MINI Countryman v Nissan Juke v Alfa Romeo Giulietta v Citroen DS4 review part two - Auto Express

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Mini Countryman v Nissan Juke v Alfa Giulietta v Citroen DS4 review part one - Auto Express
See part two here: rivals_part_two.html The MINI Countryman offers head-turning looks and enough practicality for a growing family. But it has strong competition from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroen DS4 and Nissan Juke. But which one manages to stand out from the crowd with fewest compromises?

Alfa Romeo 4C review - Auto Express
Alfa Romeo 4C review - Subscribe to our YouTube channel Subscribe to the mag When a car comes along that sounds this good and looks this stunning, it doesn't really matter how it drives, you just want one. But the 4C promises to be more than just a pretty face. Unlike rivals like the Lotus Elise and the Porsche Cayman, under this amazing bodywork, is a carbon-fibre monocoque, a bit like the one you get in the McLaren 12C or Porsche 918 Spyder. That, and other strict weight saving measures, mean the 4C weighs just 895kg without passengers or fluids, which isn't very much at all. And as we all know, less weight means better fuel economy, sharper handling, and more fun! The styling and mid-engined layout all scream junior supercar, but the engine is a humble four cylinder turbo, taken from the Giulietta hatch, recast in aluminium and tuned up to 240bhp, which feels like plenty. 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds and top speed is 160mph, and as you can hear, fitted with the optional sports Exhaust it sounds like an old race car from the fifties, especially from the outside, and you can hear the intake sucking away in here. But what's it like on the road? unfortunately it's not perfect. On the track where you can really thrash it performance is ballistic, but here on the road, with slower corners, throttle response soggy at best, and the engine feels laggy and doesn't rev freely enough. Fortunately a good gearbox can cover up an engine's shortfalls, and this TCT twin-clutch is lightning fast on up shifts but occasionally a little reluctant to change down. Once the turbo lights up it's fast and loud, make no mistake, but the powertrain's responses need to be sharper. Powertrain aside, this chassis is a work of art. It feels incredibly stiff, the turn in is brilliant grip is monumental, the brakes are incredible and this unassisted steering buzzes with feedback, plus the ride isn't too firm for a car of this type, it's just such a shame there's no manual gearbox!! There's no stereo or air-con either, if you ask Alfa to delete then for free that is, but There are four driving modes to choose from too, dynamic, natural, all-weather and race. Unlike some supercars, race isn't too aggressive for the road, and sharpens up the gearbox nicely. And as for interior quality, well it can't match the Cayman, but the 4Cs driving position is spot on and the TFT instrument screen and exposed carbon fibre looks fantastic. But have Alfa done enough?" "Yes and no. You see the 4C is a car you want to love, for it's boldness, for it's stunning looks and for it's engineering purity. It delivers big time with it's handling, and 40mpg fuel economy, too, but it's as if Alfa ran short on funds when it came to the engine, gearbox and interior fittings. Ultimately the 4C has a big Porsche Cayman shaped problem, and with prices for the Alfa starting at £45,000 it's going to be tough convincing 3,500 customers a year to walk past the Porsche.

Nissan Qashqai 2014 review - Auto Express
Is the new 2014 Nissan Qashqai the best small SUV you can buy? Read our full review: Subscribe to our YouTube channel Subscribe to the mag The new 2014 Nissan Qashqai is the best small SUV or crossover you can buy. It builds on the Qashqai's original strengths by offering 4x4 styling but with space and running costs to rival a Volkswagen Golf. See the video review for more info.

BMW M5 700 mile review - Auto Express
Join Auto Express on a 700-mile roadtrip from Spain to the UK in a new BMW M5. Subscribe to Auto Express magazine and get 6 issues for £1 plus a free gift: We've already tested the new BMW M5 both on track and on road. And yes, with a 552bhp twin-turbo V8 it has incredible performance. But what is it like to live with and how does it cope over really long distances? Is the new BMW M5 really the continent-slayer its predecessor -- with its limited range, manic engine and firm suspension -- failed to be? There's only one way to find out: a mammoth road test from the Pyrenees in northern Spain all way back to the UK. Read more about it here: est.html