From driving Volvo’s crucial new XC90 flagship to drifting in Ken Block’s all-wheel-drive 845bhp Hoonicorn Ford Mustang, 2015 was a great year for videos on Autocar
Jimi Beckwith
23 December 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, now is the time to take a look back at what has been a packed year of videos on Autocar.

Thousands of viewers have watched hours video of the world's fastest, rarest and most powerful cars on our Youtube channel. We've selected 10 of our favourite videos below. Is yours on the list?

1 - New 380bhp Porsche Cayman GT4 tested to the limit

“My suspicion is that it’s going to be outstanding,” said Matt Prior minutes before testing the 380bhp Porsche Cayman GT4 on both road and track to find out if it measured up to expectations. 

The Cayman has long been frustratingly undermined by Stuttgart’s refusal to make it anything but inferior to the 911, but finally Porsche has relented. The result is a Cayman that is capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in just 4.4sec - 0.2sec faster than the 911 Carrera. Production numbers are limited to a few hundred, so Matt’s experience is the best look you’ll get if you’re not one of those lucky few owners.

2 - Honda Civic Type R – first drive

It’s been a long time coming, but the Honda Civic Type R has arrived, and Matt Prior is behind the wheel. Billed by Honda as "the most extreme Type R ever", the new hot hatch sports an outrageous appearance and is powered by a 306bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. It's Honda's entry into the latest hot hatchback war and it takes on the mighty new Ford Focus RS.

So how good is the new Type R? Matt Prior is at the Slovakiaring to find out.

3 - Land Rover Defender vs the Atlantic Ocean – and the car wins (just)

Over its 67-year production run, nothing has come close to overcoming the Land Rover Defender, and only now is the Land Rover legend nearing retirement, with a cleaner, safer replacement lined up for 2018. To test just what the Defender can cope with, Richard Webber took a 20-year-old, 216,000-mile example to the Outer Hebrides, fording the Atlantic Ocean for a risky trip over to the country's westernmost islands.

With only the aid of a snorkel to stop the M-reg Defender from succumbing to the sea, the car wades through water more than 1.2m deep, demonstrating why it has become such a motoring icon.

4 - 577bhp Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupé driven

The fact that the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupé is a 2.3-tonne, 577bhp, 5.5-litre V8-engined SUV capable of 0-62mph in 4.2sec seems to be a dividing one: people either adore it or hate it for its outlandishness.

At £100,000, the GLE 63 S Coupé faces stiff competition from the BMW X6 M, Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Range Rover Sport SVR, and in a class dominated by extremes, the Mercedes needs to impress to really stand out. Vicky Parrott delivers the all-important first verdict.

5 - New Volvo XC90 driven – first verdict on Volvo’s make-or-break car

2015 was a vital year for Volvo: the release of the all-new XC90 would either make or break the Swedish manufacturer under its new Geely ownership. As the torch-bearer for the next generation of Volvos, the pressure on the XC90 to ignite a new wave of success for Volvo is considerable. The platform on which it is built will underpin the entire range, which is expected to roll out over the next few years.

Matt Prior is in the driving seat for this crucial first drive.

6 - Nissan GT-R vs Jaguar F-Type R AWD Coupé in the ultimate drag race

Another clash of the titans: this time it’s the 542bhp Nissan GT-R in a drag race against the identically powerful Jaguar F-Type R Coupé, only this one comes with all-wheel drive. So how best to test these two theoretically perfectly matched cars? A drag race, of course.

Nic Cackett takes the wheel of the GT-R, while we join Matt Prior in the Jaguar, to find out which super-coupé reigns supreme.

7 - 2015 Mazda MX-5 driven – first verdict

On the 25th anniversary of the original MX-5, Matt Prior gets to grips with the brand new one, which Mazda promises to have taken back to its lightweight, driver-focused roots.

Although we're only given a very small amount of time with the pre-release roadster, Matt gives the MX-5 a comprehensive shakedown in its entry-level 1.5-litre, 129bhp form. 

8 - Nissan GT-R Nismo vs Nissan Juke-R 2.0 – drag race

Youtube loves the Nissan GT-R, and even more so if it's in 591bhp Nismo form, but can the GT-R be beaten in a drag race by a Nissan Juke? It’s safe to say probably not, unless it’s the Juke-R 2.0 against which we pitted the standard GT-R in August.

With Nissan GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough behind the wheel of the GT-R, Matt Prior takes a turn in the Juke. This is a closer race than you might think...

9 - How to drift by Ken Block – shredding tyres in the 845bhp Hoonicorn Mustang

Matt Prior spends the day with Ken Block, the man behind the now infamous Gymkhana videos. Prior receives a masterclass in four-wheel drifting from the passenger seat, as Block gives us a ride in his four-wheel-drive 845bhp Hoonicorn Ford Mustang

10 - BMW i8 vs M4 – track battle

Steve Sutcliffe pits the techy BMW i8 supercar against a more traditional M division powerhouse: the BMW M4. At first glance the cars couldn’t be more different, with the i8’s hybrid powertrain, futuristic construction and next-generation looks facing off against the brute force of the M4.

The statistics speak for themselves though: there’s just 12kg and 14lb ft of torque between them, and just 0.1sec difference between their respective 0-62mph times, with the M4 claiming the title by a hair’s breadth. Steve gets behind the wheel of each at Castle Combe Circuit to decide on a final winner.

Our Verdict

Nissan GT-R
The super-coupé bargain of the decade

The Nissan GT-R is not a cheap car, but it’s better value for money than cars that are seemingly as fast

Join the debate

Comments
1

20 December 2015

For a hybrid to be so cool as to be compared to an M car is absolutely remarkable.

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