- Jeremy power tests a Honda Civic Type-R.
- James races a Alfa Romeo 159 against a man across the Humber estuary.
- Jeremy tests two fast estate cars: Mercedes E63 AMG Estate vs. BMW M5 Touring.
- Richard creates and tests out a new racing category: Motorhome racing.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Lawrence Dallaglio.
Main Review: Clarkson reviews the third Generation Honda Civic Type R. He notes that the previous generation is much better than the new one, due to the increased weight of the new model but only a modest 1 hp (0.75 kW) gain in power. The new model also lacks the independent rear suspension system found in the previous model. These factors result in a drop in price. The large spoiler, which obscures rear visibility, is ridiculed by Clarkson. Clarkson races it against the old model, which seemed faster. The Stig laps the track in 1:33.5.
News: James May announces that Clarkson has a cold but Clarkson jokes that he contracted Bird Flu. A survey was conducted and Clarkson notes that on country roads, 4% of accidents are due to speeding, while 96% remain unknown. They mention that it might be due to animals on the road and Clarkson concludes that speeding on country roads is relatively safe.
Review: May reviews the Alfa Romeo 159 and he must put a pound into the ‘Top Gear Italian Car Road Test Cliché Swear Box’ if he uses any fake Italiano to describe the car (e.g. soul, passion). He races against Graham Boanas to cross the Humber River without using the Humber Bridge. May loses the race by seconds. (This segment was originally filmed for Series 8, but was rescheduled for broadcast.)
Star in a Reasonably Priced car: England rugby international star Lawrence Dallaglio posts a time of 1:47.4.
Review: Clarkson encourages drivers to ditch their Range Rovers and Porsche Cayennes for the 500 bhp (370 kW) BMW M5 Touring and 507 bhp (378 kW) Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Estate because of similar practicality, superior comfort, and far superior power. However he admits he’d still prefer to own a Range Rover so that he can annoy environmentalists.
Challenge: Richard Hammond debuts another innovative, and wildly destructive, form of motorsport: motorhome racing. The justification is that most racers tow their race vehicle behind them in a large travel trailer which often doubles as their accommodation for the racing weekend. Thus driving to, racing, and then driving back in the same vehicle streamlines the process.
The race was held at the Essex Raceway with a field of six entrants. These included Hammond driving a Ford Midas, Matt Neal driving a Mitsubishi L300, Anthony Reid in a nimble Toyota LiteAce, Tom Chilton in a large Chevrolet, Mat Jackson driving a Fiat Ducato MV70 Globetrotter and finally a “Desperation driver” in a Ford Transit.
The rules of Motorhome racing state that all work on the vehicles must be completed prior to sunset on the day before the race and that a driver must spend the night before the race in their vehicle. This forced the drivers to choose between stripping down their vehicles and having a bad night’s sleep, or leaving a heavy vehicle with a good night’s sleep. Only James May declined to strip down his vehicle.
In the race, the Toyota LiteAce came in first, followed by the hulking Chevrolet second, and Hammond in third, despite having suffered massive structural failure. May came in last after both getting lost and then crashing into a roof-mounted air conditioning unit which had fallen off of Hammond’s disintegrating vehicle, sending him into the barrier.
Back in the studio Clarkson announces a super-sized new German motorhome called “The Performance” with a luxurious interior. Clarkson describes it as being perfect for motorhome racing as it stores a Wiesmann MF in its cargo space.
“Some say that he thought Star Wars was a documentary, and that he recently pulled out of “I’m a Celebrity” because he’s frightened of trees, and Australia, and Koo Stark, and Ant, and Dec. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”
Stig Power Laps
Honda Civic Type-R
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car