CAR (UK) : 2020-02-01

Gbu : 146 : 146

Gbu

AUDI HONDA > Use “CARMOT” for full car servicing with a free MoT test at MotorEasy.com Used to be essentiall­y a pricey Volkswagen; now a great GT in its own right almost as practical Crushes Audi’s A5. Folding hardtop cabrio weighty but worth it if you favour fresh air > VERDICT A3 CABRIOLET Q2 #### # ##### > Premium sun-grabber without macho sports-car posturing. A bit tight in the back, but pretty tight in the bends too. Try a 1.8 TFSI Sport Definitely worth the £2k premium over a VW Golf > Odd-looking small crossover is like a Mini Countryman that’s lost a battle with a set square Nice enough to drive but still a nerd to the Mini’s prom queen CONTI GT CONVERTIBL­E #### # 4 SERIES GRAN COUPE #### # > How many convertibl­es could get away with a tweed roof? Cue shock and awe at the country club. Shame it loses so much luggage space Gorgeous, swift, built like a Chesterfie­ld sofa > VERDICT > VERDICT > Pretty and practical, like a bikini car wash, hatchback GC costs £3k more than 3-series but has standard leather. Five belts but four seats Smart and useful, much more than a niche exercise. But why isn’t this the 3-series? RS3 Q3 #### # ##### > VERDICT > The superhatch/saloon for those lacking in imaginatio­n and/or driving talent, RS3 struts its stu best in a straight line Only feel a little bit ashamed for wanting one in preference to something more nimble > > Practical, comfy, handsome, well-built Shame it’s a bit bland > VERDICT VERDICT FLYING SPUR #### # > VERDICT Q5 M3 CS #### # #### # What do you get when you cross an M5 Competitio­n with Chatsworth House? A luxo-limo that really can do both ends of the motoring spectrum No longer the Continenta­l GT’s shunned ugly sister > Textbook Audi: calm and sophistica­ted, pleasing to have on your drive An extremely polished performer that’s a considerab­le cut above so many other premium SUVs > Way more of a thriller (in a good way) than the regular, now defunct M3. Better sorted dynamicall­y and epic road feedback. But £86k?! That’s a lot of money Finally, we get the version it should have been all along > > VERDICT A4 SALOON/AVANT/ALLROAD > VERDICT #### # > VERDICT > Lighter, smarter, better to drive than the last one – and only microscopi­cally di erent to look at As you were, except inside, where tech obsession o s elegance. Rivals remaining calm Q7 MULSANNE #### # #### # 5 SERIES #### # > German heavy metal turns techno as Mk2 Q7 sheds weight despite megaload of extra gizmos Everything but the charm > Huge, hand-built anachronis­m, with twinturbo V8 born in the ’50s, bu ed to perfection, and a field of cows sacrificed Buy the Speed – any less outrageous display of consumptio­n is just poor form > VERDICT > > Smart, semi-autonomous and still the best in class Spirit-crushingly good VERDICT > VERDICT > VERDICT RS4 #### # Q8 M5 #### # ##### > Estate-only hot A4 ditches free-revving V8 for RS5’s twin-turbo V6. Covers ground with impressive pace and ease and just a tiny bit of proper driver involvemen­t An RS5 in a parka and Timberland boots First coupe-SUV from Ingolstadt is as sound as you would expect. The cabin might be di erent, and the grille fresh, but is that enough to steer you away from the formidable Q7? The glitziest car Audi makes, with a limited choice of engines > G30-generation V8 bruiser sends shove to all four wheels but you can still drift it like Ken Block. A sharp-suited and refined yet ballistica­lly quick autobahn prowler All-wheel drive hasn’t ruined the M5 > BMW > VERDICT > VERDICT > VERDICT 1 SERIES #### # A5 SPORTBACK ##### While undergoing powertrain reconstruc­tive surgery it had a nose job too, and now manages to look like a twin of the 2-series MPV 118d buyers won’t miss rwd; M135i fans might > E TRON 7 SERIES #### # #### # > More tech and even better quality doesn’t compensate for a lack of personalit­y. Better looking, but so is Dorking after eight pints. You could buy worse, but you’ll definitely get bored It’s better to live in than to drive A bit tubby and plain when sat next to a Jaguar i-Pace but Audi’s first all-electric car has all the usual tech and refinement. It’s potentiall­y one of the most commercial­ly important Audis ever, hence the risk-averse approach Vorsprung durch Elektrisch > > So high-tech, BMW must have ram-raided Google’s R&D bunker, confident the ‘carbon core’ constructi­on would enable it to drive back out Gesture control, remote parking, active anti-roll – it’s got it all. But not quite the kudos of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class… > VERDICT 2 SERIES COUPE/CABRIO #### # > VERDICT > VERDICT > Boot-faced booted 1-series is a Mustang with a couple of A-levels. 218d is 8.9 to 62mph and 63mpg; four-cylinder 228i a cut-price, cut-down M235i To look at it’s plainer than a margarine sarnie, but TT and RCZ can’t touch its space/pace combo > VERDICT A5 COUPE/CABRIO ##### Deceptive bunny boiler – looks normal until you realise it’s killed a TT and is wearing its face. Cue B-road mayhem. Not really Even more of an A4 in a frock than the last one, but still better to drive, especially the S > TT COUPE/ROADSTER 8 SERIES #### # #### # > VERDICT > Brilliant coupe gets virtual dash and sharper handling. Try 2.0 TFSI. Boot big, but the rear seat’s for handbags only A proper real-world sports car – but the same money buys an early secondhand R8 > Not quite the dramatic sports car we hoped for. Still, it’s an incredibly impressive piece of kit, and you can really hustle it on track. M8 monsters everything else but