Autocar October 13, 2021

Autocar is the car nut’s weekly fix, delivering you a unique mix of the latest news, opinion, features, first drives of new cars and in-depth road tests – all complemented by the best photography in the business. No other magazine covers the subject you love with such enthusiasm, insight and quality every week of the year. Autocar stands for the highest quality in car journalism – and is rewarded with access to the best new cars and the biggest news stories before any of the opposition which we share with you, our readers, every week.

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51 Issues

in this issue

1 min
chips are down as a new trend rises

LAST MONTH’S NEW car sales were the worst recorded for the traditionally bumper month of September since the UK switched to the two-number-plates-a-year system in 1999 (p8). The reason? It’s that shortage of semiconductor computer chips again, which are causing serious ongoing harm to the production of new cars and their availability. The tip of the iceberg is the Ford Fiesta. For so long Britain’s best-selling car, it didn’t even make the top 10 in September. There is not one Fiesta in stock in the UK, and if you order one now, it’ll arrive after next March. We reveal other remarkable, long lead times this week (p50). How about 2023 for a new Land Rover Defender? While you’d expect Fiesta sales to return to normal once the chip crisis is resolved, other…

4 min
mazda stays true to petrol power with all-new mx-5

Mazda’s commitment to internal combustion will extend to the next-generation MX-5, which is set to receive the Japanese manufacturer’s newest and most advanced petrol-engine technology rather than a plug-in hybrid or battery-electric powertrain. Mazda last year launched its first BEV, the MX-30 crossover, but just a year before that ushered in its innovative Skyactiv-X petrol engine technology, which uses spark-controlled compression ignition (SPCCI) to improve efficiency and performance. This could enable some petrol-powered Mazdas to remain on sale as their respective rivals go electric. The MX-5 in particular is a likely candidate, given that its relatively low sales volumes have a negligible impact on Mazda’s European fleet-average CO2 emissions. The manufacturer has previously confirmed that a Skyactiv-X engine will be used only in all-new models that have been designed around it and its associated…

1 min
mazda readies rotary range extender and two new phevs

The MX-30 has one of the shortest ranges of any mainstream BEV, but Mazda has vowed to improve usability with the addition of an optional petrol engine to serve as a range extender, as BMW used to do with the i3. Most notably, the petrol element of the MX-30 REx’s drivetrain will bring back rotary engine technology, which hasn’t been used by any production car since Mazda’s own RX-8 sports coupé, which bowed out in 2012. Mazda will introduce the new petrol-electric drivetrain early next year, and it will technically be the first plug-in hybrid offered by the brand in Europe. A more conventional petrol-engined PHEV powertrain will be offered by the all-new CX-60 crossover and CX-80 seven-seat SUV, which have been confirmed by Mazda for launch in Europe by 2024. This is…

4 min
nissan gt-r sticking to its guns

Nissan’s GT-R supercar is tipped to stick with combustion power as part of a wide-reaching overhaul in the coming years. The V6-powered coupé has been on sale largely unchanged, save for subtle model year updates and a plethora of special editions (see right), since it arrived 14 years ago. Yet even the introduction of the next-generation ‘R36’ model is unlikely to bring much in the way of significant technical overhaul – although the introduction of a new platform could see it adopt a degree of electrification. Back in 2018, when work on the next GT-R was already under way, Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa told Autocar that the ultimate priority is for the R36 to be “the fastest super-sports car in the world”. He elaborated that this title could still theoretically be achieved…

1 min
more reborn sports legends coming out of japan

Honda Civic Type R Honda recently confirmed that it’s working on a Type R version of the next-generation Civic for launch in 2022. The hot hatchback’s characteristically outlandish styling cues look to have been largely carried over, including the divisive rear wing, but questions remain over whether its 316bhp turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be retained, upgraded, electrified or replaced entirely. Subaru WRX Subaru’s rally-honed sports saloon keeps its boxer engine but moves to a new platform with the promise of improved refinement and handling. It still won’t come to the UK, though. Toyota GR 86 The successor to the venerable GT86 coupé is inbound, bringing a 2.4-litre atmo boxer engine from Subaru, the option of a manual gearbox and a low kerb weight of just 1270kg.…

1 min
how r35 was made special

2009 SpecV With no rear seats and carbonfibre used liberally inside and out, the track-focused SpecV was 60kg lighter than the standard car. Just 150 were built. 2013 Midnight Opal Special Edition Referencing the famous Midnight Purple Skyline GT-Rs, this limited-run model received a unique carbonfibre rear wing and new lightweight forged wheels. 2015 45th Anniversary Limited Edition Released to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the original Skyline GT-R’s launch and appropriately finished in Champagne Gold, just five examples made it to the UK. 2018 GT-R50 Originally an Italdesign concept, 50 copies of this radically redesigned GT-R were built on the underpinnings of the GT-R Nismo two years after it was first shown. 2019 GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition With revised brakes, reworked suspension and bespoke 20in wheels, this limited edition brought back the famous Bayside Blue paint colour last seen on the R34 (1999-2002).…