10 of the best new cars

A blend of cutting-edge tech and classic-inspired design means late 2012 has been vintage for the motoring trade

To help keep your finger on the pulse of motoring, we've rounded up ten of the best cars we've seen this year, giving you plenty of time to save up the wonga you'll need to upgrade from your current wheels of choice.

Ford Focus RS – best for rally lovers

The Ford Focus RS is already a tarmac-destroying proposition but rumours doing the rounds suggest the next version will provide as much as 350bhp. Go-faster stripe available as an optional extra.

All-new Range Rover – best for posh camping

For its fourth-gen farm-mobile, Range Rover decided to go with an aluminium monocoque construction to save weight, resulting in better fuel efficiency, better performance and better handling. It's more spacious, too, so you can get multiple sheepdogs (or schoolchildren) in the boot and it comes with two eco-friendly-ish diesels and a not-so-eco-friendly 504bhp V8 supercharged petrol.

Jaguar XJ – best for business

The 2013 Jaguar XJ says its farewells to the 5.0-litre V8. In its place you get a supercharged 3.0-litre V6, which provides 335bhp that gets you from nought to 62mph in 5.9 seconds. It also comes with an 8-speed automatic and Stop/Start technology, which gives 47mpg if you opt for the powerful V6 diesel. Luxury and performance but not necessarily at the expense of the planet.

Jaguar F-Type – best for the young at heart

If you've got at least £55,000 and fancy open-top motoring and performance all rolled into one, the F-Type and its beautiful exterior should be considered. It's incredibly rapid if you pay top whack for the supercharged V8 engine and, as you would expect from a Jaguar, the inside is a luxury place to be. As one of the first true performance Jaguars in a long time and the first true E-Type successor, the F-Type really is quite special.

Peugeot 208 GTi – best for boy racers

When we think back to the 205 GTi, we fondly remember a time when Peugeot could build a trouser-wettingly fast, fun hatchback. We're hoping the 208 GTi due out next year can finally bring the performance badge back to where it should be. A 1.6-litre turbo capable of just under 200bhp, six-speed manual gearbox and improved looks indicate the right ingredients are there.

More after the break...

Lyonheart K – best for the dreamer

The British-built Lyonheart K looks so good that it should be James Bond's car of choice. It's loosely based on the E-Type, undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous cars ever made, but adds a modern-day 550bhp V8 Ford Cosworth engine. That means insane performance in a car that wouldn't be out of place in at an art gallery.

Caterham R600 Superlight – best for the track

Just in case the standard Caterhams were a bit too slow for your liking, the R600 Superlight turns an already rapid car into something that will cause your eyes to fall out the back of your face. The now-supercharged 2-litre Ford Duratec from the Caterham R300 develops 275bhp and 200lb/ft of torque. Expect 0 to 60mph in around three seconds while sticking to corners as if they were coated in a particularly effective glue.

VW Beetle Cabriolet – best for the sun

If we can be brutally honest, the 1949 VW Beetle Cabriolet started out awesome but went a bit, well, limp in its second generation form. It was still a bug-eyed wonder but lost some of its universal appeal. Thankfully, the new Beetle Cabriolet due out next year looks a whole lot better, so much so, in fact, that a man could own and drive one without receiving verbal abuse from friends. Well, almost.

Vauxhall Adam – best for the commute

Styled somewhere between the marvellous Citroen DS3, Fiat's much-loved 500 and the VW Up, Vauxhall's Adam supermini is pretty easy on the eye. It's affordable, too, and manages punchy performance in its 100-bhp 1.4-litre guise but not at the expense of decent fuel economy. And it should fit in all but the smallest parking spaces.

Citroen DS3 Electrum – best for eco-warriors

Although there's been a bit of debating over whether electric cars are actually better for the environment than petrol ones, you can't fault how cheap it is to refuel a car with a plug. Minus the usually high entry cost, an electric car will keep you from the pain of rising petrol prices, but not always at the expense of performance. Two electric motors provide the DS3 with 174bhp.

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