Toyota and Lexus recalls 72,885 hybrid models in the UK

Toyota and Lexus recall 72,885 hybrid cars in the UK

Toyota and Lexus recalls 72,885 hybrid models in the UK

More than 70,000 Toyota Prius, Auris and Lexus CT 200h models are being recalled in the UK – after the company discovered a fault that could result in petrol being leaked from the fuel tank.

In a statement released today, the firm said: “The subject vehicles are equipped with an evaporative fuel emissions control unit (canister) mounted in the fuel tank.

“There is a possibility that cracks could develop in the coating of the emissions channel due to improper shaping of portions of the channel. As a result of this condition, the cracks could expand over time and, eventually, fuel may leak from these cracks when the vehicle has a full tank of petrol.”

The firm, which has issued a number of safety recalls over recent years, insists it hasn’t received any reports of accidents, injuries or fatalities connected to the issue.

It affects Toyota Prius, Auris and Lexus CT200h models built between April 2006 and August 2015. Owners can find out if their car is affected by inserting its registration number into Toyota’s website.

For all involved vehicles, Toyota and Lexus dealers will replace the canister with an improved one free of charge. The work should take two to three hours.

In a further recall, the company is also warning that 34,135 Toyota Prius and Lexus CT200h models in the UK also need to be returned to their dealer after a fault with curtain airbags emerged.

Toyota said: “The involved vehicles are equipped with curtain shield airbags in the driver and passenger side roof rails that have airbag inflators composed of two chambers welded together. Some inflators could have a small crack in the weld area joining the chambers, which could grow over time, and lead to the separation of the inflator chambers.

“This has been observed when the vehicle is parked and unoccupied for a period of time. If an inflator separates, the CSA could partially inflate, and, in limited circumstances, one or both sections of the inflator could enter the interior of the vehicle. If an occupant is present in the vehicle, there is an increased risk of injury.”

All vehicles subject to the recall were manufactured between October 2008 and August 2012. To rectify the fault, dealers will install retention brackets on the curtain shield air bag inflators. The repair will take approximately two to four hours.

The company says that, so far, it is not aware of any injuries or fatalities related to the issue.

Audi Q2

2016 Audi Q2 review: what’s not to like?

Audi Q2I like the Audi Q2. Really like it. You can throw all the brickbats you like at Audi, and for sure the Q2 falls into the usual ‘why is it so expensive and how much are all those extras?’ camp. But the Q2 is so very nice I defy you not to want one.

It’s a compact crossover, smaller than the similarly priced Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan, arguably more on a par with the über-successful Nissan Juke. Except, as Audi will immediately point out, the Juke isn’t ‘premium’. And the Q2 genuinely is.

Which means plenty of nice touches. A solid, round gearlever, the tactile switches, the impressive circular air vents and the window controls that feel so precisely engineered. None of these do their job any better than what you’d find in a Kia. They simply feel reassuringly expensive.

The styling of the Q2 sets it apart, too. Heavily sculpted sides, concave flanks around the doors, a low roofline and the contrasting paint on the rear pillars; it looks different.

Enough of the eulogy. Does the Q2 drive well?

Audi Q2

Audi says it set out to make the Q2 go-kart-like to drive which, surely, must mean like a MINI. Except the extra height of the Q2 makes that target a bit more of a challenge.

Credit where it’s due then, for this small Audi really is entertaining, tackling tight corners with gusto, accuracy and stability. Most models get ‘Drive Select’ which lets you set steering and throttle responses to your liking. Higher up the range, this sets the suspension stiffness as well. Both the manual and the new automatic transmission are easy and satisfying to use, the only criticism being that the auto can be slightly jerky at lower speeds, although not very often.

Surprisingly, the cheapest Q2 comes with a tiny 1.0-litre petrol engine. In the past, that might have been worrying, but turbocharging means it’s pleasant enough – feisty even – if you are prepared to change gear frequently.

The 1.6 diesel and 1.4 petrol models, also both turbocharged, will be the best sellers. Even though the diesel has only 116hp (the same as the 1.0 petrol), it pulls strongly and quietly and could be the pick of the range. The 1.4 TFSI has 150hp and is a great balance between sportiness, economy and price.

Topping off the Q2 line-up are the 2.0-litre models, both petrol and diesel. I drove the 190hp diesel, which comes with Quattro four-wheel drive and a paddle-shift automatic transmission.

It was a great deal of fun in the mountains around Zurich. It steered and gripped like a good hot hatch, and, where the conditions allowed, was exceedingly quick. Somehow, you quickly overlook the more limited rev range of the diesel engine and simply use the torque to power swiftly along.

So it’s fast, but possibly compromised? 

Audi Q2

You’d think so. To stop tall cars leaning over in the corners, the usual ploy is to stiffen the suspension, with a consequential impact on ride comfort. But the reality is that the Audi Q2 isn’t really that tall, so the compromises are fewer and the suspension smoothness is as good as most hatchbacks. You can, if you choose, specify the adjustable suspension, but it’s not really necessary.

Whether or not the standard seats are any good remains to be seen, for all the test cars had the optional sports seats, which were very good indeed. Plenty of all-round support and posh car levels of comfort.

Posh car standards?

That’s the key to the Q2. You can specify much of the same equipment you see on an Audi A8. Just because it’s a small car, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in equipment or potential.

The simply delicious upscale ‘Virtual Cockpit’ sat nav system from the Audi TT is here as an option. Now it comes with Google Earth, which means you get a genuine satellite view of your route. There’s a head-up display above the dashboard, anti-crash technology, plus tons of features that, standard or optional, you simply can’t get in cars of a similar price.

Connectivity – it’s the way forward

Audi Q2

Good news here. Plug your Android or iPhone into the USB port and you use Google Maps on screen for your navigation. There’s Spotify and other apps, too. On SE models it’s a killer feature, but as you move up the range the Q2 comes with an embedded SIM card of its own, and you get up to three years of European-wide data before you have to start paying.

But it’s tiny, right?

Certainly the Q2 is no giant. But from the front seat it feels fine, with lots of seat and steering wheel adjustability. You sit lower than in most crossovers, so unless you jack the seat right up, you don’t get that domineering SUV driving position. On the other hand, it does feel a bit sporty and anyway, Audi’s targeted buyers in the 30-40 year age range don’t want to feel they are sitting in something like a Qashqai.

Rear-seat space is helped by the high cushion, which means legs aren’t forced underneath the seat in front. Legroom isn’t generous, but there’s certainly room for four adults in the Q2 without compromises.

Boot space is Golf-sized and about average, although if you specify the top hi-fi system you lose space to the huge woofer. A divided rear-seat backrest is standard and these flop easily down onto the cushions to give an – almost flat floor. Floor width is a whole metre, which is impressive on any car. Spare wheel? Forget it.

So what about that pricing issue? 

