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The top 50 fun cars for every budget: the final five

We've narrowed down our favourites - but which will take the crown? For 2020, Autocar’s annual look at our favourite cars focused purely on how well they drove. Design, practicality, comfort, innovation and value all took a back seat. We've already counted down from 50 to 6, but which cars made the final five? If a model has made it onto this end of the list, it's because those of us on the magazine that spend our lives driving cars think it is above and beyond anything else on sale today. 5. Ferrari F8 Tri[..]

The top 50 fun cars for every budget

These are the best handling, most engaging and downright fun cars you can buy new in 2020 Welcome to Autocar’s annual look at our favourite cars. Most years we examine all cars on sale, but in these somewhat trying times we thought we’d limit the trawl to those we like not for their looks, comfort, refinement, practicality or innovation, but simply for the way they drive. Which is not to say they must all be supercars or even sports cars, just cars we find inherently interesting to drive. They needn’t even [..]

Parts supplier ZF to cut up to 15,000 jobs

Major German automotive supplier claims freeze in demand for cars has resulted in “severe financial losses” German automotive parts and technology giant ZF is set to cut up to 15,000 jobs over a five-year period due to a “freeze in consumer demand”, reports claim. An internal memo written by ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider and seen by Reuters claims the firm will make “heavy financial losses in 2020” as a result of “the demand freeze on the customer side”. “These losses threaten our financial independence,” Sc[..]

Skoda axes Karoq Scout, Kodiaq Scout and Kamiq diesels

UK Skoda range is to be streamlined with variants, trim levels and engines removed from the line-up Skoda will axe is remaining Scout models in the UK as part of a round of changes to its product line-up. The Kodiaq Scout and Karoq Scout SUVs – launched in 2017 and 2019 respectively – currently remain on price lists, but the company has confirmed to Autocar the models will soon be dropped. The changes have been made "as a result of customer demand" and as part of model year updates, according to a Skoda spo[..]

How to buy a tank

Parking one of these in your drive will certainly set the neighbours' heads turning A canny buy of a cheap tank has morphed into a thriving business serving thrill seekers and the film world. We go to find Private Ryan We gotta come up with another plan. They got a tank.’ They certainly have and I’m driving it across the killing fields at Tanks-Alot, a tank driving experience and training centre. It’s the Chieftain tank from the action flick Fast & Furious 6 that inspires the famous line as it burst from a [..]

Bentley names VW tech chief as new engineering boss

Bentley Matthias Rabe to replace Seat-bound Werner Tietz as engineering chief in major VW Group reshuffle Volkswagen chief technology officer Matthias Rabe will become Bentley's new head of engineering as part of a major reshuffle of the Volkswagen Group’s technical chiefs. Rabe will join the British luxury car brand’s board at the start of August, replacing Werner Tietz, who will become Seat's new executive vice-president for research and development. Rabe has worked in the Volkswagen Group since 1988. He [..]

Cabrio clash: Porsche Boxster Spyder vs Jaguar F-type R vs Mazda MX-5

Three great roadsters from Jaguar, Mazda and Porsche embark on a road trip to the Isle of Skye to establish a winner The English have been professionally mining slate from Honister for at least the past 300 years. To begin with, it was hacked and clawed from the grey hills as it had been since Roman times, the fragile yet impervious stone shuttled precariously down the slopes on pack ponies, or on wooden sledges that were hauled back to the summit on a man’s back once emptied. The methods persisted for cent[..]

Williams Formula 1 team up for sale as losses mount

Team and wider company are confirmed as for sale, with “various strategic options” being considered The owner of the Williams Formula 1 team has confirmed a plan to sell all or part of the company in efforts to raise fresh capital. Now widely reported, the decision would mean founder Sir Frank Williams relinquishing majority ownership of the once-dominant team after 43 years at the helm. In a statement, Williams Grand Prix Holdings (WGPH) has said this is the “right and prudent thing to do in order to take [..]

