get is a set of springs stiffened by 16% at the front and 19% at the back, retuned magnetic dampers (normally a £3168 option anyway), and a swifter gearshift. The HS pack on the old naturally aspirated

Ferrari California T Handling Speciale > How much? £160,798 (inc £5568 for HS pack) > Engine 3855cc 32v V8, 552bhp @ 7500rpm, 567lb ft @ 4750rpm > Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive > Performance 3.6sec 0-62mph, 196mph, 26.9mpg, 250g/km > Weight 1730kg > On sale Now If the California is a Ferrari for the ladies, we’d like to meet the girl who chooses the tauter, sexier HS

California was a brutal affair. Stiffer suspension and a quicker steering rack ramped up the agility, but the ride comfort was left behind with that handful of spare bolts you always seem to finish up with whenever you tinker with cars. The trade wasn’t worth it. This one is better judged. A new exhaust releases 3db more roar across the rev range, setting the scene from the moment you push the starter button. More advanced dampers help retain the civility at urban speeds, but there’s a noticeable improvement in body control when you start to draw hard on the engine’s 552bhp. It still feels like a big machine, but the even weight distribution gives it a pleasing neutral balance that you can really exploit if you switch out the rather cautious stability system using the simple three-position manettino toggle.


Side two, track one If you think of Ferrari’s current line-up as their latest album, the reheated California won’t be the first single. But it’s a strong opener for side two

At £5568 on top of the £155,460 price of a basic California T, the HS pack is actually a bit of a bargain in supercar terms, if not in real-world ones. You’ll pay over £40k more for a 488 Spider. But it’s not quite a no brainer. There’s more exhaust boom and slightly less compliance. The HS undoubtedly feels more exciting, more satisfying to drive quickly, but unless you’ve ever actually felt that lacking in the standard car, you’re probably still better off sticking with the regular version. Ferrari also says the HS pack can’t be retro-fitted to existing Californias. Still, around one in five buyers went for the HS last time, and we’d be surprised if this much-improved version doesn’t account for a bigger slice of the pie. It’s still no 488 to drive, but some hits were always destined to go platinum. CHRIS CHILTON @chrischiltoncar

LOVE Ferrari’s most benign car has a naughty streak

Stiffer springs, louder exhaust, better dampers and heftier wallet damage



HATE That we can’t stretch to a 488 Spider VERDICT Not perfect but perfectly judged +++++

They had thought of basing it on a Grand Cherokee. Count your blessings


You say you want a revolution… …well, you know, we all want to change Maserati. And this, the brand’s first SUV, is the car to do it. By Georg Kacher


271bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel model. Maybe if we vote to stay in Europe they’ll allow us the 424bhp V6 petrol-powered Levante S too, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. It will not win on We don’t buy them, you see – and specification or even in the rest of Europe they’ll dynamics alone, but on account for only 10% of sales. So I character and charisma? That will be interesting try the diesel first. Our oil-burner runs on flattering 20-inchers shod with 265/45 and 295/40 rubber. The Levante will never be the with interest and provides the right amount of grandmaster of cushiness, but in this configura- feedback. But it lacks the parking speed lightness tion it certainly out-smooths the even stiffer M, we have become used to, and the holding forces AMG, SVR and GTS rivals. Built by Fiat Group’s through very fast corners are, well, considerable. VM Motori, and composed of a 95% lambswool It’s a much better dynamic drive than the Ghibli. and 5% cashmere mix, the diesel is a rough Air suspension makes the ride much better, the torque-monster which frightens the lubricant out sense of relaxed compliance interrupted only by of the 4wd system whenever it pulls its awesome some pattering and slapping on broken surfaces. Made of steel and not of carbon ceramic, the 442lb ft of torque out of its crankcase. But this engine dislikes high revs to brakes are one of the Maserati’s major dynamic the extent that it won’t accept kick- strengths. Half a dozen downhill runs on the down orders above 3000rpm. In all Stelvia may make them sweat, but between other subjects bar NVH, the 3.0-litre Parma and Balocco they deserve full points for unit gets steady marks: 0-62mph in stopping power and pedal feel. The claimed 6.9sec is borderline acceptable on deceleration from 62mph to standstill is a sports paper and feels reasonably nippy, car-like 34.5metres. Another asset is the fourand a 144mph top speed shackled to wheel-drive system which actually propels only the rear wheels most of the time. Only when 39.0mpg sounds okay to us. Although the switch to electric power steering is mandatory to comMaserati Levante 3.0d ply with future assistance systems, > Price £55,000 (est) > Engine 2897cc 24v turbodiesel V6, 271bhp @ 4000rpm, 442lb ft the Levante still relies on the classic Nice leather they’ve @ 2000-2600rpm > Transmission Eight-speed always done. New hydraulic steering. It feels nice auto, four-wheel drive > Performance 6.9sec touchscreen and smart and meaty most of the time, turns 0-62mph, 143mph, 39.0mpg, 189g/km CO2 controls ice the cake in with precision, unwinds lock > Weight 2205kg > On sale Now

F I TOLD YOU they want the Levante to be the Maserati of SUVs would you get it? It was not engineered to tackle the Great Divide or the Rubicon Trail, but it will happily haul you to the door of the ski chalet or the gate of the thoroughbred corral. SUV light, so to speak, enhanced by ample performance and most equipment-related must-haves. ‘We wanted our car to be sportier than the BMW and more comfortable than the Porsche,’ says Harald Wester, the chieftain of Maserati and Alfa Romeo. ‘In volume terms, the Levante is perhaps the most significant product the brand has ever released. It is expected to account for half our sales by 2018.’ His words are ringing in my head as I drive. Does this car really have what it takes to lead a brand revolution? In the UK that task looks harder, as they’ve decided to let us have only the



As much as anything else it says ‘I am not a German!’

UP AGAIN ST BETTER THAN Maserati Ghibli Which is a great relief to us all WORSE THAN Range Rover Sport Nails the class/dynamic/off-road equation WE’D BUY Porsche Cayenne Best where it really counts

required, the front wheels will, with the help of torque vectoring, take on up to 50% of the traction duties. Further assistance is provided by four driving programmes labelled Normal, Sport, ICE (increased control and efficiency) and Off-road. Having put up far too long with outmoded infotainment, the Levante boasts a brand-new multi-media interface which combines a large touchscreen with two integrated rotary controls positioned on the transmission tunnel next to the five main hard keys. Although the system is by and large easy to use, some often needed functions, such as the seat heater controls, hide in a sub-menu. Despite such minor idiosyncrasies, the cabin design strikes a likeable balance between flair and functionality. The seats are comfortable, the packaging is quite generous, and 580 litres of luggage space should suffice for the family holiday. As expected, the option list is even longer than the wine list of a three-star restaurant, but the basics are all there FOC. Among the Levante’s main claims to fame are the best-in-class drag coefficient of 0.31, the remarkably spacious rear passenger compartment,

the tight turning circle (11.7m), the low centre of petrol-powered Levante S, which is a different gravity (only 610mm above street level), the high- animal. More refined, more vocal, more potent: speed aerodynamic stability, and the astonishing 0-62mph in 5.2sec, 165mph top speed. Unfortulateral acceleration (0.95g max). Barely concealed nately, our car was equipped with 21in wheels, by these numbers is an open invitation to pull which look nice but destroy the ride and tramline out all the stops, give this thing stick, explore the like silverfishes. But listen to that beautiful limit of courage and adhesion. But don’t expect noise! You approach every roundabout as if it miracles – the single-chamber air suspension was the entry to La Rascasse. Use the shortest by Conti and the adjustable skyhook dampers straight to change down a gear, one octave, a couby Sachs have been around even longer than ple of thousand revs. Whip the gears through the eight-speed autobox until your neck hurts. Sigh. Berlusconi and his gang. So, is the Levante Maserati’s The Levante is derived from the revolutionary? Rivals can claim a Ghibli and Quattroporte compoLOVE softer ride, further reaching headnents set, not the Jeep Grand CherCosseting yet agile lights, more electronic helpers and okee as originally intended. As a re– they’ve nailed the fewer inconsistencies. But when sult, the new aluminium-intensive brief it’s the going that counts rather SUV is only 189kg heavier than HATE than the getting there, experience the smaller notchback, at 2205kg That we can’t ranks above perfection. That’s in diesel guise. Despite its bulk, have the petrol why we like cars with rough edges mass and momentum, the spacious S – purely for the noise and minor flaws, as long as they crossover feels actually more agile, ooze character and charisma. Cars more firmly planted and, on the VERDICT which may never win a Giant Test. right tyre size, more comfortable What we expected, what we hoped Cars like the Levante, the Maserati than the cramped saloon. +++++ of SUVs. I can’t resist a go in the V6 May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK



Quick, but not so you’d notice OMEONE AT SKODA has a sense of humour. If there’s a stealthier Q-ship currently on sale than the 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 Superb estate it escapes me. Finished in rental car red with alloys like budget Halford’s hubcaps, everything about our test car screamed boggo diesel, its only nod to greatness the 4x4 badge on the boot, which I’d be tempted to prise off immediately. Powertrain-wise, we’re dealing with a slightly out of condition Golf R in a fat suit – though considering the Mk3 Superb’s the size of a hearse, a 61kg penalty is nothing to be ashamed of, and even capped at 276bhp its BMI must be pretty sensational. Point this unassuming low-rent limo with a luggage locker down a motorway slip road and it’ll hit 62mph in 5.8sec, before swiftly ripping the guts out of three figures if you aren’t fastidiously restrained. You don’t have time to see the expressions of amazement on surrounding motorists’ faces, but you can easily imagine them. Another important face to imagine, however, is your own – upon arriving at every single corner at a lick far faster than you anticipated. For if there is one gaping flaw in Skoda’s comic coup it’s that no effort has really been made to redress the mighty motor’s additional strain on the chassis. Four-wheel drive and XDS+ bolster traction, but the brakes are just the standard biggerengined Superb items and the conventional suspension tends to corkscrew into knots under pressure. Less edgy, more slapstick.


A bit of a performance Bestselling DS model gets a freshen up and a hotter version, tapping into the UK’s hot-hatch fetish. At least that’s the plan…


OMPLETING THE FULL set of makeovers since the DS brand threw off the shackles of sharing headed notepaper with Citroën, the DS3 supermini has been given a tickle. The bestselling DS receives a sharper look concentrated on the ‘DS Wings’ grille, some updated tech and further personalisation options. But as we’re a nation of hothatch lovers in addition to being the world’s biggest DS3 market, of particular interest is this new Performance version. Unlike the limited edition DS3 Racing that preceded it, the Performance is a regular model, with a more rounded brief. DS has recalibrated the dampers, revised the springs, fiddled with anti-roll bars and added a Torsen limited-slip diff. The result is 15mm lower than standard yet intended to be more of a ‘grand tourer’ than the Racing – or the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport, which donates its 205bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine. It certainly looks the business – though how many will be brave enough to fork out a further £2k for the ‘Performance Black’ in its matteblack-with-gold-roof livery remains to be seen. The square Performance badge motif is quirky and the optional graphics packs appeal to the self-differentiating aesthete, while the minimal gap between tyre edge and wheelarch

It rides like a Carry On trolley careering down those hospital stairs

40 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

DS3 Performance > Price £20,495 > Engine 1598cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 205bhp @ 6000rpm, 221lb ft @ 3000rpm > Transmission Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive with LSD > Performance 6.5sec 0-62mph, 143mph, 52.3mpg, 125g/km CO2 > Weight 1175kg > On sale Now

suggests a fervour of purpose, if also a limited degree of compliance. Hold that thought. As well as adopting new touchscreen infotainment, the interior gains bucket seats without sacrificing any of the awkwardness in the DS3’s driving position; somehow the gearlever is never where you want it to be. Once apprehended, it stirs a ’box happily equipped with shorter ratios, but occasionally only reluctantly. Similarly, the Brembo front brake calipers deliver plenty of bite but with an initial sharpness that can be difficult to modulate. Though the Performance comes as both hatchback and convertible you’d have to be a committed melanoma enthusiast indeed to put up with the shuddering discomfort wrought upon the latter by the unsettling suspension tuning. It’s hard to fathom that the DS is supposedly ‘everyday’ driving friendly versus the ‘extreme’ 208 GTi. This sort of uncompromising demeanour is fine in a car like the sublime Fiesta ST, but in the DS3 it quickly becomes annoying because the rest of the experience is so flat. For all LOVE Loud looks, that the engine does offer crisp muscular engine response and impressive depths of muscularity, it never sounds HATE Bumpy ride, exciting, and though it grips recalcitrant hard and rolls little there’s no gearbox spark to the steering, no thrilling VERDICT edge to the handling. Sadly, it’s Feisty, but no another DS we’re resigned to Fiesta ST categorising as an also-ran. +++++ CJ HUBBARD @ir_427

CJ HUBBARD @ir_427 More m-way destroyer than B-road corvette. If it doesn’t make you laugh you might be dead

Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 estate > Price £32,320 > Engine 1984cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 276bhp @ 5600-6500rpm, 258lb ft @ 1700-5600rpm > Transmission six-speed DSG, four-wheel drive with XDS+ > Performance 5.8sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 39.2mpg, 164g/km CO2 > Weight 1635kg > On sale Now > Rating +++++

VERDICT Space, pace, and less pretentious than ready salted crisps themselves


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Family buckets with free seven up Seven people in one average-sized, non-bus-resembling car? A challenge to chassis engineers and designers alike. Who’s nailed it? By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Ford S-Max


Volkswagen Sharan

Luxury coach is an oxymoron... With us since 2006, first generation S-Max demonstrated admirably that a seven-seater need not look, ride or handle like a minibus, making it a somewhat hard act to follow. Over to you, Mondeoplatformed Mk2...

Luxury coach is an oxymoron... Hatched when buses still had conductors, touchscreen was something you’d rather your sticky-fingered toddler didn’t do to the telly, and the Espace was king of the seven-passengers-withouttheir-luggage road. Ford has moved on from the Galaxy, VW has not.

Queen of the Slipstream or Routemaster? Very much the former. However, Seven in comfort having lost that roving voyeurfriendly depth of side glazing, the second generation car is now merely good, rather than great, looking. Wheels 3in smaller than Discovery Sport’s bode well for ride comfort.

Queen of the Slipstream or Routemaster? Still has a poster of an Intercity 125 on its bedroom wall, and proud of it. Power-operated sliding rear doors managed to close on CJ’s hand as he reached for his seatbelt. Not clever.

Magnificent Seven or Two Mules for Sister Sara? Superior front seat comfort. Rows stadium tiered to maximise visibility. Middle row outers tilt and slide for access to terrorist class. All five independent rear seats dropped by one-touch boot-wall-mounted buttons. Virtuous versatility.

Magnificent Seven or Two Mules for Sister Sara? Most spacious, well-considered seven-seat layout here, if not the most comfy. Properly tiered throughout, with stacks of second-row legroom, but no seat-back rake adjustment. Easy access to most capacious third row in group.


Even back row is smiling

So, there’s 28 of you, two of whom are really short and two who everybody dislikes. Your lift has arrived

BMW 220d Gran Tourer

Land Rover Disco Sport Luxury coach is an oxymoron... With the Evoque denied five-seat Freelander status, it’s hardly surprising that this was similarly denied seven-seat Freelander dubbing. Designed to boast three rows from the outset, so hopefully makes a decent fist of it…

Queen of the Slipstream or Routemaster? Good-looking hooter gives Back row is grimmacing way to somewhat goofy rear modification aimed at awarding a modicum of headroom to third-row seating. Smacks of five-seater hastily tinkered with to accommodate seven. Which, of course, is exactly…

Queen of the Slipstream or Routemaster? Neither. Just a tad odd-looking, with rakish, DS3-style C-pillar absent elsewhere in Land/Range Rover oeuvre. Undeniably sportier looking than standard Discovery, but then so is the average wardrobe.

Magnificent Seven or Two Mules for Sister Sara? …what the interior confirms it to be. Second row is just 60:40 split bench, only affording decent legroom when slid fully astern. Third row cramped and hard to access, with minimal headroom. Granny would snap.

Magnificent Seven or Two Mules for Sister Sara? Front adequate. Sliding second row offers ample legroom, but third row simply inaccessible to humans. No headroom, foot space occupied by cup holders and luggage cover relegated to outside shed. Woefully ill-conceived.


Luxury coach is an oxymoron... Morphed from Active Tourer to Gran Tourer by the addition of two extra seats. Third tier bit of a tall order on this platform, though? M Sport here merely means 20in wheels and a tougher ride.

Five in comfort, two hostages





Ford S-Max

Volkswagen Sharan

As much use as mudguards on a tortoise… Some 20 new toys available – including endless active safety paraphernalia – make for a technological kitchen sink and potential for substantial price hike. Sony multimedia upgrade, adaptive LED headlights, panorama roof and self-levelling suspension are must-haves.

As much use as mudguards on a tortoise… Standard high-spec VW fare with fast MirrorLink connectivity (or Apple CarPlay if you own an iPhone), and an amusing app which affords you a touchscreen view of errant offspring from a windscreen-suckered GoPro. Wide-angled mirror less bother to rig.

More new toys than Hamleys. Great to drive

Bus drivers will recognise driving position

Oh Lordy; yet another clutch of 2.0-litre diesels… Matches Land Rover power, but less torque, so slowest away from the lights here. Also only manual in the group, with slick gearchange marred by console lid/elbow clash. Smooth and quiet, but won’t pull away in second.

Oh Lordy; yet another clutch of 2.0-litre diesels… Willing powerplant makes Sharan pretty lively off the mark for such a blatant bus, yet will cruise quietly with wind-noise predominating. Six-speed automatic smooth and well suited to the task. Doddle to drive.

Tub of Lard or Spiders on Vaseline? Very good indeed to drive. Suspension firm enough for fine body control and grip, yet always pliant with sophisticated bump absorption. Standard steering far better than active option. It all encourages the carrying of ample velocity.

Tub of Lard or Spiders on Vaseline? Rides comfortably enough, despite firm underpinnings which thump at bumps occasionally. Surprisingly good to steer, with higher levels of grip than expected, despite body roll. Over-upright driving position most bus-like attribute.

Verdict Least expensive offering here, yet clearly the most complete all-rounder by a considerable chalk.

Verdict Fun Run; that’s an oxymoron too. Lacks the Ford’s dynamic charms, but is probably the best minibus you’ll ever drive.

FORD S-MAX 2.0 TDCi TITANIUM > Price £28,845 > As tested £36,270 > Engine 1997cc 16v 4-cyl turbodiesel, 178bhp @ 3500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2000-2500rpm > Transmission Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Performance 9.7sec 0-62mph, 131mph, 56.5mpg, 129g/km CO2 > Weight 1838kg > On sale Now > Rating +++++


44 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

VOLKSWAGEN SHARAN SEL 2.0 SCR 184PS DSG > Price £36,280 > As tested £39,890 > Engine 1968cc 16v 4-cyl turbodiesel, 181bhp @ 3500rpm, 280lb ft @ 1750-3000rpm > Transmission Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive > Performance 8.9sec 0-62mph, 132mph, 53.3mpg, 139g/km CO2 > Weight 1800kg > On sale Now > Rating +++++

BMW 220d Gran Tourer

Land Rover Disco Sport

As much use as mudguards on a tortoise… Manual front-seat adjustment the usual BMW nightmare, but otherwise well specified. Excellent connectivity, head-up display and pointlessly wide sat-nav screen showing nearby places you’re not going to. Learning to live with iDrive control.

As much use as mudguards on a tortoise… Top-of-the-range model boasting all the toys. Elegantly robust dashboard design houses latest JLR touchscreen technology, which remains well behind the curve, especially given the astonishing price. Hats off, grudgingly, to the marketing department.

Drive fast and enjoy. Apologise to granny later

Contemporary style meets antique touchscreen

Oh Lordy; yet another clutch of 2.0-litre diesels… At least 200 bags of sugar lighter than anything else here, and the most powerful; so, in this context, something of a stabbed rat. Exceptionally smooth eight-speed auto ’box. Tyre roar drowns engine entirely.

Oh Lordy; yet another clutch of 2.0-litre diesels… The only all-wheel-drive powertrain here mates the highest torque output to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Hard to find gears 7, 8 or 9, but feels eager on the throttle, and economy and emissions better than large predecessor.

Tub of Lard or Spiders on Vaseline? Predictably tough low-speed ride, but better the faster you travel. Extremely well planted at speed, and relishes changes of direction on sweeping A-roads. Clearly the best high-speed drive here, but tough on the family.

Tub of Lard or Spiders on Vaseline? Plenty of road noise on 20in wheels, but does that gently imperious Evoque thing of riding and handling far better than it has a right to. Lacks the outright tenacity of the S-Max or BMW; still impressive, though.

Verdict Good to drive quickly, but too clearly a clumsy derivative of the Active Tourer, both visually and ergonomically.

Verdict Badge will sell it. But hard to fathom a car designed from scratch with third-row seats fit only for punishment.

BMW 220d GRAN TOURER M SPORT > Price £31,580 > As tested £37,455 > Engine 1995cc 16v 4-cyl turbodiesel, 187bhp @ 4000rpm, 295lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive > Performance 8.1sec 0-62mph, 138mph, 60.1mpg, 124g/km CO2 > Weight 1600kg > On sale Now > Rating +++++

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT HSE LUXURY > Price £43,000 > As tested £45,500 > Engine 1998cc 16v 4-cyl turbodiesel, 178bhp @ 4000rpm, 317lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission Nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive > Performance 8.4sec 0-60mph, 117mph, 53.3mpg, 139g/km CO2 > Weight 1884kg > On sale Now > Rating +++++



Gavin Green T H E VOIC E OF E X PE R I E NC E

‘Forget “driver-focused” cockpits. As there’s no need for a steering wheel, cabins will be passenger-focused’ THE RECENT GENEVA motor show was a high-octane orgy of power, noise and speed, including a somewhat excessive new 260mph Bugatti. Multi-cylinder, maxi-volume soundtracks called the faithful to petrol-power prayer, via new cars from Aston, Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Jaguar and other testosterone totems. But inside the bowels of the stands, in the sweaty interview rooms on the press days, the car bosses happily discussed the real-world future rather than their fast-car fantasies. The talk was of cars that do not pollute. About cars that drive themselves. They spoke more about ‘mobility’ than ‘driving’. As Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering boss told me: ‘In the next five years we’ll see more changes in the auto world than in the last 30 years’. The educated guess is that fully autonomous cars will be used on motorways in about five years, and on all roads in 10-20 years. There’s little doubt the technology will be ready by then. The only doubts concern liabilities, legislation and customer enthusiasm. The changes to the car world will be profound. While zero-polluting electric cars are clearly bad news for the oil industry, autonomous cars are probably very bad news for the car industry. As Sebastian Thrun, the German-born visionary behind Google’s driverless car said: ‘There could be a huge reduction in the number of cars, owing to car-sharing possibilities. At any one time about 96% of cars are parked, frequently ruining the look of our cities. If after a commute to work, you waved goodbye to your car, and it went home to drive other members of your family or friends, think of the benefits.’ You, I and Sebastian can see the upside. I’m not sure Toyota and Ford do. Plus, as truly autonomous cars are so different from current cars, so the motor industry will face serious challenges from the tech sector. This is where Apple may enter the ‘hardware’ car business, as opposed to ‘merely’ offering CarPlay-like connectivity. Apple and Google could become car-makers, just as Ford, Volvo and Toyota become ‘tech’ companies. 46


The car will change. Fully autonomous cars won’t crash, so all the deadweight of anti-intrusion beams, crash structures, airbags and safety cells will be redundant. Today’s trend to make cars like armoured personnel carriers, especially with SUVs, will be reversed. Cars will be lighter, use fewer resources and be much greener to manufacture, as well to use. Their design will be different. Forget about ‘driver-focused’ cockpits. As there is no need for a steering wheel or pedals, cabins will be passenger-focused. There are safety benefits here, too. Pedals can cause appalling foot and leg injuries, one reason the ’50s Citroën DS was so brilliant (it had floor buttons not pedals). And of course electric vehicles should have different design architectures anyway, as there is no need for big radiators, multi-speed gearboxes or bulky engine bays. The only car-maker that is beginning to take advantage of proper EV architectures is BMW, with its i division. Think how our cities will be improved! For the first time, ever, our city streets will be clean. Before the car, streets and pavements were filthy with excrement (latterly mostly from horses). Now, the air is filthy with fumes. There should be no need for ugly street furniture warning drivers about speed limits, parking regulations etc. Our clever cars will know all this. No traffic lights, as these new-breed cars will ‘talk’ to each other. No traffic jams, either. Truly our grandchildren will wonder what an irresponsible and dangerous world we inhabited, scarcely believing that we were once responsible for driving vast two-ton ‘tanks’ at up to 70mph, living in an age when 1.25 million people died a year in road traffic accidents, invariably caused by human error. Plus, we used vehicles that poisoned the very air we breathe. Extraordinary! I can imagine the scene, 40 years hence, when a group of enthusiasts persuade the authorities to close the M1 for a commemoration of classic cars – rather as the Flying Scotsman recently ran from Kings Cross to York. The Bugatti Chiron, Lamborghini Centenario, Porsche 911R, Ferrari GTC4 Lusso, Aston DB11 – 2016 Geneva Show stars all – are driven by ageing enthusiasts, clearly revelling in the pleasure of driving once more. Thousands cheer, while covering their Former CAR editor Gavin mouths for fear of being poisoned. Inside is an undyingly passionate the cars, the drivers can be seen shedding and knowledgeable car commentator. He’s driven a tear, for a lost world of driving pleasure. everything except, perhaps, @greenofrichmond

the Flying Scotsman

Stunning machinery both on and off the famous Kent track!


ADULT RACEDAY ADMISSION FROM £21 (ONLINE) DISCOUNTED ADVANCE TICKETS AVAILABLE CHILDREN UNDER 13 GO FREE * Advance tickets available up until midday Wednesday 4 May. Postage fee applies Calls will cost 7p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge


With displays and demonstrations from mouth-watering dream cars such as McLaren P1 GTR, Pagani Huayra, Bugatti Veyron


‘Porsche miscalculated when they deleted the manual option from the GT3. They forgot about wabi-sabi’ FLICK THROUGH THE Walton family photo album from the 1970s, and it’s pretty clear which camera we owned. All those blurry, over-exposed images, light flares and orange tones prove that my parents weren’t wielding a high-quality SLR; oh no, the cheap Kodak Instamatic was the camera of choice for us. Launched in the 1960s, the Instamatic was a plastic camera-for-the-masses that used small-frame cartridge film. If you still have one it’s junk, because they don’t make the film anymore. Though that’s no great loss to the Walton archive: in capturing our exotic holidays to Saltburn and Butlins, there are probably more pictures of my mum’s blurry, pink fingers, as she accidentally obscured the lens, than there are of my little brother. Strange, isn’t it, that after 40 years of technological progress, gradually perfecting digital sensors and compact lenses, we now have the ability to take pin-sharp images every time; yet most of the pictures on Instagram look like my mum took them. All that technology produces a perfectly sharp, brilliantly lit picture, and the first thing we do is apply a filter called ‘Low-Fi Chopper 1972’ and turn everything orange and fuzzy. Why do we do that? It’s about character, I suppose. The imperfections are what give the images character and mood. Digital is too sterile; flawed feels more atmospheric, more human. The Japanese have a word for this. They call it wabi-sabi – the appreciation of the imperfect; the cracked teapot or wonky chair. It’s the delight we take in a old person’s wrinkled skin, or the way a piece of driftwood lies on an otherwise immaculate beach. Wabi-sabi is the acceptance that we are all mortal beings, briefly passing through this broken world like leaves that bloom in the spring. It is about appreciating the artistic melancholy of the autumn, and our ultimate return to the soil, where we decay. Wabi-sabi also explains the return of the manual gearbox. Like camera manufacturers, car makers have spent years pursuing a kind of digital perfection. 48


In the automotive case, the technology has been pushed forward by the ideals of motorsport. ‘Racing cars have semi-automatic gearboxes,’ the German engineers told us. ‘Performance road cars must follow!’ insisted the Italians. These buttons and paddles were quicker, they chimed, and easier, leading to better lap times, improved performance. If, in response, you pined for a scraping and clacking open-gate manual you’d receive a sad smile, like you were nostalgic about sexism in the workplace. But the motorsport argument is bogus. Racing cars aren’t designed for enjoyment, they’re designed to win. Sports cars on the other hand – road-going sports cars – aren’t about flat-out speed, they’re about the emotions we feel when we drive them; the human, organic, analogue perspective. I’m sure some Porsche engineers felt like they were applying a filter called ‘Atari Pixels 1984’ when they fitted a distinctly old-school manual gearbox to their 911R recently; but Porsche miscalculated when they deleted the manual option from the GT3. They thought they were creating a high-resolution photo that everyone would admire because of its pin-sharp perfection; but they forgot about wabi-sabi, our love of the imperfect. Why else do you think TVR is coming back? I drove the Jaguar F-type manual recently. It was my ideal spec: V6, 335bhp, rear-drive, 18-inch alloys, sports exhaust… and three pedals in the footwell. To be honest, the six-speed ZF manual isn’t the best in the world – it feels like the gears are made out of rubber rather than unyielding steel. But it’s slick and fast, and the clutch action is smooth and well-judged. Most of all, I just love the feeling of my whole body driving the car – the satisfaction of all four arms and legs blending movements and balancing actions to create fast-flowing progress down a road. Plus, I’m still convinced I drive differently with a manual. I have an annoying reflex habit of changing up early with a paddle-shift, whereas I linger longer in the gears driving a manual, wringing out the Jaguar’s V6 for all it’s worth, listening to that howling exhaust. This sudden return of the manual encourages me to keep up my other campaign – bring back proper handbrakes. In keeping with wab-sabi, I’ve written an achingly mournful haiku: The handbrake was on. Mark’s highly original slant on car Releasing it was easy. stuff has been lighting up these pages And then it was off. for decades. We value his opinions but @markwalton_

we rarely publish his photographs

7*XOI% Limited to 50 pieces




All this, and an alligator’s bottom > VIA EMAIL

Got to hand it to you guys, you’re on fire at the moment. The April issue was a belter. So many of your patented ‘£4.60 moments’ I lost count, but special mention for the alligator’s sphincter in the ‘Inside Rolls-Royce’ feature! Great pictures too – the DB11 and Nico Rosberg shots particularly – but the Chiron takes the prize. Beat all your so-called rivals with exclusive access and the first story published. Bravo! Gianni Robrado

Bugatti Chiron, shot by John Wycherley, from our April issue

Autonomy vs the country > VIA EMAIL

Your pages report what seems like monthly leaps of progress in the development of the autonomous car, which has caused me to wonder how the poor thing would cope outside its urban comfort zone – on rural roads. How would it manage with no central white line and no kerbstones to mark the road edges? Would it recognise that a puddle that was an innocent half-inch deep yesterday is today a flood? How will it react to sudden changes in road surface caused by a liberal layering of cow dung? Approaching the rear of a bunch of cyclists asserting the dominant position on the road, does it use its horn as recommended by the Highway Code as ‘a clear audible warning of your presence’, or does it demure, recognising the abusive response this may possibly elicit? Arriving at the postcode of your choice, does it stop at the first address with that postcode and refuse to go any further, notwithstanding that your actual destination, with the same postcode, is still some distance away? Your

How to have your say:


actual destination is a farm, located some distance down an unmade track – will the car give it a go or decide this is not a public highway? Arriving finally in the farm yard, the car is now a gibbering wreck of fused nerves and, unable to find a clearly marked parking bay with an adjacent charging point, it collapses in terminal exhaustion. Paddy Jackson



VIA POST CAR magazine, Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough PE2 6EA

on a PCP than for cash, because the manufacturer wants to tempt me to roll over into the same make again. You said it was mad to go for a petrol with this car, but lots of short trips were giving DPF issues in my previous diesel. My big-mileage trips three or four times a year are up to 500 miles a day for several days, usually across Europe. My average to date is 37.6mpg, but my best was 47mpg across a very wet France in November with a motorway max of 110kph. Your review back in the day that it’s a brilliant car to waft in was spot-on. Reg Holmes

Celebrity pedantry! > VIA EMAIL

The case for petrol > VIA EMAIL

Your article on financing options (CAR, March) was timely. I went to purchase a Mercedes C-class estate six months ago and the dealer could give me a better deal

A pedantic email to point out a small error. In your current The Good, the Bad and the Ugly section of the magazine, you describe the Rolls-Royce Phantom as having a ‘… turbo V12 pulling you along’; when in truth, in contrast to the turbocharged Ghost, Wraith and Dawn, the Phantom’s V12 is normally aspirated. Rowan Atkinson May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK


Kia’s pig in lipstick > VIA EMAIL

What’s going on, Kia? Who in the styling department came up with the visionary idea of taking the Sportage from ‘best-looking SUV’ (Mk3) to a ‘pig in lipstick’ (Mk4) in just one evolutionary step? I am struggling to think of a less successful styling transition. Austin 1100 to Allegro? Twingo Mk1 to Mk2 perhaps? Sort it out, Peter Schreyer. Awful. Mike Walters

On the new Impreza

put it down to an age thing; however, Ben’s writing took me back to the days of LJK Setright and Russell Bulgin when work was shelved to immerse myself in their world through the power of their words. To re-read an article because it is interesting is one thing, to re-read it because it is so beautifully written has taken me by surprise. Thank you Ben and thank you CAR. Nick Henderson

Vauxhall/Opel GT concept: only MG can make it a reality

Plug in? How? > VIA EMAIL

You question why Caterham hasn’t yet given the Seven self-cancelling indicators (CAR, April). Surely it is obvious? Caterham is the last bastion against driver aids, and said indicators were possibly the first, yet, perhaps, worst implementation of a driver aid. Is there a car that actually cancels indication at the desired moment? How many thousands of people have been killed because of self-cancelling indicators? It’s been a long slippery slope to a Google SUV driving itself into the side of a bus! Mark Porthouse

Have you noticed that most hybrid/electric vehicles seem to have their charging access situated on the near side (in the UK at least), the BMW 330e and BMW 225xe Active Tourer being examples. In their headlong rush to flood the market with hybrid/electric vehicles I wonder if the manufacturers have considered the following? I live in a typical urban semi-detached house with a garage attached to the side. The garage and door are inches wider than standard but I still have to park close to the lefthand wall in order to leave sufficient room to exit the car reasonably comfortably. My electrical services/meter etc. are situated on the right-hand wall. How am I supposed to attach the charging cable? I’m sure I’m not the only citizen facing this problem. It’s a deal-breaker as far as I’m concerned. John Patterson

From Ben Miller’s mum?

On the Bugatti Chiron



Ben Miller’s article on the Singer Porsche (CAR, March) was sublime. By the end of the piece I not only wanted to own the car I also wanted to build a factory and do the same thing here in UK, such was the emotion and pull that sprang from his words. I have always enjoyed CAR but it has been a long time since I became so completely absorbed in an article – I

A tour de force in engineering but still ultimately a 1500bhp Louis Vuitton bag on wheels. Alistair Spence

> V I A FA C E B O O K

Anyone else hope to live long enough to see Subaru design a car that’s pleasing on the eye? Andrew McCafferty

Caterham’s indicators > VIA EMAIL

On the car’s future > VIA TWITTER

Reading CAR’s tech section never fails to depress me. Are my kids going to even have to learn how to drive? Jake Belder Ben Miller at Singer, making beautifully written notes

Anthony’s missus > VIA EMAIL

Who is reviewing the C4 Cactus? Anthony ffrench-Constant or the missus? Not realising that she is even driving because her car is so unremarkable may be how she defines automotive nirvana, but is that how your average reader thinks? I love Anthony’s writing 52 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

MG is the answer! One of the most exciting concepts at the recent Geneva show was the Opel GT coupe concept, complete with threecylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. Clearly it won’t be easy for a maker of front-wheel-drive family cars to bring something like this to market but, against a backdrop of SUVs, we really need something like this in Opel/Vauxhall dealerships. Making the business case for a bespoke sports car is never easy, but the smart modern way to do it is to get together with a partner and deliver two or more offshoots from a single platform. Mazda and FCA do it with the MX-5 and Fiat 124, and, according to CAR, so will BMW and Toyota before long. So, all that Opel has to do is call up GM’s close allies in Shanghai, the folk who own MG – indisputably once the world’s greatest small sports car marque – and make an agreement to co-develop an MG off the same platform. This seems so blindingly obvious that surely only crass stupidity Letter of the month would see the opportunity wins £25 worth of tickets for the Dream pass. Car competition held by John Miles LETTER OF THE MONTH

but I think he should buy the other half a rail season ticket or maybe even a Google box and concentrate on giving us his opinion of the car. Rob Munn-Bookless

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Mazda is attempting to combine Porsche 911 Targa functionality into a modern, compact Miata package. The result? It looks quirky cute, and weirdly I like it. DdWorks


Baffling statistics > VIA EMAIL

Some of the sales stats in your March issue jumped out of the page at me, begging for further investigation. Volvo sold 500,000 vehicles last year, with one up-to-date model? How has that happened? Compare that with JLR who sold the same number of vehicles but with a slew of new models. Then, surely Hyundai-Kia is the success

That’s the Pullman door wide enough to allow Kim Jong-Il to be inserted horizontally

story of the last decade. I know it’s been covered in previous issues, but surely it’s worth an in-depth analysis of how they’ve managed to grow to seven million in recent years, and may become bigger than GM next year. Finally, who buys 2.5 million Suzukis and Hondas? Great magazine – been reading since the ’70s and subscribing for many years. Richard Crone

Laughing at Kim Jong-Il > VIA EMAIL

CAR ONLINE 5 most read stories on 1) Bugatti Chiron: everything you need to know about the world’s new fastest car 2) Honda’s crazy Civic hatch prototype: will the 2017 Civic really look like this? 3) Alfa Giulia spec secrets: from the 507bhp M3 rival to the 99g/km CO2 cooking diesel 4) Lamborghini Centenario: 760bhp? 217mph? £1.7m? That’s our kind of birthday present

Have been rendered helpless by tears of laughter reading the February issue. I would pay good money to see Kim Jong-Il being inserted horizontally into a Mercedes-Maybach Pullman. Especially as my display of Western Capitalist profligacy would enrage him even more than the presumably involuntary horizontal insertion. A mental image to rival the best of your excellent photography. As ever, I love CAR! Russell Bennett

On the Seat Ateca > VIA CAR ONLINE

I am loving the styling. No silliness, no hidden door handles, no gratuitous black paint or chrome, no excessive butchness. This is all good progress on the SUV front! I reckon Seat has the best of the VW Group styling throughout its range. Pete Suffolk

ADVERTISING Brand director Sarah Hughes Account manager Tom Meadowcroft Senior sales executive Curtis Reed Motor-related/aftermarket Claire Meade-Gore Regional sales Graham Roby US advertising Kate Buckley +845 266 4980


5) Tesla Model X hands-on walkaround: why it’ll give the crossover scene a proper shake-up


Editor Phil McNamara Managing editor Greg Fountain Features editor Ben Miller Digital editor-in-chief Tim Pollard Associate editor CJ Hubbard Online editor Lewis Kingston Staff writer James Taylor Art editor Matthew Tarrant Designer Rebecca Wilshere Editors-at-large Chris Chilton, Mark Walton, Ben Barry Contributor-in-chief Gavin Green European editor Georg Kacher Contributing editors Ben Oliver, Ben Whitworth, Anthony ffrench-Constant, Steve Moody F1 correspondent Tom Clarkson Office manager Leise Enright Production controller Hollie Swift

Seat Ateca dispenses with frippery to deliver a striking pose. Best of the VW Group SUVs?

