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This week on evo – VXR8 GTS, GT86 vs MX-5 and more

A look at the most exciting things from the world of evo this week

As the Frankfurt motor show fast approaches, the world’s carmakers have been busy teasing and slowly revealing their latest models. Sports cars, SUVs and digital racers, they’re all included, making this year’s show one of the most diverse ever.

But it’s not all been about Frankfurt, because we’ve also been driving Vauxhall’s automatic VXR8 GTS and the fastest ever production Skoda, and we’ve even pitted two of Japan’s best sports cars against each other head-to-head. Read on to find out about that and more. 

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Vauxhall VXR8 GTS Auto review 

Dan Prosser calls it ‘the most charismatic super saloon on sale’, and it’s easy to see why. Under the VXR8’s bulging bonnet is a hairy-chested supercharged V8, producing plenty of grunt - 576bhp and 545b ft of torque to be exact. It means that against a back-drop of turbocharged super-coupes, the VXR8 is a welcome dash of old-school.

But what happens when you switch the manual gearbox for an automatic one? Does the VXR8 lose its classic charm? Prosser unleashes the Aussie muscle car on winding Northamptonshire tarmac to find out.

Watch - Toyota GT86 vs Mazda MX-5

Despite featuring a pair of cars with a combined value of little more than £40,000, our latest Deadly Rivals video was certainly one of the most enjoyable to film. Why? Because the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota GT86 are both excellent affordable track weapons with revvy engines and agile chassis.

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One trades a roof for a soft top and the other trades grip for eco-tyres, but both provide plenty of entertainment in their own way. The question is, which is fastest on track, and does that make it more fun?

Jaguar F-Pace revealed 

A Jaguar SUV might upset some of us, especially given that the carmaker’s sibling, Land Rover, is a specialist in the segment. But with such fast growing demand for luxury SUV’s, economically speaking, Jaguar couldn’t afford to not build the F-Pace. 

After months of teasers we finally have an uncamouflaged image of the car, confirming that the F-Pace will inherit details and lines from its sports and saloon siblings. As far as SUVs go, we think it’s a looker. We’ll have a closer look when we meet the car in the metal at Frankfurt. 

Skoda Octavia vRS 230 review

With 227bhp and 258lb ft of torque on offer, this is Skoda’s most potent production car ever. And with more tech and sharper looks, the car’s £26,150 sticker price appears to be a bit of a bargain.

But is the car’s generous standard kit load and performance wielding engine matched by a dynamic chassis setup to entertain us drivers? Stuart Gallagher samples the new model on the smooth asphalt of a race circuit to find out.

Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition

The DB9 is going out with style, because the final model to be sold wears the Bond nametag. Created to celebrate the carmaker’s long association with the British secret agent, the Bond Edition gains unique features to set it apart from the regular GT.

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Ok, so the list doesn’t include machine guns or an ejector seat, but the car’s limited production numbers – just 150 will be produced – should ensure it remains extremely exclusive. 

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