Top Gear Series 4

Top Gear: Series 4, Episode 4

  • Jeremy attempts to drive a Audi A8 Diesel from London to Edinburgh and back on one tank.
  • James races a Ford SportKa with GPS against some racing pigeons.
  • Richard compares the new Impreza STI & Evolution VIII.
  • James & Richard play May ‘car darts’.
  • Jeremy power tests the Porsche Carrera GT.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Episode Guide

Main challenge: Clarkson finds out if he can drive a V8 TDi Audi A8 from London to Edinburgh and back on one 20 gallon tank of fuel (a round-trip distance of 800 miles, requiring an average of 40 MPG), destruct-testing Audi’s claims of good overall economy in their large, powerful executive car. He tries to drive the car uncharacteristically economically, removing unnecessary weight, not running anything but essential electrical equipment, and never once exceeding 1200 rpm in the 4.0 litre, twin-turbo super-saloon. Though he seemed to have finally run out of fuel 35 miles short, the trip computer (and Audi themselves) underestimated the efficiency potential of its diesel engine and Clarkson’s fastidious driving, and he eventually made it to the same filling station he started from on a single tank of fuel. Jeremy completed the challenge after two whole days on the road (with an overnight stop), using plenty of dramatic music and lines from 24 and Apollo 13.

News: Over the next 2 weeks the NSC motorshow is on, Jeremy is going and he’ll be taking the new Noble M14, it costs £75,000 and its top speed is 190mph, it also has a colour changing rev counter. The results of the “I’m Ken and I’m cool” challenge is revealed and there are no cool Kens. Jeremy shows a video from an e-mail of a pigeon flying into a Ford Ka and the bonnet sending it flying.

Time Challenge: Can a Ford SportKa, equipped with the world’s most advanced (and expensive, at £2500) satellite navigation system beat a flock of racing pigeons? May forgot to use the postcode search and wasted 25 minutes to reach the right address, having originally arrived at an identically named road in the wrong suburb. Regardless, the fastest pigeon won with 30 minutes to spare even after discounting May’s mistake, with thirteen others arriving in-between. Clarkson called the SportKa way, way better than a Citroën C2, and ridicules May for losing.

Track: Revised versions of the Impreza vs. Evo battle, with increasingly unwieldy names: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ320 and Subaru Impreza STI WRX WR1. The Impreza does slightly better than its old version 1:29.4 and still slower than the old Evo FQ300. However, the new Evo does 1:26.0, nearly as quick as a Lamborghini Gallardo and significantly better than the new Subaru.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan comes in at 1:47.3. He also proves he can play a reduced frame of snooker (with four reds instead of fifteen) faster than the Stig can drive Ronnie’s own car (a Mercedes-Benz SL500) around the track.

Versus Challenge: Hammond and May play a simplified, giant-size round of darts, by firing scrap cars from a cliff edge towards a large target painted on a quarry floor. After two shots each, May decides to place a caravan over the bulls-eye as an “added bonus”. Hammond destroys the caravan on his final attempt (with, fittingly, a Volvo) and in doing so comes from behind to win the match.

Main review: Clarkson looks at the Porsche Carrera GT from a “German point of view”, explaining its mechanics and silicon carbide with fascination and quiet innuendo, and then gives it a second look from a British standpoint, allowing himself to be overwhelmed by its sheer power. When run around the track (against the (automatic) Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren time of 1:20.9 from episode 2), it beats the SLR by 1.1 seconds with a lap time of 1:19.8. Clarkson is taken by surprise by the car’s qualities while comparing it to other German fast cars. It is unforgiving and high-strung, unlike the GT-like SLR, and although normally Jeremy doesn’t like the cold, clinical German supercar, he concludes that this one breaks through the stereotype to gain his full respect. However, as compared to the SLR, it is less powerful, much more difficult to drive, has no luggage space to speak of, and costs more.

Stig Power Laps

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ320
Subaru Impreza WRX STI WR1
Porsche Carrera GT

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Ronnie O’Sullivan


Rating: 7.0/10. From 3 votes.
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