First drive: VW Golf R...on ice

VW Golf R...on ice

What's this?

The fastest, most powerful Golf ever, that's what. Golfs started getting R treatment in 2002 with the V6-engined R32 and since then the power has kept on coming. So now we're up to this one - the fourth R generation - with a 2-litre turbo making 296bhp, that's 29bhp more than the last R and a healthy 70bhp more than a GTI. It also comes with the newest version of VW's 4Motion four-wheel-drive system, and MQB chassis goodness as per all Mk7 Golfs. That puts it in the dropzone of superhatches like the Audi S3 and Merc A45 AMG.

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First drive: BMW 4-Series convertible

BMW 4_Series convertible

Well, that looks pretty suave...

Sure does. Folding hardtops do tend to look a bit lardy in the backside, especially four-seaters. It's a consequence of having to stow away such a big roof. But the 4 Convertible's tail is low and suitably lean. And the rest of the bodywork, like the 4-series Coupe, certainly gives no cause for complaint.

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First drive: BMW M235i

BMW M235i

Could this be a 2002Tii for our times, or maybe a reborn E36 328i coupe?

Do you know, it just might be. Remember the notion of BMWs as ultimate driving machines? As simple, straightforward but delightfully refined cars with a wide streak of fun? Put aside the X-model SUVs and the super-efficient little diesels, never mind the i cars. Even the ever-bigger and over-complicated M cars don't count here. I'm talking about what BMW was once all about - compact, rear-drive, beautifully engineered, straight-six if possible.

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First drive: Jaguar F-Type Coupe

Jaguar F_Type Coupe

Less than one year in, and it's time to get excited over the Jaguar F-Type all over again. What we have here is the new Coupe body. If that's not enough, we've also got the R badge. With that, the supercharged 5.0-litre engine is cranked up to 542bhp, as opposed to the 488bhp of the far-from-unexciting V8S Convertible.

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First drive: Jaguar XKR-S GT

First drive Jaguar XKR_S GT

That's a lot of initials.

Aren't there just. First, in 2006, there was the XK, then the XKR arrived with a supercharger to partner the 5.0-litre V8, then along came the XKR-S with yet more power and control, now this, the XKR-S GT. Which is something altogether different.

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First drive: Ford Ecosport

First drive Ford Ecosport

Ford wants to become your universal provider of crossovers in Britain. What with the Kuga, now this dinky Ecosport and the upcoming Mondeo-sized Edge it unveiled at the LA show, the Blue Oval will have pretty well every size covered a year from now.

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First drive: Lotus Exige V6 Cup

First drive Lotus Exige V6 Cup

What is it?

The Exige V6 Cup is Lotus's riposte to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, an even more stripped-out and razor-edged version of the already extreme Exige. Basically, it's a car that's as happy on the track as it is on the road.

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TG drives the BMW M3 Ute

“… It’s clearly an Aussie-style Ute: car upfront, truck out back, the mullet of automobiles”

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First drive: Abarth 595 50th Anniversary

First drive Abarth 595 50th Anniversary

What's this, then?

According to Fiat, it's a ‘small supercar'. Back in the real world, it's a yet-hotter 500 Abarth cooked up to celebrate 50 years since the launch of the original 595 Abarth.

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Porsche 918 Spyder: the definitive verdict

Porsche 918 Spyder the definitive verdict

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