Digital commercial director Jim Burton Marketing manager Rachael Beesley Direct marketing manager Julie Spires Direct marketing executive Rebecca Lambert Editorial director June Smith-Sheppard Managing director Niall Clarkson Group MD Rob Munro-Hall

SUBSCRIPTIONS To take out or renew a subscription to CAR visit For enquiries or problems call +44 (0)1858 438884. Lines open Mon-Fri 8am-9.30pm, Sat 8am-4pm, and Sun 10am-4pm. Fax number: 01858 461739. Or write to: CAR Subscriptions, Freepost (MID 16109), Leicester LE16 7BR (UK enquiries) or Bauer Media Subscriptions, CDS Global, Tower House, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 9EF. BACK ISSUESTo order call 01858 438884. If you can’t find CAR via your regular outlets call 01733 468000. COMMERCIAL REPRINTSIf you require multiple reprints of a feature, tel +44 (0)20 7295 5470. PRINTING & DISTRIBUTION© CAR ISSN 0008-5987. Printed in the UK by Southernprint Ltd. Distributed by Frontline Ltd, Park House, 117 Park Road, Peterborough PE1 2TR tel: 01733 555161. International distribution by Seymour International Ltd, 86 Newman Street, London W1T 3EX, +44 (0)20 7396 8000. Published 12 times a year by BAUER CONSUMER MEDIA LTD Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, PE2 6EA tel: 01733 468000 © All material published remains the copyright of Bauer Automotive Ltd. No part of this magazine may bereproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher.CAR can’t accept responsibility for unsolicited material. COMPLAINTS Bauer Consumer Media Ltd is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation ( and endeavours to respond to and resolve concerns quickly. Our Editorial Complaints Policy (including full details of how to contact us about editorial complaints and IPSO’s contact details) can be found at Our e-mail address for editorial complaints covered by the Editorial Complaints Policy is THIS ISSUE ON SALE: 20 APRIL 2016. NEXT ISSUE ON SALE: 18 MAY 2016

Your month The place where you let us peek into your weird and wonderful automotive lives 1

A N E N G LI S H M A N ’ S H O M E



Moved to Michigan, felt homesick, so thought I would build a castle, put up a St George flag and relax reading the best car magazine in the world – what more can a man ask for?

SHARE YOUR PICTURES – WIN THIS £550 WATCH! Send a picture and 50 words to CAR@bauermedia., labelled ‘Your Month’. The best entry this month wins an Elliot Brown Bloxworth watch worth £550. We’ll also publish a selection of your entries…





My name is Bor and my daddy bought me a LamBORghini for my 1st birthday. Bulls in the magazine are quite nice, but they’ve got nothing on my new ride. MITJA ZERJAV



I was enjoying a drive through the Cotswolds in my old Porsche 928 when I spotted this in a farmyard. It’s a 1962 Jaguar E-type 3.8 Semilightweight being prepped for Goodwood.





Whilst visiting the Blue Lagoon in Iceland I couldn’t think of any better way of relaxing in the warm natural waters than by reading CAR whilst all around me was -5degC. JOHN WALSH



Canberra wine country, Australia, just before the thunderstorm. The flock of birds suggests we should get a move on.







M X- 5 G E N E R ATI O N S

When I saw the space between the Mk2 and Mk4 MX-5 on my way out of the work car park I couldn’t help but pull up in my Mk3. KEVIN O’FLYNN


2 0 0 M P H N O N - S TA R TE R

It was apparent that trying to replicate your Bentley vs Outback article in a Toyota Etios on the Klein Karoo, South Africa wasn’t going to work. JOHN REAY



As a Canadian I appreciate warm weather, and anytime I can read my favourite mag at the same time is great. Here I am on Palm Beach Aruba.





This Porsche 918 is a regular commuter into the centre of Edinburgh. Hats off to the guy for not parking it up in some woolly lined garage. MIKE DOWIE



M X- 5 R AC E R S A S S E M B LE

Three newly delivered Global MX-5 Cup cars, builds number 8, 17 & 28, at Motorsports Ranch, Houston, Texas, undertaking pre-season testing. TIM PROBERT



Giant test 1: Boxster vs M2 vs Focus RS

Avengers assemble For us they’re the year’s three sports car superheroes, united to save fun-starved drivers with analogue driving thrills on a plausible budget. Each has a unique talent, but only one will conquer…

Words Georg Kacher & CJ Hubbard | Photography Steffen Jahn





Giant test 1: Boxster vs M2 vs Focus RS

As a threesome, the BMW M2, third-generation Ford Focus RS



and updated Porsche Boxster S with its new 718 designation don’t exactly appear to stand direct comparison. After all, there’s no hiding the obvious reality that one is a coupe, one is a roadster and one – heaven forefend – is a jumped-up family hatchback, let alone the varying choice of engine position and power distribution. But there’s also no denying that collectively they are three of today’s hottest fun-to-drive cars. In a fast-changing automotive world that’s now all too often dominated by digitalisation, autonomous driving and alternative powerplants, 2016 has yielded three down-to-earth playthings that are surprisingly good at blending heritage and innovation, ability and affordability. Bring them on. Affordability is always relative, of course. At £29,995 the Focus is a full £15.5k less than the M2 at £45,575 – which is itself more than £7000 cheaper than the most powerful 718 variant at launch, the £52,817 Boxster S. Pricing for the latter pairing includes their optional seven-speed paddleshift transmissions; since a stick-shift six-speed is your only choice in the Ford, the manual versus automatic debate joins this already complex equation. All three rely on turbocharging for improved potency and on-paper parsimony now that the Porsche’s preceeding flat-six has succumbed to a new-fangled forced-induction flat-four, so that’s one definite point of similarity. All three also have a rabid legion of fans, built on past glory and as ready to pounce on any perceived new-generation

So that’s 1055bhp, 977lb ft, 20 gear ratios, 7737cc, but just 14 cylinders

shortcomings as they are to malign any rival. Still, when it comes to the crunch, value for money and product quality are the key yardsticks. In this case, that’s quality of the kind that triggers moist palms and bright eyes, draws the line between scent and fug, creates loudness or beautiful noise, grabs you by the adrenalin pump and over time has the addictive effect of a drug. Some qualities are so obviously objective that one is inclined to instantly put numbers on them. Other traits are better judged by subjective perception, which means that soft values such as rejection and desire are not always backed up by hard facts. These cars live or die with their manipulation of our emotions. On then, to innovation and ability. We start with the Boxster – the newest and perhaps most contentious of our trio thanks to the death knell it rings for the naturally aspirated six-cylinder Porsche engine; once the Cayman goes turbo this year, only top-dollar purist 911s will remain free from additional plumbing and – say it ain’t so? – the associated dulling of throttle responses. But the first test is whether this new four-cylinder unit can raise aural goosebumps in the manner of its illustrious predecessor; a single twist of the car-shaped ignition key is all it takes to make a whole forest of fir trees swing their needles towards the raucous intruder. It does sound good, the new four-cylinder boxer, this 2.5-litre S unit clearly exhibiting the two-tone, off-beat burble May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK


Ford’s great party trick is its flexibility. It can burble along or it can raise the roof, and does both with style

engine has mightier muscle. Not only does it lay on a beefier 324lb ft at 2000rpm, it also adds a 15-second 22lb ft full-throttle overboost bonus. The previous 2.5-litre five-cylinder in the Mk2 Sport Chrono Pack gives Focus RS was more rustic and less refined, but wheel-mounted rotary also more charismatic and violent, louder voiced control for drivetrain settings. Wisely, excellent and totally enjoying it – suiting the brutal steering is not adjustable demeanour of that front-wheel-drive rocket enough to forgive it co-founding the turbo-lag fan club. The new car’s four-pot offering is far more rounded, flexible enough to cruise along at 50mph in sixth yet aggressive enough to chase BMWs and Porsches as soon as you say the word go, spinning up with unexpected smoothness to the tune of an artificially cultured growl. Yet contrary to expectations of increased involvement, the manual transmission could do with a shorter throw, throttle response in the full-on Race mode is scarily skittish, and the fake lift-off backfiring that’s present in any setting beyond Normal is A few logos and a thinner basically embarrassing. Not that the others are wheel than M235i, but you innocent of such transgression – the Boxster in don’t feel special until you particular. spot those haunches That said, the M2 barely looks innocent of in the mirrors anything. Finished in gothic black inside and out, with the bulging wheelarches necessary to accommodate the wholesale M4 suspension components, it exudes tightly packed muscularity like The Rock stuffed into a normal-sized wetsuit. By appearance it is by far the most threatening, even before you appreciate that BMW has dodged the downsizing bullet and packed a 3.0-litre straightsix under the bonnet, turbocharged to 365bhp and 369lb ft. Though it’s true that six cylinders do not automatically guarantee superiority over the most modern of fours, they do usually sound more special and run more smoothly due to a Could have been special deal struck with the inertia forces. The rented from Avis. Blue stitching latest M3 and M4 disrupt this melodic rule with the only clue to their flat, dirgy tones, but it seems M Division has the beast beneath found its feet – or its ears – again here, for the M2 glories in a muted but distinct straight-six howl that urges you to push harder and harder. Our car’s optional M DCT auto is at its best under paddle-flick of a horizontally-opposed four, like a Subaru – or, as the control, where swift upshifts in DSC Sport are particularly engineers are rumoured to have it, the original Beetle. Actirewarding, but it takes just 1450rpm to load up the M Differvate the optional sports exhaust and it crackles and pops like ential, also borrowed from the M4, with the full complement it’s swallowed an F-type. Yet give the engine stick and while of angle-altering thump. Be wary. it spins up the rev ladder like a perfectly linear lightweight Acceleration times and top speed mattered more in the turbine, it is also strangely monosyllabic. Even though the good old days before the sheer amount of traffic slowed everyloudness and the snarling tone of voice prevail at all times, one down. So while the unrestricted autobahn is useful for this single-turbo powerplant tends to paint monochrome observing the Boxster’s tendency to really start drinking fuel sonic images. And although it is redlined at 7500rpm, it only above 125mph – downsizing be damned – the real challenge takes 6500rpm to round up all 345 horses, so there’s no reason starts when we head out cross-country. After all, it’s easy for to wring it out like before. Especially since where the torque curve of the discontinued normally aspirated flat-six rose gently like the backrest of granddad’s lounge chair, the twist action signature of the new turbo motor is as geometric as a 1980s coffee table. Between 1900 and 4500rpm, there is 310lb ft to play with – plenty of clout but far less of that classic, high-revving character. Remarkably, the 345bhp 2.3-litre Ford Ecoboost

M2 exudes tightly packed muscularity like The Rock in a normal-sized wetsuit

60 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Giant test 1: Boxster vs M2 vs Focus RS

M2 needs those fat arches to shoo-in M4 suspension? Who are they kidding – it’s all about muscularity



Giant test 1: Boxster vs M2 vs Focus RS

Enough ticking here to scramble a bomb disposal unit. And apologies to the people of Heilbronn for the burning brake smell

Slinky sports car vs butch coupe vs blue-collar hatch. The shapes don’t tell the whole dynamic story

a fast car to do well in the smooth, controlled environs of a race track, but much harder to shine on the real-world turf of Heilbronn’s no-man’s land. Out here, where army tanks practice and mud-covered tractors appear without warning, it is absolutely essential to read the road. With so little margin for error, the stiff-hipped RS3 and A45 über-hatches from Audi and Mercedes-AMG would have a hard time, but the Focus RS is completely in its element. This light blue five-door hatchback may lose a couple of tenths to the M2 and the Boxster S during those academic acceleration runs, but out here it can’t wait to claim them back again. Given a long enough stretch of twisties it will even start to carve out a small lead, such is its composure and tenacity. To beat the Ford against the stopwatch, both BMW and Porsche need those optional, extra-fast twin-clutch automatics, which lose almost no momentum during furious upshifts. To beat the RS on these roads, both premium contenders must pull out all the stops, and then some – a commitment that’s often much harder to make with only rear driven wheels.

For the Ford’s ever-eager engine is only part of its giant-stunning capability – it also owes a large portion of its halo to an adaptive four-wheel-drive system that addresses each wheel individually. At the front, this is common practice; at the rear, having two clutch units to distribute the twist action is an unheard of performance novelty cum exceptional innovation. Where other sporty all-wheel-drive models are perfectly happy with only a modest torque bias to the rear, the RS can send up to 70% not just to the tail end but potentially a single rear wheel – and that’s without Ken Block at the helm. In the already notorious Drift mode, the blue streak can feel 150% rear-wheel drive. It’s probably for the best that while the adventurous nature of this awd system keenly encourages you to explore the full set of cornering attitudes, it does still take a conscious stab of that Drift button before the Focus will start killing flies with its side windows. Since such committed showing off is best left to a skid pad, the fingers of both hands were plenty to count the sidesteps ventured en route from Stuttgart to Würzburg. But count them we could –

Out here the Focus claws back those couple of tenths; it will even start to carve out a lead, such is its composure and tenacity



then, what did you expect from a rebodied, short-wheelbase a revelation in a car of this type, and proof that all-wheel drive M4 clone? can rival rear-wheel drive for grandstanding entertainment. Clone isn’t quite right, as not everything carries over. But if What the Ford lacks is a mix-and-match drive mode configthe engine’s down on power compared to big brother so is the uration. For example, you can’t have the more relaxed Normal weight, and as a result the M2 kicks just as hard. In fact, with steering weighting with the Sport engine set-up – unless you its almost square stance and silky yet substantive responses it activate the Drift mode, which inevitably also manipulates immediately feels like a very serious piece of work – more so the all-wheel drive to over-encourage misbehaviour at the than either of the others. You instinctively sense the need to rear; Drift permits daredevil leeriness, but it does so only in pay attention, yet also that its talents run very deep. As soon combination with a nervous tip-in/tip-out behaviour, and as it hits smoother ground, the M2 duly morphs into a precise nervous-to-the-point-of-jerky steering. Fortunately, only the and responsive ground-hugging carver. Throw in a couple of Race setting automatically activates the secondary – and susecond-gear corners, and the black ballerina will begin a new per firm – damper mode, which is decidedly too firm for most career as deep-voiced yet graceful solo dancer, wreathed in roads. You can prod the end of the indicator to experiment smoke that most definitely isn’t dry ice. with the suspension in other settings, but most will quickly Compared to the old 1-series M coupe, which acted like a decide the harder ride is not worth the disc-rupturing bother. diviner at speed when a lack of downforce threatened to lift You won’t be shocked to learn that the M2 is hardly a role the front skirt Marylin Monroe-style, the M2 tends to rest model for comfort and compliance, either. Its stiff shock deep within itself. Sudden lane changes? No effect on blood absorbers are of the one-set-up-fits-all kind, the springs are pressure and heart rate. Emergency braking manoeuvre on as thick as spiral-shaped railway tracks, and the standard 19in Pilot Supersports are every bit as uncompromising as the slightly narrower Michelins fitted Same fun, different budget to the Ford and the extra-cost 20in P Zeros our Boxster S is equipped Ford Focus ST (2005-2010) from £5000 with. While it’s refreshing to find With previous Focus RS prices a carmaker that’s prepared to comrocketing, the Mk2 Focus ST with mit to a single suspension setting its throaty 222bhp five-pot is our in 2016, over the really rough stuff choice for a used fast-Ford bargain. BMW E46 M3 (2000-2006) Porsche Boxster S 3.4 987 the edgy, here-there-and-everyJust watch for split bore liners, from £7500 (2004-2012) from £12,500 dubious mods and ruined front where BMW is hard enough work tyres. Its 338bhp straight-six might be Early Mk2 Boxsters are now available to pepper palms with blisters. But under £10k, but spend at least £15k if you can. Full service history and condition more important than mileage, with worn suspension, cracked manifolds and oils seals worth attention.

missing a turbo, but this is the M2’s true spiritual predecessor – and it’s way cheaper than a used M235i. Cracked rear subframes, early engines and SMG auto issues best avoided.



Ford Focus RS


Price | £52,817 Price as tested | n/a Engine | 2497cc 16v turbo flat-four Transmission | Seven-speed dual-clutch paddleshift auto, rear-wheel drive Suspension | MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear Made of | Aluminium and steel

Price | £29,995 Price as tested | n/a Engine | 2261cc 16v turbo inline four Transmission | Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive Suspension | MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear Made of | Steel

Price | £45,575 Price as tested | n/a Engine | 2979cc 24v turbo inline six Transmission | Seven-speed dual-clutch paddleshift auto, rear-wheel drive Suspension | MacPherson strut front, five-link rear Made of | Aluminium and steel





Porsche 718 Boxster S






Power & Torque


Power to weight

We say: BMW’s turbo six is a monster, flat torque curves for all

We say: RS and M2 prepare to trade pie recipes, 718 sticks to salad

We say: Was the salad really worth a gain of just 4bhp per tonne?

345bhp @ 6500rpm 310lb ft @ 1900-4500rpm Ford


345bhp @ 6000rpm 324lb ft @ 2000-4500rpm (347lb ft on overboost) 365bhp @ 6500rpm





343lb ft @ 1400-5560rpm (369lb ft on overboost)

Ford per tonne

Official mpg

Top Speed We say: Move over M2, you’ve hit your limiter. Shame










Ford 165mph BMW 155mph (limited)




BMW Official

20 0


Ford Official

0 15


Porsche Official


Porsche 177mph

BMW 4.3sec

per tonne

We say: If you top 20mpg you’re not trying

Porsche 4.2sec Ford 4.7sec


236bhp 216bhp 232bhp per tonne

0-62mph We say: Stick-shift Focus won’t be that far behind for long


Fuel tank



Lease rates

We say: RS even gets a bigger tank than standard Focus

We say: According to the official figures. Which you shouldn’t believe

We say: The planet thanks M2 and 718 buyers for going auto

We say: The M2’s a bargain, the RS is a steal

Porsche: 545 miles Ford: 500 miles BMW: 380 miles Porsche



64 62 52 litres





167 g/km

185 g/km

Ford Ford

175 g/km

64 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016



£722 £382 £617

Giant test 1: Boxster vs M2 vs Focus RS

the autobahn? This car is a life insurance contract signed with brake dust and rubber marbles. Gearing? Long enough to satisfy eco-weenies, short enough to summon fifth at 125mph. Noise? Yes, and plenty of it, but not as intense as under the awning of the Boxster. And despite M Servotronic steering adjusting effort and response, the M2 feels well planted at all times, the feedback through the helm is consistently meaty, the cogs tuned for promptness and precision. At 4-8 degrees C in a German forest, summer tyres may not be the choicest footwear. But they do tell a much clearer story about what r&d had in mind when it conceived these dramatically different musketeers. In the M2 and the Boxster more so than in the Focus RS, it is imperative to warm up the Michelins and Pirellis, as the M2 in particular becomes much more of a handful as the friction coefficient drops with the temperature. Putting heat into the driven wheels is easy as pie, but you also want the front end to stick, or there will be too much understeer and not enough turn-in grip. Such handling accurately reflects the vehicle’s DNA – and for

For all its four-wheel-drive trickery, the Focus is as neutral as Switzerland at the limit. It’s a revelation all its four-wheel-drive trickery, the Focus is as neutral as Switzerland at the limit. Sounds a tad uninspiring but actually it’s a revelation, as somehow the fixed-rate steering ratio works in perfect synchronicity with the torque flow and the chassis movements. While the four-wheel drive displays its nip-and-tuck talents, the engine is as punchy and controlled as a slo-mo time bomb. Think we’re waxing overly lyrical? Then hop out and take a deep breath – the stink from the brakes and the tyres is exactly what a hard-charging chariot ought to smell like. You sometimes need this olfactory emphasis from the Ford, as from behind the steering wheel the RS looks like little more than a tarted up Avis-or-Hertz-type Focus. Blue stitching and sports seats are the only indulgences that lift you beyond an ordinary experience. Likewise, the M2 is essentially a 1-series on steroids, stitched with M Division colours and scattered with logos but otherwise almost too ordinary for its own good. Until you spot those haunches in the door mirrors, and note that the overly-plump steering wheel in the M235i has been slightly reduced in both overall and rim diameter; like most weight-watchers, it could still do better in this regard but it is a feedback-enhancing improvement. The Porsche, however, feels special the moment you open the door. Debatable Lava orange over black-brown livery aside, this particular specimen is a lametta-loaded Christmas tree on wheels that quickly has you overlooking the way the

M2 is a pint-sized M4, with less power but also less weight. Essence of M4 distilled?

Boxster engine shouts loud and hopes you won’t notice impaired throttle response



Paper, scissors and stone!

Ford wins our test, but whose side are you on in the bigger range game? BMW beats Porsche – at limos

Ford beats BMW – at MPVs Canny S-Max is not only a packaging and tech delight, but shockingly also trumps underbaked 2-series Active Tourer for driving dynamics. Faced with a front-drive brief, BM’s rear-drive gurus were caught napping – although not in the 2’s excrutiatingly uncomfy third row of seats, we’ll wager.

Forty years of limo know-how went into the current, incredible 7-series and its masterchef blend of refinement, tech and ace handling. Porsche decoded that learning as ‘make it handle and sod the back seats’, resulting in the Panamera: a four-door for 911 fans with more than one friend.

Porsche beats Ford – at SUVs For Ford’s perfectly decent Kuga the news that Porsche was planning a compact SUV was ‘I’ll get me coat’ time. Sure enough, the Macan was a fantastic drive, beautifully built and tilted its hat seductively at ambitious Kugarati. It also had just enough off-road cred to traverse its own pricetag.

designers have seemingly flatted-back some of the original supercar curves in the 718 transition. On board are bucket seats designed by a leptosome sadist, Torque Vectoring Plus mechanical diff lock, the PASM sport suspension, deft Servotronic Plus steering, said 20-inchers, carbon ceramic brakes, that sports exhaust and the Sport Chrono Package, to name only the most obvious temptations. Even though this specification clearly favours the sporty side of the car’s character, the ride is better than expected. Long undulations are no problem at all, transverse irritations don’t have an earthquake in tow, even low-speed ripples and potholes won’t destroy the self-assured posture. Although the three candidates are separated by mere nuances, the Porsche suspension is marginally less brusque. Chassis modifications are measured in details rather than grand gestures. The steering is 10% faster, the suspension kinematics mildly tweaked, the electronic aids tuned 66


for greater sensitivity – the aim being to increase overall drivability rather than hone the edge of the razor. The completeness of this strategy is immediately apparent. Compared to the antics of the Focus and the weighty, edgy presence of the M2, the Boxster S has a calmness and a purity that cuts straight to the sheer pleasure of piling on speed, the slick, finger-snap spontaneity of paddle-shifting the PDK only underlining its sense of immediacy. Don’t let it fool you, though – give it death, and the Boxster will still happily make its rear tyres scream for mercy. New for this generation, the Sport Chrono Package adds the individual setting we’re bereft of in the Ford, in addition to the established Normal, Sport and Sport Plus calibrations – each accessed by the new circular control that sprouts from the hollow-spoked steering wheel. Plug in PDK as well, and the literal centre-point to this is the Sport Response Button, giving direct access to absolutely everything the engine and gearbox can muster, as if KITT came from Zuffenhausen. A fine party piece, but does the blown 2.5 four truly compensate for the plain-breathing 3.4 six’s dismissal?

Giant test 1: Boxster vs M2 vs Focus RS

At first, you might think so. The soundtrack is initially hilarious and the boosted mid-range adds a superior sense of urgency. But as you tire of the engine’s shoutiness, you begin to doubt the veracity of Porsche’s claim that throttle response matches pre-718 levels. Certainly it doesn’t match these uncommon rivals. Flooring the loud pedal at 2000rpm in fourth – a perfectly common manoeuvre – creates a momentary blackout followed by a highly energetic kick in the butt. Surprisingly enough, this however brief turbo lag remains an issue despite the variable-vane turbocharger, by-pass valving and ECU intelligence. Perhaps the long and complex breathing system demanded by the Boxster’s packaging constraints puts too much pressure on the solitary turbo. Whatever it is, we remain unconvinced that putting the official fuel economy on par with the M2 and RS was worth the resulting lack

of incision. With two perfectly useable luggage compartments belying the compromises associated with roadsters, the Porsche remains beautifully made, good looking and generally hard to fault. It is the quickest contender here by a tiny margin, it has the sweetest steering, and as far as the stats go, the four-cylinder engine ticks all the right boxes. So if money is no object and you aren’t tainted by six-cylinder nostalgia, the 718 could have your name written all over it. The BMW makes its bid for victory with captivating menace, the smoke signals-permile ranking and the Slidemeister medal. In essence, the M2 is the real successor to the M3 – immensely chuckable, outright rowdy, wonderfully temperamental, within reach of more budgets. But this heart beats fastest of all for the Focus RS. Even ignoring all thoughts of practicality – roomiest cabin, biggest boot, lowest price tag – the Ford’s intoxicating blend of special Q-car surprise factor and sensational dynamic ability means that without doubt, Henry’s finest this side of the GT has got everything it takes to play the game at the same high level as Boxster S and M2. And that is an astonishing achievement.

Shades of Leicester City as the underdog Focus stuns the established order

You begin to doubt Porsche’s claim that throttle response matches pre-718 levels



Giant test 2: 488 vs 570S vs R8



Anything less cash Ferrari can do… and A McLa already a udi does with le ren does for ss podium, but who flash. This is stands o n top?

Words B en Barry | Photog raphy Jo hn Wych erley




HE ROAD’S DRY, its surface bleached with cappuccino smears of late-winter grime. Ahead, corners stretch out traffic-free, so I push the McLaren 570S’s accelerator to its stop, let the car run wide for the fastest line, the others darting behind. The sun flares through a swimming-pool sky as hungry induction plenums gobble chill air, and dual-clutch gearboxes hammer ratios like a drummer counting in a 4/4 beat. I glance in the mirror, cast an eye over the McLaren’s hard-working twin-turbo V8, see the red flash of the Ferrari 488 GTB, the piercing yellow of the Audi R8 V10 Plus, daytime running lights locked on like snipers’ lasers. The others must be sniffing victory as they close on the least powerful car, but already the McLaren’s making a bid for the spoils: the tactility, agility, communication and, yes, pure speed. The 570S will be no easily picked off runt of the litter. This incredible car is proof of how far McLaren has progressed in five years, from being initially blindsided by objective numbers to letting subjective feel take the wheel. But no matter how impressive McLarens have become, there’s one inescapable truth: when they go head-to-head with Ferrari, they typically lose. With the 570S, McLaren has planted a flag where Ferrari has yet to venture: the 570S forms part of McLaren’s new Sports Series, a mid-engined V8 supercar for £143k. Take that money to Ferrari and they’d talk you up to a folding hardtop for £155k, yet the 570’s spec is a facsimile of the 650S, McLaren’s true 488 rival (see page 73). Has McLaren caught Ferrari napping with a similar concept for £40k less? We’ve two days to find out. Not that McLaren has the £140k supercar market wrapped up: long before McLaren trumpeted its day-to-day usability over the more frenetic Ferrari, Audi nailed it with the R8. And when I get to pick a car to drive over dark, wet roads from the East Midlands to North Wales, Our Ben at work in I don’t hesitate. his office, which Like all returning blockbusters, the you’ll notice features Italian Audi R8 sequel doesn’t mess too much leather furniture with the formula: there’s no V8 this time, no open-gate manual, but the styling is so gently evolutionary that Darwin himself might not record it, the all-wheel-drive fundamentals remain, so too the V10. The purveyors of Vorsprung Durch Technik, shoving an old-school Lamborghini 5.2-litre V10 in the back of a new car? Did the memo fall into the VW Group shredder? Isn’t everyone downsizing and turbocharging because emissions regulations are forcing their hands? There’s an almost orchestral quality to the V10, a percussive bassiness at low rpms that soars to the high-pitched strings of the redline and what sounds like a successful Gunpowder Plot on the overrun in Dynamic mode; it’s mechanical and sonorous, and zings with a response that makes a firearms unit look slack. 413lb ft at 6500rpm might suggest a hole in the power delivery down low, but accelerate from 1500rpm in second or third and the revs spin so quickly you’ve a job to count the numbers on the dial, the delivery stretching out linearly like elastic until – somewhere around 5500rpm (I was busy!) – there’s even more



You can imagine what it looks like in the McLaren’s rear-view mirror. A flurry of reds and yellows, and ordnance exploding off the valley walls

Giant test 2: 488 vs 570S vs R8

bo m a L l o scho d An old-a new car? Di e V10 in mo fall into thr? the meoup shredde VW Gr



Giant test 2: 488 vs 570S vs R8

Wipers and indicators are on steering wheel, preventing clutter with gearshift paddles. Just pray it doesn’t rain… or you need to turn left or right

Manettino dial selects modes, tweaking engine, diff, gear shifts, ABS, traction/stability control. Separate button softens dampers. Best in the biz

Two screens bookend the rev counter: infotainment functions on the right, vehicle status to the left. Fiddly

Active Dynamics Panel switches between Normal, Sport and Track modes for Handling (left toggle) and Powertrain (right)

Portrait touchscreen the star of the dash centre, controlling nav, music, air-con, the lot, via rather toylike icons



McLaren’s steering wheel is totally naked, focusing your mind like a Zen master

No touchscreen here: use MMI dial or multi-function steering wheel to adapt infotainment

R8’s flat-bottomed steering wheel mixes infotainment buttons with driving mode selection, a la Ferrari. Busy, but it works

Configurable TFT display display: minimise speedo/rev counter to let sat-nav fill screen, or prioritise driving data. Superb

urgency, like someone’s fast-forwarded you to the 8250rpm head-rush. Pity the transmission sometimes dithers when you suddenly floor it, like it’s channelling the Gallardo’s old-school automated manual, and high-rpm shifts lack what the Germans call ‘emotion’. Tonight, mostly, I wind back the pace, but even at a cruise you notice the Audi’s improved front-end response. Twist the flat-bottomed steering rim and the front jinks like one solid piece; no slop, no time delay, just one cohesive transition to where your hands are pointing. Our test car gets optional Dynamic steering, perhaps that’s key, but there’s no doubting the responsiveness owes much to the stiff Audi Space Frame (page 79). Aluminium dominates, but carbonfibre forms the transmission tunnel and rear bulkhead like a spine and broad shoulders. Even commuting, the underlying rigidity is tangible. Over the A14, I settle back into the optional sports seats, pneumatic bolsters squeezing my frame just so, 6 Music belting from £1750’s worth of B&O audio. The low-slung driving position, the quality of the materials, and the deep, low scuttle is déjà vu, and yet so much has changed. The steering wheel now takes a leaf out of Ferrari’s manual, allowing you to switch between driving modes and activate the sports exhaust without letting go of the wheel. But there are also – unlike the Ferrari – infotainment functions integrated in the spokes. It’s busier than the M25, but it works. Three hours slip by, adaptive suspension (optional!) absorbing bumps, 602bhp picking off traffic in effortless surges, and the brilliant Virtual Cockpit either filling the TFT instrument binnacle with high-resolution satellite-navigation, or bringing speed and rpms to the fore; neither Ferrari nor McLaren does tech like this.

When the roads tangle into twists, the R8’s sure-footed handling combines with relatively modest torque to make this a car you can stroke cross-country in confidence and safety at speed. But it’s the thrill of the drive that’ll stay in my mind long after the metal’s stopped pinging, especially the way you can pick up the power early and feel the front tyres pull you from the curve with unruffled composure in a flurry of speed. The suspension and steering even works in Dynamic mode this time, rather than filling the tyres with cement. Fatigue slain by adrenaline, I reach our stopover, grab a beer to come down, KEY TECH: McLAREN 570S and ponder if you can actually better the Bruv story Audi’s blend of driver enjoyment, safety The 570S steps on ‘big’ brother and high-tech infotainment; if you use 650S’s toes. Both use a carbonfibre your supercar regularly, I doubt you can. MonoCell, 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8, Outside, the Ferrari’s flat-plane crank seven-speed dual-clutch ’box, adaptive dampers, Brake Steer in settles to a constant, bassy idle, and a place of an LSD and 19in front/20in minute later in walks James Taylor. The rear alloys. Differences? 570S has stability control’s been working overtime, narrower tyres, uses aluminium, not snuffing out slides before they even startcomposite panels, anti-roll bars, not interconnected dampers, and fixed, ed, he says. CJ Hubbard’s had an easier not active, aero. 570S measures time of it, the McLaren’s Pirelli SottoZero 4530/2095/1202mm and weighs winter tyres melding with the surface as 1313kg dry to the 650S’s – smaller! – 4512/2093/1199mm and 1330kg. temperatures plummeted. The next day 570S: 3.2sec 0-62mph, 650S: that advantage should melt: double-digit 3.0sec. Price? £143k vs £198k. temperatures are forecast. But at 7.30am the Ferrari’s still coated in a thin veil of frost like a monarch shrouded in a chrysalis. It’s very conditions-sensitive, the Ferrari, which doesn’t surprise with 661bhp and 561lb ft. Even at 4degC on dry roads, it feels May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK


Lamborghini’s full-fat V10 in the back of the R8 taunts the two turbo V8s. Who’d have thought it – Vorsprung Durch Old School!



Giant test 2: 488 vs 570S vs R8

As a wa springs y of making the driv and brakes eshocks and definite er, the McLa ntertain re ly a ma tch for n is the Fer rari



Giant test 2: 488 vs 570S vs R8

Audi’s direct and darty steering mated to epic fourwheel drivetrain makes for a monster you can tame every single day

On winter tyres on a mild day the 570S struggles to get a grip, but once the sun goes down you swap scary for sensational


edgy on its Michelin Pilot Super Sports, engineered around its trick stability control. So I settle in, steel myself for the warmer temperatures later that day. 85% of parts are new compared with the 458 Italia, but there’s no mistaking where you are when you drop low into those firm sports seats. I particularly like how everything – scalene air vents, intricately contoured steering wheel, peripheral infotainment and vehicle displays – train your vision towards the central rev counter like a burst of light at the end of tunnel. That rev counter might still read to ten grand, but it’s now redlined 1k earlier at just over 8000rpm because the 458’s 4.5-litre V8 makes way for an all-new 3.9-litre V8 twin-turbo. It’s a masterpiece. Throttle response is instant, turbo lag non-existent, and the revs quickly taper away when you back off. It even sounds fantastic, that droney idle becoming a familiar Ferrari bwooooor towards the redline. Low in the mix, you hear the turbos subtly blowing like breakers hitting the shore. The really clever part is Variable Torque Management: instead of the 488 giving you all 561lb ft in the low-to-mid-range as you’d expect, Ferrari drip-feeds it, encouraging you to use the revs. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is familiar and continues to consume ratios like a schoolkid flicking lugs on a bus, but the ratios are a little longer. Had they not been, the 488’s massive extra mid-range and lower peak power would have had you nutting the limiter constantly. You might ping off the redline a couple of times, but mostly you’ve got so much mid-range, so much speed and still so much headroom that you rarely do. It’s a great powertrain. When the mercury hits 8degC, I head out for a faster drive.

