- The boys drive the Aston Martin Rapide, Porsche Panamera Turbo & Maserati Quattroporte GTS.
- Richard tests the Chevrolet Camaro & Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Rubens Barrichello, Rupert Grint.
The episode begins with Jeremy talking about cars which are purchased by successful businessman who are after a large 4-door saloon – usually from the stables of BMW, Mercedes Benz or Audi. Now though, there are a few new releases worth considering – the 4.7L Maserati Quattroporte GTS, the 6.0L Aston Martin Rapide and the extremely ugly Porsche Panamera Turbo. Jeremy begins with the ugliness of the Panamera – “This isn’t just hideous compared to the other two, it’s hideous compared to a genital wart.” The Aston Martin Rapide on the other hand looks beautiful and doesn’t let the extra length ruin it, or as Richard says “It doesn’t really look like a saloon at all, more like a DB9 that’s taken a bit of Viagra. Infact you have to stare at it for a while before you can see that it’s got 4 doors at all. ” James introduces the Maserati Quattroporte GTS, a car which has been with us for 6 years – but James thinks it has gotten even better looking during this time. Some issues remain with the interior of the cars – the dash buttons on the Rapide are extremely small, the Panamera’s controls are extremely complicated, but the Quattroporte’s are even worse. While James sits in the front to try figure out how to adjust the clock, Jeremy and Richard sit in the back suggesting that the hand grips on the ceiling are there “for people to be handcuffed to”, suggesting the Quattroporte has a kind of mafia style about it. The boys then decide to take a typical businessman’s drive from central London to a business park in Hampshire. Jeremy rolls off in the Maserati and James grabs the Aston, unfortunately forcing Richard to take the Panamera, which he loathes.
James is not convinced with the Rapide – the Maserati costs £91,000; the Panamera £97,000 and then a whopping £140,000 for the Aston – an amount which he’s not sure it’s actually worth. He also finds the ride a big jiggly and not like a luxury car at all. Richard finds the Panamera too big and finds the auto stop/start feature useless, and that it has a long list of optional extras which should have been fitted standard – like the rear windscreen wiper. Jeremy loves the noise of the Quattroporte, but hates the harsh suspension and the overcomplicated controls in the cabin. It still has its charms however, with Jeremy figuring out how to describe it by the time they arrived at the business park – “Owning this car is like owning a 2 year old child, it’s really annoying for a lot of the time but if someone tried to take it away from you you’d kill them.” The business park was closed, so the boys created a track around its grounds and went for a bit of a thrash, before handing all 3 cars over to the Stig to do some laps. The times were Maserati Quattroporte GTS – 0:35.80, Aston Martin Rapide – 0:35.25 and Porsche Panamera – 0:35.10.
In the news, Richard shows us a modified Porsche Panamera which manages to be more ugly than the standard car. It is also announced that the Pagani Zonda R has broken Ferrari’s lap record at the Nurburgring with a time of 6:42.00. Jeremy mentions that the EU has decided that all car makes must reach an average target for C02 across their range, and that Aston Martin have had to make a small car called the Cygnet which is simply a re-badged Toyota IQ. Jeremy mentions that Ken Block called him a ‘Pussy’ for not being able to drive the Reliant Robin properly, before some footage is showed of Ken also rolling a Robin on the Top Gear Test Track.
Jeremy then introduces Rubens Barrichello as an F1 Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Rubens manages a 1:44.30 in the old Suzuki Liana – number 1 on the F1 Lapboard and even faster than The Stig.
Richard is up next testing out two very different muscle cars. Richard drives the Chevrolet Camaro first – an icon which fought in the “Detroit War” of the 60’s. It went up against Ford’s Mustang and eventually lost, with the Mustang outselling it by more than double. The new Camaro SS has a 6.2 Litre V8 and costs £42,000 – Richard thinks it looks good and it actually has modern suspension, unlike most American muscle cars. This is due to it being based on the Vauxhall VXR8 which is designed in Australia. However Richard decides to pit it against the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. The Mercedes blows the Camaro out of the water as far as noise is concerned, but manages to get more power out of the same engine capacity – 4.5 seconds to 60mph and a top speed (without limiter) of186mph – 40mph more than the Camaro. The Mercedes however costs £72,000 and comes across as being overly complicated to be a true muscle car. Richard sums it up “The Mercedes may be almost twice the price of the Camaro, but the fact is it’s twice the car.” Despite this, Richard would personally choose the Camaro, harking back to his simplistic redneck side.
Jeremy introduces Rupert Grint as the Star in a Reasonably Priced car, who manages a time of 1:45.50 on a dry track.
The boys go back to their executive 4-door saloons and put them to the test – by spending the day as chauffeurs for a Wedding party. The boys dress as chauffeurs however Jeremy has forgotten his suit pants – he is then forced to use black duct tape to cover up his blue jeans. Richard sets off in the Aston to collect the groom, while Jeremy takes the bride’s mother in the Porsche, and James the Bride. James decides to take a slightly longer scenic route to the church and eventually gets lost. Jeremy selects the Porsche’s Sport mode and races directly to the church at top speed. Richard picks up the groom and is running a bit behind time. Jeremy arrives first, followed by Richard – both were on time. James ended up arriving over 30minutes late with the bride. While the wedding was on, the boys nip off to a nearby airfield to have a drag race – the Porsche wins by considerable margin, with the Aston second and Maserati close third.
Back in the studio, the boys decide unanimously that the Maserati Quattroporte GTS was the car they would choose.
“Some say that if you hold him in the wrong way he doesn’t work properly, and that just very recently he developed an irrational hatred of Rubens Barrichello. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”
Stig Power Laps
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car