We had to wait until December for comparison tests on two of 2011’s most important new cars. Road test editor Matt Prior pronounced on the F30-generation BMW 3-series and Andrew Frankel pitched the 991-series Porsche 911 against four of its ancestors.
Having gone into the test convinced of the unimprovability of the BMW, Prior was stunned at the accomplishment of this £30k exec, which beat Mercedes’ C220 CDI into a distant second place.
“Sometimes a new car comes along that is better not just than you expected it would be, but than it could be,” he wrote. “The new 3-series is one of those cars.”
And what of the Porsche? Confronted by a 997 Carrera 4S, a 993 Carrera 4S, a 964 Carrera 4 and a G-series Carrera 3.2 Club Sport, the advancements of the new 991 – its fine interior, refined ride and excellent ergonomics – shone all the more brightly. Writer Frankel had to concede, still, that it’s perhaps not the greatest 911 of them all, giving that to the 993. “But the optimal solution,” he concluded, “would be to have the Carrera 3.2 and a 991”.
Richard Bremner had a taste of things to come with Opel’s RAK-e city EV – a car that GM is considering for production, and which, said Bremner, “would be a hoot to thread through traffic or speed along tight country lanes”. It makes a Renault Twizy look rather frumpy all of a sudden.
Audi gave us an early Christmas present by confirming that it will build a raucous quattro version of the A1. The 252bhp, four-wheel-drive Audi A1 quattro not only aims to land a knockout blow on the likes of the Renault Clio Cup and Ford Fiesta ST, but it will also eclipse hot hatches such as the Renault Mégane 250 and Ford Focus ST. It will even have the straight-line performance to match Audi’s own S3.