- Jeremy power tests the Koenigsegg CC8S.
- Richard shows us a crash test of a Renault Megane with a real driver.
- Jeremy drives a Hummer H1 and then the new Hummer H2.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Neil Morrisey.
This episode of Top Gear begins with Jeremy apologising for the Stig driving a Jaguar C-Type in Series 2 Episode 4. Various newspapers got hold of the story and claimed Top Gear ruined the valuable car, with headlines such as “Top Gear ‘yobs’ wreck £1m car” and “Top Gear hooligans”.
Jeremy then kicks off this “hooligan” episode by looking at the new Swedish Koenigsegg CC8S. On paper, the CC8S sounds like the most boring supercar in the world. But Jeremy thinks this is not true, “It’s lighter, more aerodynamic and amazingly more powerful than a McLaren F1. It’s supercharged V8 pumps out a simply colossal 655bhp. Koenigsegg say it will go from 0-60mph in 3 seconds dead and on to a top speed of 245mph – now if those figures turn out to be accurate this will be quite simply the fastest road car… in the world.”
Sadly, the runway on the Top Gear test track isn’t long enough to test the top speed, but the fastest Jeremy has ever been down it is 170mph in a Pagani Zonda. So, the challenge was set. After the Top Gear team positioned large “BRAKE” signs before the end of the runway, Jeremy sets off and eventually hits 280kph, or 174mph – the fastest car Top Gear has ever tested. Jeremy praises the car further, by saying “This goes like nothing I’ve ever driven – and it feels like nothing I’ve ever driven! The clutch is heavy, the steering is heavy, the gearbox is heavy… it’s just a tonne and a half of testosterone! You could drive this thing to the gym, turn around and go straight home again and you’ll have had more exercise than if you’d done a workout. It is absolutely brutal!”
Back in the studio, James and Richard do their usual Insider Dealing segment, with deals on the Volvo S60 diesel and C70 Convertible. He also mentions Citroen are paying for VAT on selected models.
Jeremy returns to the Koenigsegg CC8S and the Stig takes it for a lap – with a time of 1:23.9, which is just one-tenth of a second slower than the Zonda. Jeremy also mentions how he felt nervous before the speed run because engineers from Koenigsegg had asked him if they could put gaffer tape around the windscreen.
Jeremy introduces the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car, Neil Morrissey. Jeremy has little to talk to Neil Morrissey about, as they were on the same Parkinson episode just a few weeks previous. Neil goes for a lap in the Liana and gets a 1:49.00.
Next up, Richard attempts to rescue this “Safety” themed episode by driving the new Renault Megane in London. The new Megane is the only small family hatchback to score a 5-star Euro N-Cap safety rating. Richard thinks the Megane is “cutting edge cool” and makes the Ford Focus look a bit “last week”. Richard also thinks the interior is clever and that the car is priced well. But since safety is one of the most important aspects, he drives the Megane to the Top Gear Test Track… for a crash test. With “Top Gear brave person” Lee behind the wheel, the Megane is crashed at 30mph into the side of another car. The car survives the impact very well – with the front door still able to be opened. Lee mentions significant heat being generated by the air bags deflating, and that he was glad he went to the toilet before the test, as the seat belt had pulled him hard against the seat. In a sign of how old this episode is, Richard pulls out an old style Nokia phone “to call Renault”.
Back in the studio, Richard and Jeremy look at how other cars have performed in crash tests. Surprisingly, a Ford Fiesta performs better than the Land Rover Freelander. They then proceed to look up crash test ratings for the cars of audience members.
Jeremy then introduces the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage, “This is, I think, the most beautiful car I have ever seen. It doesn’t look wrong from any angle. It’s got a 4.3L V8 engine in the front, rear wheel drive with a gearbox at the back for perfect weight distribution. It’s light, it’s going to be very, very fast and it’ll cost a very reasonable £70,000. So, have you just ordered a Porsche 911 recently?” *bursts out laughing*
In the news, Richard introduces the Haynes Baby manual, James mentions a new high-tech car alarm which sends you an email, text-message or fax if you car has been stolen. Jeremy introduces the new BMW M3 CSL and a device you clip behind your ear, which emits a loud warning tone when your head looks down, in case you have fallen asleep while driving.
Next up, Jeremy looks at the history of the Hummer, before going for a drive in the Hummer H1 through a few English villages. Jeremy mentions a few drawbacks to it, “The four seats – and there are only four – are so far apart they’re in different time zones. Then you’ve got the enormous, rattly 6.5L turbo-diesel engine sort of here in the middle of the room, and then you’ve got the torque converters in the wheels which sound like giant nuclear-powered pepper grinders. Small wonder that Arnold Schwarzenegger was so good at shouting in his films.”
Jeremy then introduces the new Hummer H2 and says its “immensely good”. Though based on a Chevrolet Tahoe platform, it has a manly, chunky interior and tons of space, exciting Jeremy in a way similar to the Range Rover. He describes it as “a Roman orgy, a Hawaiian BBQ, a Viennese Waltz and a helicopter gunship attack on Las Vegas all rolled into one. It’s fabulous! What you have to understand is the H2 makes you feel like a seven year old boy – and for that alone, you have to love it.” Back in the studio, neither Richard or James are impressed with the H2. James calls it “revolting” and Richard recalls a time he saw one reverse over the top of a BMW Z4.
Richard then drives something which is bigger and tougher than the H2, the £500,000 Talon riot control vehicle. Featuring an armour plated body that can be electrified with 20,000 volts, room for 14 gunners each with their own shooting hatch, a fridge, a toilet and an on-board oxygen system. The cockpit also contains a control panel with lots of interesting buttons, such as one marked “Grenade Launcher”. Richard uses the roof mounted water cannon to put out a fire and then drives through a Portakabin at high speed.
Stig Power Laps
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car