CHRISTMAS gifts and festive food are in the shops but if you’re looking for a present for a friend or relative who loves cars, or even just a handy gadget to fill the stocking of someone who spends a lot of time behind the wheel, then you’ve come to the right place.
Our hand-picked selection of motoring-related Christmas presents includes something for everyone of all ages and to suit all budgets, from the latest toys, books and video games, to clothes, handy car accessories and stocking fillers.
To make browsing even easier, we’ve broken down our list into six categories. If you’re after a particular type of present, click on the links and you’ll be taken straight to the relevant Christmas gifts for car lovers.
Video games and consoles
1. Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S
The arrival of a new generation of games consoles has suffered badly from short supply due to the ongoing shortage of semiconductors and, irritatingly, scalping, whereby resellers buy up all available consoles and advertise them on online marketplaces for over-inflated prices. Both the Sony PlayStation (below) and this, the all-new Microsoft Xbox Series X Not to be confused with the old Xbox One X), have been targeted over the last 12 months.
Supply issue this year may be exacerbated by the shortfall of HGV drivers, but if you can get an order in, the Series X is a hugely powerful console, with true 4K graphics (a huge number of pixels), 8K HDR (adds depth through use of light and shade) and ray tracing (true-to-life shadows and reflections), up to 120 frames per second (for incredibly smooth animation – a movie is traditionally filmed at 24 frames per second) and 12 teraflops of processing power.
All of which means racing games such as Forza Motorsport (an Xbox exclusive) should run with speed and clarity like never before. Like the PS5 it’s also backwards compatible, meaning hundreds of games for previous Xbox consoles will be playable on Series X.
If the Series X is a bit out of reach, price-wise, there’s also the Series S, which plays the same next gen games but has a smaller hard drive, less impressive graphics and a processor that’s only a third as powerful as the Series X.
Keep trying the links below — there are occasional restocks at each reputable store.
Xbox Series X price £449.99 or £28.99/month with Xbox All Access
Buy it at Amazon.co.uk, Game or Smyths
Xbox Series S price £249.99 or £20.99/month with Xbox All Access
Buy it at Amazon.co.uk, Very or Smyths
2. PlayStation 5
Microsoft’s chief console rival Sony also released its next generation games machine last year: the PS5. Stocks are even more limited, however.
If you can get your hands on one, Gran Turismo 7, the legendary Sony-exclusive racing game, is due next year and it looks stunning from the official trailer. Superb rallying sim Dirt 5 is available now.
Like Xbox Series X, the PS5 packs a punch with an ultra-high speed hard drive, 4K graphics, 8K HDR, 120 fps and ray tracing. It also looks pretty cool compared to the Xbox’s cube-like design, though be warned it’s a fair bit larger than the PS4, so takes up more room on the shelf.
PS5 is available in two forms – the standard model or a cheaper Digital version, which comes without the disk drive. It’s backwards compatible so if you want to run your old PS4 disks on the PS5, best opt for the pricier model.
Check availability, though, as stocks are extremely limited at reputable retailers.
Or take a look on eBay (at buyer’s risk): PS5
3. Nintendo Switch OLED
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t offer as much as the Playstation and Xbox for racing game fans, but it does have a few cracking titles, especially for younger gamers, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the clever Mario Kart Live Home Circuit, which merges a real radio control kart with the video game graphics on the console screen so that you can race on the floor of your living room.
And this Christmas there’s a new OLED (organic light-emitting diode) version, with a larger (7in), more vibrant screen and double the internal storage (64Gb) compared with the regular Nintendo Switch.
The real beauty of the Switch is that you can play it away from home, using the screen on the controller, making it ideal for car journeys and visits to friends’ houses, as well as home entertainment.
4. Project Cars 3
The third instalment in a racing franchise that sits towards the sim (rather than arcade) end of the racing game spectrum, though this time around the controller experience has been completely redesigned for more accurate and fun handling, and the adjustable skill settings mean beginners can get to grips with it.
The career mode that takes you from street racer to circuit champion, while in-game credits allow you to buy and own hundreds of cars and performance upgrades, including wheels, tyres and body kits, with racing on “over 120 global tracks”. It also includes a 24-hour clock for day and night driving, dynamic weather and new multiplayer modes.
It looks like nothing more than a dull game involving delivering stuff with trucks but the Snowrunner has won over motoring journalists and gamers alike with realistic physics, environments and weather. It really is amazingly rewarding to play – snow joke. [“Snow joke”? Really? I’m only leaving it in as it’s Christmas – Ed.]
6. WRC 9
The WRC series of rallying simulations are not the easiest to master but if you have a decent quality steering wheel and pedal set-up, and like a challenge, it doesn’t get much more impressive than the officially-licenced game. The new WRC 9 arrives on November 19 to coincide with the launch of the PS5 but it’s also available for PS4 and Xbox One. Note: the Nintendo Switch version arrives after Christmas.
Toys and games
1. Lego Technic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37
Lego has created a few cars in its impressive Technic range in recent years, which comprises sets with more complex functions (such as working eight-speed sequential gearboxes). There was a Bugatti Chiron in 2018, a Land Rover Defender last year, and there’s also been a Porsche 911 RSR.
This year, the company responsible for childhood joy and adult foot pain the world over collaborated with Lamborghini to create a 1:8 model of the Sián hypercar, complete with the aforementioned gearbox (which is triggered by a functioning flappy paddle), an active rear spoiler, and a recreation of the Sian’s V12 powerplant.
It’ll only be for people on Santa’s nice list, though, with a price of £349.99. Although that might sound like value for money when you factor in that it’s a 3,696 piece set — that should keep your child, partner, or whoever else occupied at least through Easter.
Buy it at Lego.com
2. Lego Speed Champions Panasonic Jaguar Racing Cars Set
If £350 for the Lego Lamborghini had you aghast (you wouldn’t be unjustified), this might be more your speed. Two cars for thirty five quid, and not just any cars — one is the new Gen2 Formula E car, decked out in the livery of Panasonic Jaguar, one of the two British teams that competes in the series. It’s the first Lego Speed Champions set to feature two pure-electric racing cars, with the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy also included. If you’re looking for a stocking filler for a Formula E fan, there’s also a Formula E Hot Wheels car for just £4.99 on the Formula E website.
Buy it at Argos
3. McLaren Senna ride-on car
You may remember Jeremy Clarkson reviewing the McLaren Senna for The Grand Tour: “0-60 in 2.7 seconds… That’s one hundred and twenty… A hundred and fifty… a hundred an—Jesus H. Christ! That’s really alarming. I’m going to be sick now.”
This McLaren Senna can only do three miles per hour but it’ll probably give your toddler as much glee as Clarkson got thrashing the real thing around Thruxton. It’s got the same aerodynamic styling, with the Senna’s rear spoiler, see-through side panels and butterfly doors, and is officially licensed by McLaren. It’s the third of its models that’s been miniaturised, after the P1 and the 720s, powered by a tiny rechargeable battery. There’s also a remote control, in case your child is too small to reach the pedals. Usable only by children up to seven years old, unfortunately.
Buy it at: Outdoor Toys
4. Mercedes F1 Silver Arrows Second Edition Monopoly
The board game responsible for creating festive family rifts since its release in 1935 has been given the Silver Arrows treatment. It’s the second edition of the game, and according to the team it’s “designed with all things Mercedes F1, making it the perfect item for the ultimate fan.”
Buy it at Mercedes AMG F1 Store
5. Miniature radio control BMW i8
BMW announced in April that it was to end the production of the i8 (the plug-in hybrid sports car that acted as the maiden voyage of BMW’s series of electrified i cars), just six years after its release. The decision was made in favour of selling electric cars that are almost indistinguishable from their internal-combustion counterparts, as evidenced by the new iX3. That means that in the future, the sci-fi looks of the i8 and the i3 could be two space-age anomalies in the history of BMW. This RC seems like a cool way of remembering them.
Buy it at BMW shop
6. Spin Master Monster Jam Megalodon Storm
In a less realistic corner of the RC world is the buzzword-filled Spin Master Monster Jam Megalodon Storm, which is an unholy shark/monster truck hybrid capable of going over snow, gravel and, impressively, through water. Voted the best RC of 2020 by Parents Magazine, one mother told the publication that it was “Hands down the coolest toy my boys have ever seen. And that includes my husband.”
