New Porsche Macan SUV driven; full Peugeot RCZ R test; Mercedes-Benz S-class coupé unveiled; How to be a racing driver; Lotus Excel buying guide

In this week's Autocar the spotlight is focused firmly on the first drive of the all-new Porsche Macan, which could prove to be one of the most important sporting SUVs of 2014.

Will the new junior Cayenne deliver punch and practicality while maintaining the all-important Porsche traits of engaging and capable handling, or will it be a costly and unnecessary exercise? Our comprehensive test tells all.

Leading the news this week is the debut of the new Mercedes S-class coupé, which will undoubtedly prove to be one of the most cosseting coupés launched in 2014.

Elsewhere, we've all the news and reveals from the Delhi motor show, where Renault's 'Kwid' concept grabbed plenty of attention, the latest details of Renault's planned Espace replacement and all you'll need to know about the daring new Citroën C4 Cactus.

We pitch the Maserati Ghibli against BMW's all-conquering 5-series to find out which of the upmarket four-doors should take pride of place on your driveway.

Our spread on new British upstart, Zenos Cars, details just how the manufacturer intends to make its mark on the hotly contested niche sports car segment.

Meanwhile, Matt Saunders tries to avoid knocking his teeth out off-road in Bowler Motorsport's wild new Land Rover Defender, while Mark Tisshaw undertakes some heavy-duty tuition to find out exactly what it takes to be a racing driver.

Undergoing the full eight-page Autocar road test is Peugeot's racy RCZ R. Can it really rival similarly priced alternatives like the BMW M135i and the tried-and-tested Audi TT?

Also put through the mill this month is Mercedes' aggressive-looking crossover, the GLA, and the upgraded Bentley Continental GT V8 S. Further first drives include the spacious Peugeot 5008 MPV and Renault's much-loved and now-refreshed Mégane RS 265.

Long-term updates this week include the addition of the practical Citroën C4 Picasso to our test fleet, musing on the character of our Vauxhall Adam and the banishment of an annoying, intrusive squeak in the Mazda 6.

In our New vs used section we answer the question as to whether you should buy an economical Mitsubishi ASX or a luxurious Range Rover Sport for £24k – will common sense rule, or prestige and appeal dominate?

If you're looking for a cost-effective and dependable car, then James Ruppert's selection of used Kias, starting at as little as £500, could prove the ideal option.

Those of you feeling a little braver when it comes to your automotive purchases will appreciate this week's used buying guide, which focuses on buying a sporty Lotus Excel for upwards of £2500.

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.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the self-proclaimed ‘best car in the world’, is back. Or is it?

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