Currently reading: Autocar magazine 5 February preview
New Mini Cooper driven; Infiniti Q50 tested; classic Fiat 500 vs classic Mini; BMW 4-series Gran Coupé revealed; Ford Puma buying guide

The first drive of the all-new Mini inspires a 25-page special on the iconic brand this week.

Taking centre stage is our verdict on the new Mini Cooper. The six-page first drive delivers the news all fans of the marque have been hoping for - that the new car is a substantial step forward over its predecessor.

Andrew Frankel then poses the question as to what the world's best small car really is, pitching his own original Fiat 500 against the Mini of fellow car writer and enthusiast John Simister. Rest assured, arguments ensue.

We also have a four-page run down of the greatest hits from Mini's history, from the original Issigonis-penned car through to the Outspan Orange conversions, and on to the modern day. And if you don't agree, be sure to vote for your favourite online tomorrow.

James Ruppert tells the painful story of rebuilding (more than once) the Mini of his dreams; his tale is both hilarious and heart-breaking, as he outlines how he's spent £35,000 over 35 years on a car he has yet to drive.

If that inspires you to get in the Mini mood, Lewis Kingston then outlines the best used buys for every budget - kicking off at £3k for a Mini Mayfair. Hilton Holloway also investigates what's next for Mini, concluding that bigger cars are almost certainly coming.

News highlights include the reveal of the new BMW 4-series Gran Coupé, first details on what could be the fastest front-drive hatch ever, the Vauxhall Astra VXR Extreme, spy pictures of the next-generation Porsche Cayenne.

We also have the latest on the joint Caterham and Alpine sports car project, full details on the new Mercedes V-class and insight in to the NCAP test results on Indian cars.

The full eight-page road test puts the new Infiniti Q50 through its most exhaustive test yet. Can it rival the best from the German premium makers? We have the answers. As well as the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S, other first drives include the Volvo V60 D4 R-Design Nav and Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI SE.

Updates on our long-term test fleet include a new addition that is sure to set pulses racing - Lewis Kingston's Lancia Delta Integrale. More modern updates focus on the Mercedes A45 AMG, Audi RS4, Renault Twizy, Renault Clio RS200 and Mazda MX-5.

As prices tumble, James Ruppert has his head turned by the Mercedes SLS AMG in our used car buying section, while our used buying guide looks at the other end of the budgetary scale, outlining how to buy a Ford Puma from £500.

Our new versus used poser tackles whether you should spend £35,000 on a new Mercedes E-class or a used BMW M6.

Autocar magazine is available through all good newsagents, and available for download from Zinio and the Apple iTunes store.


Read our review

Car review

Third-generation Mini hatchback comes with a range of new engines, more equipment and a practical five-door shape, but is it stretching the Mini name too far?

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