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Today, 03 November 2015

The best British convertibles from £6000 - used car buying guide
Vauxhall VX220 Hardy British enthusiasts can’t get enough of drop-tops and all the better if they’re home made In Britain we love convertibles, so the chance to buy an open-top car and be patriotic at the same time is too good to miss. Here are some of the best home-grown convertibles.1 - Vauxhall VX220 (2000-2005)In mainland Europe they called this roadster the Opel Speedster and it sold by the bucket load. In the UK it was called a Vauxhall and most badge-obsessed Brits walked on by.More fool them. This lightweight two-seater packs a 147bhp 2.2-litre in-line four amidships, enough to propel the car to 136mph and from zero to 60mph in 5.6sec. Track down the hotter VX220T, with its 200bhp 2.0-litre turbo, and you can dispatch 60mph in under 5.0sec.It’s fun in the bends, too: agile, chuckable and easily recoverable, with go-kart steering and great balance. The driving position is superb, brakes are good and it even comes with airbags and ABS.It’s arguably a more rounded package than a Lotus Elise, with which it shares its basic chassis. You can pick one up now from just £8k. Watch out for signs of hard track-day use and beware of accident-damaged cars.2 - BAC Mono (2011-onwards)If it looks like a grounded fighter plane, this central, single-seat open supercar actually goes like a rocket.Beneath that F-22 Raptor-inspired carbonfibre bodywork lies a mid-mounted 280bhp 2.3-litre Cosworth four. Drive goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed F3-style sequential Hewland gearbox.

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Nissan GT-R Nismo N Attack package set to make its SEMA show debut
SEMA show will include the Nissan GT-R Nismo N Attack, developed during Nissan’s Nürburgring record attempt The Nissan GT-R Nismo N Attack package will be unveiled at the SEMA show this month, as an official aftermarket pack for the GT-R Nismo.The N Attack package includes suspension and aerodynamic upgrades to aid GT-R drivers in track-based driving, should they wish to emulate Nissan’s record-breaking 7m 8.679sec Nürburgring lap.A large rear spoiler and bodywork tweaks help to increase downforce on the GT-R Nismo while suspension upgrades optimise the current setup to cope with uneven track surfaces at high speed. Bucket seats are also included, to hold the driver in place while being subjected to high g-forces when cornering.The package is manufactured at the Nismo Omori Factory, while Steve Millen Sportparts, owned by former Nissan racing driver Steve Millen, was chosen to distribute the N Attack package. Although its primary aim is to optimise the track performance of GT-R Nismo models, the package will be offered in both track-focused and a more street-friendly guise.Jimi BeckwithGet the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

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Mazda MX-5 Spyder and Speedster concepts set for SEMA debut
Mazda MX-5 Speedster and Spyder concepts evoke elements of retro sports convertibles Mazda will showcase two MX-5 concepts at the upcoming SEMA show, with a focus upon lightweight construction and retro-inspired detailing.Little information has been released ahead of the unveiling of the two concepts aside from a list of the "conceptual and aftermarket" parts that have been used, and a promise that the two concepts will be significantly lighter than the 1057kg of the standard MX-5. A split-image teaser has been released, showing half of each car.The MX-5 Spyder's cabin features handmade leather interior trim elements, while its silver paint, passenger seat cover and rear deck are bespoke.The MX-5 Speedster’s approach, meanwhile, is that of saving weight. Most notable among the changes is the absence of a windscreen, with a lighter wind deflector featuring in its place. The rear deck of the Speedster is occupied by roll bars that blend into buttresses on the bootlid, meaning that the Speedster is a full-time open-top car.Both cars follow the same lightweight approach as the MX-5 Superlight that was first revealed at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show, although Mazda was keen to emphasise that the two cars are “two vastly different takes on the fourth-generation MX-5”.Jimi BeckwithGet the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: