Horsepower. Torque. Multiple cupholders. Not got funds in your off-shore account for a Pagani Zonda? Heed our rundown of the best new cars that you can actually buy
BEST CEO SPEED WAGON
Motorway-eating exec cruiser with a BHP punch
AUDI RS7 SPORTBACK
The swept-back lines of the RS7 are hard to ignore, but not as hard to ignore as the raging bull that lives under its bonnet. In short, we can say with great certainty – and ringing ears – that this giant executive toy is like no other car we’ve driven. Possibly because its eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox and twin-turbo 4.0-litre engine propel it to 60mph in an insane 3.6 seconds. That’s 0.3 seconds faster than a Lamborghini Gallardo supercar.
A 1,280-watt B&W stereo and sound actuators for exhaust notes that would shame Pavarotti? Definitely a Maserati.
Mercedes E-Class Coupe
A swooping design as elegant as a German Imperial eagle and the prospect of a world-first nine-speed model next year.
BMW M6 Gran Coupe
Aside from the missing letter ‘d’, this is a perfect Tarmac-gobbler. A carbon roof lowers the centre of gravity and glues it to the road.
Our favourite next-gen electric
FORD FOCUS ELECTRIC
This rewards drivers with an astonishing amount of torque and sporty handling. It’s one gear – so it just picks up and zips away like an 84mph dodgem. The 23Kw liquid-cooled battery provides 100 miles of range, and charges in just four hours. It lands late summer.
£25,000 (TBC); ford.co.uk
Honda Jazz Hybrid 1.3 IMA CVT
Billed as the world’s first hybrid supermini, the Jazz does 62.8mpg, burps out minimal CO2 and has the turning circle of a taxi cab.
Taking the electric car up a notch, the all-electric ZOE is 99kg lighter than the original Nissan Leaf.
£13,995 (plus £70 a month battery hire); renault.co.uk
The space-age option boasts groundbreaking performance (0-62mph in 7.2 seconds) thanks to its carbon-fibre chassis.
BEST RALLY-BRED HOT HATCH
The pulse-quickening three-door that deserves to be taken out to a track day
RENAULT MEGANE RED BULL RACING RB8
The French prefer their cars ambitious and quirky. Sometimes this leads to duck-faced disasters with ‘uncontrolled acceleration’ issues; but other times you end up with extraordinary stuff such as this spiritual successor to Renault’s Clio Williams from 1993. Built in tribute to Red Bull’s world-beating F1 car (powered by Renault), the special-edition RB8 hot hatch comes with a 265bhp 2.0-litre engine, F1 ‘blade’, 7in touchscreen on the dashboard and high-end Brembo racing brakes. Oh yeah, and it even has its own G-Force gauge. We had a lot of fun with that...
VW Golf GTi Mk 7
A glimmering pedigree, a 2.0-litre turbo engine, and an insurance bill that comes in five groups lower than the Mk6. Wunderbar.
Fiesta ST Mountune
‘Mountune’ sounds like a gourmet mustard. It’s actually a message to car buffs: 0-60 in 6.7 seconds and 212 heavily-tuned bhp.
It might not be the fastest hot hatch, but it is a triumphant re-imagining of the beloved Nineties 205GTi with 200bhp.
BEST MODERN MICRO
Economic, city-friendly and endowed with embarrassingly large amounts of va-va-voom
VAUXHALL ADAM SLAM
Does the idea of ‘car customisation’ prompt images of some terrifying under-chassis disco lights, windshield name stickers and a set of gaudy spinning rims? Thankfully, things have moved on recently as evidenced by this adaptable new version of the Adam. Not ideal if you’re in any way indecisive, this solid micro was designed to be the world’s first truly bespoke supermini, and Vauxhall claims there are more than one million different personalisation options when you take into account paint, trim, interiors, accessories and wing mirrors. Twee name aside, we liked the Adam’s fully-loaded cabin, which includes such treats as an IntelliLink touchscreen and a heated leather steering wheel. And who doesn’t want one of those?
In pursuit of an ultra-economic car, Mazda’s engineers weighed and redesigned every last ball bearing. Ultra-light, plucky and cheap to run.
Alfa Romeo Mito
They say you’re not a petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa. The Mito’s ‘DNA’ system even adapts the car’s handling to your driving style.
Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Tech
Built as a tribute to Skoda’s rallying heritage, this throaty little rollerskate comes loaded with Amundsen satnav and Bluetooth.
BEST FAMILY CHARIOT
Compact on the outside; gigantic on the inside. And really cheap to run
FIAT 500L TREKKING WORLD
OK, before we even begin to tell you why we like this car, the fact that it can be specified with a built-in Lavazza espresso machine should win you over. Want more? It also features Traction+ for tough road conditions, a large boot adjustable on three levels and automatic hillstart mode.
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
A near-perfect family estate, with a capacious 1,550 litres of luggage space. Go for the economic EcoFlex stop/start diesel engine.
Nissan Juke Nismo
SUVs can be practical but soul-destroying, but this has a 200bhp turbo-charged engine inspired by Nissan’s DeltaWing Le Mans racer.
Mini Cooper S Paceman
The bootspace of an SUV and the sportiness of a coupe – but in the shape of a stretched-out, raised-up Mini. A competitor to the Evoque.
BEST FUTURISTIC iCAR
The Google-augmented cars that park themselves, read road signs and massage your buttocks
VOLVO V40 R-DESIGN
Swedish metal may not have taken off on iTunes, but on the roads of Europe it’s a different kettle of herring. The V40 R-Design is by the far the most intelligent car we've driven. Seven different kinds of LED mood lighting soothed us when stuck in grinding traffic, while its ability to automatically parallel park in terrifyingly-tight spaces (you only have to control throttle and brake) is multistorey heaven. Most comforting of all, it has the world's first pedestrian airbag: when the car senses a human leg impact a banana-shaped, skull-cushioning 'life raft' inflates across the windshield.
Citroën C4 Picasso 115 e-HDi
Has massaging seats, parking sensors, blind-spot detectors and a 12in HD touchscreen.
Toyota Auris 2013
Features a 6.1in touchscreen hooked up to a wide-angle rear parking camera to avoid arguments with bollards£13,995; toyota.co.uk
Nissan Juke N-TEC
Google Send-To-Car allows a route to be planned then automatically synced with the N-TEC’s 5.8in touchscreen.