Snap it up quickly though — all those plaudits will mean that other parents will be circling around it like… Monster Jam Megalodons.
Buy it at Smyths Toys
7. Aston Martin DB5 Junior ride-on car
This is no ordinary ride-on toy, as the £35,000 starting price attests. Aston Martin collaborated with The Little Car Company, which also produces a stunning Bugatti Type 35-based junior car, to produce this two-thirds scale version of the brand’s famous DB5. Two versions are available, the DB5 Junior with a 6.7bhp electric motor and the DB5 Vantage Junior, which produces double the power and a battery pack with twice the capacity.
Only 1,059 vehicles are being built (the same number as the full-size DB5), meaning this is a very exclusive toy for budding James Bonds.
Price: DB5 Junior £35,000 plus taxes; DB5 Junior Vantage £45,000 plus taxes
Buy it at TheLittleCar.co
8. Land Rover Defender transforming radio control car
The new Land Rover Defender may have launched but there’s still a lot of love for the old model, and this Transformers-style radio controlled version is a fab way to celebrate the legendary off-roader … and have hours of fun playing with, too. The 1:14-scale model transforms from robot to car at the push of a button, ready to tackle the tricky terrain of you living room carpet via the remote control.
Buy it at: LandRover.com
Books and films
1. Bond Cars: The Definitive History
This is surely the ultimate read for any die-hard James Bond fan, and it’s a proper gift, too. As well as a book full of previously unseen photographs and exclusive interviews by motoring journalist Jason Barlow (of old Top Gear TV fame) that put you behind the wheel of the myriad cars driven by 007, the book includes insights from people absolutely central to the franchise, including James Bond himself — Daniel Craig — as well as the films’ screenwriters, producers and vehicle supervisors. If you get the special edition, it also includes a slip case and exclusive posters. Probably the closest you’ll get to a fill of James Bond for the foreseeable.
Buy at: Amazon
2. Aston Martin: Made in Britain
In the ten years since he outed himself as Top Gear’s second full-time Stig, Ben Collins hasn’t exactly been resting on his laurels. He has, in fact, worked on every James Bond film in which Daniel Craig has starred, up to and including the now twice-delayed No Time to Die. Despite the continued postponements of the film’s release, we know that it will contain no fewer than four cars made by Aston Martin, the marque that finds itself at the centre of a new book by Collins. The book chronicles 100 years of the brand’s success, including the real and fictional people who made it famous.
Price £10.00 (50% off)
Buy it at Amazon
3. James May: Oh, Cook!
“Hello, viewers. I’m James May, and I can’t cook. Welcome to my cookery show.”
So begins the trailer for James May’s new Amazon Prime show, Oh Cook! Cookery is something that the presenter and writer has made the foray into before, alongside his longtime co-hosts Jeremy Clarkson (who has, like May, written recipes for The Sunday Times Magazine) and Richard Hammond, with the trio being the founding members of the food website FoodTribe.
However, the new TV series and accompanying cookbook marks May out as the true Gastronome of the trio. It features healthy dashes of characteristic May expletives (“horse’s arse!”), as well as some truly tasty-looking dishes including a Victoria sponge, some “well done” fish fingers (we think) and, obviously, Spam.
Buy it at Amazon
4. Why We Drive: On Freedom, Risk and Taking Back Control
The automotive landscape is, to put it lightly, changing. We are transitioning from a petrol-powered past in which people drive themselves around, to a digital future in which battery-powered motors directed by AI take us to our destination while we scroll through Twitter or do the crossword.
This book, by Matthew Crawford, an American philosopher (and motorcycle mechanic), is a rallying cry against that version of the future, a manifesto of self determination when it comes to the open road in which he argues that driving is one of the freedoms left in a world increasingly lacking. A book not so much about a love of cars as it is about a love of driving. You can read a review of the book in The Times here.
