Currently reading: Autocar magazine 26 March preview
New Mini Cooper S vs rivals; Seat Leon Cupra 280 road test; Vauxhall's new chairman interviewed; building a BTCC car; Chrysler Crossfire buying guide

The new Mini Cooper S has been hailed as a great step forward over its predecessor, and in this week's Autocar magazine we discover just how far it has come.

Providing the benchmarks it must beat are the Ford Fiesta ST, Audi A1 and Citroën DS3, and this eclectic bunch prove ideal for assessing the wide variety of talents that the Mini has to offer.

This four-car test is part of a bumper issue of new car verdicts. The new Seat Leon Cupra 280 is subjected to the full road test, emerging with more credit than the Volkswagen Golf GTI on which it's based.

We also deliver first drive verdicts on the new Porsche Panamera diesel, Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDm-2, Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir, Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing, Kia Soul 1.6 CRDi, Volkswagen Golf TGI, Citroën DS5 BlueHDI180 and Citroen C4 e-THP 130.

The jam-packed news section features the latest details on Jaguar's SUV, which is being pitched directly at the Porsche Macan, reveals the inside scoop on a proposal for a four-door Audi TT, details of the collapsed Renault and Caterham joint venture, the latest spy pictures of the new Audi R8 and the full tech story of Mazda's next-generation engines. The latest information on Bentley's SUV and the first interview with Vauxhall's new chairman also feature.

Adding a change of pace, we also reveal how a Dunlop British Touring Car Championship team converts a road car in to a race car, and profile the leading drivers ahead of the season-opening race this weekend, and head up to Morgan to understand how it is blending the latest manufacturing techniques alongside its more traditional approach to car building.

Latest updates on our long-term test fleet include final thoughts on the MG 6, an intriguing battle between our Mercedes A45 AMG hot hatch and the McLaren P1, plus updates on the Morgan Plus 8 and Mazda 6.

Our used car buying section stars James Ruppert's thoughts on the Geneva motor show stars of a decade ago, and whether they now make good buys, and an in-depth guide to buying the Chrysler Crossfire, which is now available for remarkably little money. Opening the doors to our dream garage, we also ponder whether to spend just under £1 million on a new McLaren P1 or used Pagani Zonda F.

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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AHA1 26 March 2014

An in-depth guide to buying the Chrysler Crossfire?

Beyond posing a simple question along the lines of 'Really? Ask yourself seriously - why would you possibly want this car?" and the usual list of suggested alternatives (basically pretty much anything in this case), I can't see why it's necessary to go into any depth at all. Waste of valuable editorial space surely?