Audi Q2

Audi Q2 prices start at £20k for the 1.0SE and run through to £31k for the top 2.0TFSI quattro with the seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission. Key models are the 1.4 TSI Sport at £23,930, and the equivalent 1.6 diesel at £24,030.

While these are premium prices for a small car, they are within the reach of many. Audi’s continuing sales success in the UK is on the back of buyers being prepared to pay a little more for a quality product, and there is every reason to expect the Q2 buyers will embrace this.

Your personalised Q2

Personalisation is a big deal for the Q2, but Audi is only doing what BMW has done with the MINI, Fiat with the 500 and Vauxhall with the Adam. Choose from a whole raft of options to make your Q2 unique. Favourites are likely to be the Virtual Cockpit, accent colours for the interior trim and LED lighting packs.

2016 Audi Q2: Early verdict

Audi Q2

It’s hard to see the Q2 not being another Audi success story. There’s a call for a really nice car of this size, and the fact it drives so well broadens its appeal considerably.

The Q2 manages what the MINI Countryman fails so abjectly at: looking good. Inside, it has the premium feel of bigger Audis, rather than the Countryman’s small-car-got-bigger impression.

Yes, it’s a little pricey, but to our mind the Q2 is not that expensive for what it has to offer. This could be the new car buy of 2017.

For:

It’s a style statement

Great quality interior

Engaging to drive

Against:

It will cost more than you first thought if you delve into the options

Not really a five-seater

S tronic automatic transmission can be jerky.

2016 Audi Q2 1.4 TSI Sport S tronic: Specification

Audi Q2

Price: £25,480
Engine: 1.4-litre petrol turbo
Gearbox: 7-speed automatic
Power: 150hp
Torque: 184lb ft
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Top speed: 131mph
Fuel economy: 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 119g/km

More than half of car drivers break 30mph speed limits

84% of drivers fail to obey 20mph zones – and most ignore 30mph limits

More than half of car drivers break 30mph speed limits

A shocking 84% of car drivers failed to obey 20mph speed limits in the UK last year, according to data released today by the Department for Transport.

That figure increases at certain times, with an incredible 95% of cars flouting the law in the early hours of the morning and risking on-the-spot fines and speed awareness courses.

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It’s the first time the government has released figures on 20mph zones – but the number of car drivers breaking 30mph speed limits decreased to 52% last year, compared to 54% in 2014.

Drivers are much better behaved on single carriageway national speed limit roads, where 92% of cars stick to the 60mph limit.

The same can’t be said for motorways, where 46% of cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) broke the 70mph speed limits on motorways in 2015 – with one in 10 car drivers exceeding 80mph.

Interestingly, the time of day also has a large effect on the how likely drivers are to be speeding. The number of drivers breaking the law in built-up areas peaks in the early hours of the morning – with around 80% of cars ignoring 30mph speed limits at 5am. That rises to nearly 95% in 20mph zones at the same time.

Motorway speed limits are more likely to be ignored in the evenings at around 10pm, when more than 55% of car drivers exceed 70mph. This drops to around 35% between 8am and 9am – with congestion expected to be the key factor in slowing people down.

Despite the amount of vehicles speeding on UK roads, the amount of fines and speed awareness courses dished out by police forces has actually gone up.

There were 743,000 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued for speed limit offences in England and Wales in 2014 – an increase of 4% compared with the previous year. The majority (90%) of these are issued using speed cameras.

Renault Clio: Retro Road Test

Renault Clio: Retro Road Test

Renault Clio: Retro Road Test

Revealed at the 1990 Paris Motor Show, sales of the original Renault Clio began in the UK a year later. That means it’s celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – so we’ve gone back to the beginning to give an early Mk1 Clio the full MR Retro Road Test treatment.

What are its rivals?

What are its rivals?

A replacement for the Renault 5, the Clio was France’s answer to the Rover Metro, Vauxhall Nova and Ford Fiesta.

Which engines does it use?

Which engines does it use?

Buyers were given the choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. The model we’ve got on test here is the more powerful, fuel-injected 1.4-litre petrol, producing a hefty 60hp.

What’s it like to drive?

Which engines does it use?

Today, the original Renault Clio is an absolute delight to drive. Honestly. The cabin feels light and airy, with excellent visibility all-round. The engine, although asthmatic compared to the turbocharged units powering superminis today, is fine. Get it wound up and it’ll tick along with modern traffic without a fuss.

It’s surprising how refined the original Clio feels. This is an exceptionally good example (it’s from Renault’s heritage fleet), but the engine can barely be heard at low revs. Fortunately, it gets a more vocal as you approach its rev limiter – there’s no rev counter.

The steering is a bit heavy around town (no power assistance here), but it’s easy enough to dart in and out of traffic once you’re used to it. On the open road, it’s not the most communicative handler (and rolls a lot by today’s standards), but it’s OK.

Reliability and running costs

Reliability and running costs

French cars of this era don’t have the best reputation for reliability, but there’s not a great deal that goes wrong with the original Clio. They’re brilliantly simple. Of course, if you’re planning on running a car of this age it’s always worthwhile having breakdown cover, but we doubt it’d be any more likely to leave you stranded than its peers.

It’ll be cheap to run, too. More than 40mpg should be achievable on a day-to-day basis, and parts are cheap and readily available. Insurance is about as cheap as you can get.

Could I drive it every day?

Could I drive it every day?

Yeah, why not? Sure, don’t expect much in the way of creature comforts (although there is a radio that, in our test car, can only find Classic FM), and it’s probably wise to avoid crashing it.

How much should I pay?

How much should I pay?

The original Clio is yet to reach full classic status, so prices are very much in the banger territory – while they’re also getting too old to command a young driver premium. An Auto Trader search suggests you can pick one up for as little as £250, and we wouldn’t spend more than £1,000 on anything but the tidiest example.

What should I look out for?

What should I look out for?

It’s pretty standard stuff, really. Try to find a cared-for example, there must be many ‘one elderly owner from new’ cars out there. Avoid any that have been treated as cheap runarounds as they may have been maintained on a budget.

Rust isn’t a huge problem, but the arches do go, so look out for bubbles – and the automatic gearboxes can go wrong, so make sure you give it a thorough test drive. We’d prefer a manual, but make sure the clutch isn’t showing any signs of slipping.

Should I buy one?

Should I buy one?

If you’re looking for a car that’s going to attract a crowd at a car show, this isn’t it. A Renault 5 or Citroen AX might be more of a classic, but there’s definitely a certain analogue charm to the Clio. If you find a good one, and look after it, it’s only a matter of time before all the rest will have disappeared.

Pub fact

Should I buy one?

For homologation purposes, Renault built the limited-edition Clio Williams. Named after the F1 team, the Clio Williams was powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and finished in a unique blue colour with distinctive gold alloys. It’s one of the most desirable hot hatches of the 1990s.

