Lamborghini Aventador; Jaguar C-X75; Aston Martin Zagato; BMW 1-series M Coupé
22 December 2011

May started with the biggest and most exciting supercar of the year: the Lamborghini Aventador. Steve Sutcliffe put the £242,280 range-topping Raging Bull through its paces and found that, with its 690bhp 6.5-litre V12 and outrageous looks, the Aventador was “a vastly better and more grown-up car than the Murciélago in every way imaginable, not to mention far quicker”, even if it didn’t quite capture the same level of charisma as its unforgiving but scintillating predecessor.

There was more exciting news for supercar enthusiasts when Jaguar announced that its 1000bhp, plug in hybrid C-X75 supercar was to make production. The C-X75 would come about with the aid of the Williams F1 team, cost £700,000, cover 0-60mph in under 3.0sec and go on to a top speed of at least 200mph.

Yet more exotica hit the headlines as we revealed that McLaren was planning a 799bhp F1 replacement. Scheduled for a 2014 launch, the ‘Mega Mac’ was predicted to use a 5.0-litre V8 and carbonfibre chassis in order to substantially better the Bugatti Veyron’s 0-200mph time of 22sec.

To complete a month of supercar mania, Aston announced that it would produce a limited run of its stunning Zagato-bodied V12 Vantages for road and race use, priced at about £200,000.

Headlines weren’t all about supercars, though, as a new £75k Mercedes coupé intended to take on the 911 and a compact sports SUV for Alfa Romeo showed.

In more current affairs, the new BMW 1-series M Coupé finally met the Porsche Cayman R on British roads. The £52k Porsche emerged as the better driver’s car next to the more affordable and in some ways equally enjoyable £40k 1M.

In the world of everyday commuters, Peugeot’s stylish 508 faced a group of rivals that included the ubiquitous Ford Mondeo. In this bunch of top-end diesels, the Peugeot acquitted itself well as an interesting, refined and comfortable family saloon. That still wasn’t sufficient for the 508 to overhaul the Mondeo, which retained its place at the top of the heap.

Another quirky French contender made an appearance in the shape of the Citroën DS4. Upmarket hatchback-meets-SUV-meets-coupé (apparently), the DS4 brought a new spin to Citroën’s family friendly C4.

And for a truly relevant real-world flavour to counter the ludicrous machinery dominating the pages elsewhere, Andrew Frankel conducted a test to find out how far off the official claimed fuel economy figures the average car was in real-world use.

A Range Rover TDV8, Honda CR-Z, Nissan GT-R and BMW 320d ED were involved to provide a good breadth of vehicles and the results showed that, in fact, the unlikely winners were the Range Rover and GT-R, which achieved over 100 per cent of their associated economy figures, while the BMW and Honda managed 90 per cent. Not a bad result, but still reason to consider making the official tests more relevant.

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