Motoring news and views. Jeremy, Richard and James seek petrolhead heaven in three rear-wheel-drive coupes and find themselves entered in a terrifying French ice race.
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Tonight, we save the entire world.
We test a fat spaniel from Jaguar.
And we annoy France's second-best racing driver.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Hello, hello, everybody.
Hello and welcome.
All keen drivers will tell you that front-wheel drive modern cars are for the weak.
And that if you're at all serious about your driving, you have to have a car with rear-wheel drive.
And we agree with them, even James May.
But our producers disagree.
They think we're talking claptrap.
So, to try and prove their point, they gave each of us £1,500,
told us to buy a rear-wheel drive car with it,
and then go to Calais,
where we would be given a number of stab wounds.
No, not stab wounds...hats.
No, what's the word?
-CALL FROM THE CROWD Sausages!
Challenges! Yes, that!
But it has been enlivened this morning by the arrival of this magnificent Porsche 944.
And this is the S2 model, the last and the best.
Three-litre engine, at the front, rear-wheel drive,
and the gear box is at the back as well.
Now, that does mean the, um...
..the boot floor is a bit shallow.
But really, that's a small price to pay, frankly,
for engineering balance, engineering perfection.
It is remarkable that you can buy a car as good as this,
And equally remarkable that someone should spend £1,500 on what can only be described as a Datsun.
-That's utterly hideous.
It is. Now, let me just talk you through.
Nissan 300 ZX.
Headlines, technical stuff. Three litre V6, four-wheel steer, twin turbo.
I bet you Paul Raymond had a Nissan 300 ZX.
-It's a pornographer's car, isn't it?
-It is a pornographer's car.
And then, the 1980s arrived.
MUSIC: Theme to "Minder"
We're on the set of Minder! Terry McCann is here!
All right, Tel?
I wanna see claret on the pavement!
The Capri 2.8 injection. The last hurrah of the common man's coupe.
-I love these things.
All I would say is, BMW 635, 323, 325, I saw all of these for £1,500.
Yeah, I know.
But didn't you always want a Capri?
Yes, but the producers aren't going to say, "The winner is the one who always wanted their car most."
'Hammond and I then discovered an interesting feature on Jeremy's Porsche.'
RICHARD AND JAMES: One, two, three...
Yay! Oh, sorry! Did I hit you?
You actually hit him in the plums!
He does that, he actually goes for them.
When I was mended, we were given a challenge.
-Right. You will now drive your £1,500 rear-wheel drive cars to a racetrack!
-It's called Circuit de Lac...
-Circuit de something or other.
-The only drawback is, it's 500 miles away.
-500 miles, that's just...I'm there.
I'm not entirely confident about that, if I'm being brutally honest.
Our convoy hit the autoroute for the long drive south.
This car has done 201,000 miles.
That's very nearly Earth to the moon.
And it feels...like it's done 201,000 miles.
My window switches have come out,
my boot release has come out, sunroof is broken, rear wiper is broken.
There were, however, no quality issues at all in Paul Raymond's car.
So it's done an indicated 103,000 miles. And do you know what? It feels as tight as a drum.
Everything is electric and everything works.
Air-con, cruise control, controls on the steering wheel. Nothing had that back then!
54.9 miles into our 500-mile odyssey, and some of the gauges have starting working.
Soon, the producers told us to pull in at a rest area,
where, weirdly, we were given another challenge.
We're going to a racetrack, we know that.
Should one of your cars not make it to the destination...
That'll be you.
..the producers have provided a back-up car that also has rear-wheel drive.
-That'll be all right, then.
-That's very generous.
That's... I have wondered.
It's not that, is it?
'And for us, Morris Marinas spell trouble.'
I should explain, viewers, we've had a few run-ins with the Morris Marina Owners Club over the years.
We keep breaking them.
-Not out fault.
-The last one really wasn't our fault, a piano just fell on it.
It rains pianos at our track.
So, is that thing gonna follow us in the usual... It is, isn't it?
It did follow us, waiting to pounce.
But, for hour after hour, our three cars - even the Capri - ran without a single problem.
What we should have said at the start of the programme is,
"Tonight, three middle-aged men drive reliable cars across France without incident."
Of course, as night fell, our luck ran out.
Are you saying that the rear lights don't work?
Well, I'm not blinded by it. Look.
-Only that one's not working.
-When you're driving there's nothing.
'Normally, this would put the world's least practical man in the Marina.'
'But, for the first time in his life, he decided to try and fix something.'
If I mend this, you lot are going to have to stand back in amazement.
-The thing is, he's actually, genuinely changed a bulb.
-He's done it.
I mended something!
-I mended it!
-You changed a bulb.
Well, it's never happened before.
This opened the floodgates.
It's like losing your virginity.
There's a sense that I've unlocked a treasure chest of possibilities. I want to mend lots of things, now.
'That night, at the hotel, "Jez'll Fix It" went berserk.'
Here we go.