You notice the steering’s a little firmer than the 458 Italia’s, with more road-surface fizz too, but it’s still super-quick, and this time its keenness to change direction just feels immediately natural, not shockingly darty like the 458 did if you’d just stepped from a humdrum hatch; is that familiarity over the years on my part, or is the 488 somehow better sorted? The R8 felt light and keen to switch direction in isolation, but already the 488 shades it. The purity with which the Ferrari shadow boxes through bends, up on its toes, only highlights that the Audi turns and drives at least partly with the fronts; the


slight understeer the R8 generates under power might ping you out of roundabouts unbelievably quickly, but it does introduce a lethargy to direction changes. Despite the Ferrari’s massive slug of torque – and because of Variable Torque Management – traction is actually very good, Michelins keying in and letting go progressively when they can take no more. When rear treadblocks do squirm, the traction control almost imperceptibly covers your talent deficit. Pray for owners who learn to drive a supercar on this basis, then disable everything; they’ll make Ken Block outtakes look as lairy as the Queen being chauffeured to the Cenotaph. I gradually work my way round the manettino dial, tweaking the gearbox, engine, ABS and safety settings, finally building the nerve to go ESC Off. Three shrill beeps ring out, presumably covering the Italian expletives the fandango’s trying to hurl at you. Where the 488 had felt flighty at 4degC, at 8degC it’s totally dialled in. The front tyres are half-an-inch wider than a 458’s, and while at first you lean on the excellent carbon-ceramic brakes early – shared with LaFerrari, but missing the strange pedal feel caused by the hybrid powertrain – soon you learn to carry speed into the corner, feel the suspension compress a little, then just rollercoaster right through the bend, understeer absent from the lexicon. With the front biting hard and loaded up, you’re free to climb on the fast pedal, and still you sense those reserves of traction, the progressive slip into oversteer. ‘Wow!’ says CJ later, stepping from the 488 and pointing at it. ‘The R8 is a sports car. That is a supercar!’ Hamstrung by winter tyres, I wait for temperatures to dip before driving the McLaren. McLaren says the 570S is more liveable than its serenely supple 650S, and has even re-engineered the MonoCell with 80mm lower sills, so you no longer sneak through the gap in the open dihedral doors like Frankenstein struggling into the bottom bunk. The McLaren’s steering wheel is starkly naked after the others, and you sit forwards and low down, the view through the windscreen unobstructed like a fighter-jet canopy. Even at very low speeds the McLaren communicates that it’s light and agile, that there’s no fear in taking liberties. The stiff, lightweight carbonfibre structure feels totally cohesive, the electro-hydraulic steering crackles with information, and even the dainty hips play a part, helping you thread the car through gaps that squeeze the others. I’m not a natural left-foot braker, but the McLaren presents its brake pedal so perfectly to your unemployed limb that it feels rude to refuse. Doing the same in the Audi is like trying to pedal a penny-farthing, so high and offset are accelerator and brake. Even with my desensitised hoof, I learn to push through the McLaren’s minimal slack and feed off the building pressure

‘Wow!’ steppinsays CJ, ‘The R8 g from the 4 That is is a sports c 88. a a super car!’ r.


Blow with the flow How did Ferrari make a turbo engine so responsive? The IHI turbochargers are key, with ball-bearing shafts reducing friction, and lightweight titanium-aluminium alloy compressor wheels quickly spinning up. Variable Torque Management also helps the naturally aspirated feel, drip-feeding torque so the 561lb ft peak arrives at higher revs when you’re driving hard, lower when you’re not. The 488 GTB’s V8 is related to the California’s, but distantly: 47cc and 500rpm more, new crank, con-rods, pistons, cams, heads and turbos all make the difference.



Audi R8 V10 Plus

Price (as tested) | £143,250 (£179,170) Transmission | Seven-speed dual-clutch, RWD Engine | 3799cc 32v twin-turbo V8 Suspension | Double wishbones all round Made of | Carbonfibre (aluminium panels)

Price (as tested) | £183,974 (£248,861) Transmission | Seven-speed dual-clutch auto, RWD Engine | 3902cc 32v twin-turbo V8 Suspension | Double wishbone front; multi-link rear Made of | Aluminium

Price (as tested) | £134,500 (£154,700) Transmission | Seven-speed dual-clutch, AWD Engine | 5204cc 40v V10 Suspension | Double wishbones all round Made of | Aluminium, carbonfibre



Ferrari 488 GTB


McLaren 570S







Power & Torque



We say: Ferrari’s V8 belts it out of the park

We say: McLaren’s carbonfibre MonoCell FTW

We say: McLaren’s weigh-in victory can’t overcome Ferrari’s bigger hammer

562bhp @ 7500rpm 443lb ft @ 5000-6500rpm Ferrari


661bhp @ 8000rpm 561lb ft @ 3000rpm (seventh gear) 602bhp @ 8250rpm








413lb ft @ 6500rpm

per tonne

0-62mph We say: The 2sec 0-62mph dash is coming!

Ferrari per tonne

Official and test mpg

Top Speed We say: It’s not about the VMax, but it still matters






12.7mpg 13.9mpg 10.6mpg Official 26.6mpg

Official 24.8mpg

Official 23.9mpg

Audi 205mph



Ferrari 205mph

Audi Test

20 0


Ferrari Test

0 15

McLaren Test


McLaren 204mph

Audi 3.2sec

per tonne

We say: Downsizing works, but it’s all relative. Shock Fezza win

McLaren 3.2sec Ferrari 3.0sec


428bhp 482bhp 414bhp



Fuel tank



Lease rates

We say: Regular R8 gets 10 more litres than V10 Plus. Might be an idea given the mpg

We say: Ferrari gets you another 38 miles on the police chopper

We say: No first year’s free tax for you

We say: Ferrari lease almost cost of car! McLaren and Audi a similar £75k all in

McLaren: 201 miles Ferrari: 239 miles Audi: 171 miles McLaren






72 78 73



249 g/km

275 g/km




Ferrari £24,083 deposit, 35x


Audi (V10, not V10 Plus) £29,688, 35x





McLaren £39,500 deposit, 36x

Giant test 2: 488 vs 570S vs R8 coming up through the pedal, trusting the endless reserves of the – standard – carbon-ceramics. I build up the speed, heading to my favourite road, all fast flicks, open-sighted sweepers and zero traffic, setting the handling and powertrain modes to Sport and deactivating the stability control because it cuts in too easily. You quickly find a rhythm with the McLaren. The steering both constantly jiggles in your hands and lets you place the front tyres with laser-guided accuracy, and there’s so much dialogue with the surface that cats’ eyes bang up through the carbon structure like plod knocking at the door; it might sound uncouth, but you’re just getting constant unfiltered messages from a very supple car. ‘It feels how you’d imagine a Lotus supercar would,’ comments James Taylor. Spot on. You might think testing the 570S on winter tyres unfair, and at times they are a liability, squidging under braking, writhing like jelly through esses. But I’ve also driven a McLaren on the standard P-Zero Corsas, a pretty aggressive tyre (regular P-Zeros are a no-cost option), and it felt incredible. There’s no understeer, bags of traction, and the way the body stays flat and you skim through corners in one fluid movement is awesomely compelling. You can even revel in sliding the 570, such is its poise and balance. As a way of making shocks and springs and brakes entertain their driver, the McLaren is definitely a match for the Ferrari. Where Maranello really monsters Woking is with the powertrain. The McLaren’s gearshifts are quick – and certainly more incisive and obedient than the 12C once was – but the Ferrari’s are significantly punchier, trimming slack from the man/machine interface; and the Ferrari’s shift paddles – fixed to the column, not the wheel like the McLaren’s – engage with a shorter click, and feel nicer too. McLaren’s 3.8-litre V8 has an ample 562bhp and 443lb ft, but this is a much more conventional-feeling turbo engine, laggy down low, with a soggier pedal and a noticeable – if thrilling – turbo hit at just gone 3000rpm, not the Ferrari’s eerie progression. The last 570S I drove had the optional sports exhaust, bringing a hard mechanical edge. With the standard pipes, this 570 sounds gruff, even tractor-like at low rpms. Tick that exhaust box.


It’s a case of arise, sir McLaren: you have well and truly arrived. The 488 has everything in its favour, yet it was so close

Negatives fall by the wayside when you find yourself on an open road, the lag that maybe frustrated through slower kinks no longer an issue. You start to revel in the upper reaches of the McLaren’s flexible delivery, and the soundtrack becomes more goose-pimple industrial the higher the revs climb. You keep the revs and speed high, cutting cross-country, feeling the suspension breathe beneath you, confident that you can use all the power, all the time. There’s no denying the 570S has so much right when it comes to driver feedback and enjoyment. It doesn’t even feel like it lacks power in this company, proving that you really don’t need Ferrari KEY TECH: AUDI R8 horses to have riotous fun. What’s absent Skeleton’s key is the Ferrari’s powertrain response. R8 is built around Audi Space Frame. When we park up for our closing shot, It’s a multi-material mix with a there’s no debate that the Ferrari wins. primarily aluminium passenger cell at its core. Carbonfibre, however, But the fact that the McLaren 570S forms the transmission tunnel delivers much of the thrill of the 488 GTB and rear bulkhead. Audi says ASF for £46k less – or almost £70k when both makes the new R8 50kg lighter and 40% torsionally stiffer than the first these cars’ lavish options are tallied – generation, but at 1454kg dry it weighs heavily on the result. The 570S is a remains the heaviest car on test: the deeply exciting and communicative drive, aluminium Ferrari weighs 1370kg, the a sports car that steers like a supercar carbonfibre (with aluminium panels) McLaren 1313kg. and offers huge savings over its Italian rival from the class above. Just imagine if Ferrari stepped down to the McLaren’s level with a new V6 Dino; then we’d have a proper scrap on our hands. Today, the McLaren can hold its head high with a strong second. That the Audi slips into third place is testament to the quality of this group, not a particular failing on its part. It’s the cheapest car here, packs a firecracker of an engine, and melds sensational dynamics with the most useable ownership proposition of the bunch. If you need one supercar to do everything, buy the Audi. Right now, tank brimmed, sun setting, roads clear and dry, I’m getting another fix in the Ferrari. @IamBenBarry


Even when handicapped by a cartoonish pricetag the 488 monsters all before it. So many superlatives, so little time


Not a defeat but a victory for the notion of the all-weather, everyday supercar. Every day? Yep, and every one will be epic May 2016 | SUBSC RIB E & SAVE UP TO 56%! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR




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The big story: BMW’s time machine

Words Phil McNamara Photography Wilson Hennessy



THE ULTIMATE DRIVING Machine: that’s one hell of a brand promise, the bedrock of BMW’s engineering, marketing and allure since the ‘70s. But what becomes of the Ultimate Driving Machine brand when the norm is for cars to drive themselves? It’s a question that threatens BMW’s very existence. This concept car, the BMW Vision Next 100, is an attempt to tackle that dilemma. Unveiled in Munich on the day the company turned 100 years old, it is one BMW vision of the automobile some 30 years from now. And when a company with the foresight of BMW – who led the SUV proliferation, rolled out stop/start with Efficient Dynamics, embraced connectivity and e-mobility with i3 and i8, championed the premium small car with Mini – gives a glimpse of the future, it’s worth taking notice. Here are six messages we took away from Munich in our head luggage.



THE ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE LIVES Unlike futuristic transport pods, the BMW Vision does have a steering wheel, though it resembles a chest expander rather than today’s circular object. The message: the car enthusiast of 2046 will still be able to drive – but at a time of their choosing, say on a winding Alpine pass. The twist is that BMW sees the connected car as being able to coach better driving. It imagines the windscreen as a massive head-up display, which will display the optimum line and speed for taking a corner. It could suggest you straddle the centreline to carry velocity, because cloud connectivity enables the car to have visibility around the corner to ascertain there’s no oncoming traffic. BMW calls this enhanced driving ‘boost’ mode. ‘Connectivity, digitalisation and autonomous/ semi-autonomous driving give us the chance to strengthen one of the main forces of the last 100 years: to have the driver in the middle of everything,’ says Karim Habib, BMW’s head of design. ‘We think we can make the ultimate driver out of the ultimate driving machine. You have a co-pilot to help you take the curve better and enjoy driving to the maximum.’ Of course there are elephants in the room: being able to see cars hidden around corners demands all hazards are connected – not the case for an enthusiast taking his 2016 classic M2 out for a spin. And if autonomous cars are proven to be more reliable than humans, won’t legislators ban us as the weakest link? ‘Will one day automated driving be mandatory in certain traffic zones?’ responds head of group design Adrian van Hooydonk. ‘We don’t know. All we know is that we’d better be technologically prepared. But we believe individual mobility should be a choice.’

The big story: BMW’s time machine

As the wheels turn the bodywork turns too. Try polishing that!

The car shows you the best line through a corner. Would love to try it through Eau Rouge

BORN SLIPPY: A WORLD RECORD DRAG FACTOR This BMW might look forward 30 years, but in one way it turns the clock back to the ’30s: its streamliner wheels. This is the car’s most striking feature, those four concave dishes at each corner, looking like clay spinning in a potter’s wheel; creating a disconnect between your eye and brain, which are conditioned to process the ubiquitous circle of rubber encasing an alloy wheel. So how do the front wheels steer? The wheel and its cover are physically connected, and as the steering turns from the dead ahead, the wheelarch bodywork peels apart to maintain sufficient distance to the spinning tyre. It’s genuinely breath-taking, watching the interlocking layers expand and contract, like a high-tech accordion’s bellows. ‘We have two points of connection, in the front and rear [of the wheel], and when the wheels turn, the surface turns with it,’ explains Karim Habib. He says patents are pending. ‘There’s no flexible material: it’s like pieces of a 3D puzzle that slide on top of each other.’ BMW calls this feature Alive Geometry, a term it also applies to the active head-up display and a shape-shifting dashboard. Eliminating that turbulence in the wheel wells, combined with other aerodynamic elements, has a profound effect. Without any need to feed air to an engine, the front grille can be closed off, and a rear body section also extends to optimise air flow. The result is a claimed 0.18 coefficient of drag, a world record. That should help eke out a few more electric miles: what will the range anxiety threshold and recharging times of 2046 be?  May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK


THE SCREEN ARMS RACE IS OVER – MEET THE LIVING DASHBOARD The cockpit of the BMW Vision is more minimalist than a Scotsman’s underwear. There isn’t a single switch or dial, and that physical, analogue experience will be history in three decades, says the man with a very Silicon Valley-sounding job title, Holger Hampf, head of design customer experience. ‘We wanted to step away from direct interaction. We’ve cleaned up the interior to the maximum, got rid of physical interaction points, especially displays. Currently there’s a race for the biggest displays, the best resolution. In the future, most of that can be gone.’ That’s due to emerging control systems. Using gestures is a fledgling, shallow experience in the latest 7-series, and it’s probably easier to communicate via the click language of the southern African San people than use in-car voice control without frustration. But by 2046 both systems should be infallible. This car also communicates with you, thanks to the second manifestation of Alive Geometry: 800 small indicator triangles spread across the dashboard. In their resting state, they merely provide texture, but if the car’s sensors spot a hazard the triangles move upwards, revealing previously hidden red surfaces. This creates a red wave that ripples across the dash, in the direction of the hazard. BMW cites the example of a bicycle courier, whose appearance from the right is indicated by a pulse of the Alive Geometry triangles on the right-hand-side. If the courier then disappears from view behind a parked lorry, the BMW Vision will have calculated his trajectory and speed, and continue to signal his likely reappearance in your path with the animated dashboard. 86


‘Without harsh acoustic signals or warning lights, we can change the dashboard geometry to give a subtle warning that something may happen in the next few seconds,’ says Hampf. The cockpit is noticeably clean and spacious, shorn of the clutter of switches and physical intrusions such as a tranmission tunnel. The materials are fully recyclable, and the BMW Vision makes a stand against the use of cattle skin: the seats are trimmed in alcantara and cashmere, rather than leather. Unlike Mercedes’ futuristic F015 concept, the BMW Vision does not have swivelling chairs to foster social interaction – such a feature calls for a much larger vehicle. The BMW’s seats have been designed to let you lounge: the edges use softer foam, and combine with the door contours to create an enticing, lean-back position. But you can’t turn your back on the road ahead. A statement that underlines BMW’s aspiration to keep car enthusiasts in control – and the company in control of its own destiny, at the forefront of the car’s technological revolution.

Boost mode! The driver’s in control, steering ‘wheel’ in hand

Ease mode! Wheel retracts, car takes over, driver adopts lounge position

The big story: BMW’s time machine


SAME FUTURE, DIFFERENT BADGE Mercedes has been at it too

The alternative to boosted driving is ‘ease’ mode. The steering wheel retracts into the dash, and the vehicle becomes fully autonomous, though control can revert to the driver within 5secs to meet legislative requirements. BMW believes it’s important to tell the outside world that the car is driving itself, so there’s a physical manifestation of the companion – a diamondshaped crystal – which rises from the dash so its glow is visible in the windscreen. Shades of K.I.T.T.’s swivelling red scanning eye in Knight Rider, although BMW’s companion turns green, to communicate that pedestrians are safe to use that pelican crossing for instance. What does the driver get up to while virtual Parker does its thing? Van Hooydonk’s team imagines joining a video conference to review the latest designs on the windscreen’s head-up display: there really is no downtime when you’ve got to stay one step ahead of technological extinction.  Diamond-shaped crystal glows to show others the car’s driving itself, and not to worry about the driver seeming to be asleep

F015 CONCEPT (2015) Like the BMW this ‘S-class after next’ has a retractable steering wheel and uses changing light colours to tell other road users when it’s in autonomous mode. Unlike the BMW, its front seats swivel 180 degrees to form a ‘lounge’.

CONCEPT IAA (2015) Like the BMW this ‘shape-shifting coupe’ uses radical active aerodynamics, including a tail that extends by 390mm above 50mph and dished wheels which become shallower with speed. Unlike the BMW it has a petrol electric drivetrain and pretty much an E-class cockpit.



The big story: BMW’s time machine

They’ve exceeded the stated dose on the wacky doors bottle. One thing we do learn: in the future, garages will have much higher roofs



Van Hooydonk: ‘I hope I’m not laughing at this in 30 years’ time’

IT’S A CAR BUT NOT QUITE AS WE KNOW IT It’s part car, part molten bronze jelly mould. The BMW Vision resembles the familiar three-box saloon, with the rear lip hinting at a boot, and the bonnet suggesting the horseless carriage configuration established with the dawn of the automobile. But BMW has subverted the form into a teardrop-shaped, ‘almost one-box monovolume’, according to Karim Habib. That helps stretch cabin volume in both directions: the concept is the size of a 5-series, but with the interior space of a 7-series. Trademark BMW design cues are visible, such as the four headlamps and the kidney grille, but again subverted. So today’s rounded lamps make way for four minimalist light bars, and the double grille isn’t for engine cooling but to house the sensors which allow the car to decode its surroundings. BMW won’t elaborate on the powertrain other than that it employs electric propulsion and emits zero emissions. ‘Yes, it will be very dynamic and very fast, the limousine of the future could be even faster than today’s. That can be achieved in many different drivetrain ways,’ says Adrian van Hooydonk. ‘We all just hope we will be able to deliver the right driving sensations in the future.’

THE MAN WHO HAS TO DIVINE THE FUTURE Today’s car designers grew up sketching wedgy supercars on planet-sized wheels. Ironically however, the Ultimate Driving Machine brand hasn’t sold an undiluted supercar since the ’70s, and the closest silhouette in its current range is a three-cylinder-engined plug-in hybrid. That sums up the way the car world is changing, and the man charged with visualising BMW’s future is group senior vice president of design Adrian van Hooydonk. ‘In the past you’ve asked us “Is the i8 just a sideshow: what happens in the core of the brand?” Here we’ve decided to attack that core, a sporty limousine, to put in everything we’ve learned plus a few things we’ve imagined. I hope that 30 years from now I’m not laughing at it. The design is so clean, I believe it might stand the test of time.’ In 2046, van Hooydonk will be 82 – five years older than the perennial Giugiaro is now. By then, the Dutchman will know which alternative powertrain came to dominate, and the year of the autonomous car tipping point. ‘We believe that will become a technical reality within 15 years. Will everybody then still want to drive? Probably not. But BMW’s brands cater for people who love to drive, and that’s why we were adamant this concept should have a steering wheel.’ The understated executive expects interior design to become more important and creative as autonomy takes drivers’ attention off the road, and that future computing power should enable shape-shifting cars as per the Alive Geometry wheels. ‘We tried our best to imagine what the future will bring. We cannot predict it but we can take a stance. BMW feels this is very important: to try to shape the future – before it shapes you.’ @CARPhilMc May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK



‘The waiting lists used to be 10 years. Some deposit holders died’

The car maker that time forgot is changing, embracing aluminium, BMW engines and now hybrid power for its latest three-wheeled showstopper. Time to re-visit Morgan’s Malvern workshops Words Chris Chilton | Photography Richard Pardon 90 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Inside Morgan

Trimming a bonnet by eye, no measurements. And it’ll fit perfectly…





Inside Morgan

I The production line runs downhill, literally, to ease the manufacturing process

T’S TEMPTING TO think of Morgan as the car world’s version of South America’s Yanomami tribe. They’re the people who wander around in loin cloths and pudding bowl hair cuts, aware of the outside world, but who choose to ignore it and continue instead with a way of life the rest of us left behind when wattle and daub rendered cave-living passé. By rights Morgan should have died out years ago along with every other creaky name your granddad had scribbled on his schoolbag. Except that all the jokes about the archaic workshop and tooling so old no one actually knows whether it was first used before or after the war, the cars built from wood (only the frame, never the chassis, people), and suspension designs that went out with the ark are, truth be told, slightly disingenuous. Throwback cars (and we say ‘cars’ in a sense looser than the marbles of the people buying them), like the phenomenally successful three-wheeler introduced in 2011, have dragged attention away from the efforts Morgan has made to pull itself in the other direction. Morgan is a company of two eras. While the look of its cars, the craftsmanship and the English quirkiness comes largely from the classic range of Morgans it has been building since before our scuffle with the Hun, for almost 20 years there’s been another type of Morgan. A Morgan built around a state-of-the-art aluminium chassis, powered by a sophisticated BMW engine and paddleshift automatic transmission. A Morgan that now features traction control, anti-lock brakes and modern double-wishbone suspension. And now the company is about to throw itself into the world of EV and hybrid power, unveiling an electric three-wheeler, the EV3, at this year’s Geneva motor show, and winning a £6m grant from the British government to develop

a future range of zero-emissions cars. We’ll come to that later. First, let’s get reacquainted with some slightly more traditional product in the shape of the new AR Plus 4. Although Land Rover happily blew the Defender’s long-service trumpet for its 67-year production run, Morgan’s 4/4 has actually been around longer. The more powerful Plus 4 arrived in 1951; both are still available. Morgan revealed an 80th anniversary 4/4 on this year’s Geneva stand, but it’s the 65th anniversary Plus 4, shown last year, though not tried by anyone outside the factory until now, that’s the one worth bothering with. For the benefit of those of you not wearing a vest, the 4/4 is the quintessential Morgan. Four wheels, sweeping wings, modest four-cylinder power. Rides like its got 50p pieces for wheels. If the ARP4 is the 4/4’s daddy, it’s like the lion that eats its cubs for breakfast. Developed by Morgan’s racing partner, AR Motorsport, the ARP4 features a Cosworth-tuned naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre four that makes 225bhp and a noise like a fairy-tale giant slurping the last dregs of a Diet Coke through a 40ft straw. In modern parlance, 225bhp isn’t a lot of poke, but these Morgans are light. Less than 1000kg light. In old  May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK


Inside Morgan

The ARP4 is no match for a modern car (ie, anything built since Suez) but as a car to entertain it’s absolutely valid tuned-car fashion, this one doesn’t want to know below 2500prm. Throw another 1500rpm at it and things get interesting, and by 6500rpm the needle is hurling itself towards the redline. Which you can’t actually see because it’s hidden behind the steering wheel rim. There’s a shift light but sadly that’s hidden too. It sounds so epic it doesn’t really matter that the true level of performance is only sports- rather than super-car quick. And anyway, you’re busy enough as it is to be worrying about wanting more performance. To be frank, if the ARP4 is your first taste of classic Morgan, or of anything built before the ’70s, you’d swear it was broken. Although the rear suspension has been upgraded to a five-link coil spring setup – a mod likely to filter down to lesser classic Morgans – it’s still a live axle duetting with a sliding pillar arrangement at the front. The thing bucks around like a Red Bull-fuelled rodeo steer on bumpy roads and the unassisted steering, heavy at parking speeds, and weighty everywhere else except when it goes disconcertingly light for no reason on the middle of a bend, is busy too. The pedal heights make heel and toeing difficult, and when the mistakenly unlatched door flies open, it’s only the flash of white lines in my peripheral vision, and not the noise – which I can’t hear over the rest of the din – that alerts me. Fifty-five grand? Hmmm. I love driving Caterhams, but the last classic Morgan I drove, a V6 Roadster in 2004, which I expected to push similar buttons, also left me non-plussed. Maybe it was rubbish, or maybe I just needed a little more time, because slowly I start to get the hang of the ARP4. You grow accustomed to the pedal positions, mentally prepared yourself for the steering weight to disappear alarmingly mid-turn and trust that it’s a transitionary sensation and you’re not about to understeer off the road. That’s just how it feels. And when you start to trust a car, that’s also when you really start to enjoy it. Not just in a straight line, getting giddy to the sound of the Cosworth motor’s four individual throttle bodies, but in the corners too. The 225-section Yoko ADO8Rs actually produce plenty of grip, and there are proper four-pot calipers to dampen the drama before you dampen your pants. Objectively it’s no match for a modern car (ie, anything built since Suez) in terms of composure or outright dynamic performance. But accept that the primary goal of an entertaining driver’s car is to entertain, and not simply to get from A to B intact and in short order, and the ARP4 is absolutely valid. It helps that it looks magnificent, bridging the gap between old and new but doing it from a completely different starting point than the Plus 8, which features the Aero’s aluminium architecture clothed in Plus 4-type bodywork. Morgan’s designer, Jonathan Wells, isn’t the biggest fan of the strikingly modern LED headlights, chosen by AR Motorsport to stress the link with the competition cars. But the blackout chrome trim, the pearl paint and modern 14-spoke wheels… somehow it all works. There’s the same blend of old and new inside, where handsome and hardy box-weave carpet meets vintage-style toggle 94


switches, beautifully shaped aluminium door cards and a contemporary alcantara-covered three-spoke wheel. Conspicuously absent is tree. It’s there – the whole dash panel is made of ash – but cloaked in black for a definite modern feel. Back at the ramshackle collection of sheds that have constituted Morgan’s home since 1920, I see managing director Steve Morris choosing his Geneva motor show togs from a young Brylcreemed tailor dressed in plaid like Richard Prior in Superman 3. Morris, a former shop-floor worker, is the perfect embodiment of the boy-done-good fairy tale, and also Morgan’s desire to keep things in the family. But like all families, this one has its squabbles. Since I was last here in 2011 to drive the then-new 3 Wheeler, Charles Morgan, boss and grandson of the company’s founder HFS Morgan, has been ousted, and Morris installed at the top table. Although Charles was instrumental in dragging Morgan into the modern age, pioneering the aluminium-chassis aero cars and the return of the 3 Wheeler, the relationship ended acrimoniously with accusations of misconduct. Charles’s absence is the only sign of disunity here. From the offices located in the uppermost building, the oldest part of the factory and originally the location for three-wheel production after the Great War (how incredible does that sound?), we move through the works. If the standard of workmanship here – and the incidence of sons following fathers through the doors to the tools – is anything to go by, this is a happy workforce. And it is very much a workforce. While other car makers grapple with the philosophical, technical and legal issues surrounding autonomous driving, Morgan hasn’t doesn’t have so much as a robot. We see a swathe of the other 49 ARP4s – all sold, and denoted by their red, not black, steel chassis – making their way down the hill. For years, Morgans started life at the bottom of the hill and worked their way up, emerging near Pickersleigh Road until some bright spark realised it might make sense to do things the other way around and gravity do the graft. Only the 3 Wheeler gets a dedicated production line, although it’s actually more of a corner of a shed. The Classic and Aero cars are built together, first in the chassis shop, followed by the assembly shop, and later moving down into the woodwork department. There’s no moving production line; the built-up chassis having their brakes and drivelines installed aren’t 

ARP4 doesn’t hold your hand, but with miles it might just grasp your heart

EV3: Morgan goes electric

Race-inspired detailing meets classic Morgan lines. Shouldn’t work. Does

If you asked most people to rank the world’s car makers in order of likelihood to rush to embrace clean power, Morgan would be subterranean. But the team at Malvern has been investigating green technologies for over 10 years, stretching back to 2005’s LifeCar project, and actually produced a Plus 8-based EV concept in 2012. That stuff though, was just playing. This year, things get serious, starting with the EV3, a production-ready pure electric version of the much-loved 3 Wheeler revealed at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The real action, the fruit of a business plan that has netted Morgan and technology partner Potenza a £6m government grant to develop electric and hybrid vehicles, won’t start until 2019. If that same plan works, Morgan will double its output to almost 2000 units a year in the next 10 years. Instead of the standard 3 Wheeler’s American-built S&S V-twin petrol engine, the EV3 features a 62bhp liquid-cooled electric motor powered by a 20kWh lithium-ion battery housed within the tubular chassis. And rather than Morgan’s traditional aluminium bodywork, this one wears sophisticated carbon panels, a company first. Although it weighs around 25kg less than the 525kg petrol model, the EV3 is slightly slower, Morgan quoting a sub-9sec 0-60mph time, more than a second adrift of the V-twin machine. Top speed is down from 115mph to 90mph too, though anyone who’s actually been brutally assaulted by Mother Nature at the wheel of a 3 Wheeler is unlikely to complain. The range is 150 miles but you’ll likely be begging for it to expire at half that. Given how fundamental the exposed V-twin engine was to the styling of the original car, Morgan’s design head, Jonathan Wells has done a spectacular job here. Last year’s EV3 prototype simply had a boring orange box in the nose, but the production car’s offset headlight and brass cooling fins give the EV a character all its own – and more than a hint of Jules Verne. Whether the car’s dynamic character can withstand the loss of the V-twin’s noise and vibes is a crucial question we can’t yet answer. EV3 deliveries start later this year, while prices start at north of £30,000.

‘Beep! Beep! Bwarrrhhh! Look at me, Mole!’



Smell the timber, the leather… and the forthcoming hybrid powertrain

The designer: Morgan’s Jonathan Wells on ‘1950s robots and Back to the Future’ ‘For me Morgan is about the people, the craftsmen, the atmosphere,’ says chief designer Jonathan Wells. ‘You can build almost any shape, but as soon as you know it’s put together by these craftsmen, it could still be a Morgan. Even applying composite technologies; I don’t believe that ruins the charm of coach-building.’ If that sounds like the prelude to some radical reinvention of the Malvern company’s design and engineering language, it is. And it isn’t. ‘I think we can be flexible with the design,’ says Wells. ‘There’s a lot of room for stretch. We’ve created some radical looking cars like the Eva GT, which looks nothing like a 4/4 but people still relate to it as a Morgan. The challenge is communicating to the customer that the car still retains its integrity.’ But here comes the pacifier for the apoplectic flat-cap brigade: ‘Having said that, I don’t think an ultra modern design is the way to go.’ Wells can’t give too much away about future product, but we talk about some of the most beautiful machines of the 1930s – Delahayes, Talbot Lagos and the Count Trossi SSK – cars that are clearly of their time, yet manage to appear shockingly modern at the same. He then suggests the new EV3 as a car that uses historical cues yet appears surprisingly contemporary. ‘Believe it or not I took my inspiration from a Napier Railton,’ says Wells, then



laughs, adding: ‘and 1950s robots and the steam train from Back to the Future! It’s a lot of fun seeing how far you can push the designs.’ Are there design cues that are fundamental to any Morgan? ‘The face of a Morgan is important, the round lamps and smiling grille. And the wood,’ Wells responds. What about the separate wings? ‘Lower down my list than some people would have them.’ When Wells joined Morgan as a graduate he introduced modern 3D modelling technologies to a design department still working in the past. Now, having replaced Matt Humphries as head of design, he’s charged with introducing a new customer demographic. ‘We have many customers who are very important to us, but perhaps some of those haven’t bought a new car from us for 30 years. We need to be realistic about the future of the classic range. We need to also be looking at new markets.’ And a new lightweight platform to go with the new electric and hybrid drivetrains. ‘Designing a new chassis that can take multiple drivetrains, electric power and different styles of bodywork is a fascinating challenge,’ he says. Given that Morgan’s £6m government grant is some £3,144,000,000 less than Ford has pledged to spend developing its own electric cars over the next five years, he’s not kidding.

Inside Morgan even on moveable dollies, but simple trestles. In the corner sparks fly as someone cuts off excess thread from the U-bolts holding a 4/4’s leaf springs to a live axle with an angle grinder under the gaze of a simple strip light. Your ears hear no music but your head is playing Dinah Shore 78s complete with scratchy vinyl sound effects. In the wood shop, men with a sculptor’s eye shape the traditional ash frames that are criminally hidden below bodywork on the finished cars. Ash is the tree of choice, used for its lightness and ability to absorb sound, its tendency to grow straight and without many knots. ‘It used to come from Belgium,’ says John Burbidge, head of the chassis shop, ‘but now we get it from the UK. There was too much shrapnel in the trees from the war and it used to bugger up the machines.’ Ash is also used for the dash panel but probably not the motor show stand that lies in front of me in sections. Was there another company at Geneva whose designer and engineers had inked out and manually constructed the shape of both the cars and the plinth they sat on? Of course not. ‘There’s 207 years of Morgan experience in this shop,’ says Burbidge proudly. Finding young people with the skills required to build these cars isn’t easy. You don’t roll out of a BTEC college course knowing how to build a car designed when watching a film at the cinema without a man in front playing the piano was still a novelty. Yet there are plenty of young faces here, and everyone can learn something new

regardless of their age. ‘The dashboards were actually done by outside suppliers until recently,’ Burbidge admits, picking up a beautifully finished slab of walnut-coated ash. ‘But I felt we should be doing it ourselves. The lads started with one model and now we do them all.’ Paintwork is also done in-house, as is the trimming, in the final assembly area. The older-style classic Morgans stay close to the original recipe, but even they haven’t been immune to the march of technology. Modern adhesives have slashed the time needed to bond the plies that make up the curved wooden frame over the rear wheelarches. Previously they needed six hours clamped in a medieval-looking jig that’s at least 64-years-old but could be 80. Now the job’s done in two. Similarly, wings once fashioned from steel are aluminium these days. They’re produced offsite by a company that makes panels for big money British supercars, but the finishing is all Morgan’s. We watch a pair of workers with the hand/eye coordination of a watchmaker stamping the louvres into one bonnet. 

