New Mini Cooper driven; Infiniti Q50 tested; classic Fiat 500 vs classic Mini; BMW 4-series Gran Coupé revealed; Ford Puma buying guide
Jim Holder
4 February 2014

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.

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

Mini Cooper 5-door hatch

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?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK