Currently reading: Autocar magazine 14 May preview
New Mercedes-Benz GLA road test; Porsche Cayman GTS first drive; BMW 8-series used buying guide; the secret world of chassis engineers; new BMW M4 squares up against Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

This week’s Autocar magazine, dated 14 May 2014, launches the brand new BMW M4 coupé straight into its toughest test, pitting it against the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.

A truly great M-car has to obliterate its rivals. So if the new BMW M4 is one, it must outperform the C63 AMG coupé. Steve Sutcliffe referees this bruising contest. 

We also offer our first impressions of the new Porsche Cayman GTS, which is a slightly more potent version of the Cayman S and sits atop the model range.

Our news section is dominated by an in-depth analysis of Fiat’s latest recovery plan, which centres on an ambitious expansion of Alfa Romeo’s model line-up.

The subject of this week’s eight-page road test is the Mercedes-Benz GLA. It’s the latest entry into an increasingly busy crossover SUV sector. Based on the same architecture as the A-class hatch and CLA saloon, we find out whether the new model can cut it in this crowded class.

Also in the issue, we lift the lid on the secretive world of freelance chassis engineers. Charged with one of the most important tasks in car development, this band of technical wizards serve up a fascinating insight into the motor industry.

Interviews with McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk form the centrepiece of our coverage of the new Autocar Stars event, which we launched in south west London last week.

At our new awards bash, Dennis and Musk were the inaugural recipients of the Issigonis Trophy and Sturmey Award respectively, and we also honoured each of the eight on-sale cars that have achieved full five-star verdicts in our exhaustive weekly road test.

We say goodbye to the Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI SE that has graced our long-term test fleet for the past eight months. Hilton Holloway looks back on what it has been like to live with the Czech manufacturer’s new family-size hatch.

Our used buying guide offers advice on how to bag a suave BMW 8-series for as little as £3000. With smooth looks, a 159mph top speed and a price tag of just below £62,00, the 8-series certainly had the potential to stun when new, but it met with a lukewarm reception. 

However, that doesn’t prevent it from making an excellent used car purchase, and our guide gives advice on how to find a good example.

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