‘We used to source ash from Belgium but the shrapnel buggers up our machines’



Unnmoved by fourpot power? BMW V8 gives the Plus 8 and Aero 8 scary speed



Aluminium and steel coachwork for now but carbonfibre is coming

Inside Morgan Across the hall, another nonchalantly chops a 40cm-long strip from the bottom of another bonnet with some tin snips having measured only with his eyes. It fits perfectly. Then, in the corner of one room I spot a 3D printer, a godsend to low-volume car companies like Morgan. Now it can prototype new parts in a fraction of the time (and cost). Stripped bare before us, the huge technical differences between the aluminium-chassis BMW-powered cars and the older classics is far more apparent than it ever is on the showroom floor. I can’t help but wonder about the older style cars. I can understand how the baby boomer generation might have lusted after one, fulfilling that dream held since a creaky 4/4 trundled past their school gates during a game of conkers. But those blokes are in their 60s and 70s now. Isn’t the supply running dry? Do younger sports car fans, or even middle-aged ones, lust after a relatively slow, dynamically compromised (if admittedly beautifully finished) yesteryear ragtop? That the traditional cars account for over one half of the circa-850 annual output suggests demand for the classics is still strong, at least for now. Three quarters of Morgan output goes overseas, and a huge number of those to Germany and France where Anglophiles wear flat caps and celebrate the kind of imagined Englishness of Midsomer Murders. The vastly more complex, more expensive BMW-powered cars (prices start at £81,140 versus £34,925 for a basic 4/4) shift between 100-150 units a year, and the fascinating V-twin 3 Wheeler, a car that celebrates Morgan’s heritage yet manages to do so with complete cross-generational appeal, finds around 250 homes annually. When we reach the 3 Wheeler production area there are 11 cars in various stages of undress, from bare chassis to the fully-built pinstriped Geneva expo car, but no sign of the EV3 electric variant that made its debut at Geneva. What started as an interesting idea, to resuscitate the long since

forgotten car that made Morgan’s name, has snowballed into something massive. The plan had been to build 300. The five-strong assembly and road-test team is currently at 1500 examples and counting. Being classed as a motorbike rather than a car helped here, reopening a door to the North AmerMorgan ARP4 ican market that closed to Morgan when a safety > Price £54,995 > Engine 1999cc 16v 4-cyl, exemption expired in the early noughties. And by 225bhp @ 6500rpm the year’s end those same dealers could potentially > Transmission Five-speed have a whole raft of new product to sell. A US manual, rear-wheel drive > Suspension Sliding pillar National Highway Traffic Safety Administration front; five-link live axle with bill introduced at the back end of 2015 now allows coil springs rear companies to produce up to 15 examples of a car that > Performance 5.5sec 0-60mph, 130mph (all est) wouldn’t meet mainstream safety requirements > Length/width/height provided it is based on a design older than 25 years 4010/1720/1220mm and is powered by an engine that meets current > Weight/made from emissions legislation. The Aero 8 still won’t be 927kg/steel, aluminium > On sale all 50 sold granted a visa, but the Plus 8 (an aluminium Aero > Rating +++++ chassis clothed in classic-style bodywork) might just squeak through, and the steel chassis cars are sure to find a cult following. That cult following was always the reason Morgan was able to get away with ludicrous waiting lists of up to 10 years, but like the styling, they’re a thing of the past. ‘Sometimes we used to ring deposit holders up to tell them their build slot was approaching and it was time to talk about a more detailed specification, and it transpired they’d actually died,’ admits press and marketing man, James Gilbert. ‘These days we’ve got the waiting list down to around six months.’ And what’s six months between friends? For Morgan, a company continually blurring the distinction between the Depicted here, a old and the new, the concept of time is as fixed and as fluid as rural scene typical of England in the it pleases. latter half of the @chrischiltoncar 20th century



Shootout! Mustang GT350 vs Nissan GT-R

100 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Godzilla vs Voodoo child

t e sides of the planet, bu sit po op on d te ea cr e They wer in domestic race series. w to 0s ’6 e th in rn bo both were st meets west? Who triumphs when ea Pajo ography Greg Chilton | Phot Words Chris

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This is a Mustang possessed. Little wonder the engine’s codename is Voodoo

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Shootout! Mustang GT350 vs Nissan GT-R

IGHT-TWO-FIVE-oh-emmflippin’-gee… Harangue the Mustang’s rev counter needle to its 8250rpm limit and you feel like Columbus landing in America, Howard Carter opening Tutankhamun’s tomb or Buzz Aldrin following Armstrong onto the moon’s surface: you know men have been here before, but in your head none of them mattered. The noise is intense, at low to medium revs rumbling with all the swagger of Link Wray’s seminal rock’n’roll riff, then segueing into a soaring shriek at the top end. It takes determination to get there. Rely on your ears alone, or your reading of the crude vibrations fed back through the seat, wheel and pedals, and you’ll both short-shift and short-change yourself. Keep it pinned, keep it coming, keep your eye on the tacho. And keep pinching yourself. This is a Mustang possessed. Little wonder the engine’s codename is Voodoo. If the Mustang’s retro styling evokes memories, real or imagined, of a ‘better time’, so does the GT350’s V8. While all around car makers are switching to turbocharging, forgoing high revs and response for easy, clean power, Henry has blindsided everyone. Ford, the company that not too long ago was still peddling a supermini with a pushrod four, has built a sports car with a naturally aspirated flat-plane crank V8. Not even Ferrari makes one of those anymore. We hesitated before pitting this pair together. Incredible engine notwithstanding, can a $47,795 (£32,979) rear-wheel-drive Mustang really hope to compete with Godzilla, a stateof-the-art four-wheel-drive twin-turbo tech fest with nitrogen filled tyres and costing twice as much? And besides, wind back the clock and this pair has something of a historical connection. Back in the ’60s the GT350 and GT-R were born with the same goal, but on different sides of the planet. That goal was to dominate national sports car racing in their respective countries. The Mustang came first, in 1965, a board-stiff stripped-out version of Ford’s smash-hit pony car. In his Venice workshop Carroll Shelby dropped in the 306bhp engine from his 289 Cobra, creating a podium-squatting regular, albeit one with the table manners of Lotto lout Michael Carroll. By the decade’s end those bad manners had been tamed and then some, the GT350, by now overweight, air-conditioned, and often equipped with an automatic gearbox, usurped in the Mustang line-up in the eyes of the racing fraternity by Ford’s own high-revving in-house Boss 302 homologation special. But just as the 350’s sun was setting, thousands of miles across the Pacific in the land of the rising sun, its spiritual successor was making waves of its own. The PGC10 Skyline wasn’t a clone of the GT350, and its 2.0-litre straight-six’s 160bhp meant it was half as powerful as the 4.7 Shelby. But the theme was similar: low weight, maximum focus. A prized race winner in its day, it’s a prized collector car in this one. As far as we know the original GT350

never faced down an original PGC10, so half a century later, we’re going to make amends. The current Mustang range is the best yet, better built, better to drive and (contentious one, this) better to look at than any Mustang before it. And for the first time you can buy a European type-approved one through your Ford dealer that has a steering wheel on the right. But it won’t be a GT350. This is an altogether more serious Mustang and it’s only available on its home soil, which is why we’ve come to the spectacular San Gabriel mountains north of Los Angeles to find out what makes it tick. Think of cars and LA and you’ll likely think of traffic gridlock, of smog and four-wheeled misery. Yet the city’s car fans are actually among the luckiest in the world. Less than an hour away, Alpine-like, pine-clad mountain passes, technical rock-lined switchbacks and fast, empty two-laners are there for the taking. And that’s where the GT350 is taking us. The GT350 is actually two distinct models, the cheapest of which costs less than a vanilla Euro-spec V8. For $11,400 over a 435bhp V8 ’Stang, the standard GT350 brings that trick V8 and 526bhp, 19in wheels, a six-speed manual ’box, a Torsen limited-slip diff and Recaro buckets. Throw in another $13,500 for the GT350R and you lose the rear seat, rear-view camera and floor mats, but gain MagneRide dampers, a strut brace, engine, transmission and differential oil coolers and genuine carbonfibre wheels that save 5.9kg per corner, but are painted black so no one knows but you and the shocks. We’re in the far more practical base 350 today, so have to

If only we had a GT350R – those alloys would be made of carbonfibre

make do with boring old metal wheels. But ours does have the $6500 Track Pack, which adds most of the R’s other chassis and drivetrain goodies into the mix and arguably makes for the best 350 you can buy. Total price, including the optional racing stripes: $56,970, or £39,309 at current exchange rates. Preliminary verdict: bargain. To keep things fair, and the Nissan’s price the sane side of six-figures, the Mustang’s foe today isn’t the crazy £125,000 Nismo GT-R, or even the mildly Nismo-tuned Track Pack car CJ enthused about recently, but which isn’t currently available in the US. Instead we’ve gone for the stock GT-R, albeit one dressed in last year’s limited edition 45th anniversary colours. That’s no longer available but fundamentally it’s the same as a stock GT-R, yours in the UK for £78,030.  May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 103

Shootout! Mustang GT350 vs Nissan GT-R

It’s eight years since we first drove an R35 GT-R, long enough that we might get complacent about its abilities. Thankfully, Nissan certainly hasn’t, and has constantly upgraded its flagship with an Apple-like zeal to ensure it feels as stupendous as it did back in 2008, when in fact, with 543bhp to the original’s 478bhp, it’s on another level altogether. Before those 20in wheels have made so much as a single rotation, the madness comes flooding back. And the crudity. For such a technically advanced machine, the GT-R can feel astonishingly agricultural. The rear-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch transmission clonks and bangs, and even at low speed the four-wheel-drive system with its unusual twin-propshaft arrangement whirrs and groans as if the car is supported by one solitary wheel and a stack of gyros to keep the thing aloft. The disappointment lasts all of three seconds. By then you’ve got 60mph on the speedo and a GT350 plastered all over the rear-view mirror. Ford doesn’t quote performance figures for the GT350, but US magazine Car and Driver timed one at 4.3sec to 60mph (and 3.9sec for the R version) compared with 3.0sec dead for a current GT-R (Nissan claims 2.7sec). How much of that gap is down to the Nissan’s four-wheel-drive advantage leaving the line? Some, but not as much as you’d think. A couple of roll-on drags along the lightly trafficked Glendale Freeway confirms a gut feel: the Ford talks a good game, but the GT-R, 17bhp and 37lb ft stronger, strolls past, shrugging off its 34kg weight disadvantage with the help of a dual-clutch ’box that shifts quicker than any human could swap gears in the manual Mustang. A muscle car outmuscled. Game over? When we stop for breakfast at La Canada Flintridge, the gateway to the good stuff, the GT-R is sitting pretty, or as pret-

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ty as a car can when it’s dressed up like it’s off to bridge night at an old people’s home. Yes, the anniversary gold paint bestows a surprisingly demure, classy look to the GT-R, but we prefer our Godzillas to look scarier than a man in a rubber dinosaur suit. We pick up the two-lane Route 2 and within a minute we’re scything through epic California canyon country. This is the Angeles Crest Highway. Big sweeping corners, dramatic views of LA, and at weekends, jammed with cars and bikes getting their rocks off rounding the rocks. But midweek it’s quiet and mostly cop-free, with just the odd Miata or sports bike flitting about. Easy meat for the GT-R. Planted as a redwood and crushingly accelerative, the Nissan storms up the hills. It feels heavy because it is, but it also feels controlled, and you can’t help but be amazed that it can cover ground so fast, resist roll so well and grip until your arms are sore from the steering forces. The only thing slow about it is the time it takes for a chink to appear in that armour. But eventually you discover a little understeer at the limit, and it doesn’t initially feel that adjustable. Turns out you’ve got to bully it, to push much harder to get beyond the point-and-squirt security. Then you can feel the torque being transferred to the rear axle to help. It sounds brutal, and can feel it. The real surprise and contradiction is how sensitive the steering is in this mix. But for all its performance, the engine is actually rather dull. Whooorrsh, whooorrsh, whooorrsh it goes through the gears, thumping you firmly into the seat like a congratulatory slap on the back from the Hulk, but doing it with all the charm of the green guy’s grunts. Does that matter? I don’t know, or care to know how my Apple Mac gets these words on the screen, or the guywith 

Mustang scrabbles for grip while 4wd Nissan nails it. From standstill to 62mph there’s only one winner: the GT-R by 1.3sec

This is where you’d expect a muscle car to fall apart, but this isn’t a muscle car. It’s a proper sports car

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Shootout! Mustang GT350 vs Nissan GT-R

’Stang has all the grip you need on hot Californian tarmac, but 4wd GT-R will monster a soaked Welsh B-road

Mustang cooler to look at but less cool to use. We dig the dished wheel!

SHELBY GT350 MUSTANG > Price $47,795 (£33,503 at current rates) > On sale Now (personal import in UK) > Engine 5163cc 32v V8, 526bhp @ 7500rpm, 429lb ft @ 4750rpm > Transmission Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive > Suspension MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear > Performance 4.5sec 0-62mph, 190mph, 20mpg, 300g/km CO2 (est) > Length/width/height 4798/1928/1377mm > Weight 1706kg > Rating #####

NISSAN GT-R > Price £78,030 > On sale Now > Engine 3799cc 24v V6, 543bhp @ 6400rpm, 466lb ft @ 3200rpm > Transmission Six-speed dual-clutch, four-wheel drive > Suspension Double wishbone front, multi-link rear > Performance 2.7sec 0-62mph, 196mph, 23.9mpg, 275g/km CO2 > Length/width/height 4670/1895/1370mm > Weight 1740kg > Rating #####

In America it’s a slamdunk for the Mustang, but in the UK import duty and left-hand drive undermine it

106 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

1965 Shelby GT350 4.7 V8, 306bhp The 2.7 RS of the classic Mustang world. A circuit weapon – and available to rent through a certifiably nuts Hertz

1967 Shelby GT350 4.7 V8, 306bhp

1969 Shelby GT350 5.8 V8, 250bhp

Sharkier styling, but new 7-litre GT500 was top dog and GT350 withered to a venom-free 250bhp for ’68

By now a Ford-built boulevardier with little Shelby content. Car and Driver called it ‘a garter snake in Cobra skin’

2007 Shelby GT 4.6 V8, 319bhp

2011 GT350 5.0 V8, 525bhp

Customer version of ’06’s black and gold GT-H Hertz rental. Little faster than stock and suspension stiffer than a week-old baguette

Rapid Shelbybuilt special featured optional supercharged V8 capable of a GT500beating 3.7sec to 60mph


1969 PGC10 Skyline GT-R 2.0 4-cyl, 160bhp

1972 KPGC110 Skyline GT-R 2.0 4-cyl, 160bhp

Looked like a Lada, went like a MiG. Four-door saloon came first; shorter, lighter KPGC10 coupe arrived in ’71

Short-lived gen 2, or ‘Kenmeri’, featured same triple Weber six, but with discs all round. Killed by new emissions regs

1989 BNR32 GT-R 2.6 6-cyl, 276bhp

1995 BCNR33 GT-R 2.6 6-cyl, 276bhp

1999 R34 GT-R 2.6 6-cyl, 276bhp

After 16 years away the GT-R was back, this time as a turbo’d 4wd. Dominated Group A racing; gained Godzilla tag

Longer and heavier, and supposedly making the same 276bhp, but more durable and featuring an active limited-slip diff

Shorter overhangs and a dashboard with fancier graphics than the PlayStation most know it from. Last of the Skyline GT-Rs

inky fingers puts them on your page, as long as they appear. But engines are different. The Mustang’s certainly is, changing in feel and flavour repeatedly as the revs rise. True, there’s an overall refinement penalty resulting from that 180-degree crank layout, those last 1000rpm before the redline feeling far rougher than a high-revving cross-plane design such as the Audi RS4’s V8, but rewarding with faster pick-up through the range. It doesn’t exactly sound like a supercar either, but the noise it makes is exciting, and excited. It feels special, edgy and angry, and takes you on a journey through the rev range that’s every bit as varied as the one the tyres are arcing on the road. The six-speed manual shift – there���s no automatic option, and you can forget about a dual-clutcher – only heightens the sense of involvement. It’s a Tremec, physically lighter than the standard GT’s Getrag transmission, a little notchy compared to a Corvette’s, but still satisfyingly positive. Of course an AI ’box could do it faster, but it wouldn’t be half as satisfying, a tenth as engaging. Engagement. We’ve moved west to the sensational Little Tujunga Canyon Road. It’s tighter, narrower, trickier here. If you’re not engaged with the car, you could soon find a lack of engagement with the tarmac too. We’d tried to shoot on this stretch yesterday but abandoned the plan. Police cars, fire trucks and helicopters swarmed the place looking for a car that had supposedly disappeared over the side. Not exactly the right time for an 1100bhp face-off. But the road’s clear now, the skies quiet. And the Mustang is a revelation. This is exactly where you’d expect a muscle car to fall apart, but, just like Shelby’s ’65 original, this isn’t a muscle car at all. There’s no hint of the standard Mustang GT’s slightly vague on-centre steering action, or – and show-offs might be disappointed here – its willingness to cremate its rear tyres on the exit of a corner like it’s warming the rubber in readiness to scream up the quarter mile. It’s a proper sports car, one that stops and steers and does it with clarity and finesse. The steering’s ratio isn’t quick, but you twist the wheel and the chassis’ reaction is. The front-end stick is incredible. There’s less understeer than in the GT-R, better initial brake bite too, and when you lean on the rear tyres you rarely get more

than the mildest shifts in attitude, enough to point the car, but never requiring more than winding off a little lock. Get more ambitious, try to drive it like anything other than a true track car, say by trying for a lurid oversteer slide, and it remonstrates with a snap back into line. This is a serious machine. Forget your right-hand-drive 2.3 EcoBoost, a car supposedly engineered for Europe; in feel, this is the most European Mustang of all. Is it faster point-to-point than the GT-R? Probably not. Is it more satisfying? Undoubtedly. The Mustang is also slightly roomier than the GT-R, has a better driving position, suffers less tyre noise at a cruise and has a boot that doesn’t require a crane to load with luggage. But it’s also fractionally thirstier, has a messier dashboard design, and while it might feel sticky here on hot Californian bitumen, throw some rain into the mix and the rear-drive Mustang is suddenly going to feel a whole lot less tidy. It’s also not a GT-R, and for guys who’ve grown up enthralled by Japanese car culture, that’s an insurmountable hurdle. The GT-R remains a special thing, not the ultimate version of something less important, but its own entity. Culturally, as much as dynamically, it’s a monster. You have always felt, and will always feel, invincible in a GT-R. But maybe you shouldn’t. The GT-R is far from the blunt instrument it’s sometimes accused of being. It’s aggressive, incisive and devastatingly fast, and it only gets more entertaining the more speed you pile on. But the Mustang’s a more organic machine, more tactile, more agile, and it’s all those things whether you’re going fast or slow. In the US it’s also half the price of the Nissan, a car whose cost has crept up steadily over the years, but still delivers an incredible bang per buck. If my postcode was a zip code my GT would be a 350 not an R. Clobbered by import tax and VAT that’d likely take its price to £60k as a personal import and hampered by a steering wheel on the wrong side, a grey-import GT350 in the UK wouldn’t look quite so appealing. We’d steer you Nissan’s way. But we’d recommend you give the Mustang serious consideration. This pony isn’t horsing around. @chrischiltoncar


Xxxxx xxxxx

HOW SCHUMACHER CHANGED F1 25 years ago Grand Prix racing’s greatest driver made his race debut, in a Jordan at Spa. When he retired 21 years later, he left behind a very different sport By Tom Clarkson

108 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Motorsport: Michael Schumacher

In Schumacher’s hands F1 was more than just racing, it was business. ‘He had the guile of an assassin’


Ninety one times we saw the victory fingers, the grin, the podium leap. Michael not only shook up Ferrari, he revolutionised F1

May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 109


T SEEMS RIDICULOUS now, but no-one was talking about Michael Schumacher on the eve of his Grand Prix debut in 1991. Bertrand Gachot was the only name on people’s lips; he’d been jailed following an altercation with a London cabbie and the British tabloids wanted answers. What had happened and who was to blame? ‘Gach uh-oh’ was one of the headlines doing the rounds. The Belgian’s replacement at Jordan Grand Prix was boring by comparison. He was a shy and retiring 22-yearold from Kerpen, who’d never done anything as controversial as spray CS gas into the face of a taxi driver. He’d won the previous year’s German Formula 3 Championship and he was a member of the Mercedes junior sportscar team, but few people outside Germany knew how good he was. Even Mercedes believed Heinz-Harald Frentzen to be the fastest of its young chargers. Attitudes towards Schumacher were about to change irrevocably, however, and Formula One would never be the same again. While Fleet Street continued to seek out quotes about Gachot ahead of the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher quietly took to the track in the Jordan 191. On his second flying lap of Spa-Francorchamps – a track he’d never previously seen – he took the fearsome Eau Rouge flat-out. To put that into perspective, his team-mate Andrea de Cesaris managed the feat only once during the entire weekend. Legendary journalist Denis Jenkinson was watching from Eau Rouge and remarked to a colleague: ‘Who’s that guy? He looks special.’ That’s the same ‘Den Jenks’ who’d interviewed every F1 world champion since 1950. Schumacher went on to qualify seventh for the race and despite cooking his clutch at the start and retiring on lap one, he’d done enough. F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone wanted him in a top team and facilitated an immediate switch to Benetton, for whom Michael finished fifth at the next race in Italy. In the space of two weeks, Schumacher had gone from zero to hero. He was just two races into his 18-year F1 career, but he

Schumacher’s first win was at Spa in ’92. He’d already clashed with Senna earlier in the season

‘Michael wasn’t intimidated by anyone or anything,’ says Gary Anderson, Jordan’s then technical director. ‘He took the whole Spa weekend in his stride and he was happy to race wheel-to-wheel with the best. He was very impressive.’ For all his public bravado, Schumacher was clever enough to view his first couple of years with Benetton as his university years, during which he learnt how to maximise the potential of an F1 team. Team-mates Nelson Piquet, Martin Brundle and Riccardo Patrese came off second best, Brundle describing Michael as having the ‘guile of an assassin.’ Was he cunning, or was he merely astute? After all, it was Schumacher who realised before anyone else that there was a direct correlation between physical fitness and on-track performance. When Michael made his F1 debut, he had a resting heart rate of around 40bpm (average is 60-100bpm) and in terms of body mass index he was fitter than any other driver on the grid. ‘I want to be 200% physically prepared,’ he said. ‘Even at the end of the race I want to have something in reserve; I don’t want to feel tired at any point because that will affect my ability to drive the car on the limit.’ Other drivers were fit, but they weren’t as meticulous in their preparations. Schumacher raised the bar: he cycled, he ran, he swam, he lifted weights and he watched his diet. That’s not to say he lived like a monk because he did enjoy a celebratory drink – something that was encouraged by Benetton boss Flavio Briatore – but he didn’t party often and he was always the first in the gym the next morning, sweating out the excesses. Michael Schumacher: a life in F1 ‘Michael’s fitness was a pain in the Debut: First F1 title: Percentage Active years: First win: ass,’ says Gerhard Berger. ‘We were all Titles: 7 Wins: 91 of races won: Spa 1991 1994 1991-2006; Spa 1992 Poles: 68 pretty fit back then because we had to be. 33.7% 2010-2012 GP starts: 307 The cars were heavy; they had no power steering and they had manual gearboxes. You couldn’t do the job if you weren’t fit was already one of F1’s most bankable stars and he’d become an enough, but Michael proved that there was fit and fit; suddenly overnight sensation in his native Germany. It was manna from we had our teams asking why we weren’t as fit as him and we all had to train more as a result. You can imagine what I thought heaven for Ecclestone. ‘We [F1] needed him,’ says Bernie, who was so transfixed by about that!’ Thanks to Schumacher, fitness became another gauge of a Michael that he went to support him in a sportscar race at Magny Cours the week after his F1 debut. ‘He was fast, he was young driver’s worth. Irrespective of driving talent, drivers would no longer be taken seriously if they weren’t super-fit and some great and he was German – he ticked all the boxes.’ Such was Schumacher’s self-confidence that he was happy talents have since fallen foul of this new yardstick. If fitness was the most tangible way in which Schumacher to ruffle a few feathers from the outset. After the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix he accused Ayrton Senna of ‘playing around’ with changed F1 forever, he left his mark on many other aspects of him during the race, and he aggravated the legendary Brazilian the sport. He understood that he needed to surround himself further when he blocked him during a test session at Hocken- with the best people if he was to win races and, having found the heim later in the year. What seemed like a fairly trivial incident magic ingredients at Benetton with tech bods Ross Brawn and resulted in Senna grabbing Schumacher by the collar and read- Rory Byrne, he kept hold of them for the duration of his career. They moved with him to Ferrari in 1996, and it was Brawn  ing him the Riot Act. 110 SUBSC RIB E & SAVE UP TO 56%! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR | May 2016

Motorsport: Michael Schumacher With Ross Brawn in ’94. Senna was dead, and Michael’s first title was sealed when he punted Damon Hill off at Adelaide

Canada ’94: Schumacher’s fifth win put him 33 points ahead of Hill. He won the title by a single point

With his stricken car in ’92 during his first full season with Benetton. He finished third that year, while Mansell triumphed

On home turf at Hockenheim, one of nine race wins en route to a second title in ’95. David Coulthard finished second that day




Motorsport: Michael Schumacher with him. That was gold dust to the Scuderia, which hadn’t won the drivers’ title since 1979, and resulted in Schumacher commanding a record salary of £60 million per year. With the big bucks came a pressure to deliver, and that’s when Michael’s on-track antics began to straddle the line of acceptability. He’d already had a controversial collision with Damon Hill at the close of the ’94 championship in Adelaide but, in Michael’s defence, Damon wasn’t alongside his Benetton when they collided. Not so Jerez ’97, another title-decider. Jacques Villeneuve was almost taken out of the race when Schumacher turned into him in the closing stages. It was a deliberate piece of foul play that prompted former team-mate Martin Brundle to say on ITV: ‘You hit the wrong part of him, my friend.’ Schumacher was vilified for the clash, yet he seemed impervious to the public backlash. He maintained that Jacques had used him as a brake and he didn’t seem bothered that the FIA disqualified him from the world championship standings. But, as distasteful as Jerez was, you could argue that Ayrton Senna was equally ruthless on track, so Schumacher wasn’t the sole catalyst for a change in driving standards. But Ayrton didn’t demand preferential treatment inside his own team; he was happy to accept equal kit to Alain Prost at McLaren. Schumacher, on the other hand, always sought the advantage. Michael got first use of the spare car and first call on all development parts, and he demanded that his team-mates help him win at every turn. No one at Ferrari admitted to this favouritism, until they laid themselves bare at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, race six of 17 in that year’s world championship. Race leader Rubens Barrichello was asked to let Schumacher win. Rubens fought the decision throughout the race, until the pair exited the final corner and swapped places in sight of the chequered flag. The backlash was immense, but Schumacher once again showed little remorse. ‘You need to maximise our opportunities,’ he said. And then came qualifying at Monaco in 2006. This was the unequivocal low point of Schumacher’s career. He had no excuse and there was no hiding place for him. After setting the fastest time in qualifying, he delibRULE-BENDING Schumacher pushed erately crashed in order to prevent his main the rules to the limit. title rival Fernando Alonso from knocking His questionable calls him off the top spot. Never had the sport seen at Jerez in ’97 and anything like it. Monaco in ’06 led to the introduction of a driver ‘I really struggled with what he did at steward at every race Monaco,’ said Mark Webber, who was so incensed that he demanded a clear-the-air conversation with Michael at the following Victory at Monaco ’97. But Michael was race. ‘He was such a great talent that he didn’t disqualified from need to bother with any of that.’ the title race that Indeed he didn’t. Schumacher was brilyear for ramming Jacques Villeneuve liantly fast and consistent, of the ilk we might never have previously seen in the history of the sport. His seven world titles and 91 victories are a testament to that breathtaking ability. But, like so many sporting greats, he didn’t know where to stop. Winning meant everything to him, not the means by which he achieved it. Twenty five years on from his debut, as Michael continues to fight for life after his terrible skiing accident in 2013, there’s no danger of people not talking about him. And no danger of F1 forgetting his legacy. @TomClarksonF1

who lured him out of retirement in 2010. But Michael wasn’t just about keeping the star names happy; he was brilliant at looking after the entire race team. He knew everyone’s name, something that very few drivers master, and he was good at the minutiae. He remembered people’s birthdays, even their wives’ birthdays, and these small gestures created unflinching loyalty between Schumacher and the people around him. ‘Michael wasn’t only an incredibly impressive driver,’ says Ferrari technical boss James Allison, ‘he’s an incredibly impressive person. He might look arrogant, but this was his When I worked with him, he laid great emfourth title and second for Ferrari. And the team loved him, they really did phasis on the team. I’m not saying he didn’t have an ego, but the team aspect of what we were doing was important to him and that’s unusual in a driver of his calibre.’ Until Schumacher introduced the idea of loyalty between a driver and his engineers, a technician’s loyalty had predominantly been to his team. Patrick Head was so devoted to Williams that he became a shareholder; McLaren’s modern-day success was built on the brilliance of design king John Barnard and Brabham became an extension of Gordon Murray’s innovative thinking. Thanks to Schumacher, it was common practice for an engineer to follow a driver around the pitlane. Jock Clear followed Jacques Villeneuve from Williams to British American Racing in ’99; Adrian Newey followed David Coulthard from McLaren to Red Bull in ’06; Tony Ross followed Nico Rosberg from Williams to Mercedes in ’10; Andrea Stella went from Ferrari to McLaren with Fernando Alonso in ’15, and there will be more in the future. What these newfound driver-engineer bonds demonstrated was a fundamental shift in the power of the drivers. When Schumacher switched from Benetton to Ferrari in ’96, not only was he the best driver in F1, he had the power to bring Brawn and Byrne

How Schumacher changed F1 FITNESS Michael was the first driver to make the link between fitness and ontrack performance. He was fitter than everyone else. ‘A pain in the ass,’ said Gerhard Berger

REWARD Schumacher worked hard to become the best of his generation, then named his price. £60m a year? Because he was worth it! And others have followed

112 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

NO.1 DRIVER Every point counts, so don’t allow your teammate to take away world championship points. Toto Wolff knows it only too well. Ferrari could yet benefit in 2016

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The big drive: Jaguar F-Pace

114 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

From shoreline to snow-covered peaks, it’s Jaguar’s first SUV versus the tortuous climbs of Montenegro, the little Balkan country so mountainous they named it after one Words Ben Miller Photography James Lipman

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Unamazed expression explained by unamazing interior materials. For actual amazement, see drivetrain

ROM SHORELINE TO sky: the first climb. Not so much as a blink on the instruments, let alone anything so uncouth as detectable intervention. Clearly I’m not trying hard enough, though the flying water bottles and the thump of displaced luggage in the Jaguar’s vast boot would imply otherwise. Previous experience would suggest that uncorking an engine as well-endowed as Jaguar’s 375bhp, 516lb ft supercharged six at this precise moment in a hairpin bend – when all four tyres are working to keep you from sliding wide, drifting over a foot-wide strip of scrub and plunging right back to the shoreline you left ten minutes ago – should result in a mess of blurred wheels, yelping revs and whoopsie-daisy corrective lock for the next 50 yards. But no. The V6 floods the F-Pace’s transmission with torque, trying first to send it all to the rear axle and then, when that comes back with a convincing doctor’s note, punting the overspill forward. (Earlier, Jaguar development engineer Andy Mould told me that, in his opinion, fewer cars give their stability system an easier time – seems he has a point). And so, with nothing more dramatic than an unseemly turn of speed and some truly spectacular exhaust noise, the car launches from the hairpin like a cat from a cold bath and on, like a force of nature, to the next. And the next. There are perhaps 1000ft between the summit of this gut-wrenchingly steep rock slope and the soporific murmur of the Adriatic lapping Montenegro’s staccato coastline far below. There must be 30 hairpins between the two, some linked by short straights rendered almost non-existent by the Jaguar’s impressive reach (0-60mph in 5.1sec), others by sinuous S-bends surging past skeletal orchards, lonely churches and bus stops for the very patient. This place, every inch as rugged as its name – black mountain – would suggest, does hairpins very well; mostly wide, mostly layered with complex cambers, always set against a spectacular backdrop. 116 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Today, as we fight to cover more than 300 miles and climb from this country’s shoreline to its very summit, there promises to be hundreds of them. But first, time to re-pack the boot… ‘YOU SEE, 110KPH, NOW YOU MUST PAY’ I feel helpless, like I’m watching through glass; my hands immovable, my screams mute. Rolling in a slow convoy of traffic along a meandering trunk road, the first I saw of him was the Cayenne’s black nose at my side window. So he’s overtaking. Interesting. He has speed but he does not, so far as I can tell, have any meaningful view ahead, or any idea if anyone might be coming the other way. Inevitably, someone comes the other way. Too far in to bail out, the Cayenne ploughs grimly on, accelerating at the oncoming Clio he may yet obliterate, only to finally pass the truck ahead – which didn’t even consider lifting off, naturally – and dives in, crossing back over the double white lines that might, before this whole grim affair played out in slow motion, have sowed doubt in his mind from the beginning. Close? I’ve stopped breathing. Serene in the Jaguar, the nav ticks a steady countdown to the good stuff. After the riotous initial climb inland from Kotor Bay, we drop down onto the plains of Podgorica and join absolutely everyone else on Montenegro’s busiest road north. Rank and file is the same as it is almost everywhere else in world: beaten but unbowed W123 Mercedes. Long after the end of days, when men are gone and the Earth is at peace once more, scars of concrete and wind-weathered steel cable will stand with W123 Mercedes as the only evidence that we once held sway. Inexplicably common here too are Mk2 Golfs, their Bauhaus lines and distinctive round lamps further testament to entropy-defying German engineering. They share the road with a bizarre assortment of nearly new Renaults, nearly dead Russian stuff and HGVs so overloaded they’d crush any weighbridge they were waved into. 

The big drive: Jaguar F-Pace

Big blue cat vs big black mountain: boldly going where no Jag has gone before

Bosnia and Herzegovina





Montenegro Grahovac

Kotor Bay

Adriatic Sea



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Past us scrolls a landscape of two halves. At the roadside, a teenager’s bedroom of a mess: rubble, apparently abandoned vehicles and part-finished architecture that’s all brutal breeze blocks and set-square lines. Beyond it, like a Tolkien allegory for the blight of man on the natural beauty of the world, the mountains: ever-present and growing gradually more defined as we close on them. At least the F-Pace is a fine place in which to sit and be patient. The Launch Edition’s (£65k, 2000 globally, 200 for the UK, all gone) seats, swaddled in gorgeous light oyster leather embossed with houndstooth, are magnificent – as good after 500 miles as they feel after five and, in a car with more rubber on the road than an 18-wheeler and 375bhp of go, with a suitably firm grasp of your squishy form. Similarly the wheel is an easy steer, with plenty of adjustment and a beautifully intuitive effect on the way the car turns that speaks of untold hours of calibration work. So the basics are very good, as is the layout of the cockpit as a whole, with nice design touches and resolved ergonomics (seat pre-sets where the window controls should be aside) that delicately balance the lofty airiness you expect of an SUV with the snug embrace you want from a Jaguar. There’s 118 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Weird that a Megane is gaining on us. Weird that blue lights blaze from it. Ah.

practicality here too, from the generous space Ian Callum’s exterior shape yields for rearseat passengers to a parcel shelf that folds into the boot, power-drop rear seats and gesture-prompted tailgate-release. A shame then that, like the XE, XF and F-type from which the F-Pace borrows much, the general quality of materials is underwhelming. For every nice touch, like the elegant driver’s grab handle on the transmission tunnel, there are less successful elements, like the incongruous juxtaposition of ‘lounge lighting’ and fake carbonfibre. From Jaguar’s vast options list it’ll be possible to configure something far more restrained and successful, but you can’t get round the less-than-gorgeous plastics, the fussy HUD or Jaguar’s almost-great InControl Touch Pro infotainment, which always feels a few frustrating wrong turns short of truly intuitive. From the way the F-Pace looks and drives you get the feeling some very determined people fought some very determined battles to avoid dilution. On the inside that doesn’t feel the

The big drive: Jaguar F-Pace

Somewhat paranoid after brush with cops, Miller scans the valley for Indians

case. You wouldn’t decide against an F-Pace on grounds of its interior, but neither is it going to seduce any floating voters. Up ahead, empty road finally beckons, a gaggle of cars and a struggling fuel tanker the last hurdle. We’re past in a heartbeat, hurtling into clear air and enjoying at last the chance to run into the uphill turns at a speed of our choosing, the car hugely reassuring in the way it checks body roll and falls onto an almost perfect interpretation of the line you had in mind with a single steering input. Accurate, intuitive steering and fine body control are the car’s greatest assets. Tingly-palm feel doesn’t feature – perhaps it makes itself known right at the giddy limits – but in every other regard this is a dreamy electric power steering set-up. We power on, hearing growing mute as gained altitude brings with it temporary deafness. Finally with the space to shine, the F-Pace feels fabulous. Weird then that a Renault Megane is a gaining on us. Weird too that blue lights blaze from its grille. Ah. What follows is a masterclass in polite, revenue-centriclaw May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 119

enforcement. There’s no shouting, no lecture, no beef. The F-Pace, he tells me, is beautiful; perfect. The fine, he announces after no small dramatic pause, is €20. We must follow him, which is difficult since he spends the next ten minutes merrily busting the speed limit. The post office is an austere, airless building in the centre of Nikšić; one cashier, one queue, lots of cigarette smoke and stacks of yellowed forms, the tip of a bureaucratic iceberg so pointless it makes you feel light-headed. Ten minutes later I’m a free man, or at least I will be just as soon as I can clear the crowd surrounding the Jaguar. Who am I to disagree with this burly, tracksuit-clad style council? Few would argue THE SENSIBLE F-PACE that the F-Pace isn’t a fabulous looking The £65k First Edition V6 petrol S car: short of overhang, wickedly sculpted tops a range that starts at just £34k. of flank, it looks every inch the escaped The other engine options include a show car. Sounds every inch a sports car diesel V6 and JLR’s Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel. For max thrift this engine when you start it, too. Phones come out, can be had with a manual, rwd impassive faces break into mile-wide transmission and Prestige spec for smiles and we leave. 129g/km CO2 and 57.7mpg. Less austere feeling but almost as frugal is the 2.0-litre R-Sport (above, from £36,670) with awd/8-spd auto. The perfect F-Pace? You could argue it – certainly it’s a machine with a beguiling mix of good looks and practicality. This is a big, easyto-live-with car, far roomier than a Macan, but the engine isn’t charming, lacking refinement on start-up and smoothness on and off the power. Still, the weight reduction in the nose makes for sweet steering and greater agility, while deeper tyre sidewalls and revised suspension deliver a less grating ride. An SUV with the heart of a sports car, though? Hardly.

RUN TO THE HILLS Mellow spring sunshine breaks through rolling cloud in great shafts of golden light, speeding the end of last winter’s freeze. The tarmac – finally empty, finally smooth – snakes through great plumes of snow at the roadside and a landscape of quite startling beauty. The F-Pace feels imperious, rolling with a luxurious surfeit of power, agreeable cabin refinement and suspension that, on these main roads at least, does an admirable job of delivering a cosseting ride on those enormous rims. Yes one of the diesel engines would give greater range for a given spend, but the supercharged V6 is such a disarming engine, hauling what is a big and not particularly light car past whatever’s in the way in moments and removing the tiresome physics from long climbs and scorching starts. Still, it’s taken a bit of tweaking to get things just right, with a visit into the Dynamic-i menu (on cars with InControl Touch Pro only) to team the weightier steering and quicksilver throttle response with the lazier gearbox setting and the softer dampers. Fail to do so and the car can get uncomfortably close to jittery, while the gearbox’s unrelenting quest to always be in just the right gear quickly grows maddening, the V6’s pretty vocal exhausts betraying every pointless shift. The eight-speed ZF is a fine transmission but does such a well-endowed engine really need such a sycophantic gearbox? You get the feeling this engine would be happy with a four-speed manual. I would be. The closest the F-Pace can get to that – using the shift paddles – becomes second nature, the gorgeous engine’s flexible delivery doing the work as effortlessly as the fuel gauge falls… Fortunate then that at Plužine, an outpost of a town perched on the shores of an azure lagoon sunk so deep into the rock that the sun’s lost by mid-afternoon, we find fuel. Not long now to the P14, listed variously as a most picturesque drive and one of Europe’s most dangerous roads. It is, it will transpire, both.

Montenegro’s version of playing chicken. He’ll win, because his brakes don’t work

ROAD OF ROADS As junctions go, it’s intriguing: straight on for more smooth, wide, perfectly surfaced lakeside progress or turn right into the dank, unlit tunnel of fallen rock and promise? 

