The year’s shortest month included first test impressions on several crucial new cars. The fleet-favoured Audi A6 saloon was among them, and our conclusion was that it had raised its game successfully.
But the verdict we’d all been waiting for was delivered by editor-at-large Steve Sutcliffe in the 16 February issue: “It’s impossibly fast but easy to drive, in a way that’s unprecedented at this level of motoring. A car that Brits should feel proud of.” What else could he have been referring to but the ‘macnificent’ McLaren MP4-12C supercar? Little did Steve know, writing those words, that the new £170k Macca wouldn’t receive higher praise all year.
A sign of the times didn’t come much clearer than this: we gave over 26 pages this month to cars powered partly, or completely, by electricity. We looked at the Smart Forspeed roadster and Tesla Model S in the news section. There were early test drives of Renault’s pretty Zoe supermini EV and Fisker’s daring range-extended electric GT, the Karma. Hilton Holloway’s stint in VW’s incredible 313mpg XL1 prototype left him struggling for superlatives, while Vicky Parrott’s experience comparing Porsche’s Cayenne S Hybrid with Volkswagen’s Touareg Hybrid, erm, didn’t. We don’t often publish twin tests with no winner, but so poor did these two petrol-electric SUVs seem next to their diesel-powered equivalents that an exasperated Parrott couldn’t recommend either of them.