Archive for Joe Simpson

Mercedes-AMG GT R first drive: One 'Green Hell' of a car

Mercedes-AMG GT R first drive: One 'Green Hell' of a car

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GT R. If that's a name that sounds familiar, it's because you'll normally find it attached to the boot-lid of Nissan's fastest road car. But it's also now attached to the most potent Mercedes-AMG.Mercedes-AMG already has a GT model — which we drove... >>

Renault Koleos review: Can the 5-seat SUV make its mark?
3.5 stars

Renault Koleos review: Can the 5-seat SUV make its mark?

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French brands have never really succeeded in selling larger cars in the UK. There's one notable exception: the Renault Espace, a ground-breaking people carrier that did will in the 80s and 90s.But in 2017 — despite there being an all-new Espace which... >>

Porsche Panamera (2017) review: Tantalising tech is only half the treat
4.5 stars

Porsche Panamera (2017) review: Tantalising tech is only half the treat

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"Fahren, fahren, fahren auf der Autobahn," Emil Shult chants out of the Bose stereo as we speed up the A1 in the new Porsche Panamera 4S. Kraftwerk's Autobahn might be a cliché choice of soundtrack, but for a late night motorway mission in a fast German... >>

Seat Ibiza review: A class-leading drive that's fun for all the family
5.0 stars

Seat Ibiza review: A class-leading drive that's fun for all the family

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Say Hola! to the new Seat Ibiza, the fifth-generation of the Spanish firm's popular small car.Seat has suddenly got very popular in the UK – the new Ateca SUV and Leon family hatchback selling big, but the Ibiza has always been at the core of the firm's... >>

Mercedes-Benz E-Class review: Better than a BMW 5 Series?
4.5 stars

Mercedes-Benz E-Class review: Better than a BMW 5 Series?

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Mercedes says everything it knows about how to build a car has gone into the new E-Class. Being that it is the oldest car brand in the world, that's probably quite a lot of stuff.The new E-Class went on sale in 2016. On our first drive in Portugal we... >>

Mini Countryman Cooper S E preview: Mini's first electric hybrid hits the road

Mini Countryman Cooper S E preview: Mini's first electric hybrid hits the road

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By its own management's admission the Mini brand has overstretched itself. Like a greedy child with eyes bigger than its belly, the once maker of an uber-compact car has seen its range balloon. Now Mini makes a whole host of options, including cabrios,... >>

BMW 530e plug-in hybrid preview: The best of both worlds?

BMW 530e plug-in hybrid preview: The best of both worlds?

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The new BMW 5-Series is a car we already know to be talented. In our 5-star review of the upper-spec 530d, we said that, judged in isolation, it goes "straight to the top of the class". That's a class which includes the Mercedes E-Class, which when we... >>

Alfa Romeo Giulia (2017) review: An Alfa that doesn’t do clichés
4.0 stars

Alfa Romeo Giulia (2017) review: An Alfa that doesn’t do clichés

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There is a saying that, to be a true car fan, you must have owned an Alfa Romeo. But a Mito, and a Giulietta (the extent of Alfa's range until now) hardly represent petrol-head nirvana. For Alfa fans, the Giulia has been a long time coming.Its predecessor,... >>

Volkswagen Golf GTI first drive: The hot hatch that transcends boundaries

Volkswagen Golf GTI first drive: The hot hatch that transcends boundaries

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Some cars are considered as class benchmarks. The Volkswagen Golf GTI is one such car. And with the German firm having just refreshed its best-selling small hatchback (see our regular, Mk 7.5 Golf TDi first drive) we took the opportunity to jump into... >>

Volkswagen Golf R-Line first drive: Leader of the pack

Volkswagen Golf R-Line first drive: Leader of the pack

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Given its status as the best-selling car in Europe and its leadership of the compact hatchback class, when Volkswagen updates the Golf, you take note. When we reviewed the then new Golf 7 back in 2013 it gained a coveted full-marks score."So why are... >>

Volvo V90 review: An effortlessly modern and elegant estate car
4.5 stars

Volvo V90 review: An effortlessly modern and elegant estate car

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Unless you're a fully paid-up Volvo hater (and we've found a few), then it's hard not to admire what the Swedish company is doing at the moment. The "human-made" advertising campaign cuts to the heart of the brand's Scandinavian design appeal and marks... >>

Seat Ateca review: A genuine Qashqai alternative
4.5 stars

Seat Ateca review: A genuine Qashqai alternative

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SUV and crossover cars sales are booming. But it's only now that some brands are debuting an SUV for the first time. Case in point: the Seat Ateca, which began production in 2016.The new Ateca sits above the Leon in Seat's range and is built on the... >>