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Ian Callum’s fresh, modernist vision jousts with God’s own backdrop. But God probably would’ve stopped short of 22in rims

The big drive: Jaguar F-Pace

And there goes Ben’s spotless Montenegran police record

Cows don’t tend to be friendly. After all, your seats might be made out of Auntie Sandra

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The big drive: Jaguar F-Pace

It feels like a car defiantly resistant to inertia, which is some impressive witchcraft

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Cabin is nice but not sensational. For every neat touch there’s a slight clunker

Okay, it’s not quite the Camel Trophy, but for Jaguar this is virgin snow – and virgin territory

Headlights blaze into life, cutting through the gloom, any vestiges of mid-afternoon fatigue stripped away by the F-Pace’s V6 thundering away in this rough-hewn crawlspace of a tunnel. In a storm of blue paint, huge wheels and noise we storm back out into daylight, flitting left and right as the single-track does the same, its route dictated by the vagaries of the towering rock-face to which it clings. There is no runoff, just a foot-high berm of displaced sand and stone. The fall beyond would be enough to make a glitterball of the Jaguar, and jam of me. Still, this doesn’t feel like the time for inchby-inch, beard-and-fleece off-roading. It just wouldn’t be very Jaguar. So I dare to carry more speed, trusting in the car’s huge reserves of grip, and tapping into the power with sufficient lack of delicacy to prompt a little engine-induced tightening of line. It’s incredible how, on this tightrope of a road, the F-Pace fails to feel anything like the 1900kg five-seater it is. From the driver���s seat the sensations are of a car defiantly resistant to inertia, which is some impressive witchcraft. On we climb, tight turns and dark tunnels contrasting with short, sharp blasts and blinding sunlight. Occasionally I glimpse the road high above, a hewn rock face or glimpse of concrete a clue as to where I’ll be in perhaps 30 seconds time. The F-Pace works tirelessly, steering sweetly, blatting up every incline like it’s an easy descent and generally inspiring (too much?) confidence. Oncoming traffic is mercifully rare, though at one point Montenegro’s Sébastien Loeb (less talented, half his age and driving an old Golf, naturally) comes howling into view, all four wheels locked, engine stalled, his face a picture of barely-contained panic. The F-Pace’s brakes are somewhat more powerful, though never quite as effortless as you might want, that final but all-important slug of deceleration requiring more pedal effort than is entirely comfortable.

of a new father. Wind gallops across the open land, clawing at skin so leathery he’s a National Geographic cover waiting to happen. Wired from eight hours’ hard driving, the last stretch of which was so spectacular my eyes won’t blink, the F-Pace rolls to a stop, ticking furiously and smelling of heat. Climbing out, this place feels like the very top of the world: bright, clean, wild, special. I smile and kill the engine. The sudden silence is deafening but the discord soon fades, my ears adjusting to an altogether softer soundtrack of wheeling birds, the breeze and melt water. He looks at me, frowns, then takes up his tools once more, hammering at a rear bumper that’s nothing but dents. What to say when his car looks like the fruits of an archeological dig and mine, well, mine might be the most JAGUAR F-PACE > Price £65,275 incongruous thing I could possibly have arrived > Engine 2995cc supercharged in, a £65k party dress with a soundtrack to V6, 375bhp @ 6500rpm, prompt landslides. In this spec the F-Pace is 332lb ft @ 4500rpm > Transmission Eight-speed never destined to go anywhere unnoticed but automatic, all-wheel drive right now it feels faintly preposterous, standing > Suspension Double wishbone out like footprints on Mars. Soon, as the world front, multi-link rear goes mad for Jaguar’s very pretty, very talented > Performance 5.1sec 0-60mph, 155mph, 31.7mpg, 209g/km CO2 sports SUV, these things will be everywhere. > Length/width/height Perhaps this surreal and wordless moment is 4731/2070/1652mm the last time anyone will see an F-Pace for the > Weight 1861kg > Rating +++++ first time. Montenegro split with Yugoslavia ten years ago. But nobody told Oleg

WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? In an impossibly vast and elemental landscape of monolithic mountains, snow-scudded steppe and timber dwellings so flimsy they might fall with the next gust, he wrestles the engine from his Soviet Fiat 500 clone. He has no workshop, just tools, determination and time. Up here, you feel, there is plenty of time. Freed from a car that looks older than the rock on which it stands, he sets the engine down on a log with the tenderness May 2016 | SUBSC RIB E & SAVE UP TO 56!% G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR 123

Serious used car temptation, from £24k SUVs to the joy of a six-pot Boxster


New Mini Countryman or used Range Rover Evoque? Odd bedfellows perhaps, but both compact SUVs with four-cylinder turbodiesel power. A Range Rover for Mini money was once unthinkable, but should it remain so? Words Ben Barry | Photography Wayne Lennon

124 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016



HE ORIGINAL MINI measured just over three metres, an original Range Rover nudged 4.5 metres. Today, just 26cm separates Mini’s largest, the Countryman, from Land Rover’s smallest, the Evoque. But the price gulf remains: the cheapest Countryman costs £17,125, the cheapest Evoque £30,600. Only a used Evoque gets price parity. A whisker under £24k, our new Mini Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 sits towards the top of the range. The Evoque was launched in 2011, and today the cheapest are £17k. Talking yourself up to £24k bags a 2012 entry-level Pure with 40-50k miles, the most powerful SD4 diesel all-wheel-drive auto , and the popular Tech Pack from a franchised dealer. We’re driving a high-spec Evoque SD4 Dynamic. A five-door might not pack quite the visual punch of a three-door ‘coupe’, but the meaty Dynamic bodykit, 20-inch alloys, citrus-fruits paintjob, contrast roof and gloss-black trim means it still looks like a concept car. And the advantage of the practical body is rear seats that are easy to access, and in which four six-footers can happily co-habit. From the driver’s seat, the interior exudes calm confidence. The almost supercar-like rake of the windscreen contrasts with the opposing slant of the uncluttered centre console. The controls are neatly organised, the materials quality, and the double stitching and trim inserts that pick up the exterior hue are nice details. This car wears its 23,000 miles very lightly. The diesel’s not the quietest chugger at idle and it’s gravelly when extended, but mostly you sit in the refined mid-range, whooshed along by the flexible torque and six-speed auto’s quick, smooth shifts. Never frustratingly slow, never impressively fast, this is performance that does the job perfectly well. All-wheel drive removes any scrabble from the front tyres, and thanks to Adaptive Dynamics

dampers, this Evoque rides with a fluid poise. Dynamic mode removes the suspension and dips the steering rack in quicksand, leaving the responsively light helm a distant memory. The Mini might be the new car here, but the ageing Countryman was actually introduced before the Evoque. It looks noticeably smaller than its rival, the bulbous styling less covetable, but the Mini DNA has survived the transition to SUV. So too have the interior trademarks, with quirky toggle switches, a huge central speedo framed by air vents that risks a Disney lawsuit, and a handbrake you’d swear Scotty once used to go warp-speed. Impressively, while the boot might be smaller than the Evoque’s, there’s surprisingly little in it for rear-seat passengers. But there’s no doubt it’s more cluttered and upright in here, and while the materials generally impress, the plastic air vent shrouds betray penny pinching. Immediately you notice the Mini’s extra road-, engine- and exterior noise. The body control also feels sloppier, and 

Range Rover vs Mini: the numbers RANGE ROVER EVOQUE SD4


> Price £24,000 (2012, 40-50k miles) > Engine 2179cc 16-valve four-cylinder turbodiesel, 187bhp @ 3500rpm, 310lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission Six-speed auto, fourwheel drive > Performance 8.0sec 0-60mph, 121mph, 43.5mpg, 174g/km CO2 > Suspension MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear > Weight/made from 1685kg/steel > Length/width/height 4370/2090/1635mm > On sale 2011-present

> Price £23,965 > Engine 1995cc 16-valve four-cylinder turbodiesel, 141bhp @ 4000rpm, 225lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive > Performance 9.3sec 0-62mph, 122mph, 58.9mpg, 126g/km CO2 > Suspension MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear > Weight/made from 1470kg/steel > Length/width/height 4110/1789/1547mm > On sale Now

Who’d be the more amazed by this – Sir Alex Issigonis or Spen King? See what they both started?

May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 125

surface intrusions kick their way up the steering column more readily. This is not a bad car to drive: the steering is quick and pointy, and the 141bhp diesel four doesn’t feel any slower than the Evoque’s 187bhp – our Evoque is 215kg heftier. And in the wet, all-wheel-drive works wonders. It’s just a shame that the go-kart feel has been lost in the stretch upwards and outwards. So Evoque wins the road test. Can Mini claw back some pride with running costs…? > SERVICING AND RUNNING COSTS Mini offers TLC and TLC XL service packs. TLC covers all servicing costs for five years or 50,000 miles for £399. £275 more upgrades to eight years/80k. The packages are transferrable. 98% of buyers opt for a TLC pack. Over five years, Mini calculates the average owner saves £399 if the car is kept for the duration and main-dealer servicing is used, based on £798 for all work required. For TLC XL, savings rise by a further £306. All diesel Evoques are subject to annual/16k service intervals, whichever’s first. Typical Land Rover dealership prices alternate between £207 and £283 – the fuel filter is changed at 32k intervals, in addition to oil, oil filter, air filter, washer fluid and pollen filter requirements every 16k. Exceptions come at 108 months/144k (£448) and 120 months/160k (£368), with auto transmission fluid, PTU fluid, rear differential oil, accessory drive belt and cambelt requiring replacement.

Cute or contrived? Mini cabin splits opinion, and enrages Walt Disney (possibly)

Land Rover products are rarely clean on the inside, but this is concept-car chic

> RELIABILITY The Countryman is covered by Mini’s threeRANGE ROVER EVOQUE year warranty. Or extend that cover with three MARK WEBB levels of cover: Comprehensive, Named Com‘I’ve owned my SD4 Pure Evoque coupe for two ponent and Driveline. A 10-plate Countryman years, it’s done 35,000 miles and I’m pretty satisfied so far. The higher driving position is with 40k miles would cost £427.67 annually superb, and the rear visibility isn’t as bad as with £100 excess. Visit some think – the rear parking sensors re-assure Diesel Countrymans built between August nervous parkers. I love the interior, including the touchscreen 2010 and March 2013 were subject to a recall due infotainment – despite questionable alternate to moisture entering the electric power-steering sat-nav routes in traffic – and I’ve never driven system, which could in rare cases lead to a fire. a smoother, more comfortable car. It’s even Check your car got the remedial work. spacious in the back, if a squeeze to get there! My commute is 15 miles, half of it bumper-toA search of for vehicle recalls gave bumper, so I’m happy averaging 35mpg. Other launch-2014 Evoques the all-clear. Better still, than a few headlamp bulbs, it’s been no hassle.’ Land Rover specialists Nene Overland (01733 380687) say Evoques have proved reliable. Other than routine maintenance, the only fault they’ve seen relates to EGR valves. They range from £515 to £638 (the latter for genuine or OEM quality parts) fitted. Mostly you’ll be looking at consumables, which aren’t prohibitive. Brake discs, for instance, cost £46-£87 (front) or £51-£72 (rear). Pads stretch from £85-£95 (front), or £75 (rear). > KEY OPTIONS Mini Cooper options include auto gearbox (£1135), and all paint except white (£275-£480); 16in five-star alloys are standard, with everything from £130 16in upgrades to £2250 19s available (the latter bundled with run-flats and adaptive dampers for £200 extra). There are chromed mirrors (£65), bonnet stripes (£95), leather (£1250-£1520), and you can choose piano black (£175), dark silver (£280) or black chequered (£345) interior trim. The Media Pack (£1800) brings voice control, enhanced Bluetooth and USB, and Mini Connected smartphone connectivity. The Pepper Pack (£1140) includes onboard computer, LED foglights and white indicators, leather steering wheel; Chili Pack (£2595) adds upgraded alloys, sports steering wheel, cloth/leather interior, front sports seats, sport button, rain-sensing wipers/auto headlights, dark silver trim and more. Evoques come in Pure, Prestige and Dynamic trim. Pure includes cruise control, 18in alloys, manual leather seats, 126 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

MINI COUNTRYMAN COOPER RICHARD WOOLDRIDGE ‘I drive a one-year-old five-door Cooper D, my wife Vicky has a five-year-old Countryman One D with 81k. I prefer my car’s faster acceleration and go-kart feel – it’s much lower – plus it’s still economical on long journeys. The in-car entertainment in the newer model is easier to navigate too. Vicky prefers her Countryman. She thinks it’s easy to drive, has good visibility when reversing, there’s space for a pram, and she loves the heated seats and windscreen. The only major bill we’d had was £840 for a new EGR valve, until the Countryman’s timing chain went. We’ve been quoted £1600. Ouch! At least we’re lucky to have a decent local dealer.’

multi-function steering wheel, rear parking sensors and an 8in touchscreen. A Tech Pack (£1900) could be specified for nav, auto-wipers and lights, heated screen and front parking sensors. Prestige upgrades to 19in alloys, Xenon headlights with LEDs, electric leather seats, reversing camera, HDD navigation and rain-sensing wipers. Dynamic adds more aggressive bodykit, Adaptive Dynamics (including adaptive dampers and Dynamic mode), and Dynamic leather seats. Both Prestige and Lux could be optioned with the £4325 Lux pack: power tailgate, fixed panoramic roof, 825w Meridian audio, dual-view touchscreen, surround camera, blind-spot monitoring and keyless entry. Other popular options include Adaptive Dynamics (£1150), metallic paint (£445-£995), contrast roof (£500), privacy glass (£350), 18-20in alloys (£225-£1250) and heated steering wheel (£180). > VERDICT Only if you’re budgeting for the cheapest £17k Countryman would we recommend the peace-of-mind of an all-new car. At that price, your Evoque will be out of warranty and showing more miles than a U2 tour bus. But stepping up to low- to mid20s gets a nicely spec’d Pure – even a Prestige – 2012 Evoque with choice options, FSH, as little as 40k miles, plus the security of a two-year warranty from a franchised forecourt. The Evoque not only wins the design war inside and out, it’s also more spacious, more refined and better to drive too. And because both cars are compact SUVs with four-cylinder turbodiesels, the frequent pitfalls of our used winners – namely typically higher running costs – aren’t a concern in this instance. Case closed; Evoque wins. @IamBenBarry

An un-green F355 Spider. Verdi Silverstone was rare, fortunately


Ferrari F355 Spider Evoque’s 20in wheels make the Mini’s 19s look, err, mini? Both would run a mile if faced with a wet verge

The sort of terrain they both excel in. Good practice for the King’s Road

He fell in love with it in 1995 and started saving. Now Sourein Jabourian has his dream car > ‘AS A teenager in the ’80s I was a serious Lamborghini fan – the Countach was my ultimate supercar – and I realised that dream 16 years ago when I bought the last right-hand-drive Urraco that came off the line. Ferrari wasn’t on my radar. The looks of the 308, 348 and Testarossa didn’t do it for me, and those cars that did turn my head, like the 246 Dino, Daytona Spider and 250 California, required a lottery win. But then the F355 Spider came in 1995, and it caught my eye. It was a truly elegant car, the perfect balance between prettiness and performance, and it oozed charisma. The day after I first saw it I started saving.’ > ’TWO YEARS AGO I was finally in a position to go out and start looking for my dream F355 Spider. I took my time and waited until I found exactly what I wanted. I finally found it last summer, for sale in London. It was a Ferrari in Verdi Silverstone

– a green Ferrari. Only 11 Spiders were painted in this rare colour, 10 in left-hand drive and only one – this one – in right-hand drive. Beautiful tan leather and 35k on the clock. The owner started it, and as soon as I heard the engine I knew I was going to buy it.’ > ‘I LOVE DRIVING this car. In a world full of turbo this and hybrid that, with electronic gears here and three-stage dampers there, its naturally aspirated engine and manual gearbox make it an absolute joy. It’s still technically advanced – 40-valve head, titanium conrods – but I love it for its mechanical purity. It’s is such an engaging car to drive – it’s intoxicatingly fast, beautifully composed and is incredibly charismatic.’ > ’THERE’S A GENERATION of drivers who won’t ever experience what it’s like to enter a tunnel, dip the clutch, drop down into third and send a high-revving nat-asp Ferrari engine up to its 8500rpm redline. I’m so grateful to have been able to experience this.’

May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 127


> ’IT’S NO GARAGE queen either. If the sun comes out and there’s no salt on the roads, I drive it. It makes me feel alive. Would I ever sell it? I very much doubt it. I bought it because I fell in love with it, not because I saw it as an investment. I’ll drive it until I can no longer drive.’


The top 3 must-have Land Rovers

£6k-£15k, 2002-2012 Range Rover L322 4394cc V8, 306bhp, 8.3sec 0-62mph, 125mph

The best 4x4s for you, as chosen by Bowler Motorsport’s Jon Chester. Interview by Ben Whitworth

> Is this a good idea? ‘Combines BMW tech and reliability with Land Rover capability. Peerless towing ability. Effortlessly superior.’ > How much? ‘From £6k to £15k. Go for a V8 petrol with few owners and you’ll have a long and happy relationship.’ > What’s going to break? ‘Surprisingly little. Avoid the lethargic Td6 with its weak gearboxes. High-mileage TdV8s eat their turbos. Go for Jaguar rather than BMW power. Bodies are very rust resistant.’ > Crippling running costs? ‘Expect 18mpg from petrol V8. Budget £250 for a minor service, £600 for a big one.’

£1k-£5k, 1989-1998 | Discovery Series 1


£15-£30k, 1998-1999 Defender 50th Anniversary

3946cc V8, 166bhp, 12.8sec 0-62mph, 101mph

Is this a good idea? ‘Definitely. This is the grandfather of the modern SUV and is now on the verge of classic status. It’s a practical, genre-defining vehicle that offers 95% of the ability of a Defender at less than half the cost, with double the comfort. Values of the remaining good ones will rise sharply in the future. Savvy buyers are snapping up G and H registration examples, and early three-door V8s are ideal for restoring.’ > How much? ‘From £1k-£5k. Buy on condition and history, and avoid those modified for off-road action and LPG conversions. A late five-door ES spec V8 will have leather, air-con and ABS – a brilliant winter or station car for around £3k. And the 86 G-WAC preproduction launch cars are gilt-edged future classics, with Range Rover equivalents now at around £75k.’ > What’s going to break? ‘Look for rust, and then some more rust. Rear floors are notorious, as are rear wheelarches, front inner wings, and sunroofs. The powertrain is very robust, but don’t accept a car without evidence of regular maintenance – once they go, they can be very expensive to get back.’ > Crippling running costs? ‘There’s a whole industry supplying LR parts, but quality varies and the cheapest parts are rarely the best. Most maintenance can be done at home and a full kit of decent service parts is around £120. Budget on £200 for a minor service, and £500 for a major service. Insurance is very reasonable as well.’


Porsche Boxster There’s no better time to get your hands on a pre-owned 986, 987 or 981 six-pot Boxster. But remember, dig deep and aim high… > PORSCHE HAS SWAPPED the Boxster’s naturally-aspirated flat-six for a turbocharged flat-four to achieve the holy trinity of more power, lower emissions and enhanced economy. But a a flat-six is an integral part of a Porsche’s character. So if you want a sonorous and melodic Boxster engine howling behind your ears, now’s the time. 128 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

> ‘THE ARRIVAL of the 718 is going to do great things for the flat-six models,’ says Jason Shepherd from Porsche specialists Paragon. ‘If you’re looking to invest in a low-miler, now would be a good time.’

3947cc V8, 190bhp, 10.0sec 0-62mph, 100mph > Is this a good idea? ‘Prices are rising, but


One we found

2006 Boxster S 987, 36,800 miles, Manual, FSH, PASM, Sport Chrono Pack £15,995

they will stabilise so don’t pay silly money. The 50th Anniversary has character, an auto ’box, rarity and a V8. It’s a nailed-on classic.’ > How much? ‘Pay £15k for a decent one, keep it tidy and standard, and watch it creep up in value. Best ones are now £30k.’ > What’s going to break? ‘The chassis will deteriorate without attention. The auto ’box is a regular Land Rover unit, and the 4.0 V8 is robust and reliable. Some trim parts are now hard to find.’ > Crippling running costs? ‘Don’t expect more than 15mpg. Iffy security makes them easy to steal, so insurance can be expensive. £200/£500 for services.’

> THE KEY THING is to look for top-spec models. The market is knee-deep in baggy high-milers with less than desirable spec – odd colour/trim combos, aftermarket bits, Tiptronic boxes and no-air-con. They’ll be cheap to buy but will be lucky to hold their value. > TOP OF YOUR shopping list should the collectable and cherished special editions and limited runs, such as the 550 Spyder, RS60 Spyder and Design Edition models. Then take a look at the S models. You’ll be surprised by how little you’ll need to extend your budget to find more rewarding models. You’ll love driving one now – and selling it later.

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A month in the life of 15 cars, starring Volvo XC90, McLaren 650S, Civic Type R, Subaru WRX, & more

‘When the water’s sloshing in your footwell you might want to stop reversing’

130 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016


Being a hero, just for one day

and wimpiest on record. Perhaps that’s what has actually done for the Defender in the end – not EU crash protection, or emissions, or production line capacity, but a half-baked climate. But of course, what makes the Defender one of the greatest cars ever built is, like some particularly strident fungus, its ability to adapt and thrive in any environment. It is why it has They swear by Defenders in the Severn Area Rescue been the rescue vehicle of choice around the globe for innumerable decades. And despite Association. Will they swear by ours? By Steve Moody its end, there is no end, for there are thousands of Landies still out there helping to save lives. AND THERE IT was – a weather forecast Most cars as they get old become gilded relics, rolled out on which suggested it was going to snow the sunny days and striped lawns for rich people to fight over ownMONTH 4 LAND ROVER next day. This made me very excited. I ership. Land Rovers just keep getting more battered, just keep DEFENDER packed the Defender the night before with saving the world. shovel, tow rope, wellies, balaclava, flares, Having failed to provide any meaningful rescue services St Bernard and dried foods in preparation myself, we chugged over to Bristol to see how the experts do for a day saving the people of Rutland from snowy graves. it. There are eight Defenders in the Severn Area Rescue AssoWhat a hero my Defender and I would be as we hauled these ciation (SARA), a volunteer lifeboat organisation that not only frozen unfortunates out of ditches, or ploughed through seem- provides rescue services on one of the most treacherous wateringly impenetrable drifts to rescue shivering grannies from ways anywhere in the world, but also on the cliffs, mountains, ice-bound cottages. rivers and lakes that accompany the banks of the Severn. So with the uncontrollable excitement of a kid at Christmas, There are two Defenders at their Beachley HQ, sited directly I leapt out of bed the next morning and threw open the curtains under the formidable structure of the original Severn Bridge, to see what the world had in store for me, and what I could do to while the others are based at the five stations up and help. Sunshine. Mild, gentle breezes. Blue skies. down the estuary, where nearly 200 personnel deal Sometimes I feel I’m driving around, looking like the equiv- with 300 callouts a year. alent of a frogman going to the local swimming baths in full It’s a brutal environment where fast thinking and North Sea rig-inspecting clobber. Just my luck to be running intimate knowledge of the tides and mudflats are a car built to smash through the conditions that test the very essential. Only an estuary in Nova Scotia has a tidal limit of human survivability in a winter that is the warmest rise greater than the Severn, and when it comes in

May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 131

Ours is luxurious for a Defender, ie, not that luxurious

A strangely reassuring sight, yesterday

here, it is remorseless. Not only does it fill up in barely two hours, but it comes at the unsuspecting from all directions: racing in from the sea but insidiously up through the sand too, turning solid ground into a porridge that sucks victims into it. Mervyn Fleming, Commander SARA (Area West), wouldn’t run any other vehicles than Defenders to operate in these conditions. ‘We use the Land Rovers as workhorses, because they will carry five people and a small amount of equipment inside, and a fair amount There are eight on the roof rack, and can tow a boat, caravan or Defenders in the SARA trailer too,’ he says. ‘They are just so adaptable: fleet. ‘They just keep going and going’ we put racking systems in them and they carry a very heavy load, with a winch and a high-velocity pump as well, stakes for driving into the ground Like all lifeboat organisations, SARA is a and the roof rack for two stretchers, and a mud rescue platform.’ The Landies, one of which is a P reg, ex Western Power vehi- charity that relies on donations, and as you cle with 138,000 miles on the clock (it might have been round watch that huge body of water rushing past the clock a couple of times, half-jokes Mervyn) and the other, a at 12mph, with the thought that these volunsprightly new model from 2009, not only tow the boats, but pull teers will rush out into it at a moment’s notice, victims clean out of the sludge using the winch. A long airbed, I can’t help but feel a bit inadequate in our luxublown up with a compressed gas cylinder can be rolled out over riously appointed Defender. I’m sure Land Rover wouldn’t mind me lending it for a bit, would they? the mud, allowing rescuers to get to those stranded. On the way back from Bristol (in Defender, not on South As the water drains away, I eye up the foreshore for a spot of off-roading. Mervyn is having none of it. The mud looks solid West Trains) I go cross country and due to heavy overnight enough, but it is three feet until you hit solid ground, and even rain encounter some flooded roads near home. The water From the the Defender’s off-road ability won’t get it through that. But he’s rushing off the fields and across the lane was knee deep and driving seat some ramblers were turning everyone back. As I approached, convinced they are still the best rescue vehicles in the world. Surprisingly ‘The thing is, they just keep going and going. There’s a body they gave me a knowing look. They knew there would be none stable motorway cruiser Pathetic of opinion which says Japanese cars are better and somebody of that namby pamby nonsense for me. winter has been Our Defender cruised through the sea of muddy water as if it no match for it offered us one once. We said well, thanks very much, we can use didn’t exist and as I reached dry land, an old lady in a Peugeot ‘Handling’ at any it, but we’ll always need a Land Rover to get it out of trouble. speed is comically ‘You’ve got to love it, look after it and maintain it. And along 206 wound down her window. bad Van engine is noisy and thirsty ‘Do you think I will get through?’ she asked. the motorway with a boat on the back, everything will overtake I chuckled. you. But it will get you there. And then when you get there, it ‘I’m sorry my dear, but I wouldn’t risk can go along a towpath, and then it will do a three-point turn on the towpath to get the boat into the water. I’d question some it in that particular vehicle,’ I sagely of the more modern cars’ breadth of capability. And of course, opined. ‘Best turn round and take the LOGBOOK LAND ROVER it has one of those engines where you can take a bit off, clean it, road up over Windmill Hill instead. DEFENDER 110 STATION That should be clear. Safe passage!’ and put it back on again.’ WAGON MANUAL ‘Thank you, young man,’ she said. We help out launching one of the boats during a training ex> Engine 2198cc 16v, 118bhp @ 3500rpm, 262lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission ercise, and I do my best not to reverse their prize craft clean off And so, off she trundled, safely heading 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive > Stats the slipway. There are appreciative murmurs from Mervyn and home to her loving family, not screaming N/A 0-62mph, 90mph, 295g/km > Price his team at our slick new Defender and its grabbing tyres, stur- as her little car was swept upstream in a £43,495 > As tested £43,495 > Miles dy roofrack, snorkel and underbody protection. I think they’ve turbulent torrent of murderous water. Just this month 824 > Total miles 2243 > Our already got it lined up for a few jobs and I wonder whether I another day in the life of a hero… mpg 23.6 > Official mpg 25.5 > Fuel this month £161.16 > Extra costs £0 @Sjmoody37 might be going home on the train at this rate. 132 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

From the driving seat High-speed trip to Brittany has seen fuel consumption dip to 40mpg for the first time Door rattle has disappeared But the key fob is playing up Which means, on balance, I do need to visit a dealer

LOGBOOK FIAT 500X 1.6 MULTIJET CROSS > Engine 1598cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 118bhp @ 3750rpm, 236lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, frontwheel drive > Stats 10.5sec 0-62mph, 115mph, 109g/km > Price £20,095 > As tested £24,320 > Miles this month 851 > Total miles 7417 > Our mpg 40.0 > Official mpg 68.9 > Fuel this month £59.81 > Extra costs £0

It’s built-in, but it actually works In a world of TomToms and assorted mapping apps, the in-built car sat-nav seems an archaic option – but I’m rather fond of the Fiat’s system. It’s quick, easy to use, and yet to send me through a field. Which means I’ve jinxed it and by next month I’ll be stranded in a cabbage patch.

Just how moody do they think we all are? I once twisted the ‘Drive Mood Selector’ and the dashboard display changed, but since then it’s been an irrelevance. I’m morally opposed to the Sport setting in a faux SUV such as this, and the weather has never been bad enough to warrant the Traction Plus setting. Plus it’s two-wheel drive anyway…

Gold strike in the parts bin! I know, it’s just a few climate-control dials pinched out of an Alfa Giulietta, but more than any other element of the interior, this rotary trio help the 500X feel like a more premium product. And while they’re positioned well below your line of sight, the buttons are big enough to operate by touch alone. Hurrah for the Fiat-Chrysler parts bin.


This just in: Fiat details quite good Cynical or not, we’re used to Fiat’s promise lasting as long as the showroom wax. But the 500X’s appeal is holding up. By Ben Pulman

Take two gloveboxes into the shower? To be honest, I’d forgotten all about the double glovebox until CJ commissioned this month’s report. With storage bins in the doors, ahead of the gearstick, and beneath the central armrest, I don’t carry around enough superfluous junk to justify the existence of one glovebox, let alone the extravagance of two. Must buy more crap to ensure a thorough appraisal.


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Retractable towbar We have the £995 electric towbar that drops down automatically. A neat solution

We have a date with a bronzed blonde Swede… Swapping a sports car for an SUV ought to lower your street cred, but maybe not this time. By Tim Pollard

I’VE BEEN EXCHANGING goods from the chalk and cheese aisles of the car supermarket this month – bidding farewell to the sporting Audi TT opposite and settling into life with a more family-focused SUV, the towering presence of the Volvo XC90. The pair couldn’t be more different. The Audi is all low-slung panache, with the emphasis on kerbside posing and corner carving. The XC90, meanwhile, will slot into kiddy-carrying duties, with its seven seats, huge 451/1102/1951-litre boot (depending on how many seats you have in action) and lashings of cabin space thanks to the upright shape. There are a few similarities. Both use downsized 2.0-litre engines, blown upon by forced induction to keep up with the Joneses. We’ve picked a D5 Volvo, with 222bhp and 361lb ft of torque to keep this 2009kg behemoth going. With prices from £46,250, we judged the diesel to be the sweet spot in the XC90 range: the £60,455 T8 hybrid is pricey and less economical in the real world, the £49,700 T6 petrol a rare-groove purchase in this carbon-crunched age. Like the Audi, the XC90 has permanent four-wheel drive, to keep us going when the going gets slippery, especially with the standard all-seasons Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres. The wheels are 21-inch, eight-spoke diamond-cut alloys – a £1450 option. This excess-all-areas vibe percolates throughout; to avoid a long wait for XC90s off the production line, we plumped for a car already specced by Volvo. Hence the price has been swollen by an obscene £16,440. With a bit of haggling, you could buy a Fiesta ST for that! We have four options packs: Intellisafe Pro for


134 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Air suspension A must-have for XC90s: it’s a punchy £2150, but makes the ride so much more bearable

Inscription trim

Mega sound system

Our trim adds digital dials, leather seats and dash, 20in alloys, extra chrome detailing and roof rails

Our Sensus Connect infotainment system comes with Bowers & Wilkins upgrade… for £3000!

£1500 (radar cruise control, lane-keeping tech, blindspot information and lazy-boy LOGBOOK VOLVO XC90 D5 traffic-jam driving); the £575 Winter AWD INSCRIPTION Pack (heated seats, wheel, washer nozzles > Engine 1969cc 16v 4cyl turbodiesel, and – joy! – windscreen); the bargain 222bhp @ 4250rpm, 361lb ft @ 1750£275 Family Pack (Volvo’s classic built-in 2500rpm > Transmission Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive > Stats 7.4sec booster cushion, rear-door sunblinds, 0-60mph, 137mph, 152g/km CO2 > Price powered child locks and a loadcover); £50,185 > As tested £66,625 > Miles and the £900 Seven Seat Comfort option this month 325 > Total miles 1850 > Our (bundling rear climate control and powmpg 29.3 > Official mpg 48.7 > Fuel this month £40.03 > Extra costs £0 ered rear headrests). We’ll be reporting on the wisdom of such spec overload throughout this year and you can read the full spec of our XC90 on our website. What we can reveal already is that we love the Twilight Bronze paintjob, a metallic costing £700. It’s distinctive, on trend and lends the huge XC90 an understated elegance that suits its lofty stance. And you really do feel high up once ensconced in the light and airy cabin. The blond soft Nappa leather seats are everything you’d hope for in a Volvo, prioritising comfort and pamper over the TT’s sporting grip. Both cars have elevated the art of cabin design to new highs: I struggle to think of a better exemplar of mainstream automotive design making motorists feel better about life. But there the similarities end. Stay tuned as we get used to living with a Scandinavian model every day. We’ve a feeling it’ll be a rather happier relationship than with our ex, Volvo’s V60 Plug-in Hybrid. @TimPollardCars


We haven’t tired of the reconfigurable virtual display

Cost new £46,565 (including £7120 of options) Dealer sale price £32,150 Private sale price £29,590 Part-exchange price £27,880 Cost per mile 18p Cost per mile including depreciation £1.68

…that’s why our sexy German has left us

Express Red Nappa leather). That boldly Bauhaus profile riffs on the original TT graphics, yet remains fresh, simple, modern. We like. I’ve spent much of the past year raving about the cabin and its allure has not dulled with every passing month and mile. It’s well It’s been a hard ride, but nine months has taught us this much: thought through, stylish and fizzing with Audi has nailed this sports car thing. Also by Tim Pollard surprise and delight: the minimal switchgear really works, I love the heating controls THE TT HAS come of age in this third thoughtfully incorporated into the air vents and the reconfigGOODBYE incarnation. We know this because we’ve urable digital display works well, focusing on maps one minute, MONTH 9 been running a top-of-the-range TTS for speedo the next or audio settings as you desire. It’s great to see AUDI TTS COUPE most of a year, living with this Glacier Audi pushing ahead with the cabin quality advantage it started White slice of Audi modernism every day back in the late 1990s. for 12,400 miles. Of course, the TT’s not perfect; we’re not sure we even believe Let’s not forget the devastating impact the Mk1 had back in in the concept of fault-free automobiles, but we’re pleased to 1998. The 1990s were not a great era for car design, but I’d argue report that the list of shortcomings on our TTS is filed under that the late-decade modernisers – led by German giants Audi, ‘N’ for nit-picking. The ride is still firm, for starters. While Audi BMW and VW – pushed the envelope for mainstream kitsch, is making strides in this department, its adaptive dampers still with the TT, Mini and Beetle all forcing stylistics slap bang to can’t match the well-judged plump of a rival 4-series. the front of consumers’ minds. Everyone else’s been playing Economy lagged behind the 40.9mpg claim, averaging catch up ever since. 27mpg in our tenure. That’s what happens when you have a It’s the Audi that has stayed truest to that original mission turbo’d 2.0 four-pot and Quattro system capable of deploying statement. While the Mini and Bug 0-62mph in less than five seconds 24/7. The central touchpad have twisted and turned into all sorts of MMI controller works less well for us Brits; ask a right-hander new facets and strange shapes, the TT to write a postcode on its surface and you’ll see waht eye has evolved steadily but surely through meeean. And in freezing weather, the driver’s window once LOGBOOK AUDI TTS COUPE the Mk2’s rather stout, sensible polish dropped on entry and then refused to close, leaving online > Engine 1984cc 16v 4cyl turbo, 306bhp to today’s Mk3 excellence. editor Lewis Kingston stranded until the motor thawed out. @ 5800rpm, 280lb ft @ 1800-5700rpm > Transmission Six-speed dual-clutch auto, Is excellent too strong a word? I’d But the niggles are vastly outweighed by the positives. all-wheel drive > Stats 4.6sec 0-62mph, say not. This is a sharp-suited design – Nothing mechanical went wrong. The TTS was fast, classy 155mph, 159g/km CO2 > Price £40,270 inside and out – and one that still turns and boasted a knock-out design ethic that made us feel good > As tested £46,565 > Miles this month heads, especially when equipped with every time we slipped behind the wheel. That’s everything a 2721 > Total 12,405 > Our mpg 31.9 > our 20in alloys (an £850 option) and mainstream sporting coupe should do, isn’t it? Official mpg 40.9 > Fuel this month £460.58 > Extra costs £0 @TimPollardCars blood-red leather sports seats (no-cost May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 135


Either way, Pollard’s in some kind of trouble with the missus

Classic oil consumption!