Buy it at Waterstones
5. Pininfarina 90 Years
Legendary coachbuilding company Pininfarina celebrates its 90th birthday this year. The firm is celebrating in style with the release of the (very) limited edition Battista Anniversario supercar, but if for some reason you didn’t make the five-long reservation list or have £2.3m lying around, this book could be the next best thing to buy for a fan. It has reportedly been produced in “close collaboration” with Pininfarina itself and chronicles the history of the company, from world-famous Ferraris and Alfas to the concepts with which every dedicated follower of the firm should be familiar.
Price £66.26 (26% off)
Buy it at Amazon
6. A Race with Love and Death: The Story of Richard Seaman
Richard Seaman was one of Britain’s most successful pre-war Grand Prix drivers, and his brief life was one of the most complicated and tragic in motor sport, in an era defined by tension and fragility. Born in 1913, he grew up with wealthy parents and attended some of the UK’s best educational institutions, before finding employment with Nazi-associated outfit Mercedes-Benz just two years before World War Two broke out. He met his untimely death in 1939, at the famous Spa-Francorchamps racetrack. This book by Richard Williams, who has previously written books about Ayrton Senna and Enzo Ferrari, takes a deep and frank look at Seaman’s short but complicated life.
Buy it at Amazon
7. Le Mans ’66 DVD
March saw the DVD release of Le Mans ‘66 (known as Ford v Ferrari across the pond, and not to be confused with Steve McQueen classic Le Mans), the Oscar-nominated film starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale — both Oscar winners themselves. The film depicts the efforts of Carroll Shelby and Co. to build the Ford GT40, with the aim of usurping the dominant Ferrari cars at Le Mans. Motor Sport fans will know the story — although that doesn’t diminish the film’s brilliance.
Buy it at Amazon
Gadgets and technology
1. Amazon Echo Auto
While the quality of virtual assistants in cars is rapidly improving, the systems in used cars can often be more hindrance than help, meaning you may have to divert your attention away from the road and onto fiddly physical controls. Bringing in the help of an established assistant like Amazon’s Alexa, then, can make driving a more serene and more safe experience. Decked out with eight microphones, it can hear your voice above the sound of whatever music you’re listening to — whether that’s the sound of your engine or your favourite eighties playlist — and can do things including checking petrol prices and making calls. It connects through either your phone’s bluetooth or an old-fashioned aux cord, and if you buy from Halfords they can also install it for you.
Buy it at Halfords
2. Diptyque car diffuser
If one of your loved ones spends hours a day in their car (or perhaps their car doesn’t smell as good as it looks), perhaps this is for them: it’s a diffuser and diffuser insert by Diptyque, a Parisian brand known for making home fragrances that scream “status”. This one is the Baies scent, which packs “the tangy coolness of freshly pickled blackberries”, but you can buy refills for the diffuser in a range of sophisticated scents, for £30 each.
Buy it at John Lewis
3. Tile Mate Bluetooth keyring
We all know someone who seems to make the simplest of domestic tasks — like keeping track of their phone, wallet or car keys — seem perennially difficult. The Tile Mate, while not being the most glamorous gift in the world, could be one that saves someone you know untold hours of stress, frustration and tardiness. It can be attached to a set of car keys (or wallet, TV remote, etc) and prompted through a smartphone app to emit a loud beep that should enable the recipient of your thoughtful gift to find what they need and reach their appointments on time.
Buy it at: Amazon
4. Nextbase 622GW dashcam
Dashcams are extremely popular due to their use in clearing up insurance claims and other driving incidents. Market leader Nexbase’s new range-topper is about as sophisticated as they get, with enough quality and definition to record a Hollywood blockbuster, as well as GoPro-level image stabilisation and extreme weather control to improve video clarity. It’s also the first dashcam to be kitted out with What3Words, the service that pinpoints your global location to within three square metres using a combination of three words. Amazon’s Alexa voice control also makes the device easier to use while driving.
Buy it at Halfords
5. Wacaco Pipamoka portable coffee maker
We all know the mad rush to leave the house on time, and many will be familiar with the frustration of beginning the morning commute without having had a coffee. Intended for those who need to streamline their morning routine, the Wacaco Pipamoka portable coffee maker is everything you need to make a coffee on the go, allowing you to brew coffee in two minutes, then drink it from the same device.
