Matt LeBlanc tests the world's fastest accelerating car, with a little help from NASA. Chris Harris pens a heartfelt love letter to the Citroen 2CV.
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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Hello, and welcome to Top Gear. Let's play
who forgot to sign the producer's birthday card?
Here's a clue. On tonight's show I drive one of the fastest cars of all
time, Chris drives one of the most iconic cars of all time,
and Rory drives a Kia.
-All you had to do was sign your name, Rory.
-Yeah. I know.
-That was literally all you had to do.
-Now, we all know the car world is full of outrageous claims.
For example, Chris Harris still insists he's five foot eight.
-Well, you're not five foot ten, are you?
All right. Now, here's another outrageous claim from Dodge.
Dodge says it's built a car that will outrun anything on
the planet. Like these.
And, apparently, you can buy this fastest car
in the world for 84,995,
that's about £60,000.
I'm five foot ten, Chris!
It's called the Demon...
..and, as you can see, it doesn't look like a supercar.
It looks like a muscle car.
A muscle car with a muscle car motor.
ENGINE ROARS AND RASPS
A big, noisy, 6.2 litre V8 with a big, noisy,
supercharger strapped to the top.
In fact, the biggest supercharger ever found on a production car.
Oh, yeah! Listen to it scream!
It sounds like Satan passing a kidney stone.
That might be the most addictive throttle pedal
I have ever experienced.
And, as you'd expect from a car that's limited to 168mph...
..out on the road, the Demon does feel pretty fast.
But supercar fast? Hyper car fast?
I don't know.
You know, this isn't some stripped down sports car,
this is a big, comfy cruiser.
Two metric tons of big, comfy cruiser, to be precise.
There's no hybrid, energy recovery gizmo, there's just a big motor.
And there's no supercar spec, double-clutch gearbox.
It's just a big automatic.
To be honest, it's kind of just a Dodge.
But I've got to say, I've driven quite a few Dodges over the years,
and they're not my favourite.
The interiors are very plastic and cheap feeling.
And, while it's no supercar on the inside,
it doesn't corner like one either.
If you try to go around this corner in the Demon as fast as you go
around this corner in the LaFerrari, you wouldn't go around that corner.
On a road like this,
the Demon just would not see which way a supercar went.
It pains me to say it, but it's true.
So, there you go, question answered.
you can't buy a car that will outrun anything else on the planet.
However, for 84,996, you might just be able to.
Because, when you buy a Demon,
Dodge will also give you the option to spend 1 more
on a crate of stuff.
You get tools, skinny front tyres, a high-flow air filter, a new ECU.
Loads of cool stuff.
Because Dodge didn't build the Demon to go quick on a winding,
alpine pass or a tight street circuit. No, no.
The Demon was made to do one thing.
To tear up the drag strip, a quarter-mile at a time.
Bolt all those crate parts on, feed it some decent fuel,
and it will give you 840 horsepower.
This is the most powerful V8 production car in history.
Dodge says this car will run the standing quarter mile
in 9.65 seconds,
which, if you know your drag racing, you'll know is really, really fast.
But if you don't know your drag racing, here's how it works.
First, you need to warm the tyres.
The Demon has a function called line lock, which brakes the front wheels,
so you can spin up the rears.
ALARM DINGS Oh, they're done.
And, once you've warmed the tyres, you're ready to go.
OK, so, to launch this thing is pretty easy.
Left foot on the break, hold in both these paddles, add some revs,
release one paddle, foot off the brake,
release the other paddle as you bury the throttle.
That is incredible!
That won't get old, ever.
You literally could not fall off a cliff faster than that.
Oh, hell, I'm doing that again.
And you can.
Because, unlike most cars with launch control,
where you do a couple of full-bore starts,
and then it has to go and lie down for a bit...
..in making the Demon,
Dodge had one do over 5,000 launches without a single glitch.
That is addictive.
OK. Now that I'm warmed up, how about a little race, huh?
That is a Lamborghini Aventador, four-wheel drive, V12 engine,
four times the price of the Demon.
Let's do this.
I've just roasted that Lambo!
Damn! That is big American balls, baby!
Big, fat, American ice cubes.
Is that a Lamborghini way back there?
I think it is!
When you hook everything up right,
you know how fast this car does zero to 60?
This is the fastest accelerating road car in history.
So, there you go, if you're the kind of person who wants to live life
a quarter mile at a time,
you don't want a couple of hundred grand supercar,
you want a Demon.
And if you think driving very fast in a straight line
is a bit pointless,
you'd be wrong. Because the Demon's very specific set of skills makes it
the ultimate candidate for the coolest job in the world.
Back in the '50s, in the depths of the Cold War,
America launched the Lockheed U-2.
