Steer by wire?
'It’s all about the steering. The face-lifted Audi A1 has eschewed the trend to drive-by-wire and has mechanical steering with variable electrical assistance. I drove the new 1.0 three-cylinder petrol engine version, and over the miles what started as a nice little practical town car turned into a fun little toy.'
Apart from top spec Infiniti's no-one has produced a mass-market steer by wire system for a production car (and they are currently rumoured to be returning to non-SBW). So it's hardly 'eschewed the trend'. The electrical power assistance the article refers to has been common for the last decade or so.
As additionally mentioned above, the MI16 engine from 1987 I had in my 205 gti had an aluminium cylinder block (albeit with cast liners). And BMW's nikasil engines in the e36 were all alloy, although not all totally successful.... I don't know why this banal fact warranted a mention.
'Reviewing cars is the best job there is at The Register' Maybe I can do a better job? You've got my email!