Look at that! My boot release switch is now back in.
I would never have attempted this before, but now I can.
Well, it gives us some time on our own, which is nice.
Hang on, where was it? Ha-ha! Electric window switches are now back in.
Oh, no, wait a minute. The sun-roof. I could just fix that, couldn't I?
The next morning, my show-room fresh Porsche led our little convoy on to the race track.
-It's not a bad looking track.
-It looks great.
-I look forward to giving it a... Oh, here we go.
"You are in France." Yes.
"The country that practically invented front-wheel drive, and have stuck with it."
Yeah, they have.
"And so, the Stig will now set a lap time in a very French and very front-wheel drive Renault Twingo 133.
-I thought France made the Stig violent.
-Evidently not, he looks calm.
All you have to do is beat his time. You get one point for every second you are faster than him,
a point lost for every second you are slower.
How can a Porsche 944 S2 be slower than a Renault Twingo?
-I've got a three-litre, twin-turbo V6. I know, Stig's good...
-Why are you looking like that?
I've driven one of those, they're really fast.
-It's a shopping car.
He'll have torque steer, he'll have under-steer.
-We're gonna have the tail drifting out nicely.
-Elegant, sweeping drift.
'Despite the front drive Renault, the Stig was very quick.'
-Who's going first?
-Baggy not me.
-Baggy not me.
-Baggy not me.
-That's too late.
-Was that the crummiest start you've ever seen from a human being?
-It wasn't good.
There is one quite important thing, I have no idea of the way around this circuit.
It's the fast and the furious, this. Very furious, I should imagine, knowing Hammond.
-Oh, for God's sake, where's the
'Soon, though, I was in the groove.'
Oh, you can see already, she's drifting round. Yes!
'And then, soon, I was out of it again.'
Oh, he'll be clenching in there, now!
I meant that!
'With Hammond out, it was my turn.'
That didn't go as well as I'd hoped.
'Soon, though, I was revelling in the 944's rear-drive balance.'
Here we go, you see? Front wheels do the steering, I then plant the power at the back.
You're just feeling the perfect weight. It's all just absolutely magnificent.
I may have missed the apex quite a lot there, but...
-Here we go.
-Come on, Porsche!
RICHARD CLEARS HIS THROAT
-Now, the Stig, 1:32.
-Yeah, I made a bit of a mess of it,
But it's OK! Because everything now hangs on James!
-How can the world of rear-wheel drive now hang...
-On James May in an old Capri?
I want you to win this for the prog-rock generation.
-So I should think King Crimson, Pink Floyd...
Unfortunately, like prog-rock, James's lap is gonna last 48 minutes and make no sense to anyone.
Here we go.
I don't know if I've ever mentioned this. James isn't a fast driver.
-Come on, come on!
-Come on for the honour of rear-wheel drive!
That's gotta be good.
1:32 to beat.
But I was going like hell!
'Following our terrible failure,
'the Stig broke out his portable, rear-drive drifting car,
'to show the front-wheel drive generation what they're missing.'
'And because we are all eight years old,
'we thought we'd have a go.'
'But there was a hitch.'
Hammond. Is there any steam coming from your car?
-None whatsoever, no, no, yours?
-There's none coming from mine.
However, there's quite a...
How are you going to be able to drift when you can't see where you're going?
It'll blow off when I'm going along.
Have you got any tea bags?
It's harmless. This is what happens when you push a car to the ragged edge.
Which you haven't done.
'Sadly, by the time Terry McCann's kettle had cooled down,
'the producers were ready with their next challenge.'
What are those things?
Well, I'll tell you one thing. The middle one is exactly the same colour as my bike.
-Yes, my Christmas present bike.
That's funny, because the thing on the right looks suspiciously like my drum kit.
Well, that's what I was thinking, it looks like my piano.
It can't be, because we smashed that to bits.
-But I bought another one.
I don't imagine it's coincidence, and it's there. This is...
Here we go. "You will accelerate from nought to 60 miles per hour and then brake.
"All within 200 metres."
I know what they're there for.
"If you fail to pull up, you will not only lose points, but something dear to your heart as well."
Pianos are really heavy.
-You're gonna crash into your piano in about a minute.
-This is a stupid idea.
I'm wearing a crash helmet to protect me from my own motorcycle coming through the windscreen.
Traction control, no.
I've really gotta get on the brakes with this.
Anti-lock brakes. Don't know.
Remember to brake at 60, remember to brake at 60, you stupid boy.
Yes, it's a good start.
-Come on, brake.
-Good change into second.
Come on, car!
That didn't look good for James.
Look at your Capri.
Never mind the sodding Capri, look at that!
I think, this... You could get these in order...
-I'm sorry, mate.
-I'm really sorry.
You're not sorry!
'Then, for James, things got worse.'
Is this normal?
Of course it's not bloody normal.
Look at it this way - no more challenges.
Apart from that one.
"So far, real-wheel drive has not been relevant in any way."
