The week in one story
3 November 2006

Car manufacturers have been lining up with tuning specialists for the SEMA motor show in Las Vegas this week - and brought you some of the most bizarre creations.

Volvo was one of the first to shoot for the funky youth market with no fewer than three special models based on the C30. The most extreme version (a four-wheel drive monster) had over 500bhp on tap but even the tamest had 384bhp going through the front wheels. Volkswagen clearly thought there was scope for its Golf GTi to cope with more than that, though - it unveiled the R GTI, which boasted up to 400bhp. Even Mazda got in on the act with a lairy version of the CX-7 SUV crossover.

Back in the real world, Lotus unveiled a hotter Exige, designed to commemorate its victory in the British GT3 Championship. And we broke the excellent news that Fiat will still build a Panda Abarth to sit above the newly-released 100HP. On the road, we tested the Honda CR-V and the new entry-level Mini Cooper, and both left us impressed.

We've been busy on the video front, too. Apart from the A5 spy video, we also brought you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at our test of the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.

Next week, don't miss exclusive details on TVR's future and a 1000bhp British-built sports car - and we've also lined up an exclusive video track test of Porsche's next Le Mans racer by Autocar's Chris Harris.

In the meantime, if you haven't checked out our exclusive podcast with Ford's technical chief Richard Parry-Jones, you should. RP-J and Autocar's ed-in-chief Steve Cropley talk a lot of rational sense about the environmental issues facing not only motorists, but modern society.

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