Top Gear: Series 3, Episode 5

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  • Jeremy road tests the Mazda RX-8.
  • Richard drives the Volkswagen Corrado VR6 & Mercedes 190E Cosworth.
  • Jeremy and the Stig find out which hair wig is best.
  • James drives the new Fiat Panda.
  • Jeremy finds out if the Toyota Hilux really is indestructible.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Simon Cowell.

Episode Guide

Main review: Clarkson tests the 1.3 litre Wankel Mazda RX-8 on the track, saying that despite the mixed styling it performs well and for £22,000 is good value for money. Though appearing to be a coupe, the Mazda retains small rear doors and has some of the practicality of a four-door saloon. The Stig sets a lap time of 1:31.8, being the same as the BMW M3 and the Nissan 350Z, to which Clarkson remarks that the Mazda be the better car in all ways: performance, handling, price, practicality, and comfort.

Documentary/Review: Hammond looks at several cars deemed to be good investments as future ‘classic’ cars. These include the Volkswagen Corrado VR6 and the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Cosworth.

Crock or Classic: Hammond and May decide which cars are future classics and which are crock. Lexus LS400 is crock, Ferrari F355, BMW Z1, Citroën XM, BMW 3.0 CSL, Volkswagen Corrado VR6 and Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Cosworth are classic.

Challenge: The team set the challenge of finding the best wig for a fast drive in an open top convertible. They find that the cheaper, synthetic wigs fare better at high speed, and that optional wind deflectors are effective at keeping the wig on your head at high speed.

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Sony BMG executive Pop Idol/X Factor judge Simon Cowell sets a new lap record of 1:47.1.

Cool Wall: Daihatsu Copen is uncool, Mazda RX-8 is cool, Nissan 350Z is uncool, Lamborghini Gallardo is uncool and BMW M3 is Seriously Uncool. Jeremy says, as he will often reiterate, that the M3 is “exclusively driven by cocks.” (A point then taken back eight series later)

Review: May reviews the new Fiat Panda at St Albans and Tewin in Hertfordshire. He expresses astonishment that the Italians have made a car that is durable and well-priced. It is slow, but May considers that unimportant to the character of the car.

Challenge: How tough is a Toyota Hilux pick-up truck? Clarkson performs a number of tests on the robust vehicle including drowning, ramming into buildings and a tree, hitting it with a wrecking ball, dropping a caravan on it and setting it ablaze. The car still works afterward.

Stig Power Laps

Mazda RX-8
1:31.80

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Simon Cowell
1:47.10

Screenshots

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Rating: 8.4/10 (44 votes cast)

1 COMMENT

  1. This is the episode that got me into cars/top gear!
    I crashed my car during my first month of college, and I was too busy to look for cars to replace it with. (it was a 2000 pontiac sunfire) so I asked my dad to look for a car to use that I could afford. He bought an 04 Mazda rx8, just like in the episode. I searched it online about it,because I knew zilch about cars, and the top gear review showed up. Then I watched the whole episode. then another, then the DB9 race to Monté Carlo. Then I was hooked. Thank you top gear!

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