Peugeot 3008 review: A tech-tastic crossover that's sure to Allure
4.0 stars

Peugeot 3008 review: A tech-tastic crossover that's sure to Allure

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The first time you see a new Peugeot 3008 on the road, we guarantee you'll look twice. This is not a car you'd call beautiful. But it does nail that modern SUV crossover thing - a complex piece of automotive sculpture which is decked out with interesting... >>

Jaguar updates F-Type with 4-cylinder engines and latest in-car tech

Jaguar updates F-Type with 4-cylinder engines and latest in-car tech

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Jaguar has unveiled an updated four-cylinder engine version of the F-Type at the New York Auto Show, scheduled to go on sale summer 2017.The F-Type has won countless accolades for the way it looks, so it's not a huge surprise to hear the company hasn't tinkered... >>

Best of the Geneva Motor Show 2017: Concept cars, supercars and everything in-between

Best of the Geneva Motor Show 2017: Concept cars, supercars and everything in-between

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The Geneva Motor Show is the most important in the European calendar. The industry crossroads, the point where everyone (and their entourage) rock up and where we're usually guaranteed the biggest single number of car launches.And 2017 was a bumper show,... >>

Renault Scenic (2017) review: The master of reinvention
4.0 stars

Renault Scenic (2017) review: The master of reinvention

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Reinventing any vehicle represents a challenge. Change the name and you'll lose customers, keep the same name and you create certain expectations. And with the Scenic, Renault has one of the most distinctive names in the business - the car that started... >>

Jaguar F-Pace review: Outpacing its SUV rivals?
4.5 stars

Jaguar F-Pace review: Outpacing its SUV rivals?

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Ten years ago, the concept of a Jaguar SUV would have been laughable. Since the brand twinned with Land Rover there was logic in the argument that Jag did the pretty saloons and coupes, while Land Rover did the off-road practical stuff. But the SUV market... >>

Porsche 718 Boxster S review: Four-cylinder foibles
4.0 stars

Porsche 718 Boxster S review: Four-cylinder foibles

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Can you believe the Porsche Boxster is 20 years old? We barely can either. But back when the Spice Girls were miming Wannabe on Top of the Pops and kids were losing their minds over POGs, the Boxster was waiting in the wings, preparing itself to utterly... >>

Seat Leon Cupra review: Simmering rather than on-the-boil hot hatch
4.0 stars

Seat Leon Cupra review: Simmering rather than on-the-boil hot hatch

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Seat launched the first-generation Leon in 1998. Sportier than the VW Golf, and cheaper than the Audi A3 (with which it shared much), it married the best qualities of both and the car reached its zenith as the range-topping Cupra R performance model.That... >>

Mazda 2 review: One of the best cars in its class
4.0 stars

Mazda 2 review: One of the best cars in its class

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If you are thinking about buying a supermini then cars like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio and maybe a Volkswagen Polo or something else from the VW group come to mind.One car that might be slightly off your radar is the Mazda 2. Despite... >>

Peugeot 308 GTi review: Five door with added ooh la la
4.0 stars

Peugeot 308 GTi review: Five door with added ooh la la

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Think GTi and Volkswagen springs to mind, right? But as you'll know if you've read our review of the Peugeot 208 GTi, the French car-maker has something to say about its German cousin owning that moniker.And the very Golf-sized Peugeot 308 is now available... >>

Jaguar I-Pace preview: More titillating than a Tesla?

Jaguar I-Pace preview: More titillating than a Tesla?

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It only seemed like 15 minutes ago that we were arguing about whether or not Jaguar should build an SUV. With the I-Pace shown off at the LA Motor Show - or AutomobilityLA as it's now known - Jag shows us it's not only thinking about building more SUVs,... >>

Alfa Romeo Stelvio preview: Alfa’s first SUV

Alfa Romeo Stelvio preview: Alfa’s first SUV

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At the LA Motor Show - or AutomobilityLA as it's now known - it felt as though every brand brought a new SUV. From Honda and Mazda, through to Chevrolet, Jaguar and - most surprisingly of all - Alfa Romeo.Alfa has never made an SUV before, but the demand... >>

Best of the LA Motor Show 2016: Mercedes, Jaguar, and more

Best of the LA Motor Show 2016: Mercedes, Jaguar, and more

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Los Angeles: Hollywood, sun, sand, silicon and celebrity.But it's also the USA's home of car culture. Every November a major motor show rolls into town, where the traditional big car brands' satellite studios show their thinking about what will be happening... >>

Honda HR-V review: An unusual acquaintance
3.5 stars

Honda HR-V review: An unusual acquaintance

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Honda is one of Britain's great car makers. Yes, you did read that correctly. Despite being a Japanese firm, the company's vast operation in Swindon - where it builds the Civic, Jazz and CR-V - makes it one of the UK's biggest car producers.Which makes... >>

Volvo V90 preview: Superior interior

Volvo V90 preview: Superior interior

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Volvo is on a roll. The Swedish company has come out of the shadows of the dowdy, safe image it once had and is managing to out-cool the established German brands with some very handsome new car designs which are awash with tech.Nothing we're going to... >>

Volkswagen ID Concept preview: Electric atonement?