"So you will now drive to Val Thorens in the Alps, to see if some use can be found for it there."
What's Val Thorens?
Well, it's a skiing resort. I've been there.
Is it far?
-With bits of piano sticking out the front.
-That's a long way.
-Don't need that.
-Oh, yeah, good luck to you.
-There's nothing wrong with the car.
-It's got a dent in it, that's all.
He just drove over this.
-That's from back in the days when Porsche could style cars.
-It was a good-looking car.
It was. We'll pick up on that later,
because now we're going to do the news.
Yes, yes. And the people who have collaborated with Google on their Smartphone
have turned their attention to cars.
They've researched motoring and come to a conclusion. Their conclusion is this, and I can quote -
they say, that humans are not meant to drive.
We're not meant to use ovens, either, or wear shoes, but that's just ridiculous.
That's the conclusion they've come to, and they've come up with this!
It's called the Autonomobile.
I can tell you like it, I can tell that.
You'll notice there's no steering wheel or brakes or any controls at all for you to operate.
It's the Autonomobile, it does it itself, you see?
Yes, it's very clever. You get in it, you tell it where you want to go, and then it says -
and I'm gonna make sure I get this right -
they say you "sit back, enjoy the view with a nice wine, cheese and a baguette."
I think this is a brilliant idea. I genuinely like the idea of sitting back with a glass of wine,
some cheese, and going home.
However, there is one problem with a sort of laser-guided, radar-guided, satellite-guided car.
This has been invented by a brilliant man.
But, five years down the line, it's going to be bought by someone called Keith.
Keith is going to wake up one day and think he can service it himself.
Which means you wont be able to relax in your Autonomobile.
Because you'll be thinking,
"I know that somebody called Keith,
"reading the Daily Star and watching EastEnders is coming the other way."
And there's going to be a horrible accident.
-It's all rubbish.
Cars that drive themselves were invented ages ago. They're called taxis.
Right, now, news from India.
There's a company over there, car company, Tata, they've got a large car division.
Got a new car out, here it is.
It's the Jaguar XJ.
It's quite striking to look at.
The interior is gorgeous as well. It looks fabulous, look at that!
It costs £50,000 to £90,000, depending on the model,
there's a direct injection V8,
two new diesels, with 271 and I think...
Nobody gives a pig's arse about all that diesel stuff.
It's a new XJ, the important question is, "Is it a proper Jag?"
What you mean is, is this car slightly caddish?
That's what you mean.
Is the person who drives it... Oh, what's the word, I'm not quite sure
how to sum it up, but they're the sort of person who'd go away for the weekend with his wife to a hotel,
some romantic place, and spend the entire night flirting outrageously with the waitress.
And it's OK because he's got a Jag.
You can get away with anything!
"I'm terribly sorry, I ran over your dog." "Oh!"
"In my Jag."
Is it fair to say, do you think, that no Jag driver is ever entirely trustworthy,
but it's in a really nice, likeable way?
Because if you went to a prison - forget the stabbists and the stranglers,
the ones that are in there for a bit of tax-dodging - I bet 80% have got Jags.
You know what I mean, don't you?
Have you got a Jag?
Who here's got a Jag?
You've got a Jag? Look at him!
He goes away with a girl for the weekend and then goes,
-"Bit of an issue with the wallet."
-"Do you mind awfully settling this while I go warm up the Jag?"
The thing is, I think that is just a brilliant, brilliant piece of design, because
it's a Jag. But it's kind of modern.
That's an absolutely fantastic-looking car, that. Can't wait to have a go in it.
Now. Bad news.
It's about this, the Honda FRV it's called.
It's a six-seater car, it had three seats in the front,
three in the back. Well, Honda say it's been such an enormous success, they're dropping it.
The problem with this car is with the picture they sent us,
which is when the car came out a few years ago.
Nobody wants to drive around with a small girl's severed head on the dash.
The worst thing about this was that when it came out, we all got suckered into it and thought,
"Three in the front, three in the back, it makes sense," but it doesn't.
If you think, I've got two daughters,
so if I have one girl in the front between me and my wife, that leaves one girl on her own!
You're just gonna have an argument every time you go near it!
-It's not gonna work.
-That's not the worst bit.
It could be worse if you had your wife in the front, and both daughters, and you sat in the back.
-But you do see that occasionally.
The mother in the front and a bloke in the back.
-There's nothing more pathetic.
It's the most pitiable sight you can see.
-She's effectively saying, "You've given me the baby, now get in the back."
That concludes the news, OK?
That concludes the news, and now, if you don't mind, I want to talk about the BMW M5.
You see, what we have here are two cars.
One of them is a spacious, practical four-door saloon.
The other is a blistering, growling monster.
For 24 years, this has been the ultimate sports saloon.
But now, there is a new Jag.
The new XFR doesn't look much like a blistering, growling monster.
There are no bulges in its flanks.
There are no scoops.
There's no Cheshire-ishness at all.
It looks like it might even be a diesel.
