CAR UK January 2021

Every month CAR interviews the stars of motorsport, demystifies the latest in-car technology and shares our writers’ passion for car culture and car design. Discover the world’s newest and most exciting cars: join us to drive everything from supercars and hot hatches to family cars.

United Kingdom
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min

‘I’m happy to call time on combustion engine R&D’ ‘Yeah, we’ve stopped working on this year’s car to concentrate on next year,’ announces the Mercedes-AMG FI team each summer. How smug can you get? It reminds me of exams. You’d be about 45 minutes into an А-level history paper and the Simon Schama of the class would, with undisguised glee, stick his hand (yep, all boys – what a waste) in the air and ask the nearest invigilator for more paper, so that he might be able to fully commit to paper the considerable genius currently stuck infuriatingly – for him and for mankind generally – somewhere between brain and Biro. When you’ve all but won both titles, driver and constructor, before most people have had their summer holiday, there is of course…

4 min
the face of bmw’s future

If you’re going to be late to the party, you’d better bring the fireworks. Five years after Tesla kicked off the premium, all-electric crossover thing with the Model X, and three years after Jaguar upped the stakes with the i-Pace, BMW finally has a contender: the iX, which showcases BMW’s latest electric-drive hardware and promises revolution inside. It’s set to come on stream in late 2021. But first, that name. It was previewed as the iNext, but we expected the production version to wear an ÍX5 badge, in line with the very conventional iX3. We were wrong. It’s done! No new name,’ says BMW development chief Frank Weber. ‘This is the iX, and it’s not going to change.’ That signals BMW’s intent to make this a standalone EV flagship, one step removed…

1 min
insider georg kacher’s inside line

Mini will kick off a massive product revitalisation plan from 2023, using some tried-and-tested platforms but electrifying its core models either partially or fully. The first model lined up for rebirth is the perennial three-door hatch, with its five-door running mate to follow shortly after – both using the UKL1 platform already in service in its predecessors. That part is simple, but what comes next requires some asterisks. All eyes are on Mini’s wild Urbanaut concept right now (below). While it’s arguably just a space-efficient design exercise described by insiders as Mini’s answer to the VW ID Buzz, something resembling a production version of the Urbanaut is a front-runner among the ideas being considered for a new larger family car within the range expected in 2024. Battling for the same slot…

4 min
artura: mclaren’s phev

Factfile POWERTRAIN 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 plus 120bhp e-motor, 670bhp, rear-wheel drive CHASSIS Carbonfibre monocoque DUE 2021 McLaren’s Sports Series is dead, the 620R road-legal track car its swansong. But the vacuum will persist only briefly – in the first months of 2021 the covers come off the first all-new McLaren since the 12C, and the debut of a hybrid components set that’ll see the Woking maker through most of this decade. While much will stay the same – the Artura’s dimensions are broadly comparable with Sports Series cars – it is, from its powertrain to its carbonfibre structure, an all-new car. McLaren is positioning the Artura between its £165k, 620bhp GT and the £215k, 710bhp 720S. As such it won’t directly replace the 570S which, with its relatively affordable price (£150k) and misleading Sports Series…

1 min
subaru’s new brz: a re-invention, with big power? nope

The sorry saga of the Subaru BRZ goes from bad to worse. What should be the last glimmer of sporting excellence from a quirky company that once built dynamically rewarding cars and dominated the World Rally Championship has been given a very half-hearted reboot for 2021. And, as with the Nissan Z, recent sales have been so disappointing that the new one won’t be coming to the UK or, indeed, the rest of Europe at all. It could have been so different. Light, compact and with a low centre of gravity, rear-wheel drive and a characterful engine, the BRZ Mk1 did a lot right. But it was let down by a dowdy interior and a modest power output that failed to open the wallets of many sports-car enthusiasts. Like the excellent but…

4 min
still he rises

The 2007 Australian Grand Prix wasn’t the most gripping F1 race. But in hindsight it was the first page in the story of the most successful F1 driver of all time. Lewis Hamilton lined up fourth on the grid in his McLaren, two places adrift of his illustrious team-mate, double world champion Fernando Alonso. In a front-running car, against the best driver of his generation, it’s hard to imagine the pressure Hamilton was under. He’d had a stunning GP2 career, sure, but now the rookie had to prove himself all over again. But there was another, less obvious layer of pressure – and that came from people like me. As the first black Fl driver, Lewis was my first real representation in a sport I’ve always loved. I watched our old-fashioned…