This week: new Lotus ‘Esprit’ detailed, James Bond stunt cars driven, modern GT shootout and much more
26 February 2020

It’s been 12 years since the last series-production Lotus, but this streak is finally being snapped as we reveal a major expansion plan for the Norfolk firm, set to be headlined by a resurrected ‘Esprit’. The Ferrari-baiting new sports car will be propelled by a newly developed V6 hybrid engine and is intended to mate famous CABC drivability with everyday-friendly refinement beyond the brand’s existing models.

Also in the works is a brand new platform, set to underpin a new range of Lotuses including - we hope - a rejuvenated Elan. We’ve got all the details - only in this week’s Autocar.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

Volvo’s performance off-shoot Polestar has been making moves since its inception as an electrified car maker, starting with the Polestar 1. At next week’s Geneva Motor Show, however, the brand aims to bolster its credentials even further, as it lines up a futuristic electric luxury saloon concept that previews a Tesla-inspired design for its future models. We have the first pictures.

Elsewhere, AMG gives the new Mercedes-Benz GLA a mighty 416bhp in its range-topping form, the Volkswagen Caddy gets a fresh platform and extra space for its 5th generation guise, and Honda adds two new, spicier Civic Type Rs. We also talk to the man behind the development of these latest pocket rockets, Hideki Kakinuma. 

‘Project Vector’ is Jaguar Land Rover’s new fully-electric car platform that the British firm has been developing in secret - though it has now spilled the beans to Autocar. DS’s new saloon isn’t quite as pathbreaking, but still aims to give Audi’s A4 something to think about as the French brand continues its recent range expansion.

Finally, Cupra adds the long-awaited Cupra Leon hot hatch, Volkswagen unwraps a performance Touareg and we consider the problems and potentials of the ‘noise’ of EVs. 

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Grandland X

The Vauxhall Grandland X is a re-skinned Peugeot 3008 that's too bland and offers too little to stand out in an increasingly competitive market

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Reviews

They say two’s company, three’s a crowd. But not for the Audi E-tron S Sportback, whose innovative tri-motor layout won plaudits from our tester, and got them thinking about a tri-motor Porsche Boxster…

Then, we give our verdict on the roomy and imminently likable Renault Captur, before taking GKN's electric Jeep Renegade prototype to a frozen lake to see if EV conversions can be done on a reasonable budget. Volvo’s newly electrified XC60 impresses with a refined, swift drive, while the new BMW 220d Gran Coupé looks pretty, but has an issue with wet conditions.

The star of this week’s road test is the Skoda Superb iV. Arguably the Swedish brand’s most iconic design, the newly electrified Superb is certainly historic, but how will it fare in the Autocar test?

Features

Ultra-modern GTs are the name of the game in this week’s first feature - but which technology will become the new standard for the class: petrol, hybrid or electric? Road test editor Matt Saunders stages a shootout between the Polestar 1, AMG GT63 and Porsche Taycan grand tourers to find out.

Next, Colin Goodwin meets a very handy member of the Kent Kit Car Club and his Alfa Romeo 159 Alfetta-aping special motor, before Andrew Frankel goes for a blast in the past - he’s revisiting his love affair with the original Mercedes A-Class.

At Silverstone, Mike Duff is also driving a vintage motor, but this one’s a little more classic, as we get shaken, but not stirred behind the wheel of James Bond's famous Aston Martin DB5. The original and a specced stunt car double are both submitted to our man’s patchy driving skills.

Finally, Matt Prior takes a trip down Megane memory lane to pay homage to the mighty RS, originally the R26R and one of the spiciest of hatches in hot hatch history. Does the latest super fiery Megane live up to its mantle? Prior climbs into a Reno from every age to find out.

Opinions

Any week spent whizzing around in Mazdas in bound to be a good un’, so the fact that Steve Cropley enjoyed his is no surprise. A tour round London in our columnist’s own MX-5 is a highlight, but a spin in the handsome CX-30 also pleases, as does Top Gear’s Chris Harris, who got his start here at Autocar don’t ya know. Meanwhile, Matt Prior considers the influence and legacy of Holden and ponders why GM keeps panning its brands.

Deals

A Rover 75 for less than a grand? The prospect of snagging one of these classics/bangers is a tempting one, says James Ruppert, but beware dodgy-fitting tailgates and blowy head gaskets, although fortune favours the brave. Only the bold need apply for an early-2000s VW Beetle, which offers a Mk4 Golf in a quirky shell, while the star of our nearly new guide is the luxurious and controversial Jaguar XJ. We show you how to get your mitts on the limo-like mould-breaker that can now be got for - whisper it - just £6000. 

Where to buy

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Autocar magazine is available through all good newsagents. You can also buy one-off copies of Autocar magazine from Newsstand, delivered to your door the morning after.

Digital copies can be downloaded from Zinio and the Apple iTunes store

Join the debate

Comments
9

5 April 2018

As usual, this week's edition (dated 04APR2018), is a very good read, and well worth the investment. The road test of the eighth generation of Roll-Royce Phantom - with its "mahogany panelling" - illustrates that moneyed wealth, should NOT be confused with good-taste!

The sales pitch for next week's issue (to be dated 11APR2018), whets our appetite with the Used Buying Guide  . . .  "Mercedes-Benz CLS. Can't afford the new one? Then read our guide to Merc's original style icon".

The original CLS certainly was a style icon, with all the svelte elegance of a Parisian - or Italian - chic designer item.

That streamlined elegance was lost when the original's "facelift" incorporated the bluff, Teutonic, more upright, corporate Mercedes radiator grill.

The new, current, incarnation of the CLS (page 29, of this week's magazine), shares all the style, delicacy, and substantial "presence" of a rugby prop forward!  It is not a case of "Can not  AFFORD  the new CLS?".  More a question of why would anyone wish to purchase such a vulgar and brutish vehicle?

It is (again) a reminder that the ownership of wealth, is NOT the same as the possession of good taste.

RCT(V)

 

 

 

 

289

18 July 2018

....totally agree!

19 July 2018

Why the GT2 RS isn't  a five-star Porsche?

Well, according to the German car magazine Sportauto the McLaren 720 S is the better supercar.

The 720 S is razor sharp and yet poised, while the GT2 RS is a bit unhinged.

22 July 2018

Good overall read this week, except for the iPace vs Tesla review, which is a biased storyline developed clearly ahead of the cars being reviewed.  Essentially, the premise looks to convey an analogy between two passenger jets and how the second to market - the Boeing 707 - went on to lead it. Unfortunately, much like his story, he apply's 20th century motoring thinking to a 21st century ownership problem. In other words, he clearly doesn't get what the shft to electric is about. Not only that, many of the facts are just incorrect, like 0-60 time that amongst the others if they had been published correctly, would make the reader question how the author could possibly have reached such a conclusion. This disregards the fact that the iPace is better compared with the Model 3 (same size). Not only that, but the test cars were over 25% apart on costs - with the iPace being more expensive. Really dissappointing journalism. 

8 August 2018

Oh good... Another JLR product takes the cover spot.  Must be at least an issue or two since the last one. 

8 August 2018

Oh good... Another JLR product takes the cover spot.  Must be at least an issue or two since the last one. 

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26 September 2018

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24 October 2018

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