Autocar December 1, 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.

United Kingdom
Haymarket Media Group Ltd
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min
two vital misses for mercedes in one month

MERCEDES-BENZ HAS not looked back since it emerged from its quality issues of the late 1990s and troubled merger with Chrysler in the early 2000s, making ever more cars in more segments around the world. Typically, those models have struck the right balance between styling, driving dynamics and technology. Indeed, Mercedes has the vast sales numbers and profits to back this up. Yet consecutive big verdicts on these pages have seen two vital new models fall short. The EQA road test (17 November) found a car that felt like a rushed response to the burgeoning electric hatchback class and not worthy of the substantial price premium over better-executed rivals. Now the all-new C-Class finds itself well beaten by key rivals (p38), not just on driving dynamics but also on traditional Mercedes strengths…

4 min
bmw m creates own v8 phev luxury suv

“It gets completely bespoke styling, drivetrain hardware and technology to further justify its creation and positioning” GOT A STORY? Email our news editor BMW’s M division will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022 with only the second bespoke model in its history: the XM. Closely previewed by this show car, the Concept XM, the large SUV will be BMW M’s first-ever electrified model, with a high-performance 740bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain built around its famed 4.4-litre petrol V8. In positioning, the XM will sit atop the BMW range and target models such as the Audi RS Q8, Porsche Cayenne Coupé Turbo S E-Hybrid and Range Rover Sport SVR. Derived from the X7, it is effectively an X8 if you follow BMW’s traditional naming convention, whereby the more rakish, coupé-style versions of its SUVs get even-numbered names. However, the…

1 min

Is this shift to luxury a new approach for the M division? “The feedback from our customers is that they love our cars but would want even more expressive luxury from them. This is what we’ve done here. It’s the next step for us at M: expressive luxury.” How close to production is the Concept XM? “To say exactly is hard. It really is more than 90%, but there will be so many detail changes, as many of the features, such as the darkened numberplate, can’t be homologated. So these things will be approached in a different way.” Why is it a hybrid? “We’ve said we will go electric this decade with all our models. We have it already with M Performance in the i4 and the iX, but this is now the first high-performance…

1 min
disappointment but also hope

Ask Frank van Meel why the M division’s second bespoke model is an SUV when its first was a bona fide supercar and he will tell you that it’s all to do with the “zeitgeist, dealing with a contemporary issue”. Of course, it would be naive to suggest that the desires of us keen-driving car lovers would be more of a priority for BMW top brass than turning a profit, but it still smarts slightly that we’ve ended up here, particularly when 2019’s Vision M Next concept hinted that BMW M’s first fiery plug-in hybrid would be a modern-day reincarnation of the M1. “We deliver on what we promise,” said BMW development boss Klaus Fröhlich when we asked if the firm would actually build it, but even if you squint hard, it’s…

2 min
kia unveils striking new niro

The second-generation Kia Niro has been made official, introducing a bold new design inside and out for one of Europe’s most popular crossovers. Ahead of its market launch in 2022 (only six years after the arrival of the current car), the new Niro has been shown for the first time at the Seoul motor show, revealing how the Nissan Juke rival has been brought into line with Kia’s evolved design language. Kia has confirmed that the new arrival will, like the current model, be offered with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric powertrains. As such, the Mk2 Niro EV won’t use Hyundai and Kia’s new E-GMP platform created for bespoke electric models. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine currently used in hybrid Niro variants is tipped to be carried over, but efficiency and performance boosts are…

1 min

NOT CONVINCED BY EVs? Maybe the prime minister’s assessment of them will persuade you. “They may not burble like sucking doves, and they may not have that vroom-vroom-raah-raah that you like,” he said at the Confederation of British Industry conference last week, “but they have so much torque that they move off the lights faster than a Ferrari.” Stand by for our 812 Superfast versus Citroën Ami drag race… AS POLESTAR PREVIEWS its 5 grand tourer (pictured), designer Nahum Escobedo has told us what’s on his mood board: “My inspiration comes from products like a radio or a camera. I look at architecture and aeroplanes [too]. For me, aeroplanes are a big inspiration.” He said he also takes cues from sharks, highlighting the “bone” that runs around the front of the…