Autocar weekly round-up: Fearsome 5 Series, Lambo's perfect 10 and more

We round up this week's hottest stories, pictures and videos for you to devour in your lunch break As the working week draws to a close, you no doubt want to catch up with everything that's happened in the world of motoring over the past few days. So we’re bringing you our favourite videos, stories, photos and quotes of the week all in one place. Here are today’s picks: HOT NEWS BMW certainly had a busy week, unwrapping new versions of the Mini Countryman, X2, 6 Series GT and 5 Series all at once. The 5 Ser[..]

Alpine could become electric-only performance brand

Alpine A110 Renault set to review future of sports car brand – and Autocar understands an EV-only switch is on the cards Renault has to “look very, very seriously” at the future of the Alpine brand, according to the firm’s chairman – and Autocar understand that it is poised to be turned into an all-electric performance brand in the future. The sports car marque was revived by Renault in 2017 as a new performance brand with the highly rated A110. That model and its various derivatives are built in Dieppe at [..]

Ford Fiesta ST Mountune M235 2020 UK review

Ford’s Fiesta ST already has cult status as a cut-price performance hero. Can tuner Mountune sweeten the deal? Three wheels or two, it genuinely doesn’t seem to matter. For one of the friendliest but also most addictively feral performance cars from any era and at any price, anything less than the full four contact patches appears to be its preferred mode of attack.The M235’s gymnastic talent is something we’ll return to but, on paper, tuning stalwart Mountune’s latest take on the Ford Fiesta ST is simply f[..]

Updated: Renault to cut 15,000 jobs as part of major cost cuts

French giant poised to close plants and simplify line-up as part of major initiative to turn around brand and stem losses The Renault Group will slash its fixed costs by more than €2 billion (£1.7b) in the next three years, a move that will lead to the loss of more than 15,000 jobs worldwide. The French firm recently posted heavy losses and says the "transformation plan" is needed to help it to weather both “the major crisis facing the automotive industry and the urgency of the ecological transition”. Key t[..]

Opinion: celebrating Mikkola’s magic touch

The Finn helped to inspire a generation of rally fans Most kids in the 1980s spent Saturday nights watching the Dukes of Hazzard and fantasising about Daisy Duke. I also loved seeing stickered-up cars flying through the air, but instead that was thanks to Top Gear Rally Report and Hannu Mikkola: the winner of the first RAC Rally that I properly remember, in 1982. Last Sunday, the man who put me on the road to writing about rallying for a living turned 78. Has so much time really passed? I wasn’t the only on[..]

Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 29 May

Supercar values are beginning to look a lot less super - which is great news for the buyers market Supercar fatigue’ sounds like a pretentious phrase you would hear uttered only by spoilt motoring journalists who are flooded with fast and exotic metal on a weekly basis. But it appears that such a thing exists: such is the embarrassment of riches in the world of supercars that used prices for many are beginning to look very tempting. McLarens seem to be hit particularly hard by this, following a dizzying ons[..]

Opinion: Celebrating Hannu Mikkola’s magic touch

The Finn helped to inspire a generation of rally fans Most kids in the 1980s spent Saturday nights watching the Dukes of Hazzard and fantasising about Daisy Duke. I also loved seeing stickered-up cars flying through the air, but instead that was thanks to Top Gear Rally Report and Hannu Mikkola: the winner of the first RAC Rally that I properly remember, in 1982. Last Sunday, the man who put me on the road to writing about rallying for a living turned 78. Has so much time really passed? I wasn’t the only on[..]

UK car production plummets 99.7% in April

Nissan's Sunderland plant plays a major role in UK car manufacturing UK lockdown dramatically hits car production in the worst month for car making since World War Two UK car production fell a dramatic 99.7% year on year in April as a result of lockdown, which meant all vehicle manufacturing plants were closed throughout the month. Only 197 cars were made in April, all of which were premium, luxury and sports cars that had already been assembled, with only finishing touches required. Of those, 152 were buil[..]

Matt Prior: it doesn't take a lockdown to get that project car finished

Our man's to-do list hasn't got any shorter after seven weeks of home working - but at least he knows why It’s a bit rich, as the restrictions on movement are gradually eased, to hear from the uber-smug that there are things from this period of lockdown that we shouldn’t just maintain but actually cherish. If you have a comfortable house, a garden, youthful good health, a steady income and an understanding employer, perhaps it’s easier to leave this phase of the pandemic feeling more enlightened than imperi[..]

More SUV-inspired models to follow Honda Jazz Crosstar

Crosstar looks off-road-ready but is still FWD SUV-styled Jazz will open the door for more rugged Hondas The new Jazz Crosstar will pave the way for other Honda models to receive ruggedly styled derivatives as the Japanese maker hones in on the demand for SUVs. Jazz project boss Takeki Tanaka said: “The demand for compact, multi-purpose vehicles is a new trend, and in future we will have some derivatives in that direction. “Jazz customers are wide-ranging in age, and we particularly wanted to appeal to cust[..]

Lamborghini Huracan Evo

The Performante’s engine in Lamborghini’s rear-drive chassis? Hold on tight There aren’t many ways, at least plausible ones, in which Lamborghini’s modern supercars could be made even more exciting, but removing the front driveshafts is one of them. And that’s exactly what has happened here.This is the Huracán Evo RWD, with the initials standing for ‘Rear-Wheel Drive’, Lamborghini having opted to anglicise the derivative’s name rather than following Italian supercar protocol and simply using the mother tong[..]

New VW Nivus is small SUV for South American market

New compact model is launched in Brazil but will also come to certain European markets Volkswagen has launched a new compact crossover, called the Nivus, aimed at South American markets and Mexico. It will also be sold in selected European regions from 2021. Described as having a “sporty and vibrant” look along with a “peculiar character”, the Nivus is similar in positioning to the T-Cross in western Europe. However, it’s differentiated by a lower, coupé-style roofline and is longer and wider. It's based on[..]

Porsche 911 Turbo S 2020 UK review

Top-billing 911 arrives in Britain with the power and a price tag to match You’re looking at the quickest car in the world. Other exotic machines have higher top speeds than this Porsche’s conservative claim of 205mph and some lightweight, high-downforce specials generate greater cornering forces, but point-to-point, on our unpredictable roads, I’m confident the only thing that can live with the new 911 Turbo S is another 911 Turbo S.This has always been the role of the 911 Turbo, though only in the mid-199[..]

New Volkswagen Golf gains 1.0-litre entry-level model

Volkswagen Golf 1.0 Eighth-generation hatchback gains three-cylinder petrol engine offering 108bhp and starting price of £23,300 Volkswagen has expanded the new eighth-generation Golf line-up with an entry-level model that uses a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. The latest version of the long-running family hatchback was launched earlier this year and has been available with 1.5-litre turbo petrol units, a 1.5-litre mild-hybrid turbo petrol and 2.0-litre diesel powertrains. The 1.0 TSI e[..]

Road test rewind: Porsche 911 GT2 RS

It was the fastest, stiffest, most powerful and widest road-going 911 Porsche had built 2017 saw Porsche's 991-generation 911 recieve the GT2 treatment. Here's what we made of it at the time: The new Porsche 911 GT2 RS becomes the latest in a line of five ‘GT2’ namesakes, the first of which appeared in 1995 as a homologation version of the 993-generation 911. That original version’s 444bhp would hardly worry a modern super-sports car driver, although it still earned itself the legendary nickname ‘Widowmaker[..]

Nissan previews all-new '400Z' sports car for 2021

370Z's coupé profile looks to have inspired the new model Product planning presentation gives us our first official look at the long-awaited successor to the 370Z Nissan has previewed the long-awaited successor to its 370Z sports car in a presentation outlining its future product strategy. Official details of the mysterious new car are thin on the ground, but we can see it will have styling evolved from the 370Z coupé and will be the latest addition to the Japanese brand's Z sports car lineage - begun in 19[..]

Breaking: Nissan announces major cuts, but Sunderland plant safe

Nissan Sunderland Nissan will maintain Sunderland as European production hub despite closing factories around the world; focus will be on larger models and sports cars Nissan has committed to the future of its Sunderland factory despite a recovery plan to reduce its production capacity by 20% globally. The Japanese firm has today announced its three-year transformation plan, dubbed Nissan Next, during which it seeks to substantially reduce its fixed costs. As part of the plan, it will close its plant in Bar[..]

