New Mercedes C-class vs BMW 3-series; World's best bargain 4x4s; F-type coupé driven
Jim Holder
18 March 2014

This week's Autocar magazine stars one of the most important tests of the year, as the new Mercedes C-class faces up to the BMW 3-series. It's an intriguing showdown, with the two cars developed in very different ways yet aimed squarely at the same buyers, making the end result all the more fascinating to read.

We also test every varient of the new Jaguar F-type coupé, a car that will stand at the top of the Jaguar range for years to come. Embargo restrictions mean we're not allowed to give the verdict away, but Steve Cropley's first drive report delivers the most in-depth verdict you'll find anywhere.

Adding more premium lustre to the issue, the BMW 220d is the subject of our exhaustive eight-page road test, establishing itself as a clear class leader. Other first drive reviews include a prototype of the new Toyota Aygo, the Audi S1 Sportback, Mini Cooper D, Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6i Turbo and Volkswagen e-Golf. Long-term test car updates include a welcome to the new Honda Civic Tourer and the latest news on life on the road in the Range Rover, Renault Zoe, Jaguar F-type, Dacia Sandero and Citroën C4 Picasso.

Our news team has unearthed details of a proposed BMW hybrid sports car, which is set to replace the Z4 in the maker's line-up and be co-developed with Toyota. There's also the inside line on the new Bentley SUV, Volvo's new small car ranges, the next generation Volkswagen Phaeton and exclusive insight into the development of the new Toyota Aygo. We also have the first information on a new Mercedes and two new Porsches, which, again, remains under embargo at present.

Adding variety, our features section stars controversial former BMW designer Chris Bangle's take on the major reveals at the Geneva motor show, plus an insight in to the quirky but stand out Air Bumps that feature on the new Citroën C4 Cactus road car.

James Ruppert investigates Ford Fiesta bargains in our used car buying section, while the cheap and cheerful Toyota RAV4 comes under the spotlight of our used car buying guide. Adding some variety to offerings, we also question whether you should spend £28,000 on a new BMW Z4 or used Morgan Plus 8.

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Our Verdict

BMW 2 Series Coupé

The BMW 2 Series Coupé marks a successful return of the 1 Series Coupé. Overall it is a more compelling package than before but can it drive buyers away from the Audi TT and conventional hatchbacks?

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