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

2016 Ferrari GTC4Lusso review: the fastest four-seater (a lot of) money can buy

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)The 2011 Ferrari FF was a groundbreaking car for the world’s most famous supercar brand. Replacing the luxo-cruiser 612 Scaglietti, it eschewed the age-old traditional coupe bodystyle for something much more retro-radical – a shooting brake. Four full-sized seats, four-wheel drive: it was a Ferrari that shook up the order. And now, Ferrari has shaken the FF itself up, for its mid-life refresh. Bye, FF: hello, GTC4Lusso (yes, there is no space).

So… Ferrari GTC4Lusso: the FF has an all-new name?

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

Ferrari doesn’t mess about with its facelifts. How many know the 430 was actually a facelifted 360, for example? The ‘M’ in the GTC4Lusso’s F151M codename stands for modificata, but this is more face/off than facelift – every single exterior panel apart from the windscreen is different. And the interior is all-new. It also has a wealth of new tech further beneath the surface: the all-new name is entirely justifiable.

Tell me what they’ve done on the outside

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

Ferrari has taken the weight out the FF’s design, sharpening it up with tighter creases and more positive/negative surface shapes. The front is much cleaner, wider-looking and, on the road, flatter and meaner in appearance. The rear is similarly broadened, helped here by a lower roofline (presumably a hugely expensive surface metal change). Even the shape of the rear side windows is different: they’re longer and deeper, so it’s nicer for those in the back.

Yikes. And the inside?

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

This too has an all-new look. And it’s way more appealing than the fussy FF. Built of super-high quality materials, the impeccably finished cabin is shaped around twin ‘cockpits’ defined by the divine air vents. It’s a contemporary luxury contrast to the FF’s slightly early-2000s look. Indeed, FF owners themselves will clamour for a GTC4Lusso just for the step-on inside. And that’s not the half of it.

Looks like Ferrari’s finally sorted out its infotainment system

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

The GTC4Lusso boasts fantastic new infotainment that has an HD-clarity 10.25-inch screen, 1.5 GHz CPU and the sort of responsive, interactive usability FF owners could only dream about. It’s a delight to use and looks fantastic – and, again at no little expense, it’s also nice how Ferrari has designed the dashboard to wrap around it so it’s fully integrated rather than stand-proud.

What’s that fancy display in front of the passenger?

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

Ferrari’s even given us a GT-sector first: a bespoke infotainment display for the passenger that’s hooked to the sat nav, audio and, rather brilliantly, the instruments. Yes, passengers can easily see what gear the driver’s in, what speed they’re doing, the engine speed – even what G-forces they’re pulling. The car-fanatic children of GTC4Lusso owners are going to love it.

Impressive tech. What else is beneath the surface?

The FF debuted Ferrari’s clever four-wheel drive system, PTU (so clever, in fact, it’s patented). With adaptive dampers, the Ferrari DCT gearbox and generation-8 ESP, it was impressive stuff. The GTC4Lusso’s more impressive still though. Single-coil adaptive dampers become dual-coil, it has generation-9 ESP and the PTU AWD has been further developed. But that’s not all…

What has Ferrari also spent big on to engineer the GTC4Lusso?

Four-wheel steering, take a bow. The active rear-wheel steer system counter-steers at low speeds to aid agility and turns the wheels in the same direction as the fronts at higher speed to boost stability. Why fit it? Because the GTC4Lusso is a big car – 4.9 metres long, nearly two metres wide – and rear-wheel steering helps shrink it on twisting roads. Effectively so, too – once you’re used to it. More on that shortly.

How does Ferrari pull together all this tech?

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

As if Ferrari’s software engineers weren’t worked hard enough, the GTC4Lusso also boasts the latest iteration of its ‘side slip control’ electronic brain, SSC4 (also patented). This is what unifies all these different tech features and mechanical systems. It’s the car’s ‘sense’ of how much grip is available beneath each wheel. When it detects one wheel is about to lose grip, it instantly figures out the best way to fix this, immediately firing up the relevant tech to neutralise things. It’s highly-advanced technology involving a huge amount of Ferrari learning and IP: this generation-4 system is the most sensitive iteration yet.

It’s all a bit of a tech-fest then?

It’s jam-packed with technology – so you may actually be pleased to hear the engine, a 6.3-litre V12 derived from the Ferrari Enzo – is decidedly old-school. No turbos, no hybrid, not even engine stop-start. A quarter of Ferrari customers choose a V12 because, why, it’s a Ferrari V12; the firm messes with this formula at its peril. So it’s not gone tech-crazy here. But it has still lived up to its founder Enzo’s assertion that customers buy an engine and get the rest of the car for free…

Wait, what – it now has 690 horsepower?!

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

Yes, the GTC4Lusso has 690 horsepower, 30 horses up on the FF. And that was hardly a slouch: at launch, it instantly became the world’s fastest four-seat GT car by a ridiculous margin. Even more ridiculous today: 0-62mph takes 3.4 seconds and it can do 208mph flat-out.

So what does such power feel like on the road?

Be in no doubt, the GTC4Lusso is a colossally fast Ferrari. Behind the wheel, you’d swear it’s as fast as the 488GTB, partly because of that ridiculous power output, which makes it one of the most potent cars you can buy, but also because the high-rev drama is so intense. It loudly howls with astounding intensity near its 8,250rpm power peak (yes, 8,250rpm) and, anti-social as it may be, the fireworks it releases are truly remarkable. Particularly if you have three passengers: many of them may well find it a bucket list memory.

Ah, but the FF was always a bit of a drama monster, wasn’t it?

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

In this revvy and dramatic respect, the GTC4Lusso continues the FF feel. However, at lower revs, it’s very different. Ferrari has boosted the torque curve at normal-driving revs (you get 80 per cent of its pulling power at 1,750rpm), but it’s also made it quieter in normal use. Quieter? Yes, and rightly so. This is a GT car so will be used for meek and mellow driving with others on board, so the last thing you want to be doing is howling through the city looking like a bit of a hooligan. Ferrari’s thus programmed the exhaust baffles to open up less eagerly, and this alone makes the GTC4Lusso feel like a more cohesive GT car.

Er, sounds to me like the FF’s gone soft then

Depends what you mean by soft. Cushy ride? Yes, once you tune into the typical-Ferrari tautness, you’ll note the ride is improbably compliant and quiet, absorbing bumps and potholes without a crash, flowing along undulations without neck-jarring jiggles. This is also a step on from the FF and it makes the GTC4Lusso a more appealing everyday car – which is exactly what Ferrari clients have been asking for. And, as they’re the ones with the £250,000 cheques, Ferrari has obliged.

But does it still have an edge?

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

Does it ever have an edge. Four-wheel steering is used to boost agility and sharpness, make the steering faster-reacting, and the front end keener to turn-in. The GTC4Lusso is the same size as the FF, but it feels smaller and more shrink-wrapped because the chassis is more confidently agile. Indeed, until you dial into it, you’d almost accuse it of becoming nervous, such is the alacrity it now demonstrates.