Nissan announces major cuts, but Sunderland plant safe

Nissan Sunderland Nissan will maintain Sunderland as European production hub despite closing factories around the world; focus will be on larger models and sports cars Nissan has committed to the future of its Sunderland factory despite a recovery plan to reduce its production capacity by 20% globally. The Japanese firm has today announced its three-year transformation plan, dubbed Nissan Next, during which it seeks to substantially reduce its fixed costs. As part of the plan, it will close its plant in Bar[..]

Nearly-new buying guide: Hyundai i10 (2014-2019)

‘City car’ can mean far more than just small and frugal nowadays - as Hyundai's second-generation i10 proves The eyes of new-car buyers may be on the recently launched third-generation Hyundai i10, but savvy city car customers would do well to check out its predecessor. This dinky hatchback proves that basic transportation doesn’t have to mean basic transport. From around the £3000 mark, you can pick up a modern car that’s easy to drive in cut-and-thrust traffic but also offers the equipment and refined fee[..]

Citroën readies Audi-rivalling premium saloon for 2021

Citroen saloon render, as imagined by Autocar French brand will return to saloon market next year with Peugeot 508 sibling Citroën is readying its first new global saloon model in eight years, as the brand seeks to position the C6 successor as its flagship. Saloons have largely fallen out of favour over the past decade in Europe, but the French firm also wants to grow its presence in other regions – primarily China – where saloons outsell SUVs. The upcoming model, which will arrive by the end of 2021, was f[..]

Racing lines: Is it time for Vettel to stop?

No decision is straightforward in F1 as the 2021 grid takes shape Back in the 1970s, Emerson Fittipaldi experienced a Formula 1 career of two halves. For five years, first with Lotus and then with McLaren, he blazed away, becoming a two-time world champion – the youngest yet in F1 history – and a 14-time grand prix winner. But over the course of the next five years, his star burned out as he turned his back on McLaren in favour of his brother’s Brazilian-backed ‘dream team’ that dwindled into a nightmare. F[..]

BMW X7 M50i 2020 review

Not quite an M car, but still the most powerful BMW M Performance model - as well as the largest and heaviest If you’re familiar with the X7, the arrival of the xDrive M50i should come as no surprise.It’s the new range-topping petrol version of BMW’s flagship SUV, slotting in above the distinctly milder xDrive40i that’s already on sale here. And seeing as BMW has decided not to create a full-blown M version, unlike with the X5 and X6, it will be the hottest version of the firm’s biggest SUV.Its status as an[..]

Opinion: Why Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi have gone all-in on Alliance

Renault Captur The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance seemed set to fracture after Carlos Ghosn's downfall – but the firms involved are now more committed than ever From the moment that Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November 2018, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance seemed poised to crumble. Ghosn was the architect and driving force of the link-up between the three firms and the 'glue' that held them together. Ghosn’s arrest – and subsequent charges of financial misconduct – came as he was report[..]

Renault Clio Hybrid and Captur PHEV: UK specs and pricing

The Renault Clio Hybrid and Captur PHEV Both cars are available to order now, with prices starting from £19,595 and £30,495 respectively Renault has disclosed prices and specs for the Clio Hybrid and Captur Plug-In Hybrid, revealed earlier this year and now available to order. The models are the first from the brand's latest range of 'E-Tech' electrified variants. The Clio, launched last year with traditional petrol and diesel engines, benefits from a “full hybrid” system - an innovative take on the proven [..]

French government outlines €8bn car industry rescue package

France is planned to become a global hub of EV development Automotive output will be 'relocalised' with heavy EV incentives and collaboration between key stakeholders The French government has pledged €8 billion (£7.1bn) to helping the country’s automotive industry to recover following the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the rescue package, €1bn (£890 million) will go towards encouraging electric vehicle (EV) adoption, including grants of up to €7000 (£6230). President Emmanuel Macron’s government is commi[..]

