GT2 RS: civilised yet also knee-trembling
BMW's M3 GTS was "utterly intoxicating"
Send us Victoria's: Mrs Beckham made headlines at the Evoque's launch
A1 nearly upstaged the Mini and DS3 but lacked a spark of fun
Peugeot's handsome 508 was received
'The countryman is a car that will test how far Mini can be stretched'
Parry-Jones spoke up for UK R&D companies
Matt Saunders kept the supercharged IQ pointing (mostly) straight at Goodwood
July began with full details of the Evoque, Range Rover's baby fashionista. It sported the sharp, edgy looks of the LRX concept and used the Freelander's underpinnings in order to provide both front and four-wheel-drive variants. Its whole purpose was to broaden the brand's appeal, and with Victoria Beckham publicly involved in its design process, it was sure to attract a different audience.
Renault also unveiled a new look in the shape of the DeZir concept. The electric sports car hinted at a more dramatic design language for future models, with the Clio due to be first to showcase it. The French weren't done with summer reveals, either, as Peugeot took the covers off its new 508 saloon. Reaction to it across the automotive world seemed pretty positive. With an estate, a four-wheel-drive diesel hybrid model and a well balanced design, Peugeot looked to be on to a winner.
Peugeot wasn't alone in using electric rear axles for four-wheel drive. It turned out that Ford is also considering it for the next-generation Focus RS. That was not, perhaps, what every enthusiast wanted to hear, but the speculation was that it would still have more than 300bhp.
Closer to production, and right up the street of any hot hatch enthusiast, were spy shots that suggested a hotter, 300bhp Renaultsport Mégane was well on its way to showrooms. Audi continued the new car onslaught when it released full details of its Mercedes CLS rival, the A7. With a wheelbase length between the A8's and A6's and a coupé profile, the A7 appeared to promise style, practicality and all the joys of executive transport as well.
This was also a bountiful month for bonkers sports cars. The award for Most Unhinged Drive of July looked destined, on paper at least, to go to the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. A shattering 611bhp (453bhp per tonne) could help get this car to 62mph in 3.5sec, and on to 205mph. But Andrew Frankel came to the conclusion that this was, in fact, the best GT2 ever. It was perhaps not as inspired as a GT3 RS, but it nonetheless possessed “a deftness no previous GT2 would even understand… and yet for all its knee-trembling potential, the GT2 RS is bizarrely civilised”.
So perhaps the BMW M3 GTS should win the award. At 75kg lighter than the standard car, 30bhp more powerful and with 30lb ft more torque, the GTS proved to be everything you could want of a more intense M3. You'd have to want it badly, though, given the predicted price of £116,000. Still, Steve Sutcliffe maintained that it had "a singularity of purpose that is utterly intoxicating". And, more to the point, all 150 examples of it had been sold. So who were we to say it was expensive?
Slightly further down the sports car hierarchy came the Alpina B5 Biturbo, which lived up to expectations. Composed and agile, the B5 revealed in this early drive that it could be one of the most rounded models the maker had created. And it boded well for the M5, which brought yet another smile to our faces in July.