Volkswagen ID Concept preview: Electric atonement?

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"What does the ID stand for?" "Isn't Diesel'?!" shouted one lark across the Volkswagen stand at the Paris Motor Show.Follow the auto industry and you'll know the score by now about the pickle VW is in related to diesel emissions fixing. Yes, Volkswagen... >>

Best of the Paris Motor Show 2016: BMW, Porsche, Citroen and more

Best of the Paris Motor Show 2016: BMW, Porsche, Citroen and more

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Every other year car makers, journalists and public descend on Paris for a few days in late September, to attend what is Europe's largest motor show, or Mondial de l'Automobile if you're feeling especially French.Alternating with the Frankfurt show in... >>

Ford Focus RS first drive: The B-road baller

Ford Focus RS first drive: The B-road baller

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When was the last time you truly felt alive? Today more than ever, it is perhaps the experiences we have - and the moments when we feel a sense of risk, jeopardy, fear, exhilaration or just sheer joy - that make us truly wide-eyed.Which brings us to the... >>

Volkswagen Golf R Estate review: The ultimate fast, all-weather estate
4.5 stars

Volkswagen Golf R Estate review: The ultimate fast, all-weather estate

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It is sometimes said that a Volkswagen Golf is the car for everyone. But who is everyone? There's now an electric Golf and a hybrid Golf in among the regular diesel and petrol Golfs, plus a powerful diesel one and a powerful petrol one.But which powerful... >>

Mini John Cooper Works review: Mini by name, maxed-out by nature
4.5 stars

Mini John Cooper Works review: Mini by name, maxed-out by nature

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The Cooper Car company was founded in Surbiton in 1947. Charles Cooper and his son John began building racing cars that eventually changed the face of F1. In 1961, John Cooper conceived the first faster-and-tuned Mini, which dominated rallying in the... >>

Volkswagen Touran review: Peak practicality
4.0 stars

Volkswagen Touran review: Peak practicality

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The world might have gone SUV and crossover mad, but if you've a brood of three (or more) to cart around then a mid-sized crossover like the Nissan Qashqai doesn't actually cut it. That's why - despite their perceived lack of sexiness - MPVs like the... >>

Renault Megane 2016 review: Dynamique or dud?
3.5 stars

Renault Megane 2016 review: Dynamique or dud?

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This is the fourth-generation Renault Megane - the French company's mid-sized family hatchback, which has been with us since 1995. In that time, Renault has sold over a half a million of the things in the UK.Whereas its Volkswagen Golf competitor evolves... >>

Porsche 911 Carrera (2017) review: Engine evolution?
4.5 stars

Porsche 911 Carrera (2017) review: Engine evolution?

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Throughout its history the Porsche 911 has undergone some critical design changes, each one of which naysayers have warned might kill off what makes this car so special. There have been impact bumpers, the move from an air-cooled to water-cooled engine,... >>

Renault Zoe review: Electrical engineering
3.5 stars

Renault Zoe review: Electrical engineering

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It's been a typical complaint of the modern electric car that - from the perspective of asking price - most are simply too expensive to make sense. As one of the leaders in the electric-mobility revolution, Renault has sought to challenge that notion... >>

Volkswagen Tiguan first drive: All grown up

Volkswagen Tiguan first drive: All grown up

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Volkswagen was early to market with the last-generation Tiguan. It sold so well (1.8 million since 2007), it's a bit confusing as to why VW has been shy at coming forward to join the SUV revolution.But hurrah, never fear, the new Tiguan is here. And it... >>

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT first drive: The SLS is dead, long live the AMG GT

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT first drive: The SLS is dead, long live the AMG GT

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What can you learn about a car from simply driving it on a race track? Quite a lot as it happens, particularly when it's a sports car like the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT.Mercedes introduced its AMG GT last year as a replacement for the dramatic, gullwing-door... >>

Volkswagen Golf 1.0-litre TSi first drive: Fore!