It's the same story on the inside.
Sitting in an M5 is like actually sitting in a laptop.
It couldn't be more geeky, even if the sat-nav voice was Buffy.
In the Jag, though, all I've got is a steering wheel and some pedals.
It even has an automatic gearbox.
Don't be fooled by the plain-Jane simplicity, though.
Because the speed of this thing is simply unbelievable.
Right. That is nought to 60 in four and a half seconds, and look at it.
110...115...it's supposed to be limited to 155, but, look!
165 and it's still accelerating!
What's it limited by?
"If you don't stick to 155, I shall jolly well write to the Daily Telegraph about it."
'The key to this rampant savagery is an all-new, all-Welsh supercharged five-litre V8 engine.
'There's no other word. It's fantastic.
'And there's more good news. At £60,000, the Jag is noticeably cheaper than an M5.
'It's also quieter and it's way more comfortable.'
It is uncannily comfortable.
It's so soft and so absorbent, it's like sitting on a fat dog.
You can't really believe it'll go round a corner at all, leave alone like this.
I'm doing that wearing brogues!
'To keep it planted, it has an electronic diff like you get on a Ferrari
'and suspension that adjusts itself hundreds of times a second.'
You can be just inch-perfect, even when you're driving like a complete lunatic.
So, this is two cars as well. It's amazingly comfortable and quiet
when you're not in the mood for fun and games,
and it's savagely fast when you are.
But, can it really be as fast as an M5?
Let's find out.
Both cars produce as near as makes no difference, 500 horse-power.
And both weigh about the same.
There are some differences, of course.
He can rev to 8,000, I can only rev to six and a half.
He's got ten cylinders, I've only got eight. He's got seven speeds in his gear box, I've only got six.
BUT I have 80 more torques than him. 80!
I've got so much torque, I could tear a hole in TIME!
Yes, he's got better brakes, but coming out of the corner,
I'm gonna unleash my meteorite of torque, here we go!
This is getting hot, hard and dangerous now. I need to stay cool.
There's the air-con.
I'm not for a moment going to suggest that this is better than an M5.
But it's as good as. And praise doesn't get higher than that.
Boot full of stolen videos.
So, right, on the track, the Jag is as good as the BMW.
On the road?
Honestly, I think on the road it's better.
Tell you what we'll do now, we'll put some maths into the mix.
Because we'll find out how fast it goes round our track,
and that means handing it over to our tame racing driver.
Some say he has 12 GCSEs, all in domestic science.
And that he's been producing artificial sperm for years.
Even though we have repeatedly asked him not to.
All we know is he's called the Stig.
And he's off! 503 Welsh horsepowers
charging him down to the first corner.
This is still a two-ton car, so let's see how it battles the laws of physics here.
Looking nice so far.
And a lovely little slide on the way out.
BAGPIPE MUSIC PLAYS ON THE RADIO
The sound of bits, there, being served in a stomach lining.
There goes the tail again, this thing really is a leathery drift machine.
As he comes into the Hammerhead.
The Jag's clever diff runs in open mode when you don't need limited slip...
That doesn't eliminate under-steer.
Fortunately, Stig does with a boot full of supercharged goodness!
BAGPIPE MUSIC PLAYS ON THE RADIO
Terrible smell of oats all of a sudden. There he is through the follow-through.
Punishing its tyres, but hanging on well. That was fast.
Here he goes, second to last corner.
More oversteer, and up to Gambon, wonder what will happen here.
Yep, there goes the tail again. And across the line!
Here we are, look. BMW M5...
Now, I expected the Jag to be a little bit slower than that.
And it was.
Unfortunately, just half a second in it. But, look at it this way,
if you have an XFR, "Do you know, I've lost my wallet!" You never have to pay for anything.
Now, normally, that would be that.
However, these days, as I'm sure you know,
the amount of tax you pay on a car depends on how much carbon dioxide it produces.
Yeah, and according to official figures,
the XFR produces 292 carbon dioxides per kilometre,
which is very impressive. No other car of its type gets even close to that.
But, predictably, Jeremy thought he could do better.
As we know, plants absorb carbon dioxide, and then breathe out oxygen.
So why not put plants in the exhaust system of your car?
Well, Alan Titchmarsh might say so,
but, er, what does HE know?
What we have here is a Range Rover,
which now has the same 5-litre V8 that you get in the Jag.
At the back, we have tubes which takes the exhaust gases
into this greenhouse, which is full of plants - tomato plants, on this occasion.
And that means the tailpipes emit no greenhouse gases at all.
What you're looking at here, ladies and gentlemen,
is the future.
It really is impossible to overemphasise the importance
of what has been achieved here today.
Look at what I'm driving.
A big, heavy, thirsty four-wheel drive car,
and the only waste product is some juicy tomatoes!
You thought Greenpeace would save the world, but no!
It's Top Gear! We've done it!
Where's it gone?
Why are they applauding?!
-I know there was a bit of glass on the runway.