Buy it at Amazon
6. BMW E-Scooter
E-scooters are proving increasingly popular for getting around towns and cities, and they’re an idea “final mile” form of transport helping you get from a car park to the door of your office, for example, with ease. They’re also perfect for zipping around private land, such as race circuits or private estates. This example from BMW, launched at the end of 2019, is super lightweight (9kg) making it easy to carry up an down stairs, and offers a range of 7.5 miles between charges and a top speed of 12mph.
Two separate braking systems and embedded front and rear lights add additional safety on the road, and it takes just two hours to fully charge the E-Scooter’s battery before it’s ready to go again.
Note: e-scooter aren’t currently legal for use on roads or pavements in the UK but that is likely to change in the near future.
Price: Around £710
Buy it at: BMW dealers
7. Beeline Moto motorcycle sat nav
Motorcycle riders can mount phones or dedicated sat navs to their handlebars but the Beeline Moto is s streamlined, weatherproof solution with a simple arrow guiding the way and distance to your next turn. It takes a little getting used to but in no time at all proves to be a clever, robust device with at-a-glance instructions that mean you spend more time with your eyes on the road.
Routes are prepared via an app on your phone and a few mounting options are available, including a brilliantly simple and secure rubber band option guaranteed to fit almost any make and model of bike.
Price: From £149
Buy it at: Beeline.co
Clothing and accessories
1. Triumph Motorcycles lifestyle clothing
Why is it that it’s cool to wear a motorcycle-branded t-shirt but not one with a car logo on it? Is it the danger involved in riding a motorcycle? Or the fact that they’re predominantly ridden by true enthusiasts? Who knows, but it’s a fact. And there aren’t many cooler brands than Triumph. The range of lifestyle clothing, from caps to tees and jackets, looks superb, too.
Price from £25
Buy it at TriumphMotorcycles.co.uk
2. BMW leather jacket
As mentioned, car-branded clothing is usually naff and the motor companies don’t tend to have the greatest eye when it comes to designing clothes — think of the Ferrari-branded leather trainers — but BMW has bucked the trend with this leather jacket. This is how to do it: appealing to petrolhead sensibilities with a tasteful, subtle BMW logo on the sleeve and stitching inspired by that on the upholstery of the Z4, without going too gauche. It’s made of lamb nappa leather, so maybe not one for those concerned about animal welfare, but if you’re not concerned about that it does mean it’ll be soft as butter.
Buy it at BMW shop
3. BMW F80/M3 F82/M4 Hoodie
This year will be remembered in many automotive circles as the one in which BMW unleashed its oversized grilles upon the world. Amid various calls of “it’s growing on me” and “they like it in China”, there is a group of people whose opinion is steadfastly “change it back”. If one of your loved ones belongs to that sector of population, they can make their affiliations known with this hoodie, that bears the front grille of the F80 M3 and the F82 M4.
Price About £37, including shipping
Buy it from Driver Apparel
4. Heel Tread Golf GTI socks
Heel Tread is a company that makes socks giving a subtle nod to automotive icons. Among other great designs based on things such as Senna’s helmet and the Gulf Oil-adorned Ford GT40, is this charming nod to the checked seats of the Golf GTI. Most people won’t get the reference but the recipient of this gift is sure to get kudos from those in the know. There’s also a multipack based on cars from the James Bond films, which references the Aston Martin DB5 and V8 Vantage that are set to appear in No Time to Die, the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and the AMC Hornet from The Man With The Golden Gun.
Buy it at Heel Tread
5. F1 Fragrances Engineered Collection Carbon Reign
Launched this week, a line of fragrances inspired by Formula One isn’t an immediately attractive proposition — after all, one doesn’t want to smell of sweat, petrol and burning rubber when we’re eventually allowed to go out for dinner. However, with the Engineered collection, a five-scent collaboration between F1 and Designer Parfums, the more romantic aspects of the sport have been the focus.
“Precious Mettle” is a “a fresh, intense, woody fragrance with a metallic twist that represents the courageousness required from drivers as they line up on the grid”. “Turn 1”, meanwhile, is “an avantgarde composition, with inimitable accords of burning rubber and rain on salty asphalt, honouring the performance and determination of powering through the first corner.”