Gawd. The last thing I want from a 690-horsepower car is for it to be nervy

Don’t worry. This nervousness is only at first – say, for the first hour or so. All modern Ferraris since the 458 have had fast, high-geared steering and the GTC4Lusso is no exception. Rear-wheel steering adds something extra, though. The back end adds to the turning effect, giving it an initial ‘kick’ when you turn the wheel that feels like a strange form of oversteer at first. Consciously try to sense this and work with it, though. Then, your steering inputs will become smaller (and later into the corner) and the GTC4Lusso will become an extremely sharp and incisive machine with supreme mid-corner stability once it’s turned into the bend. You just have to put a bit of consideration into it for it to be your friend.

And the other dynamic aspects of the GTC4Lusso?

Ferrari fundamentals mean it has high quality dynamics. The steering is firmly weighted and very clean; not packed with pure feel, no, but accurate and pleasant. Brakes are also firm but powerful, the accelerator pedal is one of the nicest you’ll press and the brilliant interruption-free seven-speed DCT gearbox is impeccable (you’ll fall in love with the ‘click’ from the paddles). Oh, and power hard out of corners for the most delicious rear-squat feel of power-on traction, without a hint of nervousness or edge. This is a very well sorted car indeed that, for all its intimidating power output and initial hesitancy, is more on your side than you’d ever expect of such an exotic supercar.

I forgot about the people in the back

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

As well you may. Don’t worry. Those in the rear have an unexpected amount of room and comfort, further boosted over the FF by a few crucial millimetres here. Two bucket seats are almost as large and enveloping as those in the front, there’s enough headroom for your six-foot correspondent despite the panoramic roof that envelops the interior in light. And the enlarged side windows give a cleaner, nicer view out than the slightly porthole-like FF. It shames a Bentley Continental GT, perhaps its most obvious (only?) rival. Rear passengers even get their own set of those brilliant air vents seen up front. They’re fine. Carry on driving.

If I’m going to justify it, I’ll need more than the fact it’s a four-seater

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

Will a claimed 450-litre boot do? One that extends to 800 litres with the seats down? Admittedly, it’s a funny shape, and you won’t be seeing much behind you if you if fully-loaded. But it’s still a mark of the GTC4Lusso’s un-Ferrari-like practicality that could work wonders if you utilise its four-wheel traction to drive across muddy fields and buy things from estate car drivers at car boot sales.

Any more sensible stuff?

Well… economy’s less sensible. 18.8mpg combined, and 350g/km CO2. It’s one of the thirstiest, carboniest cars you can buy. And it costs £240,430 without a single option (no Ferrari is sold without a single option). But it does have 12,500-mile service intervals and, unbelievably, servicing is FREE for the first seven (count ’em – seven) years. It’s also the Ferrari you can use every day, should you wish to cut down on your fleet. Not that most GTC4Lusso owners, many of whom own several Ferraris (and half of whom will swap an FF for one) would dream of doing so.

2016 Ferrari GTC4Lusso: verdict

Ferrari GTC4Lusso (2016)

The Ferrari GTC4Lusso is the definitive modern Ferrari GT car. Some up to now haven’t fully digged the mini-estate car styling. For them, Ferrari’s lowered the rear, widened the visuals and made it look more distinctive and less like a prancing horse wagon. But most of its select clientele relish how much extra the GTC4Lusso offers as a result – four seats, four-wheel drive for all-weather driving, all combined with the impeccable lineage of being a V12 Ferrari.

The FF wasn’t perfect. It looked a bit awkward, which Ferrari’s fixed here more successfully than the images fully portray. Its interior was a generation behind, as was its infotainment. Both are now bang-up-to-date. The chassis is more dynamic, although the bigger advantage is actually in improved comfort and GT tendencies, something enhanced by the engine that, although even more wildly powerful and potent, is now also quieter and more dignified when you’re not being Alberto Ascari.

Ferrari’s cut no corners with the GTC4Lusso, and it shows. It’s a highly accomplished GT car. Those who can afford it and take the time to understand how to get the most from it will find a very rewarding ownership proposition indeed.

For

  • V12 experience, Ferrari handling with GT comfort
  • Luxurious and modern interior
  • Very surprising practicality

Against

  • Boot not the most useful shape
  • Feels nervy if you’re more familiar to Aston Martins and Porsches
  • Of course, the price…

2016 Ferrari GTC4Lusso: specifications

Price: £240,430

Engine: 6.3-litre V12

Gearbox: seven-speed dual clutch auto

Power: 690hp

Torque: 514lb ft

0-62mph: 3.4 seconds

Top speed: 208mph

Fuel economy: 18.8mpg

CO2 emissions: 350g/km

Length/width/height: 4922/1980/1383

Kerb weight: 1920kg

Citroen C3

New Citroen C3 supermini set to funk up your life

Citroen C3According to the European press release accompanying the launch of the all-new Citroen C3, “there’s a wind of change blowing through the motoring scene”, with a further promise that the new supermini will “rock the market”. Does this mean Citroen has been whistling to the tune of a certain German heavy metal band?

Promising no further references to mullet-rock, we’re delighted to say that Citroen is well and truly back. After years in the creative wilderness, Citroen can boast not one, but two properly cool cars. On the evidence of what we’ve seen so far, the C3 is a worthy stablemate to the C4 Cactus.

Citroen speaks of “exuberant freshness”, of an “unmistakable impression of well-being” and “chummy curves” when describing the C3. It’s all a bit sickly-sweet, as though the marketing team swallowed one too many caramellattes before penning the press release. But sift through the nonsense and you’ll find the C3 is “audacious by design, with a strikingly unique morphology”.

Good grief.

Enough already, tell us the real facts

Citroen C3

A replacement for the ageing Citroen C3 is long overdue. Since its launch at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, the C3 has been eclipsed by newer and dare we say, funkier superminis. Heck, even the Vauxhall Corsa has sharpened up its act, rendering the C3 as little more than a support act.

By all means buy one if the deal is right, but goodness knows there are better options out there.

New C3 is set to change all of that. Come on, look at the thing. Gone is the anonymous styling of old, replaced by something a little more 21st century. The overall look is one of a fun-size crossover, which is more striking than it is attractive. Citroen calls it a “go-anywhere” look, which is shorthand for ‘probably best to stay this side of that raised kerb’.

Love them or hate them, the Airbumps are back

Citroen C3 Airbump

As expected, the C3 is the second Citroen to benefit from/be lumbered with (delete as applicable) the Airbump panels, first seen on the C4 Cactus. These protective aliphatic thermoplastic polyurethane panels (probably best to describe them as plastic when you’re at a dinner party), irritate and amuse people in equal measure. But they’ve become a signature piece for the brand and the C3 suggests they’re here to stay.

The press photos present the look of a C3 that has been ‘personalised’ by a very creative customer and we suspect the car will live or die at the hands of the British punter. Nine exterior colours will be offered, along with three roof colours to provide a total of 36 possible combinations. The roof colour is matched by further touches around the car, including the fog lights, door mirrors, rear quarter panels and even a little accent on the Airbump panels.

