Top Gear: Series 2, Episode 8

1
  • Jeremy road tests the Nissan 350Z.
  • Richard and James compare the Citroen C3 Pluriel, Mercedes CLK500, Audi A4 & Daihatsu Copen.
  • Jeremy sets out to find the fastest Master of the Universe.
  • Jeremy power tests the Alfa Romeo 147 GTA.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jodie Kidd.

Episode Guide

Jeremy starts the show by looking at the history of the Nissan/Datsun “Z” series. “In the late 60’s, Nissan decided to make a sports car. This is it, the 240Z. It was a very simple recipe – three parts E-Type Jaguar, two parts Corvette and a sprinkling of Japanese reliability. Fabulous car. But unfortunately they kept changing it, and each time they changed it they made it a little bit worse. There was the 260Z, which was plump. The 280Z, which was John Prescott, and then finally they ended up with this enormous thing – the 300ZX. Marlon Brando really. The horror.” Jeremy then antagonises various members of the Nissan Z Club who are in the studio.

Jeremy then looks at the latest Z car to be released – the 350Z. Jeremy tests it on both city and country roads. Jeremy thinks it looks like “a bit of a mess”, because it’s a Japanese car designed in America, by a team headed by an Indian from Lester. The engine is French – the 3.5L V6 from the Renault Vel Satis. Jeremy thinks we should think of it as a “raw hamburger curry, served in a disinterested way on a bed garlicky jus”. After driving through Sheffield and then out into the countryside, Jeremy discovers the weakest link of the car is the engine. “First of all there’s the noise, which is just a noise. A sort of wearisome drone… it just gets on your nerves. And then, there’s the performance. They say it’ll do 0-60mph in 6 seconds and on to a top speed of 150mph and I’m sure it will. But, it never really feels that fast, somehow.”

He continues to savage the car, “I also have to say that after a day behind the wheel, I am knackered. A hard ride and the effort of driving it makes it one of the most exhausting cars I’ve ever come across.. and I haven’t finished mauling it yet, either. The look of the interior is fine. I’ve got a big rev counter right in front of me, ancillary dials over here.. the driving position is good. But what’s not so good is… I’ve seen better build quality on an allotment shed.” Jeremy concludes the review by giving the 350Z a “C minus. 3 out of 10. Could do better.”

In the news, James wonders if Jeremy would be interested in the Nissan 350Z watch. Jeremy thinks it’ll go “TICK TOCK! TIIIICK! TOCCCCK!” and be very heavy. Richard talks about the crash tests and how badly the new Hummer H2 performs, despite being such a large car. Jeremy questions why we shouldn’t be able to talk on mobile phones while driving.

Next up, James mentions that the British buy more convertibles than the French, the Italians and and the Spanish put together – so he and Richard take a selection of them on a typical summer holiday to the wettest place in Britain. They both head out in the Volkswagen Beetle first, which they consider to be sloppy to drive and increasingly unstylish, so neither of them like it. Next is the Daihatsu Copen, which James thinks is rather good. Richard and James then check out the Audi A4 Cabrio, which apart from the horrible colour, also suffers from having a rather unattractive sounding diesel engine – something they both agree is “just not right”. The boys like the Mercedes CLK but it is in a different price point to the others – the test car cost £58,000. The Citroën C3 Pluriel is a nice idea poorly executed but in the end they find the Audi to be the best, with only James taking the Copen seriously.

Jeremy introduces supermodel Jodie Kidd as the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car. Jodie talked about her love of horses and the Gumball 3000 rally, before lapping a 1:47.7 in the reasonably priced car. The lap was 0.4 seconds faster than the previous board leader Jay Kay.

Richard introduces the next challenge – “A Race for the Universe” in a Honda Civic Type R, the results were as follows;
6: Daleks (from Doctor Who) – DNF
5: Ming the Merciless (from Flash Gordon) – 1:49
4: The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) – 1:43
3: Klingon (from Star Trek) – 1:42
2: Darth Vader – 1:37
1: Cyberman (from Doctor Who) (Time not announced)

Next up, Jeremy and Richard look at a bunch of poorly modified cars.

Finally, Jeremy power tests the new Alfa Romeo 147 GTA. Jeremy drives it in a drag race against the Volkswagen Golf R32 and the Ford Focus RS. The A147 GTA wins easily with its superior power. However, the Alfa is front-wheel drive only and Jeremy thinks it prevents you from using all the power, “Just imagine what the steering are having to do in this car. They’ve gotta do the steering, they’ve gotta do most of the braking and all the time they’ve being attacked by 250 mad Italian over-excitable horses. The traction control is on virtually constantly, trying to keep power away from the wheels.”

He calls the Alfa “insane” and says “you’d have to be insane to buy one.” He recommends one of the other two, probably the Golf, for the real world, but admits he still preferred the Alfa. The Stig then drives the Alfa to a lap time of 1:35.6, which puts it slower than both the Focus and R32.

Stig Power Laps

Alfa Romeo 147 GTA,
1:35.60

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Jodie Kidd
1:48.00

Screenshots

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Rating: 7.8/10 (6 votes cast)

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