Reviews

Lexus GS300 and GS430

Review

Lexus GS300 and GS430

I can't be the only one tired with the current German pre-occupation with rock-hard suspension, unfathomable control systems and poor-quality materials. What we need is a real alternative, something of a Johnny-come-lately to the car industry, to remind the sausage-sampling thigh-slappers that what their executive customers really want is reliable, usable, comfortable and entertaining transport to soothe their furrowed brows after a hard day in the boardroom. Toyota, the world's most successful car manufacturer, has been listening. They've been busily punting Lexus, their luxury offshoot, through something of a renaissance of late, with a new visual identity and a raft of new models scheduled to glide gently onto the market over the next few years. The first of which, the new GS, arrives in the UK this month (April) in two guises - 3.0-litre GS300 and 4.3-litre V8 GS430. We've tried them both

Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG

Review

Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG

Let me save you the suspense. The new VW Golf GTI is a cracking drive. The previous Mk IV GTI had obviously attended a few too many lessons at the Elvis Presley school of growing old disgracefully. But, for 2005, Volkswagen sent their Seventies icon off to the gym. The result, is a powerful, practical, understated but classless reincarnation of the original GTI concept, brought bang up to date with the prerequisite number of pneumatic bosoms and electronic gadgety-pokery

Nissan 350Z Coupe

Review

Nissan 350Z Coupe

Remember the Datsun Z sports cars? No, thought not. The Datsun name is largely synonymous with small, rusty hatchbacks with almost mythical reliability. That's a shame, because the 1969 Datsun 240Z is widely credited with bringing the affordable sports coupe to the mainstream. While Nissan, custodians of the Datsun brand, tried their best to keep the Z concept alive with a succession of powerful but largely obese Z cars right up until the mid nineties, it's fair to say their eye hasn't really been on the ball. Until now, that is, and the Nissan 350Z

Mazda RX-8

Review

Mazda RX-8

Felix Wankel didn't even have a driving licence, let alone an engineering degree. Despite lacking what might be judged pre-requisites for inventing new forms of automotive propulsion, Felix developed an engine that wasn't compromised by the reciprocating mass of pistons, crankshafts or valves

Land Rover Discovery 3 2.7 TDV6 HSE

Review

Land Rover Discovery 3 2.7 TDV6 HSE

If the Ramblers Association gets their way, 4x4s will soon be banned from the tiny network of off-road routes that cross the great British countryside. Despite having access to less than 5% of our ancient byways, driving an off-roader across the very terrain it was designed for could soon be illegal. If Ken Livingstone and his governmental chums get their way, 4x4s will soon be banned from our towns and cities, too. Amidst all this hatred, it takes a brave manufacturer to launch a new car that can't be driven on- or off-road

Audi A8 4.0 TDI quattro

Review

Audi A8 4.0 TDI quattro

In today's market, you're no-one if you don't offer a plutobarge with a big diesel engine. The Mercedes S320 CDI has been available for some time now, although it's a shame we don't get the more interesting 246bhp S400 CDI. After taking a while to realise the party had started without them, BMW now offer the 7-series in 3.0-litre diesel form. But with Jaguar and Lexus pretending their invites to the diesel party were lost in the post, it's left to Audi to prove that tractor fuel is where it's at

Jaguar S-Type 2.7D Sport

Review

Jaguar S-Type 2.7D Sport

Jaguars, like a fine wine, improve with age. The XK8, far from becoming belligerent and incontinent in its old age, has been steadily refined over the years. The XJ saloon is now the car it always should have been, too. And the S-Type, after a wobbly start, has matured into a distinctive alternative to the predictable German offerings. This latest edition to the range, the 2.7-litre twin-turbo diesel model, coincides with a further round of subtle changes to the styling and improvements in overall quality

Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro Tiptronic

Review

Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro Tiptronic

Bankers. They're the kind of people you expect to see driving an Audi. Or barristers. Fine, upstanding pillars of society, I'm sure you'll agree. Trouble is, they are a little, well, boring. That's Audi's problem, too. All too often thought of as the quiet reliable type that stands in the corner at parties, Audi wants to inject some added sport appeal into its latest offerings

BMW 530d SE Auto

Review

BMW 530d SE Auto

When the Banglefied 7-series was unveiled, hushed gasps were clearly audible. BMW showrooms across the land later echoed to this same sharp intake of breath, as interested tyre-kickers walked to the rear of the plutobarge and saw the protuberance that is the boot-lid. The 5-series, however, is a car the blue and white propeller can't afford to screw up

Mitsubishi L200 Warrior

Review

Mitsubishi L200 Warrior

For the last few years, company car drivers have been ditching their Mondeos in favour of style-oriented pickups to take advantage of a reduction in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. Trouble is, Gordon Brown closed that particular loophole in the 2004 Budget. So where does that leave the pickup?

Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI Estate

Review

Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI Estate

Antique dealers are a canny bunch. The one thing they hate more than spending money, is losing it. So when it comes to buying a car to transport their Chippendale, they're particularly fussy about who gets to bid for their business

Honda Accord Tourer 2.4 Type-S

Review

Honda Accord Tourer 2.4 Type-S

The fast estate car has always been popular with us Brits. It seems we've always been in a hurry to transport Labradors, shopping and kids at high speed through the twistiest parts of our green and pleasant land

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