Overall, this takes things much further than the C4 Cactus and we urge C3 customers to release their inner Tony Hart. Or Neil Buchanan. Or Mr Maker. Whatever, just get colourful. We rather like the sound of Power Orange with an Opal White roof.

Look, Mum, proper electric windows

Citroen C3 interior

On the inside, there’s a distinct whiff of C4 Cactus, but not so much that it simply becomes a facsimile of its big brother. So while you won’t find the luggage-style glovebox, the door handles and centre console will be instantly recognisable. The C3’s dials are also more conventional than the retro digital display found in the Cactus, while customers can choose from a range of different finishes and trim.

Anyone who has travelled in the back of a Cactus will revel in the news that it has proper, wind-down electric windows. Generally speaking, the interior, whilst hardly groundbreaking or segment-smashing, looks well executed and more appealing than say the Ford Fiesta.

So good, in fact, that Citroen claims the interior is “designed to feel like an extension to the driver’s home”. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for debate, but in today’s connected world, smartphone integration and on-board apps are key factors for many car buyers. Needless to say, many C3 customers will be turned on by the prospect of ConnectedCAM.

Like the sunset? Shoot it

2016 Citroen C3

It uses a fully integrated camera, situated behind the rear-view mirror, to enable drivers to capture images and video to share on social media channels. This can be done in real time and drivers are able to shoot films up to 20 seconds long once the car is stationary. In the event of an accident, the video can run for up 90 seconds (30 seconds before and 60 after), to be used as evidence following an incident.

The majority of car’s functions are handled by the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which will include Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink at launch, along with Android Auto in 2017.

As for engines, buyers can choose from a range of PureTech petrol and BlueHDI diesel engines, all fitted with a manual gearbox as standard. An EAT6 fully-automatic transmission will be available as an option.

At 3,900mm long, 1,750mm wide and 1,470 high, the new C3 is longer, wider and shorter than its predecessor, with the boot space remaining unchanged at 300 litres.

The DS 3 is like so yesterday

The new Citroen C3

Prices are yet to be announced, but we wouldn’t expect much change from £11,000. A tasty headline price, but in common with the C4 Cactus, you can expect that price to increase once you’ve added some must-have options and have been a little creative with the colour chart. You can expect the first cars to roll out of the showroom in October, which should help to add some colour to a miserable autumn day.

Does it stand a chance against the might of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa? That could be a big ask, but the success of the C4 Cactus suggests it might steal sales from the likes of the Skoda Fabia, Renault Clio and Peugeot 208. Suddenly, these all seem a little dated and fusty.

Giving the C3 the look of a crossover is a clever move which could see the supermini swept along on the tide of success enjoyed by the unpronounceables. On the evidence of the new C3, far from being left to feed on scraps following the divorce from DS Automobiles, Citroen is the one holding all the creative aces.

Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000Given the popularity of crossovers and SUVs, you’d be forgiven for thinking the humble estate car has had its day. But we’re hear to fly the flag for the traditional load-lugger, which is why we’ve assembled a list of great estate cars you can buy for £5,000. All you need is a labrador to go with the car.

Definitive: Volvo 240Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

When aliens land on Planet Earth and demand to see an example of the definitive estate car, this is what they’ll be shown. The Volvo 240 is the archetypal wagon – big on space, big on practicality, big on safety. You won’t even need to spend the entire £5k budget, because prices start from a few hundred notes. Our pick: the 240 GLT.

Style: Alfa Romeo 159 SportwagonPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Estate cars have no right to look this good. The Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon is the antithesis of the Volvo 240 – achingly beautiful to look at and just as great to drive. On the flip side, it’s not the most spacious estate car in the world, so your dog and rear seat passengers may prefer the big Swede to the pert Italian.

Rural life: Subaru OutbackPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Some folk will tell you, with some justification, that the Subaru Outback is hamstrung by a naff interior and high running costs. But don’t let that put you off, because when it comes to off-roading and withstanding a lifetime of abuse, these things are peerless. Quite simply, if you live in the country, the Subaru Outback has to be on your shortlist.

 

Space: Mercedes-Benz E-Class EstatePractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The W211 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is not without its problems, so you’re advised to do your homework before parting with £5,000. But if you’re after a cavernous load area, sumptuous interior and rock-solid image, this makes a great deal of sense. Also available as a seven-seater.

 

Compact: Skoda Fabia EstatePractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Not everybody needs to carry a grandfather clock or ferry half a dozen labradors, which is why cars like the Skoda Fabia Estate are so appealing. What it gives up in terms of load capacity, it makes up for in terms of convenience, value for money and low running costs. It’s like a Volkswagen Polo wagon and you’ll be able to afford anything up to a 2010 model. Also available as the rugged-looking Scout.

 

No frills: Dacia Logan MCVPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

If you fancy something nearly-new, your best bet is the Dacia Logan MCV. Buy new and you can drive away in a base-spec Logan for £6,995, but we’d suggest opting for a used example with a few bells and whistles. It’s hardly plush, but the Logan MCV offers a huge 573 litres of boot space, extending to 1,518 with the seats folded flat. Quick confession: the cheapest we can find are just over the £5,000 mark. Time to start haggling…

 

Lifestyle: Lexus IS300 SportCrossPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Once upon a time, we all knew where we stood. A spade was a spade and an estate car was an estate car. But then the carmakers started being all fancy dan with their Sport Wagons, Sport Tourers and Tourings. Lexus got in on the act with its IS300 SportCross, which added a touch more practicality over the saloon. It might have a mere 340 litres of luggage space below the parcel shelf, but with the seats folded it can carry up to 2.6m in length. The IS300 SportCross looks superb and drives as well as the saloon.

Performance: Volvo 850 T-5RPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The Volvo 850 T-5R sticks two fingers up at convention. Who says you can’t have a boot the size of Watford yet still have the potential to keep up with a sports car? Volvo turned to Porsche to show a new racier side, with the Stuttgart wizards assisting with the engine tuning, transmission and interior. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 60mph was polished off in under six seconds. A modern classic? We think so.

Rallying: Subaru Impreza WRX Estate

Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000Perhaps it’s us, but we always found the wagon version of the Subaru Impreza WRX a little less baseball cap and branded rally jacket than the saloon. It presents a more grown-up, sensible personality and yet still retains the same outstanding cross-country pace. It won’t be cheap to run, but it should prove to be reliable.

Classic: Mercedes-Benz W123 TPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

It says something about the enduring appeal of the Mercedes-Benz W123 T that you might struggle to find a good one for less than £5,000. They do exist and your search will be rewarded with a cavernous boot, potential for seven seats and what is one of the best-engineered cars of the 20th century. Alternatively, it’s worth considering its successor – the W124.

