This week: we drive the new BMW 3 Series, chat to the people with the coolest jobs in motoring, test out an RNLI lifeboat and much more...
12 December 2018

Our cover car for this edition is one of Autocar’s biggest verdicts of 2018. We drove the seventh generation of the BMW 3 Series, in 320d guise, to find out if Munich’s attempt to make the world’s defining compact saloon sportier has also made it better.  

In other news, Lamborghini is planning for the 2020 Aventador replacement to use a hybridised variant of the company’s iconic V12 unit. 

The Skoda Scala was recently revealed, aimed at providing a viable alternative to the Ford Focus in the competitive family hatchback market. Featuring the company’s new design language and a host of interior upgrades over the Rapid it replaces, could it help elevate the Skoda badge even further? 

Elsewhere, we scoop the ID Volkswagen Lounge large electric SUV which will be the flagship for VW’s ID range and we report on BMW’s latest self-driving technology and what it needs to make it a reality.

Our Verdict

Seat Ateca

Seat's first attempt at building an SUV is a cracker and knocked the Nissan Qashqai off its perch in the process, so we discover what makes the Ateca our class leader

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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

Reviews

We’ve had our first drive in the new Porsche Macan SUV, which is easily the best-selling model in the sports car maker’s line-up. We find out whether subtle styling changes and handling improvements will help the new model to stand up against rivals like the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC

Another sporty SUV we tried this week is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. With a 707bhp supercharged V8, it can hit 62mph from rest in less time than it took a Ferrari F40, but what’s it like to drive in the real world?

The BMW 840d xDrive faces little in the way of direct competition from similarly priced rivals. At £76,270, the 316bhp two-door coupé offers practicality and comfort, but doesn’t compromise on efficiency or performance. We see if this diesel GT can go toe-to-toe with the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé.

Features

There’s a huge selection of exciting features in our double-length Christmas edition, starting with our road testers’ annual pub lunch, in which they bring their best cars of 2018 to the table (not literally) and try to decide upon an all-round favourite. 

Not being short of festive cheer, we here at Autocar Towers wouldn’t settle for a spindly Christmas tree from the local garden centre, so resident Scot Richard Webber picked up the finest specimen a Suzuki Jimny could carry from Scotland and drove to our offices in Twickenham. A big journey, with a heavy load, for a little car - find out how it fared.  

Our Christmas road test traditionally sees us venturing outside the automotive sphere to experience life with something a little less, well, car-like, and this year was no different. We climbed aboard the RNLI’s Shannon Class Lifeboat to see first-hand how this 1282bhp, 18-tonne vessel helps lifeboat crews to reach 90% of casualties within 10 miles of the UK coastline. 

As the last edition of 2018, it’s a good time for Autocar staffers to choose their best moments of the year, which include doing burnouts in a Ford Mustang, watching Volkswagen break a Pikes Peak record and, at the other end of the spectrum, driving an ancient Citroen 2CV. 

Great moments mean great photos, and there was no shortage of them either. Our round-up of the Autocar photographers’ best work of 2018 contains shots of a McLaren in the mountains, a fishtailing Ferrari and the ultimate Honda NSX road trip. 

We also chat to the people who have managed to land the best jobs in motoring, test drive tractors from Porsche and Lamborghini, compare two used Porsche Caymans in the Peak District, redesign a range of cars from the past, and much more. 

Opinions

Steve Cropley runs us through his year in cars, regaling us with tales from his time at a Silverstone track day, meeting Toyota chief Akio Toyoda, and his opinions of an Autocar favourite - the Alpine A110. Matt Prior, meanwhile, explains why the Shannon Class Lifeboat was an especially poignant Christmas road test, and makes his predictions for the success of the new Skoda Scala. 

Deals

The Saab 9-3 is our second-hand recommendation for Christmas; renowned for quality, reliability and safety, could the surprisingly swift Swedish saloon prove a sensible purchase? Meanwhile, we take a look back at the Mk5 Volkswagen Golf GTI to explain why the decade-old hot hatchback can hold its own against even the company’s latest offerings. 

Finally, our resident used car expert, James Ruppert sings the praises of an app that lets you rent out your wheels, or borrow your mate’s. 

Where to buy

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Digital copies can be downloaded from Zinio and the Apple iTunes store.

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Comments
41

5 April 2018

As usual, this week's edition (dated 04APR2018), is a very good read, and well worth the investment. The road test of the eighth generation of Roll-Royce Phantom - with its "mahogany panelling" - illustrates that moneyed wealth, should NOT be confused with good-taste!

The sales pitch for next week's issue (to be dated 11APR2018), whets our appetite with the Used Buying Guide  . . .  "Mercedes-Benz CLS. Can't afford the new one? Then read our guide to Merc's original style icon".

The original CLS certainly was a style icon, with all the svelte elegance of a Parisian - or Italian - chic designer item.

That streamlined elegance was lost when the original's "facelift" incorporated the bluff, Teutonic, more upright, corporate Mercedes radiator grill.

The new, current, incarnation of the CLS (page 29, of this week's magazine), shares all the style, delicacy, and substantial "presence" of a rugby prop forward!  It is not a case of "Can not  AFFORD  the new CLS?".  More a question of why would anyone wish to purchase such a vulgar and brutish vehicle?

It is (again) a reminder that the ownership of wealth, is NOT the same as the possession of good taste.

RCT(V)

 

 

 

 

289

18 July 2018

....totally agree!

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