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8: orders open for electric SUV

New EV version of popular compact SUV on sale from £53,155, won't qualify for the UK plug-in car grant Volvo has opened order books for its first battery electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8. Initial deliveries for the compact SUV, which will be available exclusively in R-Dynamic trim, are expected to begin in early 2021. Prices start from £53,155, which means it will not be eligible for the UK plug-in car grant following changes made to the Government's budget in March. The new policy exclu[..]

Swindon Powertrain launches compact ‘crate’ electric motor

Ultra-compact unit is designed as a cost-effective electrification option for low-volume manufacturers; available to order now for £6400 plus VAT Swindon Powertrain has launched the 'crate' electric motor for low-volume EV conversions that it first announced last year. Available to order now, it costs £6400 plus VAT. That price includes the 80kW (107bhp) motor itself plus the transmission and differential. Options for cooling, inverters and even a limited-slip differential are available. Swindon Powertrain [..]

Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi to increase technology sharing

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Breaking: Alliance members to adopt 'leader-follower' mode, with each focusing on core regions and technologies Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi have reaffirmed their commitment to their automotive Alliance, with the adoption of a new business model that will involve a massive increase in platform, technology and production sharing. The future of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance had been in doubt after the arrest in Japan of former chairman Carlos Ghosn, the driving fo[..]

Steve Cropley: Used BMW i3 could provide EV motorsport thrills

New rules allow for EV production classes for the first time. Our columnist has already picked out his car of choice This week, our columnist is in two minds about city cars returning as premium EVs, considers the merits of the quadricycle to beat post-lockdown traffic, and has found another motoring tome to add to his collection. MONDAY Remember last month’s scare about how compact, cheeky A-segment cars were finished because the cost of cleaning up their engines was too great? It was upsetting: I’ve alway[..]

UK firm using Nissan GT-R engine for 1000bhp Navara pick-up

Essex-based SB Motorsport is using its engineering and drifting expertise to create "the world's best pick-up" SB Motorsport of Southend, Essex is developing what it calls “the world’s best pick-up” in the form of a Nissan Navara with R35 Nissan GT-R underpinnings. The twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6, four-wheel-drive system and chassis hardware from Nissan’s flagship supercar have been left over from a recent drift car conversion and are being swapped in wholesale ahead of a round of modifications that will[..]

BMW 5 Series update brings 523bhp M550i flagship to UK

BMW's executive class-leader is updated with revised engine options and new-look styling BMW has revealed a raft of upgrades for its class-leading 5 Series to fend off the newer Audi A6 and refreshed Mercedes-Benz E-Class, including new technology, new engines and the introduction of a 523bhp M Performance variant to the UK line-up. A hardcore CS version of the V8-powered M5 super-saloon is coming later this year, too. The suite of updates to BMW’s executive mainstay also brings a new 389bhp 545e xDrive plu[..]

BMW axes 6 Series GT in UK due to SUV demand

Facelifted liftback has been launched for other countries, but won't be heading to Britain BMW is withdrawing the 6 Series Gran Turismo from the UK due to slow sales of the five-door executive liftback. The UK was expected to be one of the biggest markets for the model, which replaced the 5 Series GT in 2017, but BMW has confirmed it won’t offer the facelifted version that has been unveiled for sale in other countries. The current model will be removed from UK price lists next month. The demise of the 6 Ser[..]

New BMW X2 PHEV offers 217bhp and 33-mile EV range

Petrol-electric xDrive25e variant arrives ahead of X2 facelift to rival the Mercedes GLA 250e BMW has extended its X2 line-up with a four-wheel-drive xDrive25e plug-in hybrid model just four months before the sporting crossover is due to receive a mid-life facelift. The X2 xDrive25e will rival the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLA 250e when it goes on sale here in July and adopts what BMW describes as a fourth-generation petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain. The same system is used by the X1 xDrive25e and 225x[..]