misses the point Just be thankful a big V8 coupe like this exists at all > VERDICT > VERDICT M240i ##### > VERDICT RS5 ##### > Still hard to look at without squinting but sweet six-cylinder is even more grunty. The perfect 2-series if you pretend the M2 doesn’t exist Ignore the Golf R temptation > Like a bouncer in a tailored suit, the hot A5’s power bulges through the creases in its bodywork. Twin-turbo V6 has full-bodied soundtrack; quattro provides grip Four-seat express with power to spare, but it’s not the most involving TT RS X1 #### # #### # > At the outer limits of the TT’s dynamic envelope, a 17 per cent power hike ekes 395bhp from five pots and targets wounded Cayman Audi springs the o side trap, rounds the keeper, but hits the bar. So close! Ugly old one sold by the bucket load; all-new replacemen­t is miles better to look at and to drive. It’s a proper mini-SUV now It’s even based on the front-drive Mini platform. Swallow that bile, because it works well > > VERDICT > VERDICT M2 COMPETITIO­N ##### > VERDICT > VERDICT > The M2 turned up a notch, and now your only option. M3 engine, new barkier exhaust and tweaked dynamics An already great package now even better nd A6 #### # BMW 5-series still edges it in the driving department, but the gap is much slimmer. Well-appointed, super comfortabl­e, clever and handsome. Still a bit dull, mind A cruise missile for the outside lane of the M4 > > VERDICT R8 X2 ##### #### # V10 is one of today’s most engaging engines and delivers more spine tingles at the top end than a McLaren Sports Series. All versions now hit 200mph Brilliant daily supercar with a hint of wildness; and this from the same company that’s played it so safe with the e-Tron > Sportier, arguably more stylish coupe-ish version of the X1. Avoid the M Sport X if you don’t want your SUV to look like Bond villain Jaws Great to drive and well-built inside, although not the most rational choice > 2 SERIES ACTIVE TOURER #### # > VERDICT > Decent drive, great interior. Need to cart OAP relatives around? Get the seven-seat Gran Tourer. Boom boom! The ultimate driving (to the park/crèche/post o ce) machine > VERDICT > VERDICT RS6 ##### > VERDICT Audi’s ultimate estate car steps up to the plate, swings and scores a home run. Fast, practical, imposing and impressive­ly built, as ever. It’s also now fun to drive Five-star rival for the non-existent BMW M5 Touring > X3 #### # NEW ENTRY i3 BAC #### # > Studiously un-gangsta SUV o ers a sweet blend of handling and handiness The BMW SUV we don’t hate ourselves for liking > One of BMW’s best cars is home to its finest cabin. Electric version has short range; hybrid is noisy and has a fuel tank like a flea’s hip flask Carbon-chassis supermini, electric power and £30k price. Did we wake up in 2045? > VERDICT > VERDICT MONO #### # X4 ##### > Single-seat racer that took a wrong turn out of the pits. Pushrod suspension, Cosworth-tuned 2.3 Duratec and bath-like driving position Sublime track-orientated tool with a six-figure price > VERDICT A7 SPORTBACK #### # > Blame the Evoque and people who bought the X6 for this carbuncle. Priced at £4k-£5k more than an X3, but better equipped and not terrible to drive Depressing X3 spin-o for grown-ups who still dream of being a profession­al footballer > Think a more stylish A8 rather than A6 spin-o . Capable of incredible wafting ability and grippier than Spider-Man covered in superglue. Petrol properly refined but diesel will make better sense in the UK Stylish GT with sensible engines > VERDICT 3 SERIES #### # > G20 isn’t the wildest upgrade but there’s a lot going on under the skin. Chassis is so good on M340i version we have high hopes for the next M3 Still the dynamic benchmark > VERDICT BENTLEY > VERDICT X5 #### # > VERDICT RS7 BENTAYGA #### # #### # > Luxurious, capable and very much at the forefront of good handling in the posh SUV stakes. Even bigger X7 is heading this way We’d still take a 5-series Touring 3 SERIES TOURING #### # > An Audi RS with communicat­ive steering? Light the beacons! The fact it’s an imposing, stupidly fast and technology-overladen sports car killer should come as less of a surprise Menacing > The World’s Fastest SUV matches 187mph top speed with superb chassis. We flambéed the brakes, btw. The diesel is dead, but a hybrid version fills the ranks Super-luxurious options include £110,000 Breitling clock. Or you could spend the same on a two-bed semi in Crewe > As usual, the estate is prettier than the saloon. Still comes with the independen­tly-opening rear window, still drives well, still handles family life It’s a cliché, but this really is all the car you need > VERDICT > > VERDICT > VERDICT X6 ##### VERDICT A8 ##### > All the impractica­lity of a coupe and all the wasteful high-centred mass of an SUV. Genius. If you must, X40d gives best price/punch/parsimony Pointless pimp wagon. Buy a Porsche Cayenne or an X5 Packs enough tech to worry Skynet and avoids being wooden behind the wheel so convincing­ly you’d think it had a di erent badge on the front New king in the exec tech arms race > CONTINENTA­L GT 4 SERIES COUPE/CABRIO #### # #### # > Still heavy and thirsty, but few GTs can match its interior, ride quality and performanc­e > 3-series in a shellsuit is subtly better to drive than the saloon, but same great engine choices and > VERDICT > VERDICT > VERDICT VISIT ONLINE REVIEWS, NEWS, SCOOPS All the latest from around the car world, plus videos, opinion and great stories from the archive CAR VISIT CARMAGAZIN­E.CO.UK CARMAGAZIN­E.CO.UK | FEBRUARY 2020 146