 

Budget: Citroen ZX EstatePractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

On a strict budget? Not keen to spend the entire £5,000 on a car? You need something utterly unfashionable, cheap to run and highly practical. The Citroen ZX Estate should fit the bill, especially in super-frugal diesel guise. Spend a few hundred notes buying one and if it dies, simply buy another one. Simple.

 

Wildcard: Chrysler 300C TouringPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

You know us, we love to throw a couple of wildcards into the mix and the Chrysler 300C Touring is about as wild as you can get for this money. A Mercedes-sourced 3.0-litre V6 diesel should provide some reassurance and acceptable fuel economy, while the 630 litres of boot space means it’s surprisingly practical. You’ll also find the 300C to be well-equipped.

 

Volvo V70Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Weirdly, the Volvo V70 isn’t as spacious as its German rivals, so if space is your final frontier, you’d be better off with the A6 Avant, E-Class Estate or 5 Series Touring. But nobody does estate cars quite like Volvo and the V70 is one of the most comfortable cars in its class. For a dash of performance, the V70R is worth hunting down. That’s if you can keep up.

 

Veyron wagon: Volkswagen Passat W8Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Could this be the world’s greatest Q-car? Underneath that Colin-from-accounts exterior lies the beating heart of a W8 engine, which makes this a Bugatti Veyron for the family (of sorts). With a mere 275hp on tap and a heavy four-wheel drive system, the performance is best described as brisk, but we can’t help but adore the W8. We just haven’t got the guts to take the plunge. Have you?

If it’s good enough for the Queen: Jaguar X-Type EstatePractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

If it’s good enough for Her Majesty, it’s good enough for you. For some reason, the X-Type Estate has a far better image than that of the saloon version and we happen to think it is ageing rather well. Opt for the all-wheel drive version and you’ll be equipped for all weathers.

Golf GTI estate: Skoda Octavia vRSPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Fancy a Volkswagen Golf GTI estate? Sadly, this budget won’t stretch to a Golf R Estate, which means the Skoda Octavia vRS is the next best thing. Opt for the Mk1 Octavia vRS with its 1.8-litre turbocharged engine and your budget will ensure you have the pick of the crop. The Mk2 is arguably a better all-rounder, whilst benefiting from the option of a diesel version.

All-rounder: Ford MondeoPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The Ford Mondeo is so good, it’s a wonder why people consider buying anything else. Cliche alert: this thing ticks all of the boxes. The boot is huge, the cabin is spacious, it’s dynamically sorted and it’s also, depending on spec, very well-equipped. A candidate for all the estate car you could ever need? Sorry, that’s two cliches in quick succession.

Reliability: Honda AccordPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

But we do accept that not everybody wants to drive a Ford Mondeo, which is why cars like the Honda Accord exist. Why should you be interested? Well, for a start, the Accord is regarded as being one of the most reliable cars in the world. Secondly, it’s packed full of gadgets. Thirdly, the not-so-small matter of 626 litres of boot space.

 

Not a crossover: Audi AllroadPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The Audi Allroad wasn’t the first off-road estate car, but it helped to define the sector. Today, the A4 and A6 Allroad are welcome antidotes to the march of the crossover. Along with the Volvo V70 XC, this is where the whole premium off-road estate car thing began. Good ones aren’t cheap, but the image is rock-solid.

 

Still not a crossover: Skoda Octavia ScoutPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Here’s another car that retains its value surprisingly well. Or is it a surprise, given the Octavia Scout’s reputation for reliability, practicality and off-road capability? Owners love these things.

Not German: Citroen C5 TourerPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Remember the television ads for the Citroen C5? ‘Unmistakably German, made in France’, or words to that effect. We’re not quite sure what Citroen was hoping to achieve with this approach, but the C5 Tourer remains one of the best looking estate cars you can buy. What’s more, the diesel engines are excellent, contributing to what is a terrific long-distance cruiser. They also depreciate like a stone, which is good news if you’re buying used.

 

Club door: MINI ClubmanPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

The all-new MINI Clubman might be a better car than its predecessor, but we’ll always have a soft spot for the original. There’s something rather British about the styling, although that ‘club door’ is a nuisance over here. If you’re looking for something more distinctive than the regular MINI and aren’t too fussed about a massive load area, the Clubman holds strong appeal.

 

Swede dreams: Saab 9-5Practically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Saab’s unfortunate demise has led to plummeting secondhand values, which is good news if you’re looking to buy a 9-5 Estate. There’s a network of Saab specialists to call upon, while original parts are in plentiful supply. The 9-5 is spacious, comfortable, well-equipped and, in Aero guise, properly quick.

 

Space and image: Audi A6 AvantPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

We conclude with three estate cars that will probably account for the majority of shortlists up and down the land. Take the Audi A6 Avant, which benefits from a massive load area, an extremely good interior and the kind of image many rivals can only dream of.

 

The home banker: BMW 3 Series TouringPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

If, on the other hand, you’re not prepared to sacrifice driving dynamics in favour of practicality, the BMW 3 Series Touring is hard to beat, especially in 330d guise.

Home banker, but larger: BMW 5 Series TouringPractically great: brilliant used estate cars for £5,000

Or, if you’re after a little more space, the BMW 5 Series Touring is great to drive, well screwed together and, if equipped with EfficientDynamics gubbins, super-frugal.

Audi A3: Two-Minute Road Test

Audi A3: Two-Minute Road Test

Audi A3: Two-Minute Road Test

Another week, another ‘new’ Audi. This time it’s the A3 – a facelift, even by Audi terms, with a few tweaks to the design (the A4-esque headlights, for example, and a wider grille) and some extra tech that’s trickled down from larger models.

What are its rivals?

Rivals come from traditional upmarket C-segment contenders. So, the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

What’s it like to drive?

What's it like to drive?

Under the bonnet, there are two new TFSI petrol engines: an entry-level 1.0-litre and a larger 2.0-litre. Despite the current anti-diesel sentiment, most buyers are expected to opt for a turbodiesel, available in 1.6-litre (110hp) or 2.0-litre (150hp and 184hp) forms.

We tried the entry-level 1.6 diesel in a three-door A3 in Sport trim with a manual gearbox. Although it suffered from that irritating turbo lag that we’re far too used to from diesels tuned with economy in mind, it’s a good drive. Most junior executives will be happy to punt one along as a company car.

The steering is slightly numb, while you’d probably be better off opting for the standard suspension rather than the firmer sports set-up (a no-cost option) – unless most of your driving is on ultra-smooth motorways.

Fuel economy and running costs

In 1.6-litre diesel guise, the Audi A3 returns an official fuel economy of 78.5mpg (when fitted with the 17-inch alloys that come as standard on the Sport). CO2 emissions come in at 107g/km, meaning road tax will cost you £20 a year and you’ll pay 18% BIK company car tax.

Is it practical?

Is it practical?

The A3’s interior is where it really impresses. It’s always felt to be of top quality, but it’s been brought bang-up-to-date with the addition of Audi’s clever Virtual Cockpit (essentially an LCD display that replaces the conventional dials and can be used to show satellite imagery of the route ahead, media information and even social media channels), plus various other tech.

