Top Gear: Series 1, Episode 7

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  • Richard roadtests the Saab 93 in an eco friendly manner.
  • Who is the fastest faith?
  • Richard talks about diesel cars.
  • Jeremy and Richard do the Cool Wall.
  • Jason Dawe visits a primary school to see which supercars kids like best.
  • Jeremy drives the new Lotus Elise.
  • Jason Dawe presents Insider Dealing.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Rick Parfitt.

Episode Guide

The show begins with Jeremy announcing tonight’s theme is the Environment. He shows us a TV displaying a camera feed of the M4 bus lane, explaining that they’ll leave it there for the entire show in the hope of actually spotting a bus.

Richard moves on to the Saab 93, a competitor to the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series – and goes to road test it in an ‘eco-friendly’ manner. Driving to the government’s guidelines to eco-driving, Richard sets off at 50mph and says the car is not too bad, however it does have a firm ride. While stuck in congestion due to a bus lane taking up half of the road, Richard notes the sheer amount of controls on the Saab’s dashboard – 98 of them infact. Not that he can be using any of them though, especially air-conditioning as it wastes precious fuel. At £21,500 Richard believes the Saab is great value for money. Back in the studio, the audience spot what looks like a bus coming down the M4 bus lane, however it turns out to be a private coach. Richard states the Saab is a good car, but is a bit dull.

In the news Jason Dawe mentions the new Daihatsu Copen. Richard talks about Jeremy’s Mercedes SL55 from last week, saying they had numerous emails saying the Stig didn’t do the lap in Jeremy’s actual car. Jeremy reveals he changed the number plate for his road test, to stop people knowing his real one… however Richard didn’t bother when it was given to the Stig. Richard mentions there’s an even better SL55 called the K8 from Brabus. Jeremy talks about Euro NCAP, mentioning ratings for a few different cars.

Jeremy then skips off the stage to introduce the next segment – to find the Fastest Faith on their test track. Competing are representatives from the Catholic Church, Harry Chrisners, a Rabbi, a Tibetan Buddhist, a representative and also a Bishop from the Church of England. The Car being used is a modified Subaru Impreza STI with over 330bhp. After guidance from the Stig, each faith lapped the track. The Church of England were the fastest faith, while the Catholics came second.

Richard talks about diesel cars and the advancement in their engines – which means quiet more efficient cars with more usable power. He then introduces the Peugeot RC – the world’s first proper diesel sports car. A one off car which has a carbon fibre body, mid-mounted engine, a 6 speed sequential gearbox, a 0-60 time of 6 seconds, yet still gets 57mpg. Peugeot were a bit nervous to give the car to the Stig, however they sent Richard Burns down to do a lap of the track. Curiously enough the lap time is not mentioned or put on the board.

Jeremy brings on the Cool Wall for it’s second outing. The Volkswagen Golf diesel is “Uncool” as it marks you out as a cheap skate. The Saab 93 from earlier was “Uncool”. Jeremy argues with several audience members who were unhappy with the position of a few cars. Jeremy explains the idea of the wall further, and mentions the Kristen Scott Thomas rule for the first time, saying “You’ve got to take Kristen Scott Thomas out for dinner, cool girl yes? You turn up in something like that (points to Ferrari 360) she’s going to think you’re a bourke. You turn up in THAT (Aston Martin Vanquish) she’s going to leave her husband! That’s how cool works!”

Richard moves on to electric cars, introducing the Ford Think. The Stig takes it out onto the track for a drag race against something equally sprightly, Jason Dawe in running shoes. Jason gets off the line first but is quickly overtaken – however the Think supposedly runs out of power before reaching the finish line, and Jason wins. In the studio, Jeremy mentions the problems of having to recharge them. Richard then shows us the Toyota Prius, explaining the fact it never needs to be recharged, due to having electric and petrol motors working together. Jeremy goes through a giant list of celebrities who have bought a Prius, before taking a picture of the Prius to the cool wall. He walks past cool, uncool, seriously uncool, but thinks even that isn’t far enough – he takes it down into an unlit corner of the studio and puts it there.

Jason Dawe visits The Ridge Primary School to see which cars the kids of today want to drive. To find out if kids still love supercars like they’ve always done, Jason lines some supercars up outside – a Ferrari 360, Pagani Zonda, Nissan Skyline R34 GTR & a TVR Tuscan. A Lamborghini Countach is also brought in. After votes were counted, the Lamborghini was the most popular, followed by the Zonda and the Ferrari.

Back in the studio, Jason & Richard talk about converting petrol cars to LPG. Richard warns though the gas is only cheap because the government has frozen the tax on it to keep it cheap. Jeremy then talks about the government’s decision to calculate car tax based on carbon dioxide emissions – a decision he sees as stupid – as 95.5% of carbon emissions come from natural sources.

Jeremy suggests a way around the rules though, introducing a Lotus Elise – a car that does 40mpg and is in the same tax bracket as a Ford Fiesta. Jeremy takes it out on the track where he reveals the key to the economy is the lightness of the car – at 760kg. The Elise only has a 1.8L engine with 156bhp, but can manage 0-60 in 5 seconds, and a top speed of 132mph. Jeremy lauds the handing and the feel through the steering wheel, but the new model runs narrower front tyres which seems to create more understeer, especially through the hammerhead. However, Gavan Kershaw from Lotus believes the problem isn’t with the car, but more with Jeremy’s driving. Gavan takes Jeremy out on the track and shows him how it should be done – where he demonstrates the correct way to drive the car, flicking the rear out and holding it on the limit. The Stig takes the Elise around a wet track and returns a 1:35.00 – the same as a Ferrari 575.

Jeremy introduces Rick Parfitt as the Star in a Reasonably Priced car. Rick laps a 1:52.00 on a dry track.
Jason Dawe also presents Insider Dealing, with some good tips on new small cars.

Stig Power Laps

Lotus Elise
1:35.00 (wet)

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Rick Parfitt
1:52.00

Screenshots

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Rating: 6.5/10 (6 votes cast)