Designed to cruise at 70,000 feet,
twice the altitude of a commercial jet,
it was the ultimate spy plane.
But, with its vast wingspan, poor visibility,
and lack of proper landing gear, it was a pig to land.
In fact, the military found the only safe way
to bring the U-2 down was to
have a radio spotter chase it down the runway, in a car.
And because the U-2 comes in at over 100mph,
that meant using a muscle car.
60 years later, the U-2 has been redesigned,
and modified in the name of environmental science, by Nasa.
It's now known as the ER-2, and it is still a pig to land.
And that's where me and the Demon come in.
What better way to land the world's hardest-to-land aeroplane
than with the world's fastest-accelerating car?
Only one way to find out.
So, with the ER-2 taking off on an eight-hour mission to research
volcanoes and glaciers and stuff,
I was sent for a briefing with Nasa pilot Dean Neeley.
Call sign, Gucci,
who did nothing to settle my nerves.
When he goes up there today,
he's going to be the highest man in the world, off for hours and hours,
flying 13 miles above the earth, and coming back, exhausted, dehydrated,
in an aeroplane that's really like landing a motorcycle coming off of
a jump. So, we've got to always be ready to expect the unexpected.
All right, next slide.
OK, we're going to do our primary duty, which is being visible to him,
where we roll in behind him and get in position to feed him
And, then, as you're accelerating straight ahead, toward him,
fade in right behind his six o'clock position,
looking right down the tailpipe.
What Dean was very thoroughly suggesting
was that I accelerate onto the runway at 140mph,
right up behind the ER-2's jet engine exhaust,
while talking the pilot down over the radio.
Piece of cake.
Eight, six, four, two...
..one. The only thing that we can fail at today
is hit the main gear first,
because he'll skip back into the air. And he'll stall.
And then you get the cartwheel manoeuvre, and it's ugly.
So, with the pilot now hard at work on the edge of space,
and still not 100% clear on what I was supposed to do,
Dean set up some practice runs, where, instead of the plane,
we'd be chasing down a car.
You never know, he may come down fine, and it would be no issue,
or he may do some manoeuvre that kind of surprises you.
He's going to count on your immediate response
to guide him back where he needs to be.
So, that's the critical part of this.
And with time running out on the ER-2's mission,
the pressure was on to get it right.
Meet, Gucci, hit it.
There you go, go get him.
OK. You're on your own, you're on your own.
It's tricky to get out there that quick.
What was becoming obvious was that to land the ER-2,
the drag strip-honed Demon would have to corner at speed.
This was going to take practice.
Let's try that again.
Nice job, Meet, how about one more, same thing?
Oh, that's a lot of power, OK.
I was just starting to wrestle the Demon into line...
..when all too soon, the call came in.
The ER-2 was making its descent.
Remember, the whole goal is for you to be in position,
where you can give him good instructions.
So, it's pretty much now or never.
OK, so this guy's life is in my hands for about 30 seconds.
SA-06, runway 22, wing 240, vector 1-5, cleared to land.
Nasa Mobile, cleared to follow.
Here we go.
About 20 seconds until we go.
Three, two, one...
Get in there.
-Get it, you're losing it.
..and down. Nice job. Nice job!
-That is good stuff.
-That's exactly what you needed to do.
Gucci, do you recommend we hire him with additional training?
All right, man. I think you got it.
The Dodge Demon, the 85-grand, undisputed king of the drag strip.
And now proven at Nasa.
-A mega car.
-Yeah, that was a lot of fun.
That looked pretty intense.
Honestly, were you scared?
Well, come on, your country comes calling, you answer the call.
Land a Nasa plane, take down a few bad guys, whatever.
-Yeah, I've never been more scared in my life!
And, plus, if I didn't get the guy down alive,
the wine and cheese thing with his family would have been awkward.
Yeah, but at least you didn't crash the Nasa spy plane.
Yeah, OK, Chris, Nasa was very clear, it is not a spy plane.
Right, because if you've got a spy plane,
that's the one thing you don't call it, isn't it, a spy plane?
It's a research plane.
Research is a polite word for spying, you know that.
OK, all right, I'm sorry, can we please talk about the Dodge Demon?
-85,000, £60,000, for a car that's faster than
a Lamborghini Aventador.
Yeah, in a straight line. Yeah, it does, literally, one thing.
What's wrong with doing one thing?
Did anyone care if Neil Armstrong was a good salsa dancer?
No. We wanted him focused on the moon stuff.
It's a one trick pony, the Demon.
So what? So what?
You show me a pony that can do zero to 60 in 2.3 seconds,
and I will buy that pony.
Now, it's time to talk South Korean cars
because they are taking over Britain.
Last