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In the Headlights – Tim's Picks! {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

25 Jul 2018

I find it best when doing these ITH articles, specifically the ones where they’re my choices this week, to sit in front of a mirror and talk to myself, answering my own questions. Unfortunately this inevitably leads to neighbours calling for me to be sent to a hospital for my own protection, so we’ll just have to go with a normal report on the cars I guess.

I had pretty much free reign to choose the cars this week so I chose to not go too crazy, and went with four cars that I would actually love to drive myself. Being a family man, this means two seat supercars are out sadly, so it’s usable performance all the way. Onwards!

Urban Range Rover Sport SDV6

The Range Rover Sport is consistently one of the most popular cars in the Dream Car Competition and it’s not hard to see why. They have an air of quality about them, look stunning, are full of techy goodness and have a badge that makes other luxury brands weep with envy. With this SDV6 engine you probably get the best compromise too – decent economy for such a large car, yet still has performance on a par with a Golf GTi – that’s thanks to the 700Nm of torque that the 3.0 litre V6 turbodiesel lump puts out along with 302bhp. But the Sport’s popularity works against it with some people – they want to stand out a little more and that is where Urban Automotive comes in. For the 2018 Range Rover Sport (which has new LED headlights and a slick triple-screen interior) Urban have added their SVR-style bodykit which has a new front bumper with larger carbon fibre slatted air intakes and a carbon splitter. In fact the whole bumper is carbon, as is the new rear bumper with it’s more aggressive diffuser that houses the billet exhaust finisher. The 22-inch Urban wheels really stand out as well. The look is OEM-Plus, not over-the-top but makes it stand out as something special even before people notice the black URBAN badging. Making the best even better, as only Urban can.

BMW M4 Competition Pack M-DCT

The BMW M4 is an incredibly popular car and for good reason – a powerful, sonorous straight-six turbo engine powering the rear wheels with usable rear seats, a big boot and fantastic looks. But the M4 had a reputation for being a little bit ‘snappy’ when driven fast when it came out, so deep in the bowels of the M-division’s headquarters some German boffins were working on this – the M4 Competition Pack. With the dial turned up on the engine so it now produces 444bhp they also set to work on the suspension, making plenty of changes to the design and settings and fitting a lovely set of 20-inch alloy wheels. The whole car was optimised around the new setup and the handling of the car went from great to incredible. It really has transformed the M4 and now it can be held in as good regard as cars like the 911 for driver enjoyment. You still get the aggressive looks too – the new wheels really help visually and the grille and window trim is all blacked out. Add that to the already swollen arches and the M4 has amazing road presence. And as this is the M-DCT model too, you get the lightning-quick shifts of BMW M///-Division's dual-clutch gearbox as well. What a fantastic all-round coupe.

Mercedes C43 AMG Premium Plus Coupe

When looking for a fast 4-seater Mercedes coupe it’s easy to be swayed by the allure of the C63S with it’s snarling V8 and big power. But with that cylinder count and bhp starting with a ‘5’ you get a few downsides – namely frightening fuel economy and emissions, along with the fact that being RWD, in wet/cold weather you have the feeling it wants to kill you every time you put your foot down. Mercedes knew this, which is why they introduced the new C43 model to the range, but with the 2018 updates this is now a serious contender for the best all-round C-Class Coupe. The engine is still a 3.0 litre V6 twin turbo, but it now produces a serious 385bhp, which means 0-62mph is dealt with in 4.7seconds – not too shabby at all. But of course this being the C43 it also comes with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive system so you can deploy all that power (and the not-inconsiderable 520Nm of torque) in all weather conditions. Inside the tech has been upgraded to the latest Mercedes systems too. But we’ve gone one better with this C43 as it’s the Premium Plus, meaning you get a panoramic roof, Burmester Surround Sound system, Keyless Go, 12.3-inch digital instrument display, 360-degree camera and Multibeam LED Headlights as standard. That really is all the spec you could ever want!

Skoda Octavia vRS 245 DSG

When is a Golf GTi not a Golf Gti? When it’s a Skoda Octavia vRS of course. VW Group’s penchant for parts-sharing is well known, but in this instance we think it’s the best example. The Octavia sits on a stretched Golf platform, so there’s a massive boot and acres of rear legroom, but you still get the fantastic handling expected of the platform. Looks-wise the Octavia has just had a mid-life refresh too, with LED headlights added in a new design and the latest VW Group satnav and safety systems offered. This is the top of the line model too, so you get 242bhp from the 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine going through the front wheels via the 7-speed DSG gearbox. There’s ample performance – 0-62mph taking just 6.6 seconds on the way to a 155mph top speed – and you can also expect over 44mpg. Ignore everything you thought you knew about Skoda – the vRS is a proper hot hatch. In fact, I love it so much that I bought one and genuinely think it’s one of the best all-round hot hatches you can buy if you need a little more space.

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As ever, these are only available until midnight on Sunday so get your tickets while you can!

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