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This week: The radical blueprint for the future of Mini, Britain’s Best Driver’s Car shootout and much more
Autocar
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4 mins read
18 November 2020

Mini’s radical Urbanaut concept isn’t a one-off showpiece - it could preview one of the most game-changing additions to its growing line-up in the form of a spacious new MPV.

While Mini has yet to fully realise the project, the design, which is inspired by the need to develop future mobility solutions, is being seriously mooted as the blueprint for a future production model. Find out all the details in this week’s mag, which also features one of our most important tests of the year: Britain’s best driver’s car.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

BMW has revealed its new electric iX SUV in near-production form, bringing with it an evolution of the controversial styling direction seen on the recently-revealed M4 coupé.

Meanwhile, Nissan is building up to the launch of a new generation of its best-selling Qashqai - and has revealed several key details ahead of its reveal. Audi is celebrating 40 years of its quattro four-wheel-drive brand with a racy new concept: the RS6 GTO concept. It has also updated the SQ5 sports SUV.

Ferrari has launched its most powerful series-production soft-top and, indeed, the most powerful such model in the world: the 986bhp SF90 Spider, which takes the title from the firm’s own 812 GTS.

Elsewhere, Ford has its sights on revolutionising the commercial vehicle market, and is pinning its hopes on its new electric E-Transit., while Vauxhall is preparing to overhaul the Astra for its eighth generation.

In our analysis section, we take a look at the winners and losers as firms race to lower their CO2 emissions ahead of the introduction of strict 2021 EU targets.

The subject of Autocar’s Business section, meanwhile, is the used market - specifically, how the UK’s ban on car repossessions, which is soon to be lifted, is set to combine with falling demand to reduce values. Jim Holder asks how insurers will react if a self-driving car causes a crash.

Reviews

Is there any good reason other than slightly better practicality for picking the new hot Ford Puma ST over its fast Fiesta relation? We put it through its paces on UK roads and find out.

The Ferrari 812 GTS is a sensational 789bhp V12-powered grand tourer, and, now, it comes with a retractable hard-top. Does this give it a more rounded and likable composure?

Then, we ask if the Ford Focus ST Automatic is even better than its predecessor with a self-shifting gearbox, before stepping into Mercedes-Benz’s new S580E to find out if its lofty technical achievement will attract buyers.

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Features

The Coronavirus pandemic meant that this year’s Britain’s Britain’s Best Driver’s Car shootout looked unlikely to happen, but planning, rigorous social distancing and a herculean effort from our road testers saw dozens of the world’s best supercars, sports cars and hot hatches descend on Exmoor and Wiltshire to battle for the crown.

Our epic 2020 driver’s car fest starts with cheap thrills, as we put the contestants for Britain’s Best Affordable Driver’s Car, including the new Golf GTI and Toyota Yaris, through the mill to settle on a winner.

Then, it’s time for the main event, as the winner of our ‘cheaper seats’ battle joins seven talented big hitters to vie for the title of Britain’s Best Driver’s Car. And Andrew Frankel referees.

Finally, we narrow the pack down to a shortlist of three. You won’t get any spoilers here. All we’ll reveal is that the result is one of the closest calls for top honours in BBDC history.

Opinions

There isn’t a Suzuki Ignis Appreciation Society, but Steve Cropley is keen to start one to highlight this underrated, separate and special car. It’s not quite a Mini, though, as Steve was reminded when one appeared on his doorstep, and a whiz around the block caused a pang of regret for the drivers who won’t get to drive one. Elsewhere, Matt Prior gives his verdict on the BMW iX.

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Deals

New driver? There are plenty of great low-cost options for you on the used market, urges our Bangernomics guru James Ruppert. Meanwhile, Mark Pearson argues the case for a nearly new Volkswagen T-Roc, and Felix Page indulges his nostalgic side as he shows you how to sniff out a prime used Morris Minor.

Where to buy

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

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