- Jeremy takes the new Rolls Royce Phantom to Hull.
- Richard attempts to find Britain’s Fastest Political Party.
- Richard drives the Rover P5.
- James presents Insider Trading.
- Jeremy compares the BMW M3 & Audi S4.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jamie Oliver.
Episode 2 opens with a bit of a luxury theme going on, with several items in the studio including a drinks globe, an onyx coffee table and the new Rolls Royce Phantom. Jeremy then takes the Phantom to Hull for a road test.
Everything about the Phantom is vast, from its sheer size to its huge wheels, not to mention the 6.7L V12 engine. Despite the massive engine, it’ll still manage 18mpg and it’s much more quiet and easier to drive than Rolls Royce’s of old. The Phantom is an old fashioned approach to luxury motoring – a very subtle and classy cabin featuring simplistic button layouts and a gearbox featuring 3 selector points only; reverse, neutral and forward – something Jeremy rather likes. The rear suicide doors feature umbrellas built into them so you can quickly eject one as you exit the car. In the back seat the elegant leather work and aluminium, together with the art deco lighting make it a lovely place to be. However it turns out it’s actually much more fun to drive the car, rather than just being a passenger. 0-60mph is dispatched in only 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 150mph means it’s fast compared to all types of cars – it also takes corners quite well considering what it is. Jeremy compares the Phantom to the Humber Bridge – for 17 years it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. A bridge with enough steel cabling to go around the earth twice – and it was British steel – British designed, engineered and built with British money. So Jeremy wonders then why the Phantom’s engine is manufactured in Germany, along with the gearbox, suspension, brakes and the body panels – even the leather comes from a herd of German cows… all the British do is nail all the pieces together. Jeremy loves the Phantom and says it’s a fantastic car, however he wishes it could be more like the Humber Bridge… “Something we could be proud of”.
Richard brings us back to the Cool Wall – where the Phantom is placed in “Uncool”. The Ferrari Enzo is “Uncool”, while the Audi A3 ends up being “Uncool” after Jeremy tried to argue the point of it being “Cool”, but lost to Richard.
Richard then moves on to find Britain’s Fastest Political Party. Representatives from the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, Monster Raving Loony party, Green Party, Liberal Democrat Party, the Labor Party and the Tory Party. They will be competing to do the fastest lap of the Top Gear test track, using an MG ZR racecar. The Liberal Democrats won the event with a 1:33.90, the Legalise Cannabis Alliance came second (1:36.50), and the Labor Party came third (1:38.80)
In the news, Jeremy mentions the “enormous blue bus lane” which is running through the center of London, or as its otherwise known “The Thames”. Jeremy suggests buses should be made amphibious in order to get them off the roads. Richard talks about “motor flirting”, which is a new service to aid flirting with other drivers via mobile phone text messages while sitting in traffic jams. James mentions the new BMW M5, while Jeremy introduces the new Lexus RX300, which features a driver’s knee airbags. The new Daihatsu Charade for £5995 is shown, which the boys love.
Richard goes back to the luxury theme, with the Rover P5. The Queen used to have a Rover P5 coupe – which is the very car Richard is driving. While not quite as luxurious as a Rolls from the same era, but still featured is the “Holy Trinity” of leather, wood and shag pile carpet. The car was also quite modern too, utilizing a monocock chassis and after 1967, gained the new 3.5L Rover V8. It represents a good used buy too – with good examples of the model available for under £11,000. The Rover had innate luxury built into it, and was “as English as an oven glove with cats on it”.
Back in the studio, Jeremy introduces Jamie Oliver as the Star in a Reasonably Priced car. The Stig takes Jamie’s Volkswagen campervan (which is fitted with a 3.6L Porsche engine) for a lap of the track, whilst Jamie is in the back trying to prepare a salad.. he fails dismally. Jamie does a lap of the track in the Liana and manages a 1:50.
As James took over Jason Dawe’s old role on the show, he presents Insider Trading with good deals on soon to be superceded BMW 5 series models. Some good deals are also available on the Alfa Romeo GTV Spider and Citroen C5.
Jeremy moves onto the current performance yardstick – the BMW M3. A car which can be used everyday, but still set your trousers on fire when you take it to a track. The new Audi S4 has come along though, looking to steal its crown. Powered by Audi’s 4.2L V8, the S4 has four doors and four wheel drive. At £36,000 it’s £3,000 less than the M3, too. In a drag race, both cars are fairly evenly matched, with the BMW roughly 1 car length ahead at the end of the quarter mile. In the corners though, the Audi really shines with it’s four wheel drive – however Jeremy thinks it isn’t as much fun as the M3. He likens the Audi to a dinner party, and the BMW to a 2am Ibiza beach barbecue. Back in the studio, Jeremy concludes the Audi is better value, more practical and more grown up. Whereas the BMW is more of a hoot and quicker in a straight line. The Stig takes both cars out for a lap – the BMW M3 laps a 1:31.80 and the Audi S4 a 1:30.90. With those results in mind, Jeremy maintains he’d choose the Audi for everyday driving.
Stig Power Laps
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car