Yeah, brilliant. Brilliant. Top Gear WOULD have saved the planet,
-except you smashed your greenhouse to bits.
-I admit, it didn't go brilliantly.
-But you also said
-that you weren't giving out any greenhouse emissions at all.
-That's rubbish cos you only had 100 tomato plants.
-How many tomato plants do you need
to get rid of the emissions from a Range Rover?
-And we've worked this out. To accommodate that many,
your greenhouse would have to be six miles long.
-I can tell why you two aren't astronauts.
Who here has seen Apollo 13? Yeah? You know what I'm on about.
That bit when Houston telephones the astronauts in the spacecraft
because carbon dioxide is building up and they need to build something to get rid of it. Remember?
Yes? Good. These two would go, "We're a bit cold and frightened!"
Whereas I am Commander Jim Lovell.
I didn't give up after my greenhouse failure.
I came back, rolled up my sleeves and came up with another idea.
-If you fire up the Jag, right?
-What we've got is a gas-o-meter.
And its prong is up that exhaust. What it's telling me
is that 15% of the gas
coming out of this exhaust pipe
is carbon dioxide. Come here and verify that for me.
-It's actually 14.5%, yes?
Right. Take the prong out
because, on this side, on THIS tailpipe, I've modified it.
Got tubes feeding into this Apollo 13 homemade filter...
-..which is full of lime soda crystals,
which are used to absorb the carbon dioxide in those huge Australian mines, OK?
We're gonna pop the prong in the top because the gas is going down there,
through the crystals, out of here. Let's have a look
at how much carbon dioxide THAT'S producing...
-What, nothing?! NONE?!
Absolutely NO carbon dioxide is coming out of that car.
Now, I know we have a reputation on Top Gear for cocking about, OK?
But on this occasion, we aren't.
This is not a Toyota Prius or a stupid G-Wiz,
it's got a 5 litre, supercharged V8,
and all that's coming out of this tailpipe
is nitrogen and oxygen, which is...?
-Hang on a sec.
-These little rocks of yours.
-They absorb carbon dioxide?
-They absorb it, yes.
So, how far can you go before they get all clogged up and can't absorb any more?
On a motorway...
-With something that size.
-How much does it cost for a new box of rocks?
I know. Barnes Wallis had setbacks,
but he persevered, and I'm sure, if science can make genetically-modified wheat,
they can make those absorb more. I really do think
that we're onto something here.
-Shall I go and work on it?
-Yes, go and work on it
because it is now time to put a star...in our reasonably priced car.
We're often criticised by politicians and newspapers
for being sexist on this programme.
Well, tonight we answer those critics because my guest is a girl.
And a dead fit one! Ladies and gentlemen, Sienna Miller!
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
-How are you?
-Have a seat.
I like that - "Yeah!"
This is momentous stuff.
Even as we speak, James May is out the back
looking up in his dictionary what "girl" means.
Yes, he is. Now, you weren't actually born to be in theatre, you were born...
-IN a theatre.
-Literally. Mum went into labour in the Nutcracker Suite in New York,
and stayed, throughout the labour, to finish the show.
-So you were born in... That makes you an Americanista.
My mum's English, my dad's American, so I have two passports.
-You went to boarding school in England.
I heard that while you were there...
-How can I put this? You got into trouble for doing things with a rabbit.
Oh, my sweet Lord! I did not do anything personally with a rabbit,
I got another rabbit to do something to another rabbit to get baby rabbits. And it worked!
-They really do do it like rabbits!
-So you went into films, obviously.
-Having been born in theatre.
Most of them, let's be honest, have been quite brainy, quite Channel 4.
-To you, boring - just say it.
-No, I liked Layer Cake, that bit...
-Oh, God! Yeah.
-You remember the bit in Layer Cake?
That was a long time ago, it's all gone tits up since then - or tits down!
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
I can't believe I just said that!
-You say that, but your new film, which is called GI...
-GI Joe. That's not sort of cerebral at all.
-Everything blows up.
-Lots of guns, leather. It's perfect for Top Gear.
-Let's get this straight. This is GI Joe, who's the American equivalent of the Action Man toy.
Well, he's not called Joe, Joe is an elite force of fighter... world protector people.
-But I'm on the bad camp, the Cobra camp.
-Oh, you're a baddie?
-I understand there's a record set with it, with cars?
-We blew up
112 cars, destroyed 112 cars, which is a record.
-The Blues Brothers held it before.
But you're still some way behind us.
-Probably quite far behind you!
-112 every 20 minutes.
-I've added one to that today,
-I think, with my lap.
-We'll find that out later.
Before that, though, I want to talk about fashion magazines.
-They always talk about the Sienna look. We should look at what you're wearing now.
-It's not very exciting!
I should've brought another T-shirt for after my lap, it's quite sweaty.
-Have you not changed since...?
-No! I didn't realise it would be that scary! It was soaking wet!
-Pop it off if you want to.
I say the same to the male guests.
