APR 21st 2015

Read Test: Car Gets A May Makeover

Car magazine looks at the new-car market with more wit and wisdom than most – so expectations are high that the first redesigned issue out today is going to be something special.

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It kicks off with a strong story: the first (and it says only) drive in the Bentley EXP 10, aka the Speed 6 or as it is apparently known within Bentley, the ‘V8 Aston fighter’.

Read_Test_Car_May_2104201502Drives of one-off concept cars as conceptual (and valuable) as this can look good – and the pictures here are very nice indeed – but end up a let down on the driving front. The reality is often 20 minutes behind the wheel at low speed on a disused airfield. Berlin Templehof in this case.

Not a road test then, more a chance to gauge the car’s character and appreciate its finer points, of which there are many, particularly the ‘spectacular’ quilted leather, shiny metal and cherrywood cabin. As such it’s a must-read piece on what is indisputably one of the most intriguing sporting prospects around.

The reporter’s verdict? ‘Every bit as bewitching in the metal as it appears (in the pictures)’. The car has a big future, he tells us, but the production version’s launch won’t be before 2019. ‘The project is a no-brainer for Bentley… its calculated 3000 units a year may be a crass example of false modesty on Bentley’s part.’

The Giant Test this issue pits the Tesla Model S against the Porsche Panamera and the BMW M5, the question being: electric, hybrid or super unleaded for your super-saloon? The winner is ‘a Neanderthal in this company but is so exhilarating and so desirable you’d have to find its thirst abhorrent to look elsewhere.’ That’s a win for the BMW M5 then.

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There’s more M car in a drive of what Car confidently predicts will soon be unveiled as the 500bhp M4 GTS, currently on duty as the MotoGP safety car.

Crystal-ball gazing is a Car speciality of course and among the ‘scoops’ this time are a four-door Mercedes-AMG GT, the Aston Martin DB11 – for launch at Geneva next March, the mag asserts – and details of the Bugatti Veyron replacement for 2016.

Car reckons it is going to be called the Bugatti Chiron and that it will have a Read_Test_Car_May_2104201505speedo calibrated to 500km/h (but will ‘only’ be able to hit a v-max of 463km/h or a still pretty handy 288mph). The W16 will produce 1500bhp, the car will cost two million quid and be out next year, they say.

In the here-and-now a reporter is despatched to rediscover some of Italy’s long-lost street circuits like Pescara in the Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta. There are some lovely photographs and, yes, the car gets a big thumbs up, how could it not, on a jaunt like that? (Our Chris Harris didn’t go to Italy in the Aperta but still liked the car – see his report on it here).

Another Ferrari to get the thumbs up is a used 360 Modena for £55,000. It triumphs in a used-vs-new battle with a box-fresh Porsche Cayman GTS for the same money. Must be the first time the Cayman has lost at anything.

Used cars (‘icons’ says Car) get their own bigger section now, plus there’s a lot more on technology and an interactive section in the new design. There’s also a plethora of ‘info bites’, lists, panels, and general asides than ever before. As a result the up front section is very busy and bitty. Just as well no one in motoring does one-liners as well as Car and that the designers are on the ball.

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You want one-liners? Turn to the ‘all-new’ GBU (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, which has been Car’s wittily ferocious new car buying guide since the 1970s). Now it’s all about pithy verdicts – no stats at all, not even 0-60s – and is billed as ‘the world’s funniest buying guide’.

What’s funny of course is looking to see which cars Car is rudest about. With comments like, ‘Worth considering over a 5-series, but only if Harald Quandt ran off with your wife’.

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The GBU may not be as hard hitting as it was, but you can’t help but chuckle. As long that is as you are not one of the manufacturers on the receiving end of the joke…

GRR Read Test Verdict

For: Informed, witty, incisive and good looking

Against: Two pages on ‘the truth about diesel’?

Verdict: Car back to its best. Almost

(With apologies to GBU)

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