Volkswagen Golf 1.0-litre TSi first drive: Fore!

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We already know that the Volkswagen Golf is an excellent family hatchback. In fact, we'd still rate it as best in class — and three years on, still deserving of the 5-star review we gave it back at launch in 2013.But just how much Golf do you need?... >>

Volvo XC90 review: Setting the SUV standard
5.0 stars

Volvo XC90 review: Setting the SUV standard

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In car terms, half a decade is a lifetime. So the last Volvo XC90's 12-year production run represents something of an unusual case. It sold well right to the end but was out-smarted by a new breed of big SUVs.Enter the new XC90. The first production car... >>

Mercedes-Benz C220d AMG Line Coupe first drive: Covering all bases

Mercedes-Benz C220d AMG Line Coupe first drive: Covering all bases

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What's in a name? For their medium-sized executive coupes, both Audi and BMW have chosen to position their more sporting offerings as stand-alone to the saloon versions, with the respective A5 and 4-Series. That means a different name and different styling.Mercedes?... >>

Mercedes GLC first drive: SUVving to consider

Mercedes GLC first drive: SUVving to consider

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This is the Mercedes GLC. It's Merc's mid-sized SUV rival to the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. It's a significant car for the brand, because this is the first time Mercedes has had a car of this size, in this class, available in the UK. The old, square-rig GLK... >>

Infiniti Q30 first drive: To infinity and beyond?

Infiniti Q30 first drive: To infinity and beyond?

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It's unusual to introduce a car from a brand that some readers might not be aware of, but a quick straw poll of friends and colleagues suggests Infiniti isn't a universally known entity. So the Q30, its compact premium hatchback, might not be at the forefront... >>

Volkswagen T-Prime GTE Concept preview: Prime cut SUV

Volkswagen T-Prime GTE Concept preview: Prime cut SUV

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Whoever is naming new VW concepts is going down an ever weirder rabbit hole. In the past couple of years we've had the T-Roc and the T-Cross Breeze — both from subsequent Geneva Show reveals — and now the T-Prime GTE Concept unveiled at the Beijing... >>

Porsche 718 Cayman preview: Firing on all (four) cylinders

Porsche 718 Cayman preview: Firing on all (four) cylinders

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Twinned with the new 718 Boxster that we drove a couple of weeks back, Porsche's new model offensive continued at the Beijing Auto Show with the launch of the 718 Cayman. The hard-top coupe twin version to the Boxster's drop top, the 718 Cayman holds... >>

LeEco LeSee preview: See what all Le fuss is about

LeEco LeSee preview: See what all Le fuss is about

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The star of the Beijing Auto Show isn't a Volkswagen, or a Porsche, or a Mercedes. It's something most people have never heard of before: the LeSee, a car from LeEco (formerly LeTV).You might be thinking, "so what?". But this car is significant for a... >>

Best of the Beijing Auto Show: LeEco, Tesla, Audi, and more

Best of the Beijing Auto Show: LeEco, Tesla, Audi, and more

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You might have heard that China is the second biggest car market in the world. But when it comes to Chinese car brands most Westerners are still blissfully unaware of the homegrown Chinese car market. If you do have an impression of such brands, it's... >>

Jaguar XE R-Sport review: Everyday superhero?
4.0 stars

Jaguar XE R-Sport review: Everyday superhero?

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In this game of ours we can't help forming an opinion of a car before we've driven it. We do that based on how it looks, how the spec shapes up, and even, to a degree, the opinions of some trusted friends and journalists. All of whom have raved about... >>

Mini Clubman review: A club worth being in
4.5 stars

Mini Clubman review: A club worth being in

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The new Mini Clubman is the biggest Mini ever. But can such a classically small car be turned into a family runabout that could conceivably be purchased instead of a VW Golf?In this review we aim to find out, by putting the Clubman through the ultimate... >>

Porsche 911 Turbo S (2017) first drive: Ready to launch

Porsche 911 Turbo S (2017) first drive: Ready to launch

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In a world of McLarens, Ferraris and Porsche's own 918 supercar, it's easy to forget about the shock and awe that the Porsche 911 Turbo was once capable of inducing. The original, usable supercar was once considered to be almost antisocially fast. Is... >>

Ferrari GTC4 Lusso: A Ferrari fit for the whole family?

Ferrari GTC4 Lusso: A Ferrari fit for the whole family?

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The FF is dead, long live the GTC4 Lusso. Clumsy badging aside, what you're looking at is a heavy facelift of the current FF, which is the oldest car in Ferrari's range.That means that the GTC4 is a V12, front-engined, 4-Seat shooting brake. An odd combination... >>