I mean, you are a trendsetter.
I suppose the problem is, it does make you a massive paparazzi target.
But I sued them all, and won!
I was the first to sue and win on harassment, so now they can't do anything. I saw two of them
the other day, and I ran. They were like, "We can't." And I was like...
I flashed them! It was the best feeling!
We need to talk about your driving test because I'm confused. You recently took your driving test.
-I passed my driving test last week.
-Just last week?!
-Five days ago!
Now, I'm very baffled because you've been driving for years.
No, I haven't! I found a loophole.
-My father lives in the US Virgin Islands,
which is a Caribbean island, which is technically part of America.
So I got a licence there that meant I could drive in America and England
for a year, as an American. It was an interesting driving test, for sure.
I had to drive down the street and back.
-And that's the test?
-Window down, he had the reggae on!
-That's the test in the Virgin Islands!
-There's a top tip
-for anybody finding it a struggle to get a driving licence here! Pop over there!
-Slip over there.
So, how is your driving record? Good, bad, indifferent?
Mm, the first time I drove, I wrote off a car,
so not good. My best friend and her brother had a little car on a farm that they lived on,
and I pretended I could drive, and got in it, and pushed the accelerator instead of the brakes,
through a concrete bollard... Ditch, fence, cows out...
stuck. I had to climb out of the window covered in oil.
-And that was your first ever driving experience?
-Then you drove around the Virgin Islands, which can't have taken more than five minutes.
-Then you took your driving test five days ago.
-And now you're here!
We've never had a better-qualified person, really,
to do our lap! How was it out there? Did you enjoy it?
It was pretty scary. I've never really driven a stick shift.
You deserve credit, genuinely, if you've never driven a manual car,
-and belting round with the Stig.
-Who would like to see Sienna's lap?
-Let's have a look at this!
-Is that your first wheel spin start?
I'm gonna nail it.
-Oh, I say, that was brave! Not accurate, but brave!
-It looks slow!
No, it's not.
-Excuse my language. Oh,
That's impressive, nobody's gonna complain about that.
I just passed my driving test...
I really should not be doing this.
-I love the straight-out arm position.
-It looks so slow!
It looks the same as this every week.
-I'm letting women down!
-There's nothing wrong with it!
That's quick. How will you be through the tyres...?
Oh, my God! Mummy!
That is fast!
You're having a crisis!
Oh, it's off again! And you held it!
Yes, you got it! That's it, Gambon!
-And you made it across the line!
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
That's a cracking lap!
So, where do you think, then, on the...?
It felt quite slow, watching it back. It felt so fast when I was doing it!
I have no idea. Tell me it's good.
You did it, Sienna Miller, in...
-That is not bad because that puts you...
What a nice place to be!
-That's all right!
-Anything above 1 minute 50
-we always say is quick.
-OK. I beat Gambon, that's a first.
-You beat Michael Gambon, Alan Davies,
Steve Coogan. For someone who's never driven a manual car,
and only been driving a week, it was amazing!
-Now, best of luck with your new film.
-Ladies and gentlemen, Sienna Miller!
-APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
-Thank you! Was that all right?
Now, tonight we are in France,
demonstrating the virtues of rear-wheel drive with one of our Cheap Car Challenges.
When we left the action, I'd crashed into a piano, and we were on our way to a ski resort in the Alps.
All three of our £1,500 cars are running well,
so none of us is in danger of needing the back-up car, a Morris Marina,
which is a good thing,
because we're bound to break it, and the Morris Marina Owners Club
already sort of hates us
and wants to kill us.
All is perfect aboard the mighty Nissan.
All was perfect in the Porsche too.
There's something coming out from under the bonnet.
Did they forecast fog in your car this morning, James?
-It's like driving through a horror film.
-Chaps, my car's started making some really bad noises.
'We had to pull over.'
-# Marina... #
I wish this was smelly-vision, because you would not...
That smell of a car. You know when a body's been in a flat for nine months
-and people ring up and say...
-That's a distinctive smell.
-..there is a smell.
-You really think you're gonna get that going?
-You're just not!
'We decided to help...
I'm just thinking, on these big foreign Top Gear Cheap Car Challenges,
the cars always make it.
And James won't want to be the one that lets the side down.
I don't know if you can see this, but I've got some fairly dramatic
-wheel wobble going on here.
I can fix this.
I can fix anything.
'With my new mending powers,
'I worked out I'd lost a wheel weight.'
-How much, 5g, something like that, possibly?
'Hammond decided to help by leaving.'
It just needs some weight.
Funny euros! They're like wheel weights.
Sometimes, I amaze even myself
with my brilliance.
Gaffer tape them on.
At 60, the exact speed it was bad,
it's now perfect.
RATTLING STARTS AGAIN
However, at 62...
'At the next town, Hammond and I re-grouped to wait for May.'
-Can I just say, we've now been waiting, what, half an hour?
Now, if it's... More, 40 minutes.
If it's 40 minutes, he must have mended the Capri.