Those seeking practicality might prefer the five-door Sportback version, with its 380-litre boot (bigger than both the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class).

What about safety?

When tested in 2012, the Audi A3 was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP. German engineering combined with a host of safety kit means the Audi A3 is a very safe car.

Which version should I go for?

Which version should I go for?

As well as the entry-level diesel, we also enjoyed a brief drive of the 1.4-litre TFSI petrol in saloon form. If you’re not restricted to diesels for fuel economy or company car tax reasons, the petrol is a likeable choice. With 150hp and cylinder-on-demand tech, it’s both fun to drive and easy on fuel.

Should I buy one?

It’s not the sort of car that necessarily appeals to the heart, but the A3 is a really well-polished contender in the popular premium C-segment. There are body styles to cater for everyone: three- and five-door hatches (the latter a ‘Sportback’ in Audi lingo), a cabriolet and even a saloon.

Buy one (or, perhaps more likely, consider one as a company car), and you’ll be treated to the best interior in its class, a plethora of new tech to keep the iPhone generation happy, and sensible running costs. If you’re a keen driver, though, you might want to check out the BMW 1 Series.

Pub fact

Pub fact

The first-generation Audi A3 was launched in 1996, and was the firm’s first ‘small car’ since the 1974 Audi 50. The Audi 50 went on to become the Volkswagen Polo.

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto TraderBMW M GmbH takes credit for some of the greatest driver’s cars ever made. And while the ‘M’ stands for ‘motorsport’, these are road cars first and foremost, with a focus on accessible, affordable performance. How affordable? Surprisingly so, if you’re willing to buy second-hand. We searched the Auto Trader classifieds for our M cars of choice.

BMW M2

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

If the sight of Chris Harris hurling an M2 sideways on Top Gear has whetted your appetite, you’re not alone. BMW’s back-to-basics junior M car has earned a slew of five-star ratings from journalists – including Motoring Research.

This particular M2 has a manual gearbox (the driver’s choice, obvs) and is virtually new, having covered just 175 miles. It’s not cheap, at £52,950, but you can skip the lengthy waiting list.

BMW M3 (E30)

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

Here’s the car the M2 has been compared to: the iconic E30 M3. There were no E30 M3 coupes for sale on Auto Trader at the time of writing, so we’ve picked the convertible version. Blistered wheelarches and a dog-leg gearbox mark it out as a bona fide homologation special.

The E30 is one of of the fastest-appreciating classics of recent years, which explains how this 136,000-mile convertible can be advertised for a whopping £69,925. We love the period Hartge alloy wheels, but suspect an M3 coupe would be a better investment.

BMW M3 (E46)

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

If the E30 is out of reach, consider what is now the cheapest M3: the 2000-2006 E46. Powered by a 3.2-litre straight-six that revs to 8,000rpm, it offers savage performance and superb handling. Of all the cars here, it’s the biggest bargain.

We deliberately picked an E46 in our favourite Phoenix Yellow colour. However, for the sake of comfort, we’d prefer 17-inch alloy wheels, rather than the optional 18-inchers seen here. With 110,000 miles on the clock and full service history, this car is advertised for £8,989.

BMW M3 CSL

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

How about the ultimate E46 M3? Step forward the limited-edition CSL. With 17hp more power, 110kg less weight, a stiffer chassis and retuned suspension, the CSL delivered on BMW’s promise of ‘the ultimate driving machine’.

Today, prices of CSLs far outstrip those of the regular E46 M3. The car seen here, for example, is advertised for £69,990. That said, it’s clearly lived a pampered life, with just 15,355 miles from new. Another fantastic investment – but would you dare drive it?

BMW M5 (E39)

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

From perhaps the greatest M3 to what many consider the finest M5. The E39 M5 was sold from 1998-2003 and packed a 400hp V8 inside a subtle saloon body. Despite a limited-slip differential, it isn’t averse to going sideways…

This M5 has covered 131,500 miles, but don’t let that worry you. E39s are generally reliable cars, and this one – advertised at £9,500 – comes with full service history. That’s awful lot of metal, not to mention performance, for your money.

BMW M5 (E60)

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

Got a bit more cash to spend? Good, then you’ll want an E60 M5. The successor to the E39 was on sale from 2005-2010 and is a car utterly dominated by its howling 507hp V10 engine. However, maintenance costs are high and many dislike the SMG semi-automatic gearbox.

If you’re going to take the plunge with an E60, you’ll want a reliable one. That means buying one of the best available – like this 36,500-mile car advertised for a not-inconsiderable £23,995. Then again, that’s still less than a new Golf GTI…

BMW M5 Touring

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

No, your eyes do not deceive you – this really is an M estate car. The E60 Touring is much rarer than the saloon, with just 1,025 built – versus 19,564 for the four-door. A feral V10 AND the ability to carry an Ikea Billy bookcase? Talk about having your cake…

The Touring’s relative rarity means prices are higher than the equivalent saloon. This 2007 example has covered 67,500 miles and is advertised for £23,995. It’s fully loaded and comes with comprehensive service history, but we’d still recommend a professional inspection before you buy.

BMW M6 Gran Coupe

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

The M6 Gran Coupe is another rare-groove M car that offers plenty of pace and space, particularly for passengers. Its beautiful design makes BMW’s flagship 7 series look dull and frumpy, but it’s certainly not cheap – at around £95,000 if you buy new.

Indeed, the ad states this sleek black Gran Coupe cost ‘over £100,000 new’. Which makes its £49,995 asking price, with a modest 22,500 miles on the clock, look rather good value. An equipment list longer than your arm includes carbon fibre interior trim, soft-close doors and a surround-view parking camera.

BMW Z3 M Coupe

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto TraderThe Z3 M Coupe is the black sheep of the M family, with controversial styling and hooligan handling. It packs a 244hp straight six into a three-door ‘shooting brake’ estate body. Later, post-2001 cars had 325hp. A slow-seller when new, the M Coupe is now a sought-after classic.

This imported, left-hand-drive M Coupe has just over 50,000 miles on the clock and is advertised for £22,990. The Darka Yellow paint won’t be to everyone’s taste, but we think it suits the extrovert character of the hot Z3. Another M car that is appreciating fast.

BMW Z4 M Coupe

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

The Z3 M Coupe was followed by this – a car with less divisive looks, but equally punchy performance. A 343hp in-line six gives 0-62mph in 5.0sec and a top speed limited to 155mph. Interestingly, BMW has never made an M version of its successor, the current (E89) Z4.

Rarity and a reputation for being fun to drive mean Z4 M values have stayed strong. This 2006 car has covered 54,000 miles and is advertised on Auto Trader for £17,489. A red leather interior is a nod to German sports cars of old. Or maybe a tribute to TOWIE, depending on your point of view.