2020 Mini Countryman gains cleaner engines and design tweaks

Big-selling SUV renews attack on the Nissan Juke with emissions-reducing technology and refreshed look Mini has applied a series of design, technology and efficiency upgrades to the Countryman in an attempt to give it an edge over the fresher-faced Nissan Juke and Volkswagen T-Roc. The small SUV, which has been on the market in second-generation form since 2017, already accounts for just under 30% of Mini’s global sales. External revisions are similar to those drafted in when Mini facelifted its three-door [..]

New styling, tech for Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet

Executive pair gain sportier design and mild-hybrid tech for enhanced performance and frugality Mercedes-Benz has revealed the facelifted E-Class Coupé and E-Class Cabriolet, which follow the saloon and estate versions shown earlier this year with revamped electrified engines and a host of design and technology upgrades. Due to go on sale in the UK and Europe this autumn, the style-focused models feature a range of alterations designed to enhance their appeal, including a new ‘A-shape’ front grille and flat[..]

Next-gen Mercedes GLC hits the road in production bodywork

Merc’s new Audi Q5 rival is expected to be unveiled next year with lower and sleeker design First prototypes of Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming second-generation GLC have been spotted testing on German roads, well ahead of the car’s launch. Complementing further sightings of the next C-Class saloon, due to be revealed before the end of 2020 and go on sale next year, the GLC will be revealed in the middle of next year and arrive in showrooms in late 2021, Autocar understands. A prototype was seen wearing typical ca[..]

2021 Land Rover Discovery: prototype of facelifted SUV spotted

Seven-seat Land Rover will receive a styling refresh and a hybrid option as part of a major update Land Rover will launch its first hybrid Discovery as part of a roster of updates aimed at boosting the model’s sales, which continue to fall below expectations. Photos of prototypes show a substantial disguise for what is described by a Land Rover source as a “model-year update”, suggesting the changes are more far reaching than the usual equipment upgrades and light tweaks. More revealing still, however, is t[..]

Geneva motor show organisers "very uncertain" of 2021 return

Show organisers waive offer of loan from Canton of Geneva due to conditions attached to it The organisers of the Geneva motor show have withdrawn their application for financial support from the Canton of Geneva following the cancellation of this year’s event. The Geneva State Council had offered a loan of 16.8 million francs (£14.1m), but The Foundation of the Geneva International Motor Show (FGIMS) has deemed the terms ‘contradictory’ to its values and has waived the loan. The 2020 Geneva motor show was a[..]

Choosing China's finest: finding the best car in the world's largest automotive market

As leading Chinese manufacturers begin the push into Western markets, we see how they will stack up against established competitors Given the importance of China's car market, the inaugural ‘Best Car For China’ contest should be the start of something big The Guangdong International Circuit is a flat, wide race track which has seen better days, with weeds in the gravel traps and brand new tower blocks and building sites looming ominously around it as the construction industry closes in on its valuable real [..]

Kia Rio supermini gains mild-hybrid petrol powertrain

New technology is said to improve efficiency, while style updates and interior upgrades are also added Kia has upgraded its Rio supermini, introducing a raft of new technology, styling tweaks and a new mild-hybrid petrol engine with an innovative clutch-by-wire manual transmission. The new powertrain, which is the key upgrade alongside the design changes, comprises Kia's ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine and a 48V electrical system. These enable the Rio to offer electric torque assist[..]

Breaking: McLaren to axe 1200 jobs as part of major restructure

Woking firm cites Covid-19 pandemic and imminent F1 cost cap as key reasons for move McLaren has announced 1200 job losses across its automotive, racing and technology businesses, as a result of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the imminent Formula 1 cost cap for the 2021 season. McLaren said it has commenced “a proposed restructure programme as part of a wider business plan to ensure its long term future success”. The proposed restructure, subject to employee consultation, is expected to res[..]

McLaren to axe 1200 jobs amid restructure

Woking firm cites Covid-19 pandemic and imminent Formula 1 cost cap as key reasons behind decision McLaren has announced 1200 job losses across its automotive, racing and technology businesses, as a result of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost cap being introduced for the 2021 Formula 1 season. McLaren said it has commenced “a proposed restructure programme as part of a wider business plan to ensure its long term future success”. The proposed restructure, subject to employee consultati[..]