Currently reading: Autocar magazine 18 December Christmas double issue preview
New Ford Mustang revealed; Lexus GS300h driven; Colin Goodwin builds a plane; Specialized Venge bike tested; Range Rover Sport vs speedway champion; Richard Bremner's garage revealed

This week's action-packed Autocar magazine is 196 pages big, and jam-packed with enough news, drives, features and opinions to see even the most voracious reader through to the post-Christmas period.

As ever, we present the conventional, inspirational and the offbeat. In the former category, news highlights include full details and exclusive pictures of the new Ford Mustang, the latest details on the new BMW M3 and M4, exclusive insight into the upcoming Audi Q1 and the inside line on the ultimate fuel-efficient supermini.

The Ford Ecosport leads our first-drive section, while the Lexus GS300h, Volkswagen e-Up, Mazda EREV all underline how swiftly the car industry is exploring alternative power sources.

Inspiration comes from our highlights of 2013 package, in which we name our top 20 cars of the year, taking in everything from the Ford B-Max through to the Ferrari F12, and explain why they enjoy their exulted status, while Steve Cropley runs through his heroes of the year, our team of photographers reveal their favourite shots and Steve Sutcliffe reviews his favourite videos.

James Ruppert also provides eight pages of scientific insight into how you should choose the ideal used car, offering examples of what you can get for your money, while our traditional end-of-year new car awards are dished out to our long-term-test fleet favourites.

We also take an in-depth look at the kit-car scene, driving some of the best cars on sale today and find out if they remain the performance bargains of yesteryear. It's an insightful look into an area of motoring not normally covered by Autocar, and throws up fascinating results.

There's an investigation by Steve Sutcliffe into whether the manual gearbox is dead, our insights into the cars we drove this year that will become classics in the future and a look at Richard Bremner's brilliant but bonkers (and partly rusty) garage of 'classic' cars.

We take a step into fantasy too, asking whether we'd spend £120,000 on a new Mercedes S-class or a dream used garage containing a used Land Rover Discovery 4, BMW 5-series Touring, Ferrari 355 and Porsche 968.

And the offbeat? There's everything from an eight-page road test of the McLaren-developed Specialized Venge bike ridden in the Olympics by Mark Cavendish, through to our experiences racing a Caterham against a go-kart, a Range Rover Sport versus the world speedway champion and a 10bhp Piaggio Ape trike, which doesn't go well.

Elsewhere, we meet the man who went into the Dragon's Den and emerged with funding for a new car. Colin Goodwin also reveals the blood, sweat and tears tale of building an aeroplane in his back garden, while our annual Almanac takes a light-hearted (if slightly painful for some manufacturers) look into 2014.

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The double issue, priced at £4.99, went on sale on 11 December. Autocar magazine is available through all good newsagents, and available for download from Zinio and the Apple iTunes store.

You can also buy one-off copies of Autocar magazine from Newsstand, delivered to your door the morning after. Alternatively, never miss an issue - subscribe to Autocar magazine today.

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fergusor 11 December 2013

Next issue?

If this is the Christmas bumper issue, that would mean our next issue is due on Wednesday 25th December!!?? As that's not likely to happen, when will we receive our next issue in the post?
Jim Holder 16 December 2013

Issue dates

Hi Fergusor - yes, the next issue date is December 25. It will be posted in plenty of time to land with the first post after Christmas, so if the PO is working, then it is planned to land on December 27. The issue after that is January 1 and arrivals should be every Wednesday thereafter,