There’s also “Overtake 320”, which comprises spicy notes of cinnamon and bergamot, and the rather entertainingly named “Neeeum White”, which replicates the rush of the final straight with black pepper and juniper.
Perhaps the most delicious sounding, though, is “Carbon Reign”, which conjures the feeling of victory using scents of champagne, dry amber and woods. Delicious, as long as the Champagne scent isn’t replicated from Daniel Ricciardo’s racing boots.
Buy it at F1 Fragrances
6. Bentley fragrances
It seems that the industry of car-related fragrances is a burgeoning one, with Bentley adding to its well-established scent collection. It has released three new floral fragrances for women that match “peerless ingredients with far-flung destinations” — namely “Mellow Heliotrope”, to evoke Lima, Peru; “Radiant Osmanthus”, a fruity aroma apparently reminiscent of Kyoto, Japan; and “Vibrant Hibiscus”, which is an olfactory odyssey to Seoul, South Korea. Meanwhile, it has also released a male fragrance — “Silverlake”, a “cool breath of fresh air through mountain forests”.
7. Lalique La Nuit Candle
In the late 18th and early 19th century, René Claude Lalique was known as the manufacture of luxury glass hood ornaments, that aristocrats strapped to their cars as a sign of status. If you want to find a vintage one for a Christmas gift it’ll set you back hundreds of thousands, but these days Lalique creates fragrances, such as these sophisticated candles. The candle itself is adorned with swallows, the symbol of Lalique, while the scent, according to the company, conjures “the nearly infinite diversity of Kenya”.
Price €69.00 (around £65.00)
Buy it at Lalique
8. Delorean Motor Company The Dream Classic watch
Thanks to very well-documented events including mismanagement and an FBI drugs smuggling sting, the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC)’s eponymous ’80s sports car was far from a financial success, and the outfit didn’t create another model. In its modern guise, though, the company has cashed in on the infamy of the DMC name by creating a line of watches (the back of which bear a drawing of the DeLorean DMC-12 in all its gullwing glory).
Buy it at DMC watches
1. Two-pack of keyless car fob pouches
Keyless cars are common these days, and thieves have seized on the technological innovation by creating high tech ways to easily unlock vehicles. One of them is cloning, whereby a signal from your key fob is captured and boosted to another device held by a accomplice, standing next to the car, who can then simply open the door and press the start button. Faraday wallets are one way of counteracting this, by blocking the signal from such malevolent contraptions. Not the most glamorous gift, but more so than wading through insurance documents because your car’s been nicked.
Buy it at Amazon
2. James Bond Aston Martin DB5 keyring
Whether or not this elevates a car key with a touch of class, or just provides a depressingly stark comparison between one of the most beautiful cars of all time and your loved one’s Vauxhall Astra key, is up to you. All we know is that it’s shiny, comes in a nice box, and well… it’s an Aston Martin DB5. What more is there to say?
Buy it at 007 Store
3. Airfix Quickbuild Jaguar I-Pace
Airfix has been around for nearly 80 years, meaning that it’s a household name, especially among model enthusiasts. However, kits like this Jaguar I-Pace might mark a new era for the company, as it joins Lego in embracing the increasing popularity of electric cars. This one is a Quickbuild, meaning that there’s no gluing or painting — just assembly and adhesive stickers.
Buy it at Airfix
4. Build Your Own Electric Stunt Buggy
With no need to faff around with glue, this cheap and cheerful gift slots together simply, with easily integrated electrical and mechanical parts, and can be decorated with included decal stickers. At £9.99 it probably won’t be the most sophisticated thing in the world, but it’s perfect for that downtime between Christmas dinner and dessert.
Buy it at Prezzy Box
5. De-icer mitt
There are few experiences more bleak than frantically de-icing your windscreen, in the dark, when you’re cold, tired and late for work. This mitt probably won’t make it a part of the day to look forward to, but at least your recipient will do it with warm hands and a warm heart, thinking of you.
Buy it at Amazon
Enjoyed our roundup of the best Christmas gifts for car lovers? Then you might like to read our other car accessory reviews.