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Lights, camera, traction: Autocar's best videos of 2020

Autocar best videos 2020

There’s been no shortage of interesting metal on our YouTube channel this year. We round up our picks

If ever there was a time to kick back and binge on fantastic car videos, surely this is it. Our YouTube channel has everything from classics to supercars, off-roaders, EVs and – obviously – drifting Rolls-Royce SUVs, and we’ve rounded up our highlights from the year so you can watch them all in one place. 

Here’s the top 10:

Best driver’s car 2020

Nothing seemed to go as planned this year, so maybe we shouldn’t be shocked that even in light of all the Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McLarens and Astons we’ve driven in 2020, a plucky little Japanese supermini was in contention for class honours at our annual sports car showdown. You’ve clearly been living under a rock if you don’t know which car we’re talking about, but if you need enlightening (or you just want to see the finest performance cars of the modern era do battle at a sodden Castle Combe) head right this way…

Volvo P1800 Cyan Racing: the ultimate restomod?

Most classic cars are great to look at, but distinctly less inspiring to drive on modern roads. Not so the Cyan Racing P1800, a 414bhp take on the gorgeous Volvo P1800 coupé that shares little more than its A-pillars with the 1960s original. Under the bonnet is a snarling touring car-derived turbocharged four-pot, with further concessions to modernity coming courtesy of double-wishbone suspension and carbonfibre body panels. But could that six-speed manual gearbox be the star of the show? 

Defending champion: Land Rover’s off-road hero meets its rivals

Much noise was made at the new Defender’s long-awaited launch about its heightened on-road refinement and usability over the blocky original, but did that push upmarket make the brawny Brit less capable on the rough stuff? To find out, we gathered some formidable foes in the form of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Jeep Wrangler, and set about getting all three extremely dirty in the name of science. 

Can the DBX save Aston Martin?

It’s been a busy old year for the Gaydon gang: new CEO, new Formula 1 team, new partnership with Mercedes and – crucially – new SUV. The DBX in itself is an entirely new design, sits atop a new platform, is built in a new factory… You get the picture. But will this be the model that finally brings stability to Britain’s beleaguered sports car maker? We climb aboard Aston’s 542bhp answer to the Porsche Cayenne to try it out on track, trail and Tarmac. 

It rolls, but does it slide?

All right, so it wasn’t our most educational video of 2020, but it was far and away one of the most fun to film. Nudging £300,000 in range-topping Black Badge guise, and with more leather inside than your local furniture warehouse, the Cullinan is an unlikely candidate for sideways success, but with a 6.75-litre V12 sending 600bhp to all four wheels, we had to try…

Straight six meets self-shifter

The E46-generation BMW M3 is touted by enthusiasts as one of the finest M cars yet produced, the lightweight CSL version finer still. But if there was a fly in the ointment, it was its clunky robotised SMG gearbox, which rather put a dampener on an otherwise sublime driving experience. Has this aftermarket manual gearbox conversion created the car we always wanted? 

Overturning a new Leaf

An important one, this, because while the ID 3 is as significant for Volkswagen as was the Beetle and the Golf, it doesn’t necessarily offer an obvious technological advantage over the Nissan Leaf, which has been on sale in its latest form for several years now. In fact, put the two spec sheets side by side, and you’d be hard pressed to choose between them. But away from the brochures, out on the road, is the VW likely to steal the sales chart top spot from the Leaf?

Slam donk

Imagine, if you will, what a Caterham Seven would be like to drive if it was powered by the 2.3-litre five-cylinder engine from an Audi RS3. Dutch brand Donkervoort doesn’t do imagining. It does, erm… doing – and that’s essentially what it has created with its latest lunatic machine: the D8 GTO-JD70, a 415bhp open-wheeled birthday present for company founder Joop Donkervoort. It’ll hit 62mph from rest in 2.7sec and pull 2g in corners, but it still wears a numberplate at each end, so we tested its mettle on public roads. 

Three’s company

You can’t improve upon perfection, or so we were led to believe. Clearly, French sports car maker Alpine doesn’t subscribe to that school of thought, introducing the A110 S as a more potent and poised version of what was already a five-star car, and then there’s British engineer David Pook, whose own modified take on the two-seater balances refined ride comfort with enhanced dynamics. It’s one of our toughest group tests yet, as we pit Alpine A110 against Alpine A110 and Alpine A110. 

Show and tell

Wow, the Palexpo event centre in Geneva is a lot smaller than it looks in the pictures… or maybe Europe’s biggest motoring show was cancelled at the last minute so we decided to bring you all the info on its biggest unveilings from our south-west London studio. We couldn’t be on the ground in Switzerland as usual – for reasons you obviously know – but that didn’t stop us from hosting our annual video walkaround. Step right this way for all the details on the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA, BMW Concept i4, Polestar Precept and loads more. 

READ MORE

Britain’s Best Driver’s Car 2020: The main event​

Volkswagen ID 3 vs Nissan Leaf: Battle for the EV top spot​

4×4 face-off: Land Rover Defender meets G-Class, Jeep rivals​

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