BMW Z4 M Roadster

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

We haven’t forgotten the open-top version of the Z4 M either. In fact, we think the once-controversial, Chris-Bangle-penned lines of this roadster look better with every passing year. A range of petrol engines was available, from a 150hp 2.0 upwards. But the brawny Z4 M is the one we really want.

This 2006 Z4 looks fantastic on 19-inch alloy wheels, and the vendor promises it ‘sounds superb’, too. It’s offered at £12,495 with 85,000 miles on the clock. This, or a Lotus Elise with less than half the power?

BMW M4 Convertible

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

Staying with drop-top M cars, here’s the latest M4 convertible. With 425hp coursing through its rear tyres, it’ll hit 62mph in 4.3sec (4.6sec with a manual ’box) and blow-dry your hair faster than, well, a hairdryer. The M4 isn’t the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to handling, so the convertible version makes sense. It’s a cruiser AND a bruiser…

The M4 was only launched in 2014, so it’s still a relatively pricey used buy. This 2015 car has covered 4,000 miles and is offered for £54,994 – a useful saving after all the extra-cost options, such as memory seats, a reversing camera and BMW Professional navigation, are taken into account. What do you mean you don’t like white with red leather?

BMW M3 Convertible (E36)

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

The E36 M3 Convertible is a more affordable way into an open-top M car, particularly as most enthusiasts prefer the coupe or saloon. Like the latest M4, it’s a slightly softer take on the M formula, with a muscular six-cylinder engine and plenty of standard kit.

Many E36 cabrios fell into the wrong hands and the car developed a bit of an image problem. Fortunately, it’s now being recognised as a credible classic. This later Evo model has covered 68,042 miles and is advertised for £12,925 – about a quarter of what you’d pay for a new M4.

BMW 1 Series M Coupe

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

Oooof – now we’re talking. The 1 Series M Coupe is another car frequently mentioned in the same breath as the new M2. Launched in 2011, only 6,309 examples of this 340hp turbocharged terror were built. Savage performance and balletic handling meant it immediately took its place among the M car greats.

The 1 Series M Coupe (often referred to simply as the ‘1M’) is famous for being completely depreciation-proof. It cost £40,000 when new and here, five years later and with 18,750 miles on the clock, is a Valencia Orange example for £47,950. Five years of fun and a tidy profit? Sounds like win-win.

BMW M135i

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

Officially, the M135i isn’t a ‘proper’ M car. Still, who can argue with the idea of a six-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive hot hatch? Especially when said hatch packs 326hp and hits 62mph in 5.1sec. The latest Ford Focus RS may have stolen its crown, but the BMW still offers plenty of driver appeal.

The M135i is also looking conspicuously good value – as a brief browse of Auto Trader reveals. This 2013 car costs less than half the £32,000 BMW asks for a new M140i – the upgraded, 2016 version of the M135i. It also has a manual gearbox, although we’d be equally happy with the excellent – and more common – paddle-shift automatic.

BMW X5M

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto TraderBMW purists, look away now: this is about to get controversial. In 2009, M division turned its attention to an SUV for the first time. And while car journalists wrung their hands in distress, many buyers loved the idea of a hot X5 to take on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The original X5M seen here had 555hp. The latest version has 575hp.

Described in the ad as a ‘sports activity vehicle’, this X5M certainly looks the part, with bright Monte Carlo Blue paint and 20-inch alloy wheels. Not sure how family-friendly a white leather interior is, though. A 2010 car with 45,440 miles on the clock, it’s listed on Auto Trader at £27,850.

BMW X6M

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

If you thought THAT was controversial, prepare to spit out your tea. The X6M is a coupe, SUV and M car rolled into one. Some will question the point of shoehorning a 555hp V8 into something that weighs 2.3 tonnes, but others rate the X6’s high driving position and in-yer-face styling. You pays your money…

How much money are we talking? Well, unlike some M cars, the X6 certainly isn’t depreciation-proof. This car would have cost nearly £90,000 when new in 2011, but is now advertised for a third of that price. The Melbourne Red paint suits it, we think.

Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

BMW has never built a diesel M car, so the D3 Bi-Turbo fills that void. It hits 60mph in a brisk 6.9sec, yet returns official fuel economy of 50.4mpg. No petrol-engined M gets close to that. If you cover a lot of motorway miles, the rare and subtly cool Alpina makes a lot of sense.

This D3 looks fab on trad-Alpina multi-spoke alloys, and also features a rare, suede-wrapped Alpina steering wheel. The odometer reads 79,304 miles, but its condition is described as ‘excellent’. If we found £11,950 down the back of the sofa, we’d be tempted.

BMW Z8

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

Most famous for its role in James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, the Z8 isn’t an M car either. However, it is one of the fastest and most desirable BMWs ever made, which qualifies it for a place here. It borrows its 400hp V8 from the E39 M5 and cost £80,000 when new.

You’ll struggle to find a Z8 for £80,000 now, though. This lovely 2002 example has covered just 7,200 miles and is priced at £199,995. Welcome to the world of investment-grade classic cars. We love the Z8’s styling, which is heavily influenced by the classic 507 roadster, but its chintzy retro interior is perhaps a step too far.

BMW i8

20 awesome BMW M cars to buy on Auto Trader

Bang-up-to-date with the BMW i8, another car that would almost certainly wear an M badge if it wasn’t the flag-bearer for BMW’s new electric ‘i’ sub-brand. The Z8 sprints to 62mph in 4.4sec and returns an official 134.5mpg. Oh, and it looks like the Batmobile. What’s not to like?

There’s no such thing as a cheap i8 – the cheapest example on Auto Trader at the time of writing was £75,000. That’s still a useful saving over the car’s £105,000 new price, though. And just think how much money you’ll save on fuel…

‘Keep Britain open for business’ urges UK automotive

‘Keep Britain open for business’ urges UK automotive

‘Keep Britain open for business’ urges UK automotive

2015 was a record year for Britain’s automotive industry, with turnover of £71.6 billion – but this success could be at risk if crucial access to the EU single market is threatened by Brexit.

Unrestricted access to Europe has been a key factor in UK automotive going from strength to strength, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said at the launch of the industry’s annual Sustainability Report: 814,000 people are now dependent on the automotive industry, 169,000 of them employed directly in manufacturing.

“This success has been due to unrestricted access to the single market, input to EU legislation to safeguard the interests of UK Automotive, and the ability to recruit talent from abroad,” he said.

“Our growth depends on certainty and continued open and reciprocal access to the 100-plus markets with which the UK automotive industry so successfully trades. This is not just finished cars but components, technologies and the wider automotive value chain.

“Any risks and uncertainty to these fundamental benefits need to be addressed head on by UK government.”

While not directly referring to the EU Referendum decision, the SMMT also cited EU-negotiated international trade deals and the ability to influence new standards as key factors in the industry’s success: “significant gains in employment, economic contribution and environmental performance” will only be continued if the right post-Brexit deal is struck.

Come back later for more news on how the automotive industry is responding to Brexit