First drive: the BMW X5 eDrive

BMW X5 eDrive

That's a perfectly ordinary 2013-model BMW X5 with a load of disguise tape on. Is this 2012 or what?

Nope. It really is a prototype for a car that isn't out until next year. Admittedly when it is launched it'll look just like the regular X5. But because it's a prototype powertrain, BMW paradoxically insists it has the zebra tape, even if that makes it more, not less, conspicuous.


First drive: Can-Am Spyder RT

Can_Am Spyder RT

What on earth is that?

It's the Can-Am Spyder RT, made by the excellently named Bombardier Recreational Products. It's a sort of three-wheeled, mutant trike that lurks between 'full-blown touring bike' and 'quad'. It's also fully customisable too, with many of these being sold to the disabled. There's a charming story about former Royal Marine Commando Joe Townsend, who's got a custom Spyder RS-S that features special clips for his prosthetic legs.


First drive: new Subaru WRX STI

Subaru WRX STI

So what is it?

It's the car formerly known as the Subaru Impreza WRX STI, now shorn of the ‘Impreza' bit for reasons TG doesn't quite understand. No matter. Point is, the Subaru WRX STI is the fastest and most extreme car in the Impreza range.


First drive: Electric Mercedes B-Class

Electric Mercedes B_Class

What's that?

It's a near-production version of the Mercedes B-Class ‘Electric Drive', the latter part of that nomenclature referring to the fact that yes, it's electric. And drives.


First drive: the brand new Mini

First drive the brand new Mini

Looks like the Mini's had another facelift...

Look again. It's entirely new, almost to the last nut and bolt. Yes, it's a close facsimile of the last one, but that's just how Mini rolls. Well it works for the Porsche 911.


First drive: VW Golf R...on ice

VW Golf R...on ice

What's this?

The fastest, most powerful Golf ever, that's what. Golfs started getting R treatment in 2002 with the V6-engined R32 and since then the power has kept on coming. So now we're up to this one - the fourth R generation - with a 2-litre turbo making 296bhp, that's 29bhp more than the last R and a healthy 70bhp more than a GTI. It also comes with the newest version of VW's 4Motion four-wheel-drive system, and MQB chassis goodness as per all Mk7 Golfs. That puts it in the dropzone of superhatches like the Audi S3 and Merc A45 AMG.


First drive: BMW 4-Series convertible

BMW 4_Series convertible

Well, that looks pretty suave...

Sure does. Folding hardtops do tend to look a bit lardy in the backside, especially four-seaters. It's a consequence of having to stow away such a big roof. But the 4 Convertible's tail is low and suitably lean. And the rest of the bodywork, like the 4-series Coupe, certainly gives no cause for complaint.


First drive: BMW M235i

BMW M235i

Could this be a 2002Tii for our times, or maybe a reborn E36 328i coupe?
Do you know, it just might be. Remember the notion of BMWs as ultimate driving machines? As simple, straightforward but delightfully refined cars with a wide streak of fun? Put aside the X-model SUVs and the super-efficient little diesels, never mind the i cars. Even the ever-bigger and over-complicated M cars don't count here. I'm talking about what BMW was once all about - compact, rear-drive, beautifully engineered, straight-six if possible.


First drive: Jaguar F-Type Coupe

Jaguar F_Type Coupe

Less than one year in, and it's time to get excited over the Jaguar F-Type all over again. What we have here is the new Coupe body. If that's not enough, we've also got the R badge. With that, the supercharged 5.0-litre engine is cranked up to 542bhp, as opposed to the 488bhp of the far-from-unexciting V8S Convertible.


First drive: Jaguar XKR-S GT

First drive Jaguar XKR_S GT

That's a lot of initials.

Aren't there just. First, in 2006, there was the XK, then the XKR arrived with a supercharger to partner the 5.0-litre V8, then along came the XKR-S with yet more power and control, now this, the XKR-S GT. Which is something altogether different.