Top Gear: Series 15, Episode 4

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  • Jeremy tests the Audi R8 V10 Spyder & Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible.
  • The boys each build a motor home and see how they perform.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Andy Garcia.

Episode Guide

Watch this episode on Amazon Instant Video

The show begins with Jeremy and a letter, which reads “Dear Jez, Dick and Jim. I want a convertible supercar but I only have £113,500 to spend, can you help?”

Out on the track, Jeremy introduces the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible – each costing £113,500 in their current specification. Jeremy decides to compare them with a drag race, but firstly mentions “If its speed you’re after the Audi looks like the better bet because it is much, much more powerful. But because the Porsche is so much lighter, they both produce exactly 306bhp per ton. If they were supermarkets, you’d to them for price fixing.” The similarities continue – they’re both German, they’re both 4-wheel drive and they both have cloth roofs rather than metal. In the first drag race, Jeremy drives the Audi R8 and loses to the Porsche by a considerable margin. In the interest of fairness, Jeremy takes the Porsche for the second race and loses again by a similar margin. It turns out the cars themselves are almost exactly the same, with the difference here being driver talent in getting a 4-wheel drive car off the line. Both cars will do 0-60mph in around 4 seconds and both will crack 190mph.

They can’t be separated in the corners either. The Audi benefits from extra strengthening beams in the chassis, while the Porsche gets active engine mounts – effectively making the engine part of the cars structure. Both however are heavier than their coupe counterparts and will never be as ridged, or as quick. Jeremy mentions that the noise in the Audi with the roof down is exceptional, but feels that it still doesn’t quite make up for the shortcomings of the car. “Really, it’s like driving a car that has chlamydia. There are no symptoms but you know it’s there and that sort of spoils the relationship a bit.” Jeremy also decides to do a practicality test by bringing in a girl called Lauren (who spent the morning getting her hair done) to see how it would be affected by going for a drive in either of the cars. The lack of any wind deflectors in the Audi caused problems for Laurens hair as soon as Jeremy upped the speed – ending in a tangled mess of 1980s pop star’ish hair. The Porsche didn’t do any better. Back in the studio, the Stig takes the Audi and Porsche for a lap of the track and both return almost exactly the same times.

In the news, James checks to see how many people in the studio audience actually watched the program last week due to it being on at the same time as the World Cup final. Jeremy mentions he went to South Africa to watch the final live and brought back a Vuvuzela horn – they all give it a try to no avail. Jeremy mentions that a university in the USA have developed a car which can be driven by blind people. Jeremy mentions a report which came out about dangerous roads in Britain, and how 1 in 4 serious accidents involve a motorcycle.

In the next segment, the Top Gear producers issue the boys with a challenge. They must each build a motor home which would be small enough to work on British roads, but still be cool – it also must have cooking facilities and a working toilet. We then catch up with the boys as they met up at Fleet Services on the M3. Richard arrives first in an old Land Rover 110 which looks a bit like a garden shed, with Jeremy following soon after in a Citroen CX with a 3-storey building on the back inspired by Grand Designs. Jeremy shows Richard through his design, which features a Japanese contemplation area, hammock accommodation for two, and a camping oven with gas cooktop. Jeremy checks out Richard’s Land Rover – which has some interesting fake stone paneling across the back of it that Richard will not elaborate on and a toilet sitting where the passenger seat would usually be. James eventually arrives in a Lotus Eclat with a roof box across the top – which basically only has a sleeping bag inside and a pop up roof section so you can actually sit on the bog. The first challenge arrives, which says the boys must go on a camping holiday to Cornwall, which is 215 miles from their current position.

The boys set off in their motor homes, with James being extremely happy with his lightweight roof box, which adds no noticeable weight to the car, preserving motoring pleasure. Richard’s Land Rover on the other hand, has significant weatherproofing issues which lets the wind in – but this was nothing compared to Jeremy’s problems. The sheer height of his motor home was causing the whole car to dangerously rock side to side involuntarily due to air turbulence – a problem which was made worse any time a truck went past. After just 20miles the boys pulled over so Richard could mend his car, and Jeremy also removes one of his windows in an effort to let more air flow through his motor home, but it didn’t work. Eventually they arrive at the South Winds campground in Cornwall some 7 hours later and Richard begins to set up. He pulls some wall panels out of his car but struggles to set them up in the windy conditions – Jeremy and James head off to a local pub after becoming bored watching him. By nightfall Richard was still working away but stops to show Jeremy and James through the various rooms of his home, which even contains a dining room and library. The wind reeks havoc on his structure though, blowing the walls around and causing the roof to constantly fall in. The boys turn in for the night.

Back in the studio, Jeremy introduces Andy Garcia, who laps a dry track in a time of 1:46.10.

We then rejoin the motor home segment the next morning, when the wind had finally died down. Richard’s house did not fair well overnight, looking partly demolished. Jeremy’s car apparently blew over on its side and James’ Lotus was fine. For the next challenge, the boys must go surfing and drive their car down to the beach and get changed into wet suits inside the car. Richard shows us the “escape pod” style system of his car, which lets him leave most of the structure behind and just drive the car away. Down at the beach, Jeremy gets changed easily in his Japanese Contemplation area, James struggles in his roof box and Richard can’t really get changed at all in his car due to privacy issues created by him leaving all his wall panels behind. Eventually James and Richard were ready and join Jeremy in the water. Jeremy catches a single wave into the beach and gets out, while Richard and James keep going. Meanwhile the tide comes in and threatens the cars – Richard and James get their cars out but Jeremy needing a tow to get out of the wet sand.

The next challenge involves cooking a 3-course meal using the cooking equipment in their motor homes, and using only ingredients purchased from a local petrol station. James chose to do the starter, Richard the pudding and Jeremy would do the main meal. They cobble together a selection of barely usable ingredients and create some very disgusting meals – James did slices of Spam coated in crushed cheese flavoured potato crisps. Richard’s pudding involved slices of white bread with yogurt and chocolate, and Jeremy’s vegetables (flowers) mixed with Castrol GTX (for oil). Richard’s building catches fire and the boys abandon the challenge and finish the day with a liquid dinner. The next morning, the boys set off and go to a scenic spot atop of some cliffs. Jeremy wanders off for an ice cream and while he was away, Richard and James try to position Jeremy’s motor home right at the edge of the cliff so it will be scary for him to try reverse it away, but it ends up going over the edge and is destroyed.

Some say…

“Some say that he spent all week daydreaming about what Rubens Barrichello would look like in a ham slicer, and that he’s terrified the BBC will reveal his salary because he’s paid in strong pornography. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”

Stig Power Laps

Audi R8 V10 Spyder
1:22.30
Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet
1:22.20

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Andy Garcia
1:46.10

Screenshots

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Rating: 9.4/10 (125 votes cast)

1 COMMENT

  1. One of the funniest episodes ever. Top 4 along with the Vietnam, Africa (p1&2) and Bolivia specials

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