- Jeremy tests the Mitsubishi Evo X against the Subaru Impreza.
- Richard races the Audi RS6 against two French Skiers.
- Top Gear Stuntman attempts a barrel roll like the one seen in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” (in an MG Maestro).
- Jeremy drives the Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black.
- Stars in a Reasonably Priced Car: Rupert Penry-Jones & Peter Firth.
Main Review: Clarkson tests the new Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and the new Subaru Impreza WRX STI. He lavishes immense praise on the handling characteristics of the Evo, and bashes the Impreza as ugly and less fun to drive. The Evo appears to be more precise and more agile, while the Impreza (markedly cheaper in the UK market) is said to look like a ‘war wound’ and sound like it is being fuelled by mogadon. Although Jeremy dislikes the STI, it turns out to be faster around the track by setting a lap time of 1:28.2, against which the Mitsubishi achieves 1:28.22.
News: The Top Gear team continue their campaign against road signs, especially those concerning squirrels. They also note that the Vauxhall Vectra is dead and is replaced with the good-looking Vauxhall Insignia; they believe that with the precedent of the new Citroën C5 and Ford Fiesta, that mainstream cars are becoming the best-looking of all. Clarkson compares the Stig to the archaeologists in the Doctor Who episode “Silence in the Library”.
Review/Challenge: Hammond reviews the second-generation Audi RS6 Avant near Tignes and Villaroger in the French Alps. With a twin-turbo V10 engine producing 572 horsepower (427 kW), the RS6 is significantly more powerful than its rivals, the BMW M5 Touring, and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG estate. However, it is also far more expensive with a base price of about 75,000 GBP. Hammond tests the car’s handling and power by driving across down a stretch of road from the Arc 1950 ski resort at Les Arcs to Villaroger in a race against two French skiers who ascend to the mountaintops of Mont Pourri, then reach the bottom with parachutes and skis. Hammond loses the challenge because he gets lost in the village streets at the end of the trip.
Stars in a Reasonably-Priced Car: Stars of Spooks, Rupert Penry-Jones achieves 1:48.1, and Peter Firth achieves 1:47.1.
Challenge: James May has the Top Gear Stuntman attempt to replicate the extremely difficult stunt from The Man with the Golden Gun, in which a car crosses a river while completing a full 360-degree spin. However, as he does it with a front-drive MG Maestro rather than the rear-drive AMC Hornet used in the film, May must rework the physics on the jump. His calculations are a bit off, as it is a miserable failure.
Cool Wall: The Cool Wall is resurrected. They have a complete switch-up of priorities, for example deeming BMWs cool, and Audis uncool. The Fiat Panda moves from cool into way beyond seriously uncool, due to James May owning one. Hammond goes too far when he attempts to move all Aston Martins into uncool. When he touches the DB9 fridge, Jeremy restrains him and puts the card high up in sub-zero. He then steals Hammond’s microphone so there is no more argument.
Review: Clarkson drives the Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series. The Black Series provides more power than the 481 horsepower (359 kW) standard; it is lightened and tightened. It’s the first car that Jeremy ever receives which comes with a warning from the manufacturer itself. However, it retains comfort, luxuries, an automatic gearbox, and civility. Clarkson goes driving just for the sake of driving, and finds it to be ideal from a purist’s perspective. Clarkson calls it a perfect blend of supercar fun and practicality, and he calls it his new favourite car. According to Clarkson, the Stig also notes that it’s the most fun car he had driven in years.
“Some say that each of his toenails are exactly the same as a woman’s nipples, and that he thinks the credit crunch is some kind of breakfast cereal. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”
Stig Power Laps
Mitsubishi Evo X
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car