From the driving seat

Effortlessly blending the NSX’s sporty breeding with an oil habit to shame a 2002 Mitsubishi. By Chris Chilton

Massive turbo punch, reasonable economy Excellent dry grip, not bad in the wet Huge boot, shame it misses out on Honda’s Magic Seats Rides like the 235/35 rubber is actually 235/10 Styled for 15 yearolds, priced for 50 year-olds

Type R meets original NSX. One of them is a modern classic, one awaits the verdict of history

I’VE YET TO drive Honda’s new hybrid-powered four-wheel-drive NSX (or even make peace with that so-wrong collection of words), but while I wait to find out whether it really is fat Elvis in a bionic jump suit, I wedged myself behind the wheel of the car it has to live up to for a feature in CAR’s sister mag Modern Classics. This original NSX (car 59, no less) makes around 30bhp less and would be wasted by our Type R in a straight line and across country. But it’s a beautifully uncomplicated machine with uncorrupted, unassisted steering. The best bit? That incredible VTEC V6: katana-sharp throttle response, a proper clean, hard-edged sports car soundtrack and an 8000rpm redline. For all its turbo punch, the Type R doesn’t have an answer for that. In other news, a pixelated spanner symbol has appeared on


Potholing, but no Chris Eubank MONTH 5 MAZDA MX-5


HAT IS IT about open-top sports cars? Do we have some kind of inherited memory of blasting across the plains on horseback with nothing above our heads except the stars? Even the most disinterested passengers start to make cooing noises as soon as you lower the roof of the MX-5. Case in point: Harry and Will – my better half’s nephews. Aged six and four, respectively, they think I’m all right because I’m good with Lego, but have never shown the slightest curiosity about the cars I bring when we visit, including the previous Lamborghini. Yet the moment I show up with the roadster, they’re suddenly queuing for a ride round the block; honestly, we could have carried on all day. It was uncanny. That all is not lost for the future of motoring enthusiasm is this month’s good news. For the bad news consider the slogan, ‘I’m not drunk, I’m just dodging pot holes’. As comedy bumper stickers go, it’s

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one of the Type R’s 76 dashboard displays denoting it needs an oil change. Not since the halcyon days of the Mitsubishi Evo, which needed scheduled fettling five times a year at the rate we accrue miles, have we had to talk about servicing in a third long-term report, but our Civic had already been thoroughly LOGBOOK beasted for 5500 miles as a press demo HONDA CIVIC TYPE R hack before we got behind the wheel. > Engine 1996cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 306bhp Since then, the hungry motor has al@ 6500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2500rpm > ready gobbled through a top-up of 5w20 Transmission 6-speed manual, frontwheel drive > Stats 5.7sec 0-62mph, oil and most of the front tyres. As soon as 168mph, 170g/km > Price £32,295 > As I get the chance I’m going to swap them tested £32,820 > Miles this month 1323 with the rears to ‘equalise’ the wear (ie, > Total miles 10,344 > Our mpg 29.1 > sidestep a £300 bill). Official mpg 38.7 > Fuel this month @chrischiltoncar £213.07 > Extra costs £25 (oil)

a pretty lame one – for it’s not until you really have reason to notice the dreadful state of so many of our roads that you really understand the sentiment. In my case, that reason really came when I ran over what I can only assume was a modest anti-tank trench on the A414 on the way back from Heathrow one dark evening. The noise was incredible. Especially since said trench was on a roundabout, which I’d just pulled onto from a standstill. Sure enough, a couple of miles later the tyrepressure warning light came on. I was able to cram enough air back in at a petrol station to get me home, but the next morning the offside rear was as flat as a proverbial pancake. Fearing the worst, I booked it into the Cambridge dealer. Getting hold of the correct Yokohama Advan Sport took three days – while it’s a relatively new car, that’s going to be pretty inconvenient if the MX-5’s your only transport – but the

LOGBOOK MAZDA MX-5 1.5 SPORT NAV > Price £22,445 > As tested £23,105 > Miles this month 774 > Total miles 6868 > Our mpg 38.2 > Official mpg 47.1 > Fuel this month £95.36 > Extra costs £102.08 (rear tyre)

technicians reported no other damage, and the £102 bill was a pleasant surprise. Less pleasant was the reappearance of the tyre-pressure warning light later the same day; this is either down to a slow puncture on one of the fronts or because the dealership had inflated the new rear to 32psi, some 3psi more than Mazda specifies. The monitoring continues, and FYI, I’m teetotal. CJ HUBBARD @ir_427

MX-5 a magnet for Harry and Wills (no, not them) and also for potholes

From the driving seat Sweet engine and gearbox combo ‘Baby iDrive’ infotainment a joy Unsettled ride increasingly annoying Threesecond roof action

SOMEWHERE OUT THERE, there’s a rabbit wearing part of my Subaru as a hat. Well, when I say rabbit, I mean a giant hare of the ‘mad March’ variety, about as big as a greyhound dog. The hare in question ran out in front of me and collided with the STI’s nose (a polite way of saying I ran over it). I was on a dual carriageway so I couldn’t stop immediately, but I knew there’d be damage – it sounded like I’d hit a rock. Yuck. When I eventually pulled over, I was expecting to find gore, but apart from a bit of brown fluff there was no sign of the poor animal. Mysteriously, there was also no sign of an entire black plastic shroud around the driver’s side fog light. It was as though the hare had time – during the collision – to get a screwdriver out and carefully prize it off. Anyway, I need to get it fixed – I’ll report back next month. In the meantime, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the Subaru as a family car. One of the advantages of the original Impreza Turbo that’s still true today is that it’s based on a practical fourdoor saloon. Some might sneer at its humble origins, but it does make the car easier to live with than, say, its BRZ coupe cousin. One of the things that surprised me was the size of the STI’s

boot. Okay, so my younger daughter is only three, but even so her bike is LOGBOOK easily chucked into the cavernous space SUBARU WRX STI beneath the blue spoiler, with room to > Engine 2457cc turbo boxer 4-cyl, 296bhp put her in there too, if I wanted. (I don’t @ 6000rpm, 300lb ft @ 4000rpm actually do that. Just to be clear. I’m just > Transmission 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive > Stats 5.2 sec 0-62mph, 159mph, 242 saying I could.) For drivers who need to g/km > Price £28,995 > As tested £28,995 justify buying their STI on the basis it’ll > Miles this month 696 > Total miles 4997 also double up as the family workhorse, > Our mpg 21.4 > Official mpg 27.2 > Fuel this big boot is your ace card. this month £174 > Extra costs £0 As an aside, it’s a shame Subaru doesn’t still make the old Impreza Sport Wagon – remember the short-tail-estate hatchback version of the Impreza? These days the ‘Impreza’ estate is called the Levorg, but it’s longer than the old Sport Wagon (more like a Legacy Outback) and like the WRX it’s only sold in the UK as a single-spec car – unfortunately, a 1.6 turbo with a ‘Lineartronic’ CVT transmission. Ew. Anyway, all the points our STI long-termer scores as a practical four-door it then loses because of the ride. To be honest, my family’s not dead keen to go on a shopping trip in it, because at lower speeds, when you’re pootling in town, the ride is irritating – I mean, it’s head-wobblingly jiggly, and if you have to do a couple of hill-starts in traffic, the clutch will immediately start stinking like you’ve set fire to some plastic in the footwell. If you meet a So our mixed feelings about the STI continue. large, blue-paintAs always, it’s best when you’re driving flat-out scuffed hare clutching its head, on your own, preferably in the wet. It’s practical ask him if we can It may be small comfort to the hare, but being yes, but in its heart it’s still a rally car more than have our foglight surround back twatted by a fast-moving STI is only marginally more a family car. @markwalton_ painful than having to ride in it. By Mark Walton


Unscheduled hare appointment

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COUNT T H E C O ST Cost new £251,080 (including £35,560 of options) Dealer sale price £208,500 Private sale price £202,995 Part-exchange price £199,450 Cost per mile 29p Cost per mile including depreciation £15.85

It turns from, plush, quiet mile-eater to hair-trigger circuit-basher

‘Engine sounds a bit weird.’ ‘That’s not the engine, that’s Ben purring’

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Snog, marry, avoid giving back Over 3000 miles our McLaren’s appeal has proved as broad as it is deep. Note to self: get rich quick. By Ben Miller FIRST McLAREN, FIRST convertible, first supercar. First time I had 641bhp on tap day-in, day-out. First time I’ve done 8.6mpg (Silverstone), 185mph (Silverstone) and my journey home in less than 20 minutes (not Silverstone). First time I’ve picked up the keys to anything in a place with orange ticks on the official stationary, Senna pictures on the walls and P1s ‘out back in the workshop’. First 650S Spider. Last 650S Spider. Balls. Forgive me if you’ve never ridden a motorcycle, and particularly if you have no time for them, but the parallels between using this country’s road network on a bike and doing so in the 650S Spider were striking. It starts with the nest of nerves that erupts in your tummy when you start the thing. Eighteen years since I passed my test and after perhaps 120,000 miles on all kinds of bikes in all kinds of conditions, firing one up still gives me the heebie-jeebies. (As well it should: few things in life are so unfailingly unforgiving). The McLaren was the same. You can bound out of the house without a a care in the world, lift that door and drop into that perfectly sculpted seat thinking of everything and nothing all at once, of Scarlett Johansson, deadlines and towering pulled pork sandwiches. But the moment you push the starter that engine snaps you into the right here, right now. As well it should. Then there’s the way in which the McLaren can so effortlessly bypass everything else on the road, as a motorcycle can. Your crushing performance advantage is to be used sparingly of course, but it is at once faintly scary and hugely relaxing. There’s never any need to feverishly plot safe overtakes based on a scant opportunity and a good run up, or to fall into lowest-common-denominator line behind that Honda Jazz. It takes time to acclimatise to the astonishing rates at which the McLaren can gain and lose speed, but to do so, and to reach the state in which you’re serenely slipping past everything else on the road so smoothly and courteously that it doesn’t even notice your passing, is to achieve a kind of nirvana. That you can do all of this without a roof, and invite in the world in all its multi-sensory glory, just ramps things up a notch: the smell before rain as you race home in the first drops of a summer evening downpour; the welcome chill as an August day finally cedes its heat with dusk. So all was bliss? Largely yes, as you might expect of a car costing more than £200,000 (and nearer £250k optioned as ours was). Reliability was absolute. You might think that a given on such rarified machinery but it really isn’t. Comfort and practicality (and therefore versatility) – McLaren’s claimed USPs in this odd little corner of cardom – are




impressive. Where Lamborghini persists with seats that are agony to sit on and Ferrari with a firm emphasis on breathless Call the cops stimulation and chaotic interior design, the McLaren is calm, – someone’s pinched all the comfortable and hugely capable. Turn things up and down via switchgear off our the Handling and Powertrain controls and the car responds steering wheel emphatically, shifting from plush, quiet mile-eater (with exemplary ergonomics and great forward visibility) to hair-trigger circuit-basher. That control system is too fussy – Ferrari and Porsche do it better with a rotary control on the wheel – and I still think the traction-control leash would be more intuitively governed by the Powertrain rather than the Handling control (I learnt the interesting way, with a generous kick sideways attempting a pass in the rain) but generally the McLaren’s interfaces are simple and effective. (The 675LT separates the anti-crash electronics from Handling, so you can enjoy the firmer dampers and weightier steering of Sport with the safety net in place). Certainly I grew to love the luxuriously sparse cockpit: never has so little been so welcome and so nicely executed. Those cast aluminium levers! The gorgeous click of the one-piece paddleshifter! The rock-solid, LMP1-esque art of the throttle and brake pedals! I grew to love our car’s relatively understated external appearance too but it’s hard to argue that, at £11,200, orange brake calipers, a smattering of carbonfibre and Storm Grey special paint are essential. Had it been my car I’d have stripped things right back and plumped only for the Sports exhaust (terrifying under bridges at full chat) at £4790, the electric and heated memory seats (£2730) and the parking sensors (£1640). The 650S is now the oldest model in the range, though given how rapidly McLaren is renewing and expanding its line-up, that’s not saying much. Certainly the 675LT and 570S have put the 650S under pressure, the former by ramping everything up a few notches to deliver a more potent hit, and the latter by LOGBOOK undercutting the 650 on which it’s based McLAREN 650S SPIDER for very little discernible loss of brilliance. > Engine 3799cc twin-turbo V8, 641bhp But that doesn’t in any way diminish the @ 7250rpm, 500lb ft @ 6000rpm appeal of the 650S Spider, a car so relent> Transmission 7-speed auto with paddleshift, rear-wheel drive Stats 3.0sec lessly capable and seductively impressive 0-62mph, 204mph > Price £215,520 that within a few hundred miles you do > As tested £251,080 > Miles this month wonder how you’re ever going to get by 714.7 > Total miles 3317.7 > Our mpg 15.9 without one. But go without one I must. > Official mpg 24.1 > Fuel cost overall Still, better to have loved and lost. £955.01 > Extra costs £0 May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 139


So sad when it ends like this. They can’t even look at each other

Cost new £22,135 (including £4140 of options) Dealer sale price £14,350 Private sale price £13,530 Part-exchange price £12,705 Cost per mile 16.79p Cost per mile including depreciation £1.05


Green is for go. So it went We Googled ‘Corsa VXR redeeming features’. No matches found. By Ben Whitworth IF YOU’VE READ any of the reports on the Corsa VXR, you’ll know that there won’t be any bowed heads and damp eyes as it heads back to Luton. With so much on-paper promise, the fast Corsa was the perfect example of how a box-ticking exercise can go horribly wrong because it misses out on those intangibles like charisma and charm. Arguably the weakest link in the VXR’s chain is its engine. That blown 1598cc, an uprated version of the same engine that powered the outgoing Corsa VXR, generates 202bhp at a relaxed 5800rpm and a chunky 181lb ft of torque that steps in at 1900rpm and usefully hangs around until 5800rpm. There’s even an extra 26lb ft to transform we’re-not-going-to-make-it into breathe-easy overtaking manoeuvres. That’s enough bicep to sweep aside the VXR’s hefty 1293kg kerbweight and skedaddle it to 62mph in 6.8sec and onto


To the sound of VX220 and Lotus Carlton turning in their graves

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143mph. And the VXR never feels anything other than very brisk From the indeed. The problem is that instead of an effervescent and revdriving seat happy four-pot that zings its way to the redline with a fart-in-thebath soundtrack, the VXR’s lump sounds coarse and dull, with Engine is punchy but coarse and nothing to inspire you to drop it from fourth to third and redline it dull Ride is just for the hell of it. Politely put, it moves the VXR along at a brisk stiff-kneed and clip, no more, no less. punishingly hard We opted for the euphemistically named £2400 Performance Handling is inert and uninvolving Pack, which added a Drexler front differential, larger 300mm diameter Brembo front discs, gooey Michelin Pilot Supersport boots and uprated Koni dampers. I say euphemistically, because Get Your Osteopath On Speed Dial might be a more apt name. It’s seriously hardcore. Great if every road you drive is glass smooth, but in the real world out on our crummy roads the ride is punishingly hard and abrupt. Boot it through corners and that Drexler diff hauls you into the apex as if the word understeer had never been invented. But mid-bend ruts and crags mean it can also spit you out in all sorts of ummm… entertaining directions, tugging and twerking the mute steering wheel this way and that. Good job standing on the excellent Brembos was like hitting the pause button. Perhaps much of this could be swept under the carpet if the VXR had pinballed its way up the road as if it were filled with intent, but it didn’t. Dynamically the Corsa never displayed any tail-up friskiness – it felt disappointingly inert and leaden, with little in the way of nuance or subtlety. It’s as if it had never heard of words like fun, exhilaration or pleasure. Perhaps the most telling moment came when I pitched it against it the Fiesta ST, LOGBOOK and its rival trounced it back-to-back over VAUXHALL CORSA VXR roads I drive every day. The ST made you > Engine 1598cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, want to take the long way home every time. 202bhp @ 5800rpm, 181lb ft @ The VXR gave you too many excuses to 1950rpm > Transmission 6-speed take a shortcut. Vauxhall’s VXR department manual, front-wheel drive > Stats 6.5sec has, in my opinion, created some seriously 0-62mph, 143mph, 174g/km > Price engaging driver’s cars, as my last report £17,995 > As tested £22,135 > Miles this highlighted. But, hard as it is to say, the month 1662 > Total miles 10,673 Corsa isn’t one of them. Not by a Luton mile. > Our mpg 32.3 > Official mpg 37.7 @benwhitworth > Total fuel £1792.00 > Extra costs £0

Ford S-Max MONTH 2 By Anthony ffrench-Constant

BMW 730d MONTH 3 By Greg Fountain THE RESULT IS in earlier than expected: gesture control doesn’t work, not even if you’re ET. At least, not yet. BMW knows this, of course – that’s why the 730d offers three other ways of turning the radio down – but I applaud the fact they’ve put the technology out there, ready or not. Trouble is, there’s so much tech in the 7-series I can’t decide what to use. Tap the screen? Turn the iDrive dial? Use the dial-top touchpad? Try voice control? Use the wheelmounted controller? Turn the analogue knob? BMW is better qualified than me to decide, yet obviously can’t make up its mind either. @GregFountain1

THERE CAN’T – COURTESY of a heated windscreen – be many better machines for getting the school run rolling in a hurry on a frozen Mudfordshire morning than an S-Max. Trouble is, the missus points out, that the alacrity with which the front and rear screens clear merely highlights the propensity of the side glazing to dither. Lowering the windows fails to bring them into sufficient contact with the rubber seals to effect scrapage, so a good few minutes can elapse before they offer any greater transparency than the average shower curtain. LOGBOOK FORD S-MAX 2.0 TDCI TITANIUM > Price £28,845 > As tested £36,270 > Miles this month 1011 > Total miles 1889 > Our mpg 37.3 > Official mpg 56.5 > Fuel this month £121.631 > Extra costs £0

Jaguar XE MONTH 4 By Ben Whitworth THE DOWNSIDE of the XE’s sleek cabbackward proportions is far from generous accommodation. Yes, the driver and front passenger sit low in the snug cabin, but those in the rear are treated to EasyJet levels of leg, shoulder and head room. This sense of confinement is enhanced by the low roofline, the encompassing prow-like ledge that runs from the base of the windows to the windscreen, and the fat visibility killing A, B and C pillars. Luggage capacity is best described as modest. So, a car for keen drivers, certainly, but not their family or friends. @thebenwhitworth



> Price £68,180 > As tested £84,465 > Miles this month 1717 > Total miles 6426 > Our mpg 42.4 > Official mpg 60.1 > Fuel this month £179.43 > Extra costs £0

> Price £34,775 > As tested £42,220 > Miles this month 416 > Total miles 9345 > Our mpg 41.1 > Official mpg 67.3 > Fuel this month £48.31 > Extra costs £0

Renault Twingo MONTH 12 By Ben Oliver

VW Golf R MONTH 11 By Ben Barry VOLKSWAGEN NOW offers a Golf R estate, finally gifting headline writers the ‘open wide and say R’ gag. It costs from £33,890 – a £2k premium over a comparable five-door – and comes only with the dual-clutch transmission. The load-lugger drives much like its smallbooted brethren, but I noticed two differences: the ride – on adaptive dampers and 19s, like my long-term R, is choppier; and the R hatch’s adjustability is gone. So rather than the back end dancing through a roundabout, the front end loads up and scrubs speed. Good car, but unless you really need that extra space, I’d go five-door. @IamBenBarry

DESPITE ITS rear-mounted engine and its tiny footprint the Twingo has a pleasing, Renault-4like utilitarianism. An example. I had to pick up a pair of 13kg propane canisters (they contain 13kg of product, but gross weight is way more). There wasn’t enough space to stand them up behind the seats, and with the seats down they’d soon have been rolling around like a pissed R2D2. But there’s a two-position catch for the rear seat backs which lets you secure them in a more upright position, creating more space in the boot, and exactly enough to hold securely two of the big red bottles. Cheap, clever, useful. @thebenoliver LOGBOOK RENAULT TWINGO PLAY SCE 70 > Price £9995 > As tested£10,585 > Miles this month 604 > Total miles 7142 > Our mpg 41.5 > Official mpg 62.8 > Fuel this month £68.05 > Extra costs £0

Land Rover Disco Sport MONTH 2 By Phil McNamara I’VE GOT A THING for Plus Twos. Not the misshapen golfing trousers, the additional row of seats in the Disco Sport. We’re only a family of four, but we use its seven-seat capability every few weeks, whenever we’ve got extended family to herd. Getting into the rear isn’t easy: even with the second row slid fully forward, the V-shaped aperture is only for the snake-hipped. But my 5ft wife and eldest daughter, in bulky child seat, can happily handle 20min journeys with the incentive of pub or softplay at the end. In an SUV this compact, it’s genius packaging. @CARPhilMc



> Price £31,475 > As tested £35,640 > Miles this month 1150 > Total miles 13,107 > Our mpg 29.1 > Official mpg 39.8 > Fuel this month £190.47 > Extra costs £0

> Price £43,400 > As tested £46,615 > Miles this month 1510 > Total miles 6272 > Our mpg 32.5 > Official mpg 53.3 > Fuel this month £225.40 > Extra costs £0





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Totally unique guide to EVERY car on sale in the UK, with a punchy view on all of them - yours included

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly ABARTH 500 ##### > Pricey pocket rockets, all powered by 1.4-litre turbos in various stages of steroidal overcompensation. Divine details, dodgy dynamics > VERDICT Like a small yappy dog: noisy, excitable and likely to give you headache

ALFA ROMEO MITO ##### > Decent engines but generally rubbish to drive, Alfa’s soggy-handling, hard-riding premium mini is crucified by the real thing and Audi’s A1 > VERDICT At least it’s got its looks. No, wait. It’s an ugly Alfa. It’s got nothing


DB9 #####


Merc E-class

‘Exceptional interior out-luxes all-comers. Diesel so smooth it churns motorway miles into butter’


> Looked like a credible Golf rival for a while but now the game has moved on. Keen prices, but rivals are roomier, classier and more fun to drive > VERDICT Miles better than a Mito. Miles better than a 4C, even. Miles behind a Mk7 Golf



4C/4C SPIDER #####

ALPINA D3/B3 ##### > Twin-turbo petrol and diesel stonk and smooth auto ’boxes mated to a quality chassis, but watch for some questionable OAP-spec interior finishes > VERDICT Try an xDrive D3 Touring – it’s what the M3 wants to be when it grows up


> Recently re-skinned, and now with 8-spd ZF auto. Our long termer had ‘bespoke concerns’ (the trustworthiness of a crackaddicted bank cashier) > VERDICT A beautiful GT, but same money buys more exciting V12 Vantage


> Looking like the old DBS after 10 sessions of lipo, Vanquish’s exquisite detailing hides modern carbon structure, but performance is a decade out > VERDICT Heart says buy, until a Ferrari F12 says bye-bye



> Sexy carbon two-seater over-promises and under-delivers on a double-your-dong-length web-scam scale. Spider a step in right direction > VERDICT Shoots for the moon, hits itself in the foot. Elise more fun, Cayman a better bet

thinks it’s a hot rod. Superb chassis, but another duff ’box > VERDICT Crazy cars, crazy prices – they want £250k for wild GT12, yet it instantly sold out

Kia Sportage

‘Somehow a picture of Mr Potato Head’s face got mixed up with the final blueprints, and before they knew it…’

RAPIDE ##### > Take that, Panamera! Aston shows Porsche how to make a supercar/saloon cocktail. Forget limo pretensions though, it’s a four-door 2+2 > VERDICT Pretty, but interior more dated than a New York socialite and as hard on your wallet


Bugatti Chiron

‘“The Veyron was okay but why couldn’t it have bigger turbos and 300bhp more power?” Bugatti answers the question nobody asked’


> Posh Polo does it all, from 1.0 miser to S1 micro rocket. Not cheap, even before you’ve splurged on options. £30k is a mouse click away > VERDICT Classy Mini rival that doesn’t turn into Quasimodo when you tick the 5dr option

A3 HATCH/S’BACK/SALOON ##### > Your passengers will be in awe of the refinement and finish, unless they’re nursing knees bashed in the back of the shorter threedoor shell > VERDICT Brilliant hatch and not much financial gulf to a Golf. Try sporty S-Line on supple SE chassis

D4/B4 #####


> Same blend of fast and frugal as above but slotted into slinkier 4-series shell. ZF auto not as snappy as M4’s twin clutch, but much smoother > VERDICT: 53mpg and 62mph in 4.6sec? And you’re alright with this, BMW?

> Premium sun-grabber without macho sportscar posturing. A bit tight in the back, but pretty tight in the bends too. Try a 1.8 TFSi with Sport trim > VERDICT Asexual drop-top for sensible shoes types. Worth the £2k premium over Golf

D5/B5 ##### > Twin-turbo B5 petrol V8’s 590lb ft could de-forest the Amazon while planet-loving D5 doesn’t let meagre 155g/km prevent 174mph max > VERDICT M5 alternative with Touring body option you can’t have with the real thing

B7 ##### > BMW doesn’t make an M7, but Alpina does. Twin-blown petrol V8 delivers ‘bahnbusting performance that’s best enjoyed in Germany > VERDICT Niche S63 alternative hamstrung by ugliness of the raw materials

XD3 ##### > X3 35d-based high-rise hot-rod delivers 350bhp, 516lb ft, and the horizon through your windscreen. Spoiled by a rock-hard ride > VERDICT Another niche BMW Munich leaves to Alpina, maybe ’cos Porsche Macan is better

ARIEL ATOM ##### > Only the Pope’s lips get more up close and personal with the tarmac than an Atom driver, but there’s zero protection when the heavens

open > VERDICT Spectacular toy. Great on track, barmy on road. Chassis doubles as a clothes airer, which is just as well…

NOMAD ##### > Not content with terrifying on tarmac, Ariel now offers the off-road Nomad. Gains a rollover structure but still no doors… > VERDICT Don’t forget to put the hot water on – you’ll be needing a bath when you get home


S3 / RS3 ##### > Further proof that the Germans are still power junkies at heart. 296bhp S3 is trouble enough, while new 362bhp RS3 will do 174mph. Achtung, baby. > VERDICT Far better than they used to be, but not as exciting as they should be. Buy a Golf R

A4 ##### > All-new A4 is Captain Obvious in every way: lighter, smarter, better to drive – and only microscopically different to look at > VERDICT As you were, except inside, where tech obsession offs elegance. Rivals remaining calm

> Ageing entry level Aston has ace steering, but make sure you go manual: plodding semi-auto is RS4 ##### as dynamic as a Ron Dennis interview > Brutal RS treatment makes a monster > VERDICT Longer in the tooth than Brucie, but REPLACED of ho-hum A4. No 4dr, no manual and no constant updating means it’s still desirable SOON turbos, this wicked wagon’s V8 redlines VANTAGE V12/GT12 ##### higher than Ferrari’s 488GTB > VERDICT Pace > Cramming huge V12 into Vantage’s V8-sized and space, but rides like the tyres have a tic. No engine bay makes for a track weapon that match for new C63


May 2016 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 143

AUDI > FORD A5 SPORTBACK  > In a class of one until BMW finally got its act, and the 4-series Gran Coupe, together. Pretty and practical, but like its drivers, feeling its age > VERDICT Fatherhood doesn’t seem so bad with family cars this handsome. Then you drive it



> Like a 4ft 8in Miss World, stunning A5 has REPLACED the looks but not the legs. Yours will suffer SOON too thanks to offset pedals and zero rear legroom > VERDICT Too long in the tooth to cost 4-series or C-coupe any sleep


BAC MONO  > Single-seat racer that took a wrong turn out of the pits. Pushrod suspension, Cosworth-tuned 2.3 Duratec and bath-like driving position > VERDICT Sublime track-tool with a six-figure price that’d net you a Cayman GT4 and an Atom




> Demure big Audi an unsung hero, refined and cheap to run. Allroad an SUV for agrophobics; twin-blown 309bhp BiTDi a proper mischief maker > VERDICT Base models short on wow, but a solid alternative to better-handling Jag XF

> The repmobile of millionaires. Reliable, well-built and yes, full of VW bits. Death Star smooth W12 now sounds more rebellious, while twin-turbo GT V8 S is joyful > VERDICT More of a sportscar than its hefty GT image suggests



> For wealthy mentalists who think the S6’s 444bhp isn’t enough, RS6 delivers 25% more and gives the new R8 V10 a hard time at the lights > VERDICT Beautifully finished allweather family wagon that scares supercars silly

> Bonkers road racer with Max Power styling, no rear seats and shouty exhaust. Surprisingly nimble using 4wd and torque vectoring, and epically fast thanks to tricked up 580 V8 > VERDICT Uncouth drag racer for rich Russians



> Slant-roof A6 takes styling cues from pretty ’60s 100 coupe but can’t out-cool Merc’s CLS. More grippy than a sloth whose been sloppy with the superglue > VERDICT Stylish GT with sensible engines, but a sports saloon? My RS, maybe

> New Spur is sharper to drive, sharper to look at, softer to sit in, and feels less like a stretched Conti. Fridge and iPads essential options for pampered rear-seat recliners > VERDICT Think of it as a bargain Roller rather than a pricey A8




Q3  > Dumpy dinky faux field forager is a yummy mummy fave. Forget 4wd and the diesels and go for light, zippy, 1.4 TFSi > VERDICT So much better to drive than it looks. Which it’d have to be, right? Unless it was an Alfa

RSQ3 > Audi’s first tall-boy RS model. Hearing of the £45k price or unleashing that 335bhp five-pot both elicit same incredulous gasp > VERDICT Who needs this stuff? Short people in a rush? What we do know is it’s better than a GLA45 AMG



Q7  > Formerly massive 7-seat SUV with Titanic-like wieldiness morphs into massive 7-seat jackedup estate car in new Mk2 guise > VERDICT Lighter and less thirsty than before, but still less charming than Jean-Claude Juncker

TT COUPE/ROADSTER  > Brilliant coupe gets virtual dash, and sharper handling. Try 2.0-FSI. Boot big, but rear seats for handbags only (some men have them, you know) > VERDICT A proper real-world sports car – but same money buys an early R8!

R8 V10/V10 PLUS  > Friday afternoon restyle meets Monday morning mechanics. New R8 offers no V8 for now, but V10 is back with 533bhp or Lamboequalling 602bhp > VERDICT A Lamborghini Huracan for £50k less. Friendly but ballistic; playful chassis a joy



> Huge, handbuilt anachronism, with twin-turbo V8 born in the ’50s, buffed to perfection, and a field of cows sacrificed for your arse’s pleasure > VERDICT Buy the Speed – any less outrageous display of consumption is just poor form




Pug’s top spot driven by 1.0 triples and new 308, which, with a CO2 average of 97.8g/km performs better than smaller 208 (99.3g/km) Average CO2 2015 103.5g/km Average CO2 2014 109.3g/km Change -5.8g/km 2014 ranking 2

A 173% increase in Cactus sales – making it Citroën’s second bestseller in 2015 – helped Peugeot’s partner into second place Average CO2 2015 105.7g/km Average CO2 2014 110.8g/km Change -5.1g/km 2014 ranking 3





Renault was number one in 2014, but it probably won’t be ruing the slip since it’s driven by increased SUV and crossover sales Average CO2 2015 105.9g/km Average CO2 2014 108.4g/km Change -2.4g/km 2014 ranking 1

Toyota saw a 3% increase in its hybrid sales in 2015, reaching 29% overall and helping it maintain fourth place Average CO2 2015 107.7g/km Average CO2 2014 12.5g/km Change -4.9g/km 2014 ranking 4





One of two brands in the top 10 that increased CO2 output in 2015 – increased petrol Qashqai sales are to blame Average CO2 2015 111.4g/km Average CO2 2014 113.8g/km Change +0.5g/km 2014 ranking 5

6.2g/km reduction in overall average CO2 biggest in the top 10 (and top 20, in fact), driven by the new Fabia Average CO2 2015 115.4g/km Average CO2 2014 121.5g/km Change -6.2g/km 2014 ranking 8

1-SERIES  > Only rear-driver in its class. Good for handling, not for cabin space. Just facelifted so now 3% less grotesque. 118i petrol a brilliant all-rounder > VERDICT Want a roomy, well-appointed hatch that’s great to drive and look at? Buy an A3

M135i  > Last of the downsizing deniers, BMW’s hot hatch stays with six-pot power when all rivals offer four. Undercuts mechanically identical M235i by £4.5k > VERDICT Storming drivetrain, but VW’s incredible Golf R just pips it



2-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO  > Boot-faced booted 1-series is a Mustang with a couple of A-levels. 218d is 8.9 to 62mph and 63mpg; 4cyl 228i a cut-price, cut-down M235i > VERDICT Plainer than a margarine sarnie, but TT and RCZ can’t touch its space/pace combo

M235i  > Shoestring M3 quicker than a Cayman and almost as costly if you’re profligate with options. 322bhp std; 380bhp just a Superchip away > VERDICT Satisfyingly simple and a blast to drive. But M2’s arrival pees on its (super)chips



Ibiza and Alhambra reduced their CO2 average, but best-selling Leon’s went up as more 150bhp+ models found homes Average CO2 2015 116.8g/km Average CO2 2014 117.4g/km Change -0.6g/km 2014 ranking 6

Mini didn’t rank in 2014, but makes number eight in 2015 as third-gen Hatch grew volume and reduced CO2 Average CO2 2015 117.0g/km Average CO2 2014 122.1g/km Change -5.1g/km 2014 ranking n/a



M2  > 2-series coupe with M4 chassis and 365bhp turbo six – that’s some crowbar they’ve got at M Division. All of the fun, all of the time > VERDICT Best M car since the E46 M3. Buy with manual ’box and stacks of tyres



> BMW in front-drive MPV shock. Decent BEST IN drive, great interior. Need to cart OAP CLASS relatives around? You’ll need the 7-seat Gran Tourer. Boom boom! > VERDICT The ultimate driving (to the park/crèche/post office) machine

i3  > One of BMW’s best cars is home to its finest cabin. Electric version has short range; hybrid is noisy and has a fuel tank like a flea’s hip flask > VERDICT Carbon chassis supermini, electric power and £30k price. Did we wake up in 2045?

144 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016



The only other brand to see its CO2 average increase, Fiat’s minor slip was largely down to the 500X and Panda Average CO2 2015 117.7g/km Average CO2 2014 117.4g/km Change +0.3g/km 2014 ranking 7

Volkswagen’s -5.6g/km ranks third best overall. The Passat helped, as its average fell from 129.2g/km to 114.1g/km Average CO2 2015 117.8g/km Average CO2 2014 123.4g/km Change -5.6g/km 2014 ranking 10

JATO Dynamics is the world’s leading provider of automotive intelligence. To learn more check out

> Car-like SUV offers everything from meek 180bhp front driver to a ballistic SQ5 bi-turbo diesel delivering RS performance without the fuel bills > VERDICT Still one of Audi’s best. Beats a top-spec A4, if not a bottom-spec Macan


Who’s pumping out the least carbon dioxide in Europe? These are the top 10 lowest-polluting volume brands

BENTAYGA  > Cynics will say it’s a Q7 in (very) expensive jewellery, but The World’s Fastest SUV matches 187mph top speed with superb chassis. We flambéd the brakes > VERDICT Super-lux interior options include £110k Breitling clock. Or spend the same on a two-bed semi in Crewe

> Audi’s elder statesman for elder statesmen has more tech than CES at Vegas but who wants people to think they’re being chauffeured in an A4? > VERDICT Gadgets galore, but Merc’s incredible S-class nails the luxury basics better



> Has iconic Quattro arches, but feels like it was engineered down the Arches at Phil Mitchell’s EastEnders den of bodgery. Cramped too > VERDICT Great V8 can’t save misfiring flatfooted coupe. Buy a BMW M4, or the better RS4

> Pricier, less practical RS6 with fastback rear, same guts but gets clever rear diff as standard for oversteer here, there and everywhere given room > VERDICT An Aston Rapide for the AAgrophobic, but we’d have the naughtier RS6

Number crunching

3-SERIES SALOON/TOURING ★★★★★ > Celebrating four decades of overpriced, BEST IN undersized family cars. New modular CLASS engines make it better than ever, 320d (now sub-100g/km) still top choice > VERDICT Jag XE is treading heavily on its twinkling toes


3-SERIES GT ★★★★★ > High-rise Touring alternative almost as vast as a 5-series thanks to wheelbase stretch, but way more hideous. Another BMW design disaster > VERDICT A £35k Mondeo with a BMW badge. Why bother when the same-price X3 is so good?

4-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO ★★★★★ > 3-series in a shell suit subtly better to drive, but same great engine choices and almost as practical. Shame about the carryover cabin > VERDICT Crushes Audi’s ancient A5. Folding hardtop cabrio weighty but worth it


X4 ★★★★★ > Blame the Evoque and people who bought the X6 for this carbuncle. £4-5k more than an X3, but better equipped and annoyingly better to drive > VERDICT Depressing X3 spin-off for grown-ups who still dream of being a footballer

X5 ★★★★★ > One-time Premier League fave looking more like League 1 beside better-driving, and -looking rivals. Skinflint sDrive 25d is a rwd four-banger > VERDICT Still impresses with engines and quality, but thanks to Landie it’s lost its lustre

X6 ★★★★★ > All the impracticality of a coupe and all the wasteful high-centred mass of an SUV. Genius. If you must, X40d gives best price/punch/ parsimony > VERDICT Pointless pimp wagon. Buy a Porsche Cayenne or even an X5

Z4 ★★★★★

> Sports car for post-menopausal women REPLACED in lemon trouser suits. Coupe-cabrio roof > Pretty and practical, like a bikini car wash, SOON hatchback GC costs £3k more than 3-series but hits boot space when folded. Base 18i spec has std leather. Five belts but only four seats sub-Wartburg > VERDICT No match for Boxster. > VERDICT Smart and useful, much more than a Stick with mid- spec trim. And keep taking the niche exercise. But why isn’t this the 3-series? evening primrose

M3/M4 ★★★★★

I8 ★★★★★

> M3 is saloon only; coupe is M4. Both ditch V8 for 425bhp twin-turbo six with choice of manual or DCT auto. Still no xDrive 4x4 > VERDICT Dynamite drift machines’ mega mid-range comes at the expense of old V8’s joie de vivre

> Carbon-constructed 3-cyl hybrid supercar that’s fun for four, as fast as an M3 and does 40 real mpg. Minor demerit: looks like it’s crimping off a 911 > VERDICT Fascinating and fabulous. The future of the sports car is in safe hands

5-SERIES SALOON/TOURING ★★★★★ > Hard to fault the default exec. Go for 520d or 530d M Sport, ZF auto, adaptive dampers. Ace adaptive headlamps a £545 option > VERDICT Stylish as Teflon trousers but that drip-dry gusset is just so handy. Best exec bar none

5-SERIES GT ★★★★★ > BMW GB: ‘The contours… make its attraction instant. Stylish presence of a saloon combines harmoniously with the sporty elegance of a coupe’ > VERDICT Munich’s Vel Satis. Hated by critics, loved by owners. All three of them

M5 ★★★★★ > While our enthusiasm for the twin-turbo V8 is tempered slightly by the artificial engine noise, it’s sublime to drive and gets better with every iteration > VERDICT Still the fast saloon daddy. 592bhp ‘30 Jahre edition’ utterly magnificent

6-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO ★★★★★ > Anonymous big GT best enjoyed with mighty 40d diesel power. Plenty of room for four – if you fire your passengers into the back via a wood-chipper > VERDICT Under-the-radar GT bruiser, short on sex, but not on appeal

6-SERIES GRAN COUPE ★★★★★ > Coupe? It’s a bloody saloon! And £20k more than a same-engined 5-series! BMW must chuckle at every sale. Still, rather nice > VERDICT Desirable enough to leave the 6-series coupe in the shade/showroom

M6 ★★★★★ > Six-figure M5 in a shiny suit is even better to drive. Two-door looks good value beside Merc’s S63 coupe, but can’t touch a 911 GTS for kicks > VERDICT M6 GC almost makes M5 redundant, but at £100k/18mpg you’ll need two jobs

7-SERIES ★★★★★ > So high-tech BMW presumably BEST IN ram-raided Google’s r&d bunker, CLASS confident the ‘carbon core’ construction would enable it to drive back out > VERDICT Gesture control, remote parking, active anti-roll – it’s got it all. But not the kudos of the S-class…


X1 ★★★★★ > Ugly old one sold by the bucket load; all-new replacement is miles better to look at and to drive. It’s a proper mini SUV now… > VERDICT It’s even based on the fwd Mini platform. Swallow that bile now

X3 ★★★★★ > Studiously un-gangsta SUV shuns petrol power – and M Power – options for solid dieselonly blend of handling and handiness. Looking better post facelift > VERDICT The BMW SUV we don’t hate ourselves for liking



> ‘The Veyron was okay but why couldn’t it

NEW ENTRY have 30% bigger turbos and 300bhp more power?’ Bugatti answers the question nobody asked – and answers it loud > VERDICT We’ve yet to drive it, but predict a riot

CATERHAM SEVEN ★★★★★ > Still the benchmark for bobble-hatted Terry Thomas wannbes, the adaptable Seven comes in flavours from 160 3-cyl to mental road racers > VERDICT 80bhp 160 underpowered, 310bhp 620R lethal, 180bhp 360 model just right

CHEVROLET CORVETTE ★★★★★ > Farm machinery meets space lab in fabulous 460bhp V8 symphony of composite materials, leaf springs and push rods. Shame it’s left-hook only > VERDICT £60k for a bargain berserker. £20k more for the 650bhp Z06

CITROEN C-ZERO ★★★★★ > Remember when electric cars were expensive, oddly packaged, with hardly any range? If not, refresh your memory with a C-Zero > VERDICT £6k for a Tupperware box. There are cheaper ways to carry your sandwiches to work

C1 ★★★★★ > Trying hard to escape the clutches of its sister cars, the C1 can have a funky Airscape cloth roof and half-hearted personalisation options. 1.0-litre has most pep > VERDICT Good, solid proletarian urban fare rather than hipster cool

C3 ★★★★★ >Serious sibling rivalry issues as dull C3 loses out to dashing DS3. Now handles a bit better after a refresh, and has five doors. The end > VERDICT If you’re not even the most talented in your family, how are you going to beat the rest?

C3 PICASSO ★★★★★ > Compact supermini-based box that’s fun to drive (avoiding the petrol one, mind) and wellpackaged. Might not set pulses racing, but you’ll get very protective of it > VERDICT Picasso was a cubist, so why not name a box after him?

C4 ★★★★★ > Recently refreshed C4 has all the edginess of a Hush Puppy deck shoe. But it’s useful, anodyne transport and sub-100g/km BlueHDi models

are very economical > VERDICT Nobody would hate you – or notice you – if you bought one

C4 CACTUS ★★★★★ > An architect’s wet dream. Sloppy to drive but otherwise a roomy family car with kid’s toy colour combos. Airbumps will stop it kicking off in the car park > VERDICT Cheap yet brilliant. Why can’t the French be this good all the time?


de France’ guise for £100k more > VERDICT Stick with 730bhp original unless you’ve an unholy appetite for extra vents and carbonfibre

LAFERRARI ★★★★★ > 1000bhp hybrid hypercar where the electric BEST IN bits exist to save tenths not icecaps. 499 to be CLASS built and all sold despite the £1.2m asking price > VERDICT The greatest single supercar of all time – except maybe the FXX K track version


FF ★★★★★ > Be aware: this car is still in existence. Slow > Supercar meets Scimitar in this luxurious selling but roomy estate is fairly stylish and REPLACED two-door wagon with a fiendishly clever onpractical with Hydractive rear suspension SOON demand 4wd system via second gearbox > > VERDICT There have been great French family VERDICT Like an arranged marriage, love grows saloons. This is not one from respect, and certainly not at first sight C4 PICASSO ★★★★★

> Defiantly anti-cool family shifter. Touches like lower rear windows and sprogwatch mirror make mums go weak at the knees for its peaceand-bloody-quiet ambience > VERDICT Drives like a shed. Who cares, if Satan’s brood shut up?

BERLINGO MULTISPACE ★★★★★ > Recently refreshed with SUV aspirations, but still a wipe-clean tin lifeboat for cagoulewearing Thermos-sipping birdwatchers. Rattles and drives like a van. Is a van > VERDICT Dogging cheapseats for aspiring Bill Oddies


FIAT PANDA ★★★★★ > Spacious city car with ‘squircle’ obsession, as roly-poly as the blobby looks suggest. Two-pot TwinAir willing but thirsty when pushed > VERDICT VW Up costs less, drives better and is nicer inside. Grin and bear it?

500/C ★★★★★ > Delicate job, modernising a retro cash cow. Fiat’s approach pairs a korma-grade facelift with updated tech and even more colour palette kitsch > VERDICT Fashion victims rejoice! The cupholders actually work now

500L/MPW ★★★★★

> Cheapest new car on sale not the worst. Yoghurt-pot plastics and pre-Glasnost styling can’t detract from a spacious sub-six-grand runabout with Renault engines > VERDICT Austerity rocks. Right, Greece?

> Bloated supermini-sized people carriers, desperately attempting to cash in on city car’s chic. Seldom has the point been so massively missed > VERDICT In-car coffee machine option the only purchase excuse

LOGAN ★★★★★ > Estate looks like a Sandero that’s reversed into phone box. Cavernous boot, but dreadfully unrefined thanks to all the brittle plastic and tin > VERDICT You put things in it. It will carry them for you. You can take them out. Job done

DUSTER ★★★★★ > No-nonsense SUV that’s ideal for wannabe peacekeepers on a ridiculously small budget. Buy the boggo 4x4 diesel in white for the full UN effect > VERDICT The Neighbourhood Watch will never be the same again


500X ★★★★★ > Compact crossover is Arnold Schwarzenegger of the 500 range – steroidal and somewhat limited in its range of abilities, but actually rather likeable > VERDICT Worthy Nissan Juke alternative works the 500 thing surprisingly well

PUNTO ★★★★★ > Been facelifted more times than Joan Rivers but is somehow still alive. Now reduced to barebones range and budget price. We still wouldn’t > VERDICT You might be tempted. Don’t be

QUBO / DOBLO ★★★★★

DS3 HATCH/CABRIO ★★★★★ > Surprise winner clad in John Lewis wallpaper prints. A middle-class rethinking of an average supermini. But even sporty 155bhp lacks sparkle > VERDICT Goes with your tablecloth and handbag. Gallic chic still desirable, done right

>Postman Pat’s family wheels? Don’t be daft, Pat’s retired to the Caribbean and is living off the licencing rights. Drives a Bentley. A red one > VERDICT Van-based MPVs that put practicality first, people second



KA ★★★★★

> Range now split between regular hatch and jacked up Crossback. Softer setup and fewer buttons a plus; rear windows still don’t open > VERDICT Medium rare luxy- Frenchness. Germany reportedly not worried

> Take one Fiat 500, marginally improve the dynamics then snatch defeat from victory with dull restyle that removes entire reason to purchase > VERDICT Ford’s worst car. Noisy, slow, plasticky, too expensive. Buy a used Fiesta

DS5 ★★★★★

B-MAX ★★★★★

> Office joker in testosterone world of Serious Business Men. Quite appealing, with a lovely aerostyled cabin. Diesel Hybrid4 a good idea not executed properly > VERDICT Bland ubiquity will always beat charming quirkiness

> B-pillar-free Fiesta-based mini MPV gets rear sliding doors for maximum practicality but not the sliding rear seats of some rivals. Firm ride > VERDICT Buy with a 1.0 Ecoboost triple and Zetec trim for maximum school-run fun


FIESTA ★★★★★ > Still brilliant after all these years, Fiesta is BEST IN poised and practical. Terrific new triples make CLASS up for an interior that would make the Chinese blush > VERDICT The best driving supermini. Even 1.0 models feel like hot hatches in waiting


488 GTB ★★★★★ > We were worried the turbos would ruin it, but while we’ll miss the 458’s 9000rpm wail, the 488 is more playful and even easier to drive. A stunning achievement > VERDICT Even the looks grow on you after a while. Rivals better dust off their gracious loser faces



CALIFORNIA T ★★★★★ > L-plate Ferrari first of Maranello’s new turbo cars. Boost management mimics naturally aspirated engines. Looks better, sounds worse > VERDICT Forget the unfair 488 comparisons, it’s an SL65 rival and well worthy of the badge

F12/F12TDF ★★★★★ > Jumbo GT steers like a supercar, cruises BEST IN like a limo, drifts like a nitro-lit M3. Also CLASS available in taste-redacted 769bhp ‘Tour


> Feisty Fiesta is fluent where the flatBEST IN footed Focus falls. Trying say that quickly CLASS with the 180bhp Ecoboost on full reheat: f-ing fatiguing > VERDICT Definitive affordable hot hatch spoiled only by square-wheels ride

ECOSPORT ★★★★★ > Third-world hand-me-down is no fun to drive and reasonably roomy interior ruined by a daft side-opening tailgate. Nissan Juke monsters it > VERDICT A rare Blue Oval balls-up channelling the complacent Mk5 Escort spirit



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FORD > MASERATI VERDICT Nothing to see here people, move on – to your local BMW dealer and its excellent X3

FOCUS HATCH/ESTATE ##### > Looking all the better for its 2014 refresh, the Focus shows Ford’s chassis engineers know their stuff. So it’s just the designers who have lost it > VERDICT Great to drive but the Golf is a more polished destination for your dough


“Like a pair of corduroy slippers: comfy, but rather suggests you’ve given up on sex”

FOCUS ST/RS ##### > Chip-controlled 4wd RS is an overclocked 345bhp mix of outrageous drift angles and limpet traction. And we used to think the fwd ST was impressive > VERDICT In bhp/£ stakes, both are mega value. But only the RS does donuts

MONDEO HATCH/ESTATE ##### > Delayed so long dealers will soon be doing MOTS and PDIs at the same time. Huge space and you can even have the 1.0 Ecoboost > VERDICT Everybody wants them new-fangled SUVs these days, but this is a great family car

KUGA ##### > Fine-handling MPV now available with a 178bhp diesel – but not a dashboard that doesn’t look like an earthquake in a switchgear factory. Small boot > VERDICT Good, but top-end versions stray into X3/ Evoque territory



C-MAX/GRAND C-MAX ##### > More a roomier Focus than full-blown MPV, C-Max delivers driving pleasure to blot out family pain. 7-seat Grand version gets rear sliding doors > VERDICT Rivals are roomier, but none is better to drive. Just pretend it’s the wife’s

S-MAX ##### > Exploits latest Mondeo’s undercrackers to full effect. Pricey, but still the best of the sevenseaters to drive > VERDICT Toys include electric everything and speed-correcting cruise control. Harder to beat than FC Barcelona

MUSTANG ##### > GI Henry’s finally been posted to Europe and he’s cutting in on the TT’s dance. At last gets multi-link rear end, but rear-space could be better > VERDICT Ecoboost 4-cyl torquey but tedious; it’s the V8 you want, if not its 18mpg thirst

GALAXY ##### > Goose to the S-Max’s Maverick, new Galaxy is based on the same Mondeo-derived platform. Just as high-tech, but more spacious > VERDICT Great if you need a big 7-seater – fits adults in all rows with no human rights violations

GINETTA G40 ##### > Pint-sized road-legal racer. Two models: G40R (civilised version, with carpets) and GRDC (actually a race car with numberplates) > VERDICT Tiny, twitchy and top fun. Pick the £35k GRDC and get free entry to race series

HONDA JAZZ ##### > Brilliantly packaged supermini with typical genius mismatch of brain and social skills. Ordinary performance, more refined than before > VERDICT If a Skoda Fabia had seats this smart, other superminis would call it a day



TUCSON #####

> Wilfully different, won’t-fully-want-one Golf with origami rear seats and huge boot. Desperately needs in-coming small-capacity turbo engines > VERDICT Capacious wagon makes most sense but a Golf is still more satisfying

> Promising initial impressions of shiny-looking ix35 replacement tarnish quickly: it’s dull to drive, duller inside and poorly refined > VERDICT We had high hopes. Someone get the Tucson a stepladder


SANTA FE #####

> Holy turbos! They’ve created a monster. Furious new 2.0-litre Type R produces 306bhp and hits 167mph. Scorched ’Ring included > VERDICT Did Dr Frankenstein do the exterior design? Live with the looks, love the performance

> Biggish SUV has always led Hyundai’s assault on the European market from the front. Comfortable, self-assured and easy to live with > VERDICT A Hyundai you can choose without shame. Looks fresher than Waitrose parsnips

HR-V #####

i800 #####

> It took Honda 10 years to build a second HR-V, and you’re still left wondering why they bothered. Almost wilfully generic > VERDICT Jazz platform’s magic packaging the only saving grace

> Massive van-based people carrier that’ll seat eight and still have space for their luggage. Ideal for part-time airport mini-cabbers > VERDICT It is what it is: a van with seats in. But it’s a nice van

CR-V #####


> Roomy but unremarkable SUV with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. Unlike most Hondas won’t need ear defenders to drown out road noise > VERDICT Kuga has the chassis, Qashqai has the style, but neither is as practical as CR-V

> Luxury saloon hamstrung by unsuitable petrol engine and they-must-be-joking price tag. Has silly new winged badge and handles like a waterbed > VERDICT Step one of Hyundai’s move upmarket. Well, it worked for Infiniti. Oh, wait…

> Striking jumbo jeep comes with more kit than a Knight Rider convention but the lavish cabin is too small and the fuel and tax bills anything but > VERDICT Taxi for Infiniti! Porsche’s Cayenne has this one covered, old timer

JAGUAR XE ##### > Straight-bat styling hides exotic aluminium chassis and class-leading handling. Bit tight on space though, and engines not a high point > VERDICT Rivals are better packaged but this is the driver’s car in the class and a proper little Jag

XF ##### > Second-gen XF now 75% aluminium, looks like an over-inflated XE; bigger inside, smaller outside, still a great steer > VERDICT Diddy diesels moo more than a dairy; insert your own joke about cats and cream

XJ ##### > Questionable styling but unquestionably excellent to drive and with a cabin fit for a Bentley. Lwb cars get extra 125mm of rear room > VERDICT Get a blindfold and guide dog to help you to and from the door and you’ll love it



XJR #####



> Absurdly track-ready limo builds on already ballistic XJ Supersport, but bumps power up to 543bhp and tightens chassis (at expense of ride) > VERDICT More rare-groove than Elvis’s first acetate, but spectacular – if you’re up front

i10 #####

Q30 #####


> Five-door city car that balances mature driving experience with strong value – even if it’s not as cheap as it was. Five-year warranty, too > VERDICT Basic motoring done not just well but with a dash of style. Mid-spec 1.0 our choice

> It’s an A-class in an alternative frock – a slow A-class at that. Suspension and seats comfy, just don’t look too closely at the dash > VERDICT The fat goth of the premium hatchback segment

> Posh pauper’s Aston sounds superb, goes well too. Forget basic V6 and choose from V6S and mental V8S. Now with manual and 4wd options > VERDICT So nearly sublime, but Cayman/ Boxster duo cost less, entertain more

i20 #####

Q50 #####

> No Fiesta to drive, but it’s not as far off as FACELIFT you’d think, while the refinement and SOON comfort offer plenty of compensation for the plain interior > VERDICT Like a pair of corduroy slippers: comfy, but rather suggests you’ve given up on sex


i30 HATCH/TOURER ##### > Where the current crop of Hyundais got serious – which means it’s now in need of a facelift as the mainstream moves ahead again > VERDICT ‘Tries hard but lacks imagination’ would be the i30’s school report card

i40 SALOON/TOURER ##### > Vast Mondeo rival with huge boot and lots of kit. Facelift resembles a lizard with an Audi grille for a mouth > VERDICT Nearly-but-not-quite mainstream alternative plays value card well

iX20 ##### > Compact MPV and Kia Venga’s ugly stepsister; roomy but ultimately forgettable > VERDICT Sorry, what were we talking about?

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> Another American-market Japanese FACELIFT premium product that’s lost in translation. SOON Shame it wasn’t lost at sea on the way over. Hybrid mega quick > VERDICT Like a tiny speck of fluff the Mercedes C-class casually brushes from its sleeve


Q60 COUPE/CABRIO ##### > Nissan 370Z after a back, sack ’n’ crack. No diesel but V6 sounds ace and S models (4ws and LSD) are tidy in the bends. Looks dated > VERDICT Not without merit, but without a hope of talking us out of buying a BMW 4-series



Q70 ##### > Does it look like a rubbish Maser QP, or a slightly cooler Daewoo Leganza? Either way it’s a novelty act without the novelty > VERDICT Worth considering over a 5-series, but only if Harald Quandt ran off with your wife

QX50 ##### > Blandly-styled EX crossover got a new badge but precious few new fans. Well equipped, but costly to run and not that great to drive >

F-TYPE R ##### >Supercharged 543bhp almost too much fun in rear-wheel drive form (but still less knife-edge than V8S); 4wd available if you’ve left bravery pills at home > VERDICT All this drama or an ‘ordinary’ 911? Tough choice…

F-TYPE PROJECT SEVEN ##### > Looks a little too much like the D-type equivalent of the old folks you see standing at the back of rock gigs, but still the best F-type yet > VERDICT Pray for sunshine: it’s got 567bhp and the roof takes 20min to erect. Sold out

F-PACE ##### > Jag’s first SUV is a road-biased Macan botherer. Built light to be nimble, body control brilliance and pokey engines prove family DNA > VERDICT Macan remains most sporting choice, but more rounded F-Pace has plenty of bite

JEEP RENEGADE ##### > Strange but true: yoof-targeting junior Jeep is built in Italy alongside Fiat 500X that donates its platform. Even stranger: it’s not terrible

> VERDICT Lower spec models outdriven by rivals; only the top Trailhawk cuts it in the rough

CHEROKEE ★★★★★ > Gimlet-eyed Discovery Sport rival looks like the banjo-playing inbred from Deliverance. Despite generous kit, we’d leave it on the porch. > VERDICT Feels too cheap to be premium, too pricey/ugly to beat Qashqai

GRAND CHEROKEE ★★★★★ > Proper off-road credentials backed up by sensible running costs, but feels cheap. Ludicrous SRT8 version demolishes 62mph in five dead > VERDICT Makes sense at $30k in the US, but doesn’t drive or feel like a premium car

WRANGLER ★★★★★ > Incredible off-road, and much better than a Defender on it, but that’s like saying Pol Pot was more benevolent than Stalin. 2.8 Merc diesel best > VERDICT When North Korea nukes us, this cold war cast-off will be all that’s left moving

KOËNIGSEGG AGERA ★★★★★ > Evolution of Lex Luthor’s original CC8S supercar features twin-turbo 5.0 V8 and carbon fibre wheels. R version even runs on E85 biofuel > VERDICT Yahoo! Yin to Volvo’s yawning yang keeps Sweden’s car output balanced

KIA PICANTO ★★★★★ > Tough-looking budget Korean mini twinned with less funky Hyundai i10. Three-pot 1.0 is slow but sweeter than 1.25 four. Smart interior, small boot > VERDICT You’ll never benefit from the 7-year warranty and VW’s Up is better to drive

RIO ★★★★★ > Long on space, short on enjoyment, life with a Rio is no carnival. Diesel refinement will have you driving to a favela in the hope of a carjacking > VERDICT White goods car gets the basics right but there are too many better rivals

CEED HATCH/SW/PROCEED ★★★★★ > Good-looking Korean Golf wannabe is big on equipment and not bad to drive. Ceed is 5dr, Proceed gets 3, and SW is the wagon > VERDICT Recent update brings new downsized turbo engines. Europe still ahead. Just

SOUL ★★★★★ > Improved second-gen chunky spunky SUV better to drive but ride and noise suppression poor. Petrol version rubbish, but much cheaper > VERDICT A Korean with character but other SUVs are more rounded (in both senses)

OPTIMA ★★★★★ > Eye-catching, but dynamically second-rate Mondeo clone much more appealing for last year’s new chairs ’n’ dampers refresh. Diesel only > VERDICT Not as bad as its scarcity suggests

VENGA ★★★★★ > Weird sit-up supermini-cum-MPV packs Focus space into near-city-car dimensions. Hard to get comfy though. 1.4 petrol best > VERDICT Too pricey and too ordinary to drive for us to care

CARENS ★★★★★ > Big, versatile, value-packed seven-seater. Go diesel – 1.6 petrol is wheezier than emphysemariddled asthmatic with a punctured lung. > VERDICT For all its pseudo-premium Euro aspirations, this is the stuff Kia still does best

SPORTAGE ★★★★★ > All-new, all-turbo SUV truly handles and NEW ENTRY rides but somehow a picture of Mr Potato Head’s face got mixed up with the final blueprints, and before they knew it… > VERDICT Improved in every way. Except to look at


SORENTO ★★★★★ > Ambitious new flagship SUV reckons it’s a real Land Rover rival. Now bigger than ever, and so is the price: up to £40k. 2.2 diesel only engine. > VERDICT Impressive, but lacks the badge and performance of genuine premium off-roaders

KTM X-BOW ★★★★★ > 22nd century Ariel Atom from Austria’s barmy motorbike maker mixes carbon construction with hardy Audi turbo’d 2.0 four > VERDICT Big money, big grins, but single-seat BAC Mono gives more racecar-like experience


could follow a Defender cross country. Add in impressive handling and ballistic SVR and diesel versions > VERDICT Nobody likes a show-off


EVORA 400 ★★★★★

> A benchmark in luxury SUVs. V6 diesel BEST IN perfectly acceptable, supercharged V8 CLASS petrol hilarious > VERDICT The perfect car for smuggling cash to Switzerland, skiing, turning up at a ball, game shooting and being smug



570S ★★★★★

> Pig-ugly premium Prius a bizarre mix of

STEER CLEAR decent handling, woeful performance and a

ride so poor it makes a black cab feel like an S-class > VERDICT Rubbish. Wouldn’t merit a single sale if company car tax bills were less CO2-focused


LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT ★★★★★ > ‘Educated, professional luxury SUV desperately seeking decent diesel engine.’ Ingenium replied. Happy ever after? > VERDICT Comfy silence a promising start. We’ll know it’s love when they get the interior decorators in

DISCOVERY ★★★★★ > Middle England metal edifice brilliantly capable at driving over lefty hunt saboteurs, mud and street furniture. Only one diesel > VERDICT Perfectly balances picnicking luxury, farming legwork and small-c conservatism


> Entry-level McLaren out to steal the 911 Turbo’s chips. Ditches carbon body and hydrosuspension, but keeps carbon MonoCell and twin-turbo 3.8 V8 > VERDICT Makes the 911 Turbo S feel ordinary. ’Nuff said?

IS ★★★★★

650S ★★★★★

> Sharp-suited, well-specced 3-series rival finally gets decent rear space. Good chassis, but 250 V6 irrelevant, and frugal hybrid hobbled by nasty CVT > VERDICT So close. Give this a proper auto ’box and it would be right up there

> Original 12C showed real promise, 650S delivers on it in spades. Trouble is the new 675LT now makes the 650S feel like a poor relation… > VERDICT Still two reasons to buy over the 675LT: it’s £60k cheaper and not sold out

GS/GSF ★★★★★

675LT ★★★★★

> Twin-pronged petrol hybrid cooking range now spiced up by GSF 5.0 V8. Lack of turbos admirable but like hunting M5 bear with a peashooter. > VERDICT 300h makes company car sense, wilfully different GSF good fun

> What happens when you upgrade 33% of the 650S? Absolute bloody magic. 666bhp, stiffer suspension, faster gearshifts, quicker steering and lighter by 100kg, whatever deal Woking’s done with the devil, it’s worked > VERDICT This is the McLaren you’ve been looking for

LS ★★★★★

P1 ★★★★★

> Way more accomplished Gallardo successor, > Monstrously expensive but so refined twinned with new R8. Dual-clutch ’box mandatory, REPLACED it makes a library feel like a sound-off SOON 602bhp V10 flicks Vs at turbos > VERDICT Beats competition (which the Mark Levinson hi-fi 488 for aural and visual thrills but nothing else. could probably win) > VERDICT Built for those So we’ll have the Spyder. On me head, sun! in the back, but the S-class makes every seat worth buying a ticket for > The F12 may be better in every respect, but this is what a supercar should look like. Limited run Aventador SV closes that gap with shocking power and agility > VERDICT SV is the one to have. Sub-7min ’Ring lap makes the hybrid hypercar crew look stupidly expensive

> Thoroughly refreshed Evora loses its looks but gains easier access and thumping supercharged 400bhp > VERDICT The chassis and steering are Lotus at its sparkling best. Sublime, but you’ll still buy a Cayman


CT ★★★★★


Superb new 350 Sport turns up the wick > VERDICT The Lotus our tyre-frying Ben Barry would buy. Make of that what you will

> £1m hybrid hypercar with aero straight from McLaren’s F1 brains. All sold, and if you haven’t got one you can’t have track-only GTR either > VERDICT Astounding, but LaFerrari feels more special (as it should for £400k more)

NX ★★★★★ > Trumps Audi Q5 with a fabulous interior and arrest-me (for persecuting curves) exterior design. Fwd or 4wd with electric motor at rear > VERDICT Doesn’t work as a driver’s car, so take the NX300h hybrid over faster, costlier NX200t

RX ★★★★★ > Looks like Lord Vader’s helmet with wheels on, but interior opulence and general tranquillity make up for idiosyncratic infotainment issues > VERDICT Build quality and refinement to save the galaxy, even if the hybrid tech won’t

RC/RCF ★★★★★ > RCF’s old-school unblown V8 completes charismatic package that shocked M4 in our Giant Test. Elegance of regular range can’t overcome lack of diesel option > VERDICT Deserve more success than they’ll likely get

MASERATI GHIBLI ★★★★★ > A Maserati for the price of a 5-series! A badriding one with a disappointing interior, but still, a Maserati! > VERDICT The best badge on your company car list, but not the best car

QUATTROPORTE ★★★★★ > Supersaloon-cum-limo can’t decide what it wants to be. Looks great, handles better, rides worse. Twin-turbo V8 rapid; diesel a stopgap > VERDICT Buy it to stretch its legs, not because you want to kick back and stretch your own

GRAN TURISMO/GRAN CABRIO ★★★★★ > Four genuine seats a rarity in this class, but fill them and you’ll regret choosing the weedy 4.2 over the 4.7 at the first sniff of a hill > VERDICT Podgy, pretty, practical GT for folk who hate four-door faux coupes. And luggage



ELISE ★★★★★


> Definitive posh mum’s SUV, now also available as convertible. Well, that was one way to resolve the classy interior’s claustrophobia triggering tendencies. Ingenium engines commendably hushed > VERDICT Pricey, but perfectly

> Reminds just how connected cars used to be. Slothful base 1.6 reminds how they used to go, too, so pick 1.8. Alfa 4C is a pricey, pale imitation > VERDICT Still sensational, but a 10-year old example does the same job for half the price

> Defies hulking 1770kg mass (and that’s after a 110kg diet) and modest 444bhp to deliver an engaging driving experience. Epic noise > VERDICT Massively underrated. A GT3 for an Italian lothario with a ’Ring season pass


EXIGE ★★★★★

> As luxurious as a Rangie, as practical as a Disco, better looking than an Evoque and

> Gym-bunny Elise with supercharged V6 retains beautifully connected unassisted steering.

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MAZDA > PAGANI MAZDA 2 ★★★★★ > Shot-in-the-arm supermini packs value, handling and looks, leaving sweatmarks on the shirts of VW Polo marketing team. > VERDICT Under-radar Fiesta threatener gatecrashes the top table

3 HATCH/SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Another left-field, right-on Mazda that’s great to drive and cheap to run. Like shifting gears? You’ll love the 118bhp unblown 1.5. If not, go diesel > VERDICT Don’t buy a family hatch until you’ve tried one. Oh, a Golf? Apart from that

5 ★★★★★ > Ancient off-the-pace MPV that looks like its been side-swiped by a kamikaze dispatch rider. Roomy and reasonable to drive, but just no! > VERDICT Large ’n’ loaded but there’re too many fresher rivals to warrant wasting your wedge

6 SALOON/TOURER ★★★★★ > Boss won’t let you have a 3-series? Double your digit and try this impressive alternative. Handles well but rides like the tyres have DTs > VERDICT: Swoopily styled, tax friendly, entertainig alternative to po-faced Passat

CX-3 ★★★★★ > Late arrival to the compact crossover party, but worth a look thanks to smart, premium cabin and crisp, engaging drive. Pity about the firm ride > VERDICT Pricey, but better than most and well equipped. Ideal MX-5 social life support truck

C-CLASS COUPE ★★★★★ > All-new sexpot version of latest C-class (no shrinking violet itself) now 10cm longer and available with air suspension. Still tight in the back > VERDICT Much more of an event than the 4-series, let alone the geriatric A5

C63 AMG ★★★★★ > Sounds madder than ever despite switch to bi-turbo 4.0 V8; coupe gets unique 12-link rear suspension for sharper responses > VERDICT Saloon, estate or coupe, you get mega traction and one of the best turbo engines ever



> It may look like a fat C-class but this techno

NEW ENTRY tour-de-force thinks it can drive better than

you. Exceptional interior out-luxes all comers > VERDICT New 4-cyl diesel so smooth it churns motorway miles into butter

E-CLASS COUPE/CONVERTIBLE ★★★★★ > CLK-replacing Coupe and Convertible are still C-class derived – and old C-class at that – despite the name. Both seat four in decent comfort > VERDICT Restrained and tasteful approach to mid-size luxury. Feeling their age

E63 AMG ★★★★★ > 5.5-litre V8 twin-turbo with up to 577bhp and rear-wheel-drive only in the UK. Like a BMW M5, but without the artificial enhancement > VERDICT Bit of a blunt instrument. Spectacular soundtrack means you won’t care




“This and identical Skoda Rapid duke it out for UK’s dullest car. Czech please!” CX-5 ★★★★★


> Crisply styled, commodious crossover is stonking value. Handles tidily but ride and refinement could be better. Pick base fwd diesel > VERDICT MX-5 aside, this is the best thing to come out of Mazda for years

> The word ‘coupaloon’ is banned from these pages. Which is fine, because we’re all slightly in love with the glamorous Shooting Brake > VERDICT Second-gen version of the original four-door coupe continues to lead the pack

MX-5 ★★★★★

S-CLASS ★★★★★

> Smaller than the ’89 original, and in real terms half the price. 1.5 sweet but a little slow; 158bhp 2.0 quicker but charismatically challenged > VERDICT Brilliantly uncomplicated budget sports car. Dink the GTI for this

> Enormously technically accomplished, with camera-guided ride quality and stacks of safety kit. Maybach and Pullman variants immensely flash > VERDICT Makes 7-series/A8 seem like toys. Captains of industry should insist on it

MERCEDES A-CLASS ★★★★★ > In the manner of a stale donut nuked in the microwave, midlife refresh has softened the A-class, but it’s still a little tasteless > VERDICT Expensive, cramped and crass inside – A3 and 1-series do it better

A45 AMG ★★★★★ > Mad turbo four-pot now makes 367bhp and 350lb ft. Goes like a banker who knows the game is up; almost as expensive. > VERDICT Four-wheel drive is not enough. Option the Dynamic Plus pack with LSD as well.

B-CLASS ★★★★★ > Posh MPV big brother to the A-class misses out on the looks and the charisma, but is far more homely and just as technically savvy > VERDICT So boring the BMW 2-series Active Tourer actually begins to make sense

CLA SALOON/SHOOTING BRAKE ★★★★★ > CLS clone based on the A-class, now including the Shooting Brake swoopy estate. Lacks gravitas of the former and sex appeal of the latter > VERDICT Just because you can make something smaller doesn’t mean you should



C-CLASS SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Latest C impresses with mini S-class looks and almost all the same on-board tech. Denies muttering it wishes the 3-series would drop dead > VERDICT BMW still better to drive, but if you want a relaxing techno cocoon, this is it

S-CLASS COUPE ★★★★★ > 5m-long two-door with stunning interior and optional suspension that leans into bends like a motorbike. Barking mad indulgence > VERDICT Buy it as a tribute to your own personal wealth. Don’t expect to get let out at junctions

S63/S65 AMG ★★★★★ > Twin-turbo 577bhp V8 and 621bhp V12 S-class variants, because being richer than the world isn’t enough and you need to out-drag it, too > VERDICT S63 V8 is bonkers, S65 V12 utterly certifiable. Does your chauffeur deserve it?

GLA ★★★★★ > Confused A-class on stilts with lifestyle pretensions and unnecessary surplus of interior air vents. GLA45 AMG simply unnecessary > VERDICT An A-class for the bewildered. Maybe you thought you were ordering a GLC?

GLC ★★★★★ > GLK replacement project, now available in right-hand drive. Sounds like you shouldn’t care, but the interior might just make you moist > VERDICT Rivals are cheaper, better to drive – GLC makes you feel special inside

G-CLASS ★★★★★ > Cold War relic that’s so solidly built it could ram raid a bank vault. Obscene special editions a growing – literally – Mercedes obsession > VERDICT You shouldn’t want one, but… Will outlast any Defender. And possibly the planet

GLE / GLE COUPE ★★★★★ > Rebadged M-class is heavy, ponderous and depressingly cheap inside. Plug-in hybrid plays the tech card, new Coupe an alternative to X6

148 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

> VERDICT As you were: it’s perfectly adequate in a class dominated by the outstanding

GLS ★★★★★ > Luxo-monster seven-seater lacks Range Rover panache but it’s comfy, refined and the infotainment doesn’t come from Poundland > VERDICT Active anti-roll essential, but otherwise it’s a brilliant bus

OUTLANDER ★★★★★ > Mid-life overhaul brings sleeker looks and lifts cabin ambience by miles. Diesel still a bit of a tractor but PHEV comfy and refined > VERDICT UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid finally makes sense


SLK ★★★★★

3-WHEELER ★★★★★

> Small, folding hardtop ‘sports car’, engines range from a clattery diesel to a non-turbo V8 with cylinder deactivation. Neither of which particularly appeals > VERDICT Boxster so much better even your hairdresser could tell

> As comfortable as riding over Niagara Falls in a barrel and equally sane. Not as quick as it feels, but quick enough for a three-wheeler on bike tyres > VERDICT Brilliant Caterham alternative without the macho trackday posturing



SL ★★★★★

AERO ★★★★★

> The plastic surgeon was worth every penny: post-facelift SL is far more MILF than Morph. Turning up the sporty makes the most of the super stiff structure, too > VERDICT Think twice about that Ferrari California. No, seriously

> Drop-top was first of the new-era Morgans and goes it alone since Aero Supersports, Coupe and Squiffy Perkins bought it at the Somme > VERDICT Two worlds collide. And with 367bhp they may not be the only ones doing the colliding

AMG GT ★★★★★


> SLS replacement is smaller (just), cheaper (considerably) and blessed with a 4.0-litre twinturbo V8 that will blow your mind > VERDICT It’s got the muscle but maybe not the finesse; 911 buyers should still think twice

MG MG3 ★★★★★ > Tough-looking, spacious supermini has handling that lives up to the promise of that badge. As does the woeful build, crap engine and concrete ride > VERDICT The Chinese are coming! But so far they’ve only got to Tajikistan

MG6 ★★★★★


> Previous woeful also-ran now updated

STEER CLEAR with more efficient diesel, more kit and a

hefty price cut > VERDICT Better, but remains condemned by ghastly steering, buzzy engine. Wrong badge, wrong car, wrong owners

MINI HATCH/CONVERTIBLE ★★★★★ > Bigger and gawkier and less charming, but lovely BMW engines are smooth and peppy, while ride has improved without ruining handling. Five-door in danger of being practical > VERDICT A better ownership proposition than ever, even if you love it a little less

COOPER S/JCW ★★★★★ > Up-sized BMW 2.0-litre four-pot-powered 228bhp JCW most powerful Mini ever. Terrific turboed fun, if a tad overwrought and synthetic > VERDICT Beware the options list, lest it lead to bullion robberies and perilous dangling over cliffs

CLUBMAN ★★★★★ > Replace circus-freakery of old Clubdoor with full complement of portals, add longer wheelbase and bigger boot; now bake > VERDICT Loaf-alike maxi-Mini freshness, the grown-ups’ choice

COUNTRYMAN/PACEMAN ★★★★★ > Bigger Minis for people who don’t want slightly smaller (but still quite big) Minis. Paceman even has fewer doors for those phobic of apertures. Niche > VERDICT Please, please make it stop. It’s all just so wrong



MITSUBISHI MIRAGE ★★★★★ > Looking for the ideal car to crash into a STEER CLEAR shopfront when staging a ‘Look at this OAP selecting reverse rather than first!’ YouTube sensation? This is it > VERDICT Slow, rough, harsh, bad. Sadly it’s not a mirage, it’s real


ASX ★★★★★ > Forgotten among the slew of small SUVs, the ASX is rather good now, with decent ride and sharper looks. Selectable 2/4wd is handy, but engine is rattly and gearbox slushy > VERDICT More workmanlike than many, and better for it



SHOGUN ★★★★★ > Great value old-school workhorse for those whose workplace is covered in mud, oil or bomb craters. Big, noisy diesel, chunky underpinnings and reliable, with hose-down cabin > VERDICT If you don’t need this car, you don’t need this car

> Entry-level Mog still with ‘traditional’ ash frame and ‘traditional’ (ie, awful) dynamics. Four-seat 4/4 is surprise eco champ: 44mpg > VERDICT Cheap, considering the craftsmanship, even at £33k, but if you want an old car, buy one!

PLUS 8 ★★★★★ > Don’t be fooled by tally-ho styling, 8 is built on ‘modern’ bonded and riveted Aero chassis. Fidgety like a child with worms > VERDICT Classic Morgan style, modern BMW V8 poke, manners like a five-term Borstal veteran



> As alluring as a dentist’s waiting room,

STEER CLEAR and just as noisy – modern Micra is a

shadow of its former self and unworthy of your interest > VERDICT Judge this book by its cover: it’s dull to drive and just as cheap inside

JUKE ★★★★★ > Mould-breaking compact crossover; you think it would look like that if the mould hadn’t broken? Cheap interior and so-so dynamics belie the hype > VERDICT Does it still count as ‘different’ if everybody’s got one?

NOTE ★★★★★ > Like a Honda Jazz with middle-age spread, this is a small, practical MPV-hatch with limited aspirations of greatness > VERDICT An automotive cardigan: deeply uncool but good at what it does

LEAF ★★★★★ > Gawky looking EV pioneer now with 20% extra range. Updated interior even more like a Star Trek shuttle, and not in a good way > VERDICT BMW i3 far funkier, Renault Zoe far cheaper, internal combustion still superior. Beam us up

PULSAR ★★★★★ > So dull it can only be explained by a conspiracy theory claiming it owes its entire existence to a long-range Qashqai sales-boost strategy > VERDICT Buy a Focus. Or a Golf. Or a Ceed. Or an Auris. Okay, maybe not an Auris…

QASHQAI ★★★★★ > Second-gen crossover carries on exactly where the original left off: meandering ominously in the middle lane to the tune of ‘are we there yet?’ > VERDICT Likeable, with a side order of resting on its own laurels

X-TRAIL ★★★★★ > The X-Trail used to be a rough-tough off-roader apparently designed on an Etch-a-Sketch. Now it’s a Qashqai put through a photocopier at +10% > VERDICT It still ain’t exciting. But it’s probably going to sell a lot better

GT-R ★★★★★ > A monster in every respect, from the way goes to the amount it weighs. 4wd system practically sentient, and it gets faster every year > VERDICT No longer the supercar of the PlayStation Generation, now simply a supercar



PAGANI HYUARA ★★★★★ > Spectacular cottage (villetta?) industry supercar with active aero, AMG-built 720bhp





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PEUGEOT > ROLLS-ROYCE twin-turbo V12 and an interior more decadent than a Roman orgy > VERDICT Want have, can’t have: they’re all sold. But a roadster is rumoured

PEUGEOT ION  > Rebadged Mitsubishi iMiev seats four, and just as well: with leasing bills at £400/month you’ll need passengers to chip in > VERDICT Congestion-charge, road-tax and petrol-bill exempt. Zero-rated for driving pleasure too

108  > Pug-faced city car. Go for 82bhp 1.2: the 68bhp 1.0 is so slow we were all monkeys when it set off and it still hasn’t hit 60mph > VERDICT Reasonable no-frills city car but boot and rear space tight. Skoda Citigo is better

208  > Refresh more than just a prettier face as dynamic update adds handling chops to 208’s interior chic > VERDICT Pug’s recovered that VaVaVoom from the back of the sofa. No, wait – that’s the other lot

308 HATCH/SW ESTATE  > Handsome, hushed 308 at its best when eating motorway miles, or when you’re watching it out of the window of your Golf. Fiddly touchscreen > VERDICT Hatch isn’t up to scratch, but roomier SW wagon is worth a look

308 GTi  > Discreet styling hides playful proclivities; LSD keeps things tight up front while fantastic French chassis delivers lively rear > VERDICT 250 and 270 variants both great, but 270 gets more kit and extra power

508 SALOON/ESTATE  > Little-seen XL Pug with unconvincing cod German accent. HYbrid4 gets 4wd via 37bhp ’leccy motor on rear wheels > VERDICT RXH is poor-man’s Audi Allroad. Rest of range is padding on your company car list

PARTNER TEPEE  > Spacious, versatile Tepee so useful it could almost be a van. Funny, that. Slothful, spartan, but drives okay and ‘real’ MPVs can’t match practicality > VERDICT Make your own clothes? Live in a Yurt? This is the car for you



> Welly-wearing 208 is front-drive only, though ‘Grip Control’ ESP divides torque left to right. Quality cabin, big boot, but Renault Captur prettier > VERDICT Strong, but it’s late to the party and wearing a frock made out of coal sacks


3008  > Get Pininfarina on the phone, this is a code red emergency! Revolting styling totally undermines this roomy and entirely reasonable crossover > VERDICT Hard to work up much of a trouser tent when the Qashqai looks so much sexier


but an S-Max is a vastly more satisfying steer > VERDICT Sound medium-MPV choice – if you live 34,678 miles from your nearest Ford dealer

RCZ  > Rough-riding coupe gets a rough ride at the hands of Audi’s infinitely more polished TT. Decent handling, messy cabin, useless back seats > VERDICT There are better coupes, but if the styling suckers you, get a brisk RCZ 200

RCZ R  > Sweet bespoke chassis, Torsen LSD and mega 266bhp 1.6 that’s both quick and capable of topping 40mpg. But £32k for a Peugeot… > VERDICT RCZ R says Peugeot still knows how to make a great car. They should do it more often



> Sublime. Base 2.7 costs less than £40k but unless you like sitting on milk crates and being outdragged by hot hatches, go for the 3.4S > VERDICT Cheaper and more versatile than a Cayman, this is surely Porsche’s best sports car


BOXSTER SPYDER  > It’s no drop-top Cayman GT4, but with the same 911-derived 3.8, a manual gearbox and a special roof that no longer requires a team of boy scouts it is still mega > VERDICT Worth the extra £7k over the Boxster GTS? Why are you even asking that question?



> Tin-top Boxster with the same twin-boot practicality, more power and even sharper handling. Makes F-type look podgy and pricey > VERDICT The definitive 24/7 coupe. Badge snobbery only reason to spend £20k more on 911


CAYMAN GT4  > Junior GT3 is first Cayman to get more power than current 911. 380bhp, manual ’box, LSD and a grin wider than a Glasgow smile > VERDICT Porsche finally admits that the Cayman and not the halo 911 is its real sports coupe

911  > 991.2 may not look much different but under the skin lurks a whole new range of turbocharged engines. The most grown-up 911 yet > VERDICT Rear-engined appeal lives on. Proper Turbo now utterly ferocious, Turbo S unhinged

911 GT3/GT3 RS  > New engines, PDK-only, electric steering and rear steering too for this generation. Epic drive > VERDICT Both have won our end of year Sports Car Giant Test (2013, 2015). Enough said

918  > Epic 4wd hybrid can waste GTis with 6sec 0-62mph electric mode, then slay Lambos by adding 600bhp V8. Superb electric steering, too > VERDICT Almost overshadowed in the P1LaFerrari posturing war, but easily as good



> Baby Cayenne is even better than dad – BEST IN and Evoque. Base car with Golf GTI 2.0 makes CLASS no sense when S and S Diesel are pennies more > VERDICT GT3 RS for trackdays, Cayman GT4 for weekends, this for everything else. Sorted

CAYENNE  > Porsche’s cash-cow is a prize German Angus now, handsome and the best SUV to drive. V6 S quick, too quiet, Diesel S dynamite > VERDICT A proper Porker? Turbo S’s sub-8min Nürburgring lap time says yes



> Super-sized supersaloon hamstrung by looking like a prom-night 911 stretch limo. Great interior but more buttons than a giant’s cardigan > VERDICT Expensive, but no other luxury car drives this well. Turbo a powerhouse, GTS purer


RADICAL SR3 SL  > Properly type-approved (street legal) SR3 gets a 300bhp blown Ford 2.0 instead of a bike motor, a heater and even a 12v socket. It’s almost lavish! > VERDICT Toned down for occasional road use but still hairier than a cave man with hypertrichosis

RXC TURBO  > Play out those Le Mans fantasies on the commute with this Peterborough-built Polaris. Sequential ’box welcome in town like an EDL demo > VERDICT When you’ve outgrown your Caterhams and 911 GT3s, here’s the answer

RENAULT TWIZY  > Part electric scooter, part social experiment, it’s easy to love the doorless Twizy, especially on balmy evenings along La Croisette. Grimy days in Doncaster a tougher ask > VERDICT Transportation of the future, if it’s never wet in the future and you like chatting at traffic lights

ZOE  > Delightful little EV, now with increased range and cabin like a spa waiting room. Overall purchase now offered alongside confusing battery leasing option > VERDICT Zen-like calmness replaces nagging range anxiety

TWINGO  > Rear-engined rwd runabout isn’t as nippy as it sounds, but is roomy, with clever smartphone connectivity. More cheeky than sister Smart, and cheaper > VERDICT Lower-power version with ’80s F1 Turbo paintjob the way to go

CLIO  > Welcome return to form for the five-door Clio with even boggo ones looking handsome, a well sorted cabin and sprightly driving qualities.

Three-cylinder turbo petrol a (slowish) hoot > VERDICT Fiesta more fun, Clio more stylish

CLIO RS  > Remember when Clio RS was king of the hill? No? Probably for the best, because even new, more powerful RS Trophy can’t off-set awful auto ’box > VERDICT Brings its own Trophy but still doesn’t win. Rumoured RS Wooden Spoon pure speculation

CAPTUR  > It’s a Clio on stilts – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. No 4x4 pretensions means focus is on personalisation. Good engines. No Juke to drive > VERDICT Technicolour clown car if you’re not careful with the spec, otherwise okay

MEGANE  > All-new French Golf looks like a foie-grased Clio outside and a low-rent Tesla inside. Is thus an instant, infinite improvement over the old one > VERDICT Renaultsport-fettled GT with rearwheel steering a keen drive, too. Sacré bleu!r

MEGANE RS  > Continues as the old three-door for now; raucous 2.0 turbo, manual ’box, awesome chassis – this a proper, pulse-spiking hot hatch > VERDICT Buy one before they ruin it like the latest RS Clio



> Contraception failed, shotgun marriage, working harder to pay for it, old friends don’t come round any more, debt, and a Grand Scenic > VERDICT Tired, lacking spark, plodding through each day. And that’s just the car…




> Nissan may rue the day it left the parts BEST IN store door ‘Kadjar’, as Renault’s take on the CLASS Qashqai bests the original in every way > VERDICT Aggressive pricing, smooth ride, great refinement, squishy seats

ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST  > A little posher, with more bespoke options to hide BMW-ness, new gearbox for the V12 and minor fettling to the metal. > VERDICT Perfectly built and pitched and more individual. A Phantom for millionaires not billionaires

WRAITH  > A 624bhp twin-turbo V12 sporting vehicle that drives like no other. Dismisses distance but would never lower itself to squeal through bends > VERDICT Whisper it, but Rolls has produced an amazing driver’s car



> Simply the best luxury car money can buy, DIES SOON with a cabin to embarrass a superyacht, opulence to make Donatella Versace blush (if she could), and a V12 pulling you along. Not that you’ll hear it > VERDICT Every car on earth starts with ambitions of being a Phantom

> Woah! Do they still make that?! Who’d have thought? Stacks of space and at a decent price,

Every month we trawl the leasing brokers to find examples of tempting deals. Think before you buy!


Mini’s brand new drop-top is fun and fancy; you can pay £15 a month less, but it doubles the initial payment. Spec 1.5 turbo petrol, fwd, 6spd manual, 134bhp, 57.6mpg, 114g/km List price £18,475 £231.62/month for 48 months Initial payment £694.86 Mileage allowance 10,000/year Via Vehicle Savers



More of a big sunroof than a proper convertible, but the turbo triple is the top choice and this is the top spec. Spec 1.2 turbo petrol, fwd, 6spd manual, 128bhp, 62.8mpg, 105g/km List price £21,095 £218.72/month for 48 months Initial payment £1312.34 Mileage allowance 10,000/year Via GB Vehicle Leasing


Four-wheel drive and an efficient diesel engine – about as sensible as convertibles get; ditching Quattro saves you £21 a month. Spec 2.0 turbodiesel, awd, 6spd manual, 148bhp, 57.6mpg, 129g/km List price £30,655 £332.80/month for 48 months Initial payment £998.40 Mileage allowance 10,000/year Via


Our Anthony reckons entry-level is the way to go, but even the top spec turbo is only £212 a month. Spec 1.0 petrol, rwd, 5spd manual, 454bhp, 65.7mpg, 99g/km List price £13,265 £199.53/month for 48 months Initial payment £1197.17 Mileage allowance 10,000/year Via Plan Vehicle Acquisition

All prices inclusive of VAT and correct at time of going to press


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SEAT > ZENOS SEAT MII ##### > Tedious-looking city-box is far less funky than Renault’s Twingo but roomier and good to drive. You don’t look at the mantelpiece, and all that > VERDICT VW Up more desirable, pretty Skoda Citigo cheaper. Siesta time in Seat’s prod dept?

IBIZA HATCH/SC/ESTATE ##### > Angular, angry-looking supermini, possibly because it knows how much better a Fiesta is to drive. It’s not bad though, and ST wagon is huge > VERDICT Not as sporty as it likes to think, but holding up in face of newer, better-driving rivals

IBIZA CUPRA ##### > Bags more attitude than Polo GTI, and 180bhp turbo’d, supercharged 1.4 means it’s not short of pace and hates fuel stops. DSG only, sadly > VERDICT Fast and feisty junior hot hatch, but outdriven by key rivals. Make ours a Fiesta ST



TOLEDO #####



SMART FORTWO ##### > Chunkier new ForTwo has middle-age spread compared to the last one. Wider, with a much better ride, higher quality cabin and slicker auto, it is older, but wiser > VERDICT Less of a compromise, and still a brilliant city runabout

FORFOUR ##### > Renault/Merc tie-up means ForFour is accomplished with a classy cabin, although ludicrous pricing seem at odds with budget city car buyers > VERDICT Sister car Twingo is more than two grand cheaper. Work that out


> OAP special whose sole interesting

STEER CLEAR feature is that while it looks like a boring

saloon, it’s actually a boring hatch! Massive interior > VERDICT This and identical Skoda Rapid duke it out for UK’s dullest car. Czech please!

LEON HATCH/ESTATE ##### > Bigger third-gen Leon gets the same MQB platform as Golf and A3, but only 150+bhp cars get multi-link rear. Ride and cabin plastics brittle > VERDICT Sound, value-focused in-house Golf rival. ST wagon with 1.4TSi gets our cash

LEON CUPRA ##### > Stupidly rapid 280’s mid-range pull makes Golf GTI sister look like a tickled up 1.2. Frontdrive, so expect 300 miles from a set of fronts > VERDICT Huge amount of hot hatch for the cash – or hot wagon, in case of stylish Cupra ST

ALHAMBRA ##### > Subtlest of subtle facelifts belies 15% efficiency improvement. Still a big box with slideydoors and seven proper seats; put your family first for a change > VERDICT Genetically identical to the VW Sharan, but nearly £2k less

SKODA CITIGO ##### > Skoda’s all but identical version of the VW Up and Seat Mii. Pick your badge – they’re all well packaged but too noisy and slow > VERDICT Cheaper than the Up, but not by much. Hyundai i10 also worth a look. Yes, actual advice!

FABIA HATCH/ESTATE ##### > Very mature little supermini with bodywork creases a Corby trouser press would be proud of. Estate version ideal for Jack Russells > VERDICT Roomy, well made and unexciting – like a low-rent VW Polo. Which is what it is



YETI ##### > Ikea wardrobe on wheels – so practical BEST IN you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. CLASS Good news is you don’t have to assemble it yourself > VERDICT Bigger engines are better. Choose the Outdoor version for that rugged look. Grrr

> Long, narrow notchback hatch is

STEER CLEAR automotive equivalent of Eastern Europe

refugee. Big boot. Spaceback is shorter, more ‘stylish’, still dross > VERDICT Unless you’ve got a lot of potatoes and no other way to carry them, just don’t

KORANDO ##### > Borderline rubbish to drive but more practical than the Teflon-coated trousers you’re probably wearing if you’re giving it serious consideration > VERDICT Huge, handy and hellish value, but we’d have a pre-reg Qashqai or CX-5 any day

REXTON W ##### > Like that weird 1960s Izal bog roll, Rexton kind of does the job, but is hard and shiny to the touch and not that nice to use. Deals better with mud > VERDICT Plenty of space, but dynamically, like Izal, it’s gone down the pan

TURISMO ##### > Marginally less odious than the old Rodius, but every bit as practical, this giant 7-seater is slower than the Crossrail boring machine > VERDICT Has mini-cab written all over it, or soon will, which will handily help disguise the ugliness

Spec Expert

EQUIP THE PERFECT MERCEDES E-CLASS It’ll drive itself if you let it, but you’ve still got to spec it. Here’s how…

No matter how smart the car, you’ve got to get the basics right – and Mercedes has done exactly that. Of the two diesel engines available at launch it’s the all-new 192bhp 2.0-litre four-pot in the E220d that’s cherry, promising 7.3sec 0-62mph, 149mph, 72.4mpg and 102g/ km CO2. £9k cheaper than the E350d V6, too. Starting price: £35,935 AMG Line is £2495 extra (and 50% of buyers will choose it) – but there are better ways to spend that money. Starting with the COMAND Online widescreen digital display setup at £1990, including touchpad, concierge services and remote connect via phone. Running total: £37,925

TIVOLI ##### > There’s no getting away from it: Korea’s also-ran carmaker (…!) has built itself a bit of a contender. Great value, spacious and – shock – well-finished inside > VERDICT Enough to erase decades of dross? No. But it’s a good start

SUBARU IMPREZA ##### > Yes, it still exists beyond WRX and STi. No, you don’t want one. Boggo Impreza reduced to a 1.6 petrol hatchback only with optional CVT. Shudder > VERDICT Have you got a brand new combine harvester? It’s probably a better drive

WRX/STI ##### > Sorry WRX, I’m breaking up with you. It’s not you, it’s me. No, it is you, it’s definitely you and your crashy ride, nasty dash and inflexible engine > VERDICT Brilliant, on its day, in its day. But that was yesterday, so let’s call it a day

LEVORG ##### > Impreza estate with a silly name. Single choice of 1.6 petrol with CVT auto and 4wd means it’s got a silly drivetrain, too > VERDICT Levorg is grovel backwards; dealers may need to. Niche


XV #####

> Basically the same as a Golf and A3 underneath, but bigger, cheaper and more functional inside. Hot vRS versions old-school ballistic fun. 4x4s practical > VERDICT It’s a lot of car for the money

> Hopelessly expensive half-way SUV half-wit. Suspension thumps so intrusive you’ll think the Stomp musical is performing in the wheelarches > VERDICT In the tough crossover market Subaru makes up the numbers, and the price



> Now so vast inside it echoes. Sharp lines, stacks of kit and double the number of umbrellas. Shame about the dull interior and stiffer price > VERDICT All the family car you’ll ever need. Only bigger

> Appealingly functional square-rigger the kind of crossover that existed before we had ‘lifestyles’. Good on road, great off it, but not cheap > VERDICT Old-school Subaru honest, charming. Tweed cap, pipe, sheep flock optional



> Hipster lifestyle accessory without the hip. Which is no surprise as it’s getting on a bit now. Flexible seating = loads of room for people and kit > VERDICT Modern equivalent of a Fiat Multipla: ugly but useful. We’d call it Igor

> The unloved Legacy’s only UK legacy is this Allroad-style crossover. New for spring 2015, it’s huge inside and the 4x4 look isn’t all for show > VERDICT Still more niche than a cragside crevice. Dependable, not desirable

152 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2016

Stop there, and you’ve got a seriously nice executive express for under £40k. But to be truly state-of-the-art you’ll need to dig deeper. The £1695 Driving Assistance Plus package is the closest thing yet to a self-driving car, while the Premium Plus package – including 84-LED ‘intelligent’ headlights and Burmester hi-fi – is £3895. Running total: £45,120

Looking for value? Stick with the entry SE trim, since standard kit includes all-LED exterior lighting, 64-colour ambient interior lighting, leather, reversing camera, Active Park Assist and sat-nav. You could keep it stock and be happy. Running total: £35,935

Optional ‘metal weave’ trim keeps up the futuristic vibe on the inside for a reasonable £365; pair this with the standard black leather. Running total: £38,290 Conventional silver is the obvious choice for upkeep and resale, but the more adventurous can opt for ‘selenite’ grey matte finish or ‘kallaite’ green metallic. The standard 17in wheels are ugly, so it’s worth the £595 to upgrade to 18s. Running total: £39,530 Still got the fever? Then add the 360° camera system for a bargain £335 before indulging in air suspension for £1495. We’d resist the self-closing doors (£435), fragrance diffuser (£295) and Thermotronic luxury climate control (£750), but might be tempted by the head-up display (£825). Total cost: £47,775

TOTAL PRICE: £47,775

flanked by crossovers’ rise to dominance

BRZ ★★★★★

VERSO ★★★★★

>Gloriously simple but under-nourished rear-drive Boxer coupe, crying out for a supercharger. GT86 twin marginally more ‘fun’ > VERDICT Loveable car we wanted them to make but you don’t want to buy

> Safe, stodgy seven-seater with snore-worthy chassis and a big-selling BMW-sourced 1.6 diesel that feels like half its horses are asleep too > VERDICT Does as little badly as it does well, but easy meat for Ford C-Max or Citroën Picasso

SUZUKI CELERIO ★★★★★ > Braking-phobic city car otherwise spacious, full of kit and cheap. Three-cylinder petrol only plus all the handling vim of a B&Q Value wheelbarrow > VERDICT Dowdy and rowdy. Be glad you’ve got DAB and a cupholder

SWIFT ★★★★★ > An unsung hero, and not just the excellent 134bhp Sport. Handles well, spacious and cheap. Upgraded Dualjet motor sweet > VERDICT Buy one and challenge anyone who questions your choice to a fistfight

SX4 S-CROSS ★★★★★ > The cheap way to clone a Qashqai. Won’t score any points for style, in fact you might hide it at the back of the school car park. Diesel is the best bet – you’ll have to stop and get out less > VERDICT A crossover to be cross over

RAV4 ★★★★★ > Was a soft-roader pioneer back in ’94 but has settled for fluffy slippers in its old age. Trump card is boot big enough for a casino table > VERDICT Roomy, reasonable, unremarkable. More dynamic SUVs deserve your dosh

LAND CRUISER/V8 ★★★★★ > Actually two distinct models but both proper bare-knuckle ladder-frame brawlers that wouldn’t know a latte if you spilt it on their rigger’s boots > VERDICT Awful, but if we were stranded in the desert we’d trust it over a Rangie

GT86 ★★★★★ > Identical to Subaru BRZ but dealers have actually sold more than three. Same delectable handling, shameful dearth of go from unblown 2.0 > VERDICT Sensational to drive, but such hard work only a handful of folk have found out


JIMNY ★★★★★

VIVA ★★★★★

> A box with a four-wheel-drive system bolted onto the bottom, and a 1.3-petrol engine hanging out front. There are seats too > VERDICT The swamps the Jimny can easily drive over were probably primordial when it first launched

> It may look like it was dropped before it had set, but is comfy, roomy and refined for a city car, and comes with plenty of standard kit > VERDICT More generous than it may appear at first glance. We’d still buy an Up, though

VITARA ★★★★★


> Two-tone cross-dresser to rival the Juke, with a handsome body and usefully economical diesel engine. Cabin could do with some work though > VERDICT Rutting Rhinos and pink paint are a thing of the past: it’s a serious family car now

> Obese Fiat 500 wannabe with huge options list and comedy naming shtick. Adam S warm hatch worth a thought; Rocks crossover flaccid > VERDICT Revitalised by new 1.0-litre turbo triple. Buy a paper bag and try it

TESLA MODEL S ★★★★★ > Embarrassing car makers everywhere who said it can’t be done, the staggering electric Model S has near 400-mile range, alluring infotainment and in the P90d, hyperdrive > VERDICT Star Trekking, across the universe, in the Tesla Model S along with Elon Musk…


CORSA ★★★★★ > Made-over Corsa looks like a candidate for When Plastic Surgery Goes Bad, but it is more refined and better to drive. 1.0T a good motor> VERDICT Vauxhall keeps trying, but Fiesta still cheerfully waving from way out in front

CORSA VXR ★★★★★ > Luton’s granny-mugger now smoother round the edges. Unless you pay extra for the slippy diff and hardcore suspension. Thug life. > VERDICT Better but still not best. Lacks Fiesta ST’s polish and sparkle

AYGO ★★★★★


> Bright-looking, stupidly-cramped city car with a characterful three-pot motor is as cheap to run as it feels. See also (ropey) Citroën C1, Pug 108 > VERDICT As ‘Up’hill struggles go, battling VW with this is like climbing north face of the Aygo

> Massive step forward in terms of driving dynamics and interior design, added techno-charm of OnStar concierge and Apple CarPlay a bonus > VERDICT In hatchback grandmother’s footsteps, Focus and Golf turn round to find Astra standing right behind them

YARIS ★★★★★

ASTRA GTC/VXR ★★★★★ > Sizeable but soulless, Yaris can’t match rivals’ > Astra 3dr remains as was for now; ie still dynamics or pocket luxury feel. Clever but costly hybrid version slashes fuel bills and boot REPLACED stylish enough to stand comparison to SOON Scirocco. VXR fearsomely fast but moody space > VERDICT Largely joyless supermini last > VERDICT The sexiest Vauxhall. Let’s hope to be picked for the school football team replacement doesn’t lose its mojo


AURIS ★★★★★

> Most Aurises sold are hybrids, mainly ’cos rest of the range is pants and other makers haven’t got their hybrid acts together yet > VERDICT Only worth picking as company wheels if you have a Starbucks-like aversion to paying tax

PRIUS ★★★★★ > Putting the faintly ludicrous 94mpg claim to one side, Prius v4.0 boasts entirely new structure, improved suspension, and is no longer totally joyless to drive > VERDICT A Toyota hybrid that handles? Hold the front page. Electric-only range still pathetic

MIRAI ★★★★★ > Weird on the outside, Star Trek on the inside and a hydrogen fuel-cell underneath. But for all that it drives just like a very refined regular car > VERDICT We’re convinced by the tech, but there’s nowhere to refuel it yet

AVENSIS SALOON/TOURER ★★★★★ > Journeyman company car is like a small oil-field drill: does little well – despite new BMW diesels. Tourer marginally more stylish > VERDICT White goods. Also available in light grey, medium grey, dark grey. Not beige, oddly

CASCADA ★★★★★ > Brave attempt to take on German compact cabriolets, but chassis has less integrity than Sepp Blatter. Good value if you don’t mind the image (What image? Exactly!) > VERDICT Marty McFly wouldn’t. Doc Emmett Brown just might

INSIGNIA SALOON/TOURER ★★★★★ > Much improved by mid-life facelift, still handsome, spacious and loaded with kit. And then along came the all-new Mondeo and Passat > VERDICT An out-of-date car in a dying sector, latest rivals leaving it behind

MERIVA ★★★★★ > Suicide is painless, goes the theme tune to M*A*S*H*, clearly not referring to tight car parks and the Meriva MPV’s back-tofront rear doors > VERDICT Nice idea, but does anyone care about mainstream MPVs anymore?



ZAFIRA TOURER ★★★★★ > Large MPV with slick seating arrangement and much more spacious than the old bus it replaced. Struggles in the face of S-Max greatness > VERDICT Accomplished but out-

MOKKA ★★★★★ > Pardon? What? Sorry – you’re saying the noisy diesel engine has been replaced? Marvellous. What about the ride and handling? Oh > VERDICT Chunky outside, intricate inside, wearing to drive. Want to like it. Don’t



ANTARA ★★★★★ > Old-fashioned SUV based on the Chevrolet Captiva. Chevrolet has subsequently quit selling cars in the UK altogether. You do the maths > VERDICT Comprehensively outclassed by Kuga etc. Felt dated at launch in 2007

VXR8 ★★★★★ > 577bhp Aussie import that’s £20k cheaper than an M5. Optional auto ’box’s bid to add sophistication akin to serving lager in cut crystal. But who gives a 4X? > VERDICT Big, brutish charm. But row your own, mate

VOLKSWAGEN UP ★★★★★ > Box on wheels with VW badge is the kind BEST IN of city car the Japanese have been building CLASS for years, except much better quality > VERDICT Hyped as a revolution and hardly that. But a spacious small car with a strong image


POLO ★★★★★ > Bothered by the Fiesta’s Airfix plastics? Buy a Polo instead – brilliant engines, bank-vault build quality and almost as good as the Ford to drive > VERDICT Small capacity turbo petrols are a riot, and increasingly efficient, too

POLO GTI ★★★★★ > Baby GTI right down to the tartan seats, now with bigger balls. Vastly improved by introduction of manual gearbox. Surprisingly strong value > VERDICT Where’s the nearest Byron Burger drive-thru?

GOLF HATCH/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Quality, refinement and safety put this at BEST IN the top of the family car class. So it’s a swot, CLASS basically. And we all know swots are boring > VERDICT The obvious choice. A3 offers extra flash for a bit more cash, Focus better to drive



PHAETON ★★★★★ > Aka VW’s folly. The luxury car for people who don’t want to be seen owning a luxury car. Which is how many people? Exactly > VERDICT Once a mighty feat of engineering over good sense. Old, outclassed and irrelevant

TOURAN ★★★★★ > This is not just a van-like people carrier. This is a Volkswagen van-like people carrier. Doesn’t go camping unless there’s a yurt involved > VERDICT Only buy if you definitely don’t want any more kids. C-Max so much better



SHARAN ★★★★★ > Large seven-seater sliding-door people carrier. Nice enough but made to look silly by the all-but-identical and significantly cheaper Seat Alhambra > VERDICT Get the same car from Seat for less. Or try the Ford Galaxy

TIGUAN ★★★★★ > Superbly engineered and undemanding compact SUV. Anonymous in a reassuring way. Big seller, for good reason > VERDICT Like a Golf on stilts, it does the job – very well



TOUAREG ★★★★★ > The people’s Porsche Cayenne. Do the people still want their own Cayenne? Well, it is nearly £10k cheaper… > VERDICT Big, comfy, competent SUV. Great on and off road

VOLVO V40 ★★★★★ > Smart Swede in a sector dominated by Germans. Efficient D4 engine and impressive kit, but it’s a bit bloated in seat, suspension and steering feel > VERDICT Sitting uncomfortably between Golf and A3. A rock and hard place

S60 ★★★★★ > A sporting saloon that, well, just isn’t thanks to steering that seems to be bored with driving. Serious identity crisis ensues, although R Design models look smart enough > VERDICT Volvo gambled on a 3-series rival and lost

V60 ★★★★★ > A Frenchman who can’t cook. A Jackson who can’t dance. A Volvo estate which can’t carry much. No such things against the very nature of being exist, do they? > VERDICT Handsome, safe, efficient estate hamstrung by one issue…

> The swot’s sexy top-dropping sister promises open-air thrills but remains a sensible V70 ★★★★★ homebody at heart. Your parents would approve > Make every V60 designer live in the > VERDICT Or will you always be thinking about REPLACED boot of a V70 until they understand Volvo the A3 Cabriolet you almost bought? SOON estates. Ageing, slow, comfy as a rest GOLF GTD/GTI/R ★★★★★ home > VERDICT Please Volvo, never veer > GTD is your dad in running shoes. GTI is from this template, for fashion or economy BEST IN your dad when he was wild, young and free. CLASS S80 ★★★★★ R is your dad having a mid-life crisis. All are > Numb steering, wafty ride, feeling you ace > VERDICT After seven generations, VW has REPLACED should have bought a 5-series, decent, this hot-hatch thing nailed. Buy without regret SOON strong diesel engines > VERDICT The S80 GOLF SV ★★★★★ is like carpet slippers: it does pottering about > The artist formerly known as the Golf Plus. And well, but is ill-suited to anything else by ‘artist’ we mean medium-sized MPV. The car XC60 ★★★★★ you always knew the Golf would grow up to be > Space, sharp looks, competitive pricing, family > VERDICT Not a bad choice, but now the BMW safety and a wipe-clean cabin. Only grumbles 2-series Active Tourer is breathing down its neck are grumbly D5 diesel engine and high CO2 BEETLE HATCH/CABRIO ★★★★★ > VERDICT Volvo really is good at SUVs. XC60 > Although better to drive it lacks the design hard to beat, even by much newer competitors purity of its predecessor and the charm of the XC70 ★★★★★ original. Unusually indulgent, by VW’s standards > > A V70 in breeches, with raised ride height and VERDICT Even wannabe retro hipsters are, like, so 4x4 option. Awd starts at less than 40 grand, totally over this cynical marketing exercise, man which is good value if you find SUVs crass SCIROCCO ★★★★★ > VERDICT If you don’t like having a dozen brace > Old Golf in a slinky dress. Scrubs up well. Fun, of shot pheasant in your boot, don’t buy one friendly, and more generous in the back than XC90 ★★★★★ Audi TT > VERDICT Ballistic R version definitely > It was worth the (long) wait: luxurious worthy; low-power diesel not so much seven-seat interior, a smorgasbord of clever PASSAT SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ safety tech, efficient four-cylinder and plug-in > Interior design and refinement so good it drivetrains, and refined drive > VERDICT shames some limos, cutting-edge kit and The handsome new XC90 is one of the most elegant looks. If only it wasn’t so dull to drive complete cars on sale at any price > VERDICT Mega mile-muncher for the undemanding. Aesthete to Mondeo’s athlete





CC ★★★★★ > Previous Passat on a night out – but we aren’t talking clubbing and a kebab. Awfully close to being genuinely sexy, even if it is a CLS knock-off > VERDICT Like all great knockoffs, it’s almost as good and cheaper



E10/E10S ★★★★★ > Flyweight track car with aluminium backbone chassis and carbonfibre recycled from fighter jets, created by ex-Caterham brains trust > VERDICT Glorious handling, ferocious speed from Ecoboost turbo S – a bright future beckons




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They turned all the dials up to 11 and the mixing desk duly exploded

Hot-hatch halfwits

Ill-conceived, under-powered, dynamically inept or simply wearing bad clothes, they were the anti-heroes of a heroic genre. By Chris Chilton PROTON SATRIA GTI


‘Handling by Lotus,’ said the badge, but ‘horrible to look at’ said everyone else, thanks to those ridiculous riveted-on arch extensions. The Satria was a decent steer, and a common sight at UK race schools, but was in desperate need of a suitable engine – the 138bhp 1.8 was as charmless as a Tinder chat-up line. 2


On paper, the ‘hot’ Corolla wasn’t that different from Honda’s hot-hatchde-jour Civic Type R. In practice it was miles off-beam. Bland styling, a boring interior and an engine so short on torque it’d make an RX-8 feel like an airport tractor unit, meant it was comprehensively ignored. 3


FORD FOCUS RS Mk2 6 The RS was a blast to drive. Specifically, it was like driving over an IED every time you put your foot down, exploding into the adjacent lane despite the fancy Revoknuckle suspension. Had it actually exploded it might have been less repulsive. Give us the unruly but really rather handsome Mk1 any day. 7

The 2.0 EFi version of this MG hot hatch was actually okay, but it had plenty to make up for: its 1600cc twin-carb predecessor guzzled fuel like it was trying to artificially spike global oil prices, and the über-quick Turbo’s Tickford body kit was as heavy handed as a boxing mitt with a horseshoe sewn


More ass-handed Austin-Rover nonsense. The wimpy A-series’ archaic four-speed ‘box was only man enough for 94bhp so the force-fed Metro struggled to break 10sec to 60mph. Breaking, per se, was not an issue, though being rumbled by the law for not wearing a seatbelt could be, thanks to the Day-Glo red webbing. 4



FORD FIESTA XR2i 5 This was Ford at its classic phoned-it-in late 1980s worst. The styling was mercilessly cribbed from Peugeot’s pretty 205, but sadly the chassis and engine teams weren’t paying as much attention when the Pug was in the photocopier room. ‘Another duff fast Ford,’ screamed our cover line. RS Turbo was even worse.


Nissan and Alfa ‘Cherry’-picked the worst of their respective character traits for this short-lived mongrel. Alfa supplied the reliability and labour, Nissan the instantly forgettable styling and handling. High point when new was the flat-four; high point now is about 80mm, as they’ve all been crushed.

Another brilliant PSA chassis, this time mated with the same zingy 1.6 found in the 205 GTI, ensured the Visa was great to drive. Unfortunately it looked like a sack full of spuds, and not normal ones, but those freakish lumpy types supermarkets normally bin for fear of turning us off veg for life. 9


A titan among torque-steerers. The Viggen’s 230bhp might seem tame now, but it was enough to help the fastest 9-3 change lanes without touching the wheel long before Tesla had developed the tech. Viggen fans recommended asbestos gloves to prevent friction burns under hard acceleration.

Ford’s chassis engineers, sadly, didn’t get the memo



Rear-wheel drive and an Alfetta-style transaxle layout were novel in the hothatch class, but only because everyone else had switched to that new-fangled front-wheel drive a decade earlier. Not quick, despite 2.0-litre motor, and OAP styling hardly made it top of any thrusting boy-racer’s shopping list.

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car, 0008-5987 is published 12 times a year by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to CAR, Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Subscription records are maintained at Bauer Media Subscriptions, CDS Global, Tower House, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 9EF, United Kingdom. Air Business Ltd is acting as our mailing agent. Bauer Consumer Media Ltd is registered in England and Wales, company number 01176085. Registered address: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynchwood, Peterborough PE2 6EA

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