Because if it was ruined, he would have just got in the Marina,
so he must be in the Capri.
'My logic was exactly 100%...
Oh, God, it's Pinky and Perky!
-Let's embrace the failure.
-That suits you.
-It does, I'm sorry.
-You know we've had problems
-with the Morris Marina Owners' Club?
-Problems?! They declared a fatwa on us!
-Exactly. This car...
-..you have to understand this, belonged to the wife of the President.
-Just take care of it.
-Your comments should be addressed to... Ahem!
I don't want you to drive into this. This used to belong...
-to the wife of the President of... Where was it?
'Hammond really wasn't impressed with James' new wheels.'
I'll guarantee that nothing exciting, vibrant, dynamic,
hopeful or beneficial in any way to humanity has ever been done,
thought of, or driven to in that drab,
dreary, entirely beige, wilfully awful pile of misery!
Oh, come on, it's not so bad.
Erm, it's well-equipped.
No, it isn't well-equipped, to be honest, it's got one dial.
It's tastefully upholstered.
It isn't tastefully upholstered, really, it's brown.
But the seats are velour, and look how well it's worn.
'Soon, we began to climb into the mountains.'
Now, look at this. We have snow.
And if we have ice, I have the chassis to deal with it.
This is more like it!
Don't tell me rear-wheel drive isn't more fun on this road.
Come on, Hammond, live with this!
This is brilliant.
Drives down here, hardly uses any fuel and now look at it!
Belting up an alp.
Twisty, this is where the Morris Marina comes into its own.
'Meanwhile, further up the road,
'I'd had an idea.'
Now, remember, viewers, Hammond broke my drum kit. So,
as he waits down there for James to arrive...
Oh, God! JEREMY LAUGHS
What if it were to go down the hill?
-Oh, my God!
-Oh, I'm sorry(!)
-What do I do now?!
Did you break my drum kit?
-Have you got a cold car now?
No, not cold...
I'm going to die!
Fantastic! Driving a car that terrible...that old.
-See his Targa roof?
It may have fallen in the raging torrents. I've no idea how(!)
The faster I make him drive, the colder he'll be.
That's quite cold now.
Really very cold, in fact.
That does mean war, I'd say.
'As night fell, we reached Val Thorens, still wondering
'what our final challenge might be.'
..on an alp.
'The answer lay just round the next bend.'
Is that an ice driving track?
'It was. And the next morning, the producers had entered us
'for a race on it.
'However, between us and it,
'there was a small hill.'
-And there he is!
'Using Top Gear logic, I applied even more speed.'
Oh, dear, no! That's not gone at all well.
'Eventually, some locals helped us onto the track,
'where we decided to get some practice.'
-Gentleness is the... Oh.
'It was unbelievably slippery.'
-He's pushing me up with his wing mirror.
-Get off my racing line!
-You blithering idiot!
-Don't keep doing that to me!
How is this racing? It's just fighting!
It's just not racing.
Aah! Aah! No!
Oi, do you mind?!
Oh, I'm gonna hit the Marina!
'Ten minutes later, we stormed into the first corner.'
Yes, I'm winning, I'm winning!
-Get out of the way!
-I'm not winning!
-This doesn't work.
-It's a very slow accident in slow motion. Could we get snow tyres?
-Yes. Snow tyres...
MUSIC: Theme from "The A-Team"
'We were towed to the pits, where we fitted spiked tyres,
-I can't drive like this.
-'..and because it was a race,
'some sponsorship decals.'
I mean, bother.
-Does anyone have a hammer?
'The next morning, Val Thorens basked in glorious alpine sunshine.
'Actually, it didn't, because this is some film from the Tourist Board. For us,
'it looked like this...
'No matter, at least our cars,
'on their new spiked tyres, were ready for battle.'
Check it out.
-May I look inside your car, James?
-It'll still be awful!
-Look at that!
-Can I say briefly, from the outside,
it does actually look quite good. It looks quite serious.
-And then, Hammond...
-..I can see one massive problem with your car.
-Ooh, dearie me!
-Look at that!
Yes, I'm sitting in a snowdrift.
-How did you get your roll cage in, in the end?
-I've got door bars.
-Oh, well, that's a very thorough set-up.
-It's a very thorough job.
Now, I'm looking forward to this, because I think a Porsche will look good drifting.
You couldn't do this with front-wheel drive.
'We were feeling confident.
'And when we saw the cars our French rivals had, that confidence grew.'
-These are all just little hatchbacks.
-That's a Kia.
And a BMW 1 Series.
-I've got a V6 and a twin turbo.
-This is the crib sheet, right, on these cars, yes?
They have a top speed of...
Even your Marina can go faster than that, 80.
And it says here, "Cars rarely exceed 50-60 mph during a race."
-Wow, look at that!
-I haven't got one of those.
-Did you fit one of those on your Marina?
-A windscreen wiper
on the side. They're obviously expecting to go sideways... Look! ..with their wayward handling.
'The other drivers - including a youth
'and an old bloke - didn't look like much of a threat either.
'But then I spotted a familiar face.'
-There. It's Olivier Panis.
What, the designer?
Please tell me you've heard of Olivier Panis?
Panis is a type of Italian bread, isn't it?
Formula One racing driver. Formula One.
-Won the Monaco Grand Prix.
-Oh, I knew that.
-I suppose it's unfair to ask for tips when we're gonna thrash you, but...
-Not at all.
..what would you say we had to do to not hit things?
-Well, it's quite hard, because this car is four-wheel...
-Drive, yeah, and turning.
-The rear-wheel also turning...
-..it means to turn the car much quicker.
It's very, very sporting of you to let us bring Porsche, Nissan 300ZX.
-Much more powerful cars.
-And the Morris.
-And the Morris.
-It's like bringing, well, longbows
to a bow and arrow fight.
-Yeah, it is, thank you.
-I thought you were gonna say something really inappropriate then.
-I did wonder!
I mentioned Agincourt once, but I think I got away with it.
'With our romper suits on,
'we lined up for the ten-lap race.'
I cannot believe I'm in a race with Olivier Panis,
France's second best racing driver.
Quite often, racers find it difficult when they get too hot.
This won't happen today.
Here's my plan. I'm gonna take the one in front on the left-hand side,
cut across to the right, then I'll be alongside Panis for the first tight right-hander.
He's bound to swing left, they all do that in Formula One.
I'm going right. That'll surprise him.
Here I go!
-They may have got away from us a bit there.
-How did they do that?!
'It turned out they weren't crummy hatchbacks.
'They were mid-engine rocket ships.
'So immediately, we were lapped...'
'..and then immediately, we were lapped again.'
How many other cars...? HELP...ME!
'This wasn't Agincourt, this was the Battle of Hastings.'
He's taken me.
He's taken me.
He's taken me as well.
That's right, put me in there.
No, no, really, help yourself(!) We're being humiliated!
Olivier Panis found the Morris particularly annoying.
What is this shitbox?!
What is this car?
'Soon, it became clear there were two races going on.
'One for people who'd brought the right tools
'and one for those who WERE tools.'
I can't see a bloody thing!
Argh! I pulled my own glove off!
Try a Scandinavian flick.
-Oh, what the...
OK, that's them going past. That was that Oliver man again.
I'm being lapped again!
'To make matters worse, Hammond had turned our race into a grudge match.'
No! What the hell?!
-Ha-ha-ha! That's for throwing my roof away, you fool!
-You're going off.
-You're going off.
'..as we knocked seven bells out of each other...'
-What are you doing?
-Why are you doing this to me?!
'..James was sneaking up from the rear.'
What there is of it.
He's got me back.
May's got us!
That's a pass for the Marina!
You stupid idiot, Hammond!
'At this point, the French race finished.
'And with them out of the way, I set off after May.'
Right, come on, must be able to catch a Marina.
Nice and smooth and straight. Where's the corner?
There he is.
May is in my sight.
'I now had less than a lap to get past.'
Don't hit him!
Morris extremists will come if I hit him.
I hope you're watching this, wife of the President of...France!
I don't believe it, May's going to win!
It's the flag!
Surely not, not the Marina?!
I'm gonna have to kill myself!
-I believe I won.
-Hammond, you idiot!
You threw my roof away, and as a result, the inside of my windscreen froze up.
Every time I went round a corner, there was this wildly fishtailing Datsun!
Every time I went smoothly round a corner, there was some idiot in a multi-blue Porsche ramming me
-and sticking me in the ditch!
-I believe this is what's know as racing drivers' excuses, isn't it?
-No, I'll tell you what I believe.
-I believe that as a result of our...
..we must now conclude
that the best rear-wheel drive car
that money can buy is the Morris Marina!
-And do you know what?
I think the Morris Marina Owners' Club are gonna be thrilled with that.
-I think it will finally make amends.
-They'll forgive us.
-They will, finally! Finally.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
What are we gonna do?! What are we gonna do?!
-We're gonna be killed and eaten by Morrismen!
-Look, we did explain in the last series that we're based
-next to an air-freight piano removal company.
-They're called Careless Air.
-And now, they have a French sister company
-called Piano Avion Malheureusement.
-Yes, I read about that in Helicopter News - they're based in Val Thorens.
Exactly. So, if you're watching, Carla Bruni, OK, wife of the President of France,
-it wasn't our fault your Marina got broken.
-And now, gentlemen,
if I might make a suggestion...
-Yeah, good one.
-See you next week, everyone!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Motoring news and views. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May seek petrolhead heaven in three 1,500 pound rear-wheel-drive coupes and somehow find themselves entered in a terrifying French ice race.
Meanwhile, Richard tries to speed up summer holiday flights by inventing the sport of airport vehicle racing, Jeremy walks with dinosaurs in the new BMW Z4, and actress Sienna Miller is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.