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The Jaguar XF is a tempting option in the executive car sector.

Jaguar XF is a class act

There was a time when Jaguar was seen as an old man’s car and a rich, old man’s car at that. Time moves on and the XF, in particular, was instrumental in changing people’s perception of Jaguar. When launched, this mid-range executive car was as modern as anything else on the market. With great handling and a sublime interior, it quickly became a real alternative to the established German executive alternatives. I’ve already tested the 3.0 litre, with its creamy V6 diesel, but lately, this model has been joined by a more affordable 2.2 litre unit. Given our car tax rates, this version will be the more practical option for most buyers. Straight away, what strikes is the interior, which conspires to be both comfortable, luxurious and elegant in a way only Jaguars seem to manage. This being the base model, I was slightly disappointed to find that the seats were only half-leather, a decision that seems surprising, given that …

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Hyundai's Veloster is an interesting and attractive choice in the coupé sector.

Something completely different

There was a time, not so long ago, when Hyundai ruled the roost in the coupé market. Their not so imaginatively named Coupé was conventionally styled but very pretty and sold by the bucket load, particularly in Ireland. Now, Hyundai are back in the coupé game with a very different model, the Veloster. At first glance, this looks like a very attractive, but conventional three-door hatch, but if you look a little more closely, you’ll discover the Veloster’s party trick. On one side, there’s just a single driver’s door, while on the other, you also have a rear door, offering easy access to the rear seats. In some ways, it’s the best of both worlds, with the style of a coupé and the practicality of a five-door. It’s not a unique solution, Mini having pulled the same trick with the Clubman, but kudos to Hyundai for engineering the car properly for right hand drive, with the extra doors on the …

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An interior view of the BMW M3.

Latest M3 hits the road

Since its launch in 1986, the BMW M3 has been a performance icon. Conceived initially to be what used to be known as a homologation special, it only made production because BMW wanted to go racing in it. That first M3 was quite a raw car, more at home on the rally stage than the Autobahn. A four cylinder 2.3 litre engine, loosely based on BMW’s Formula 1 engine of the era provided 238 bhp, which, in a light bodyshell, proved more than ample. Like many things, the M3 has moved on and become more sophisticated. The last two models were propelled by increasingly more powerful versions of the Bavarian maker’s iconic inline six and the M3 has evolved to encompass saloon and convertible versions, to further broaden its appeal. So far over 150,000 examples have been sold. The launch of a new M3 is always noteworthy, especially when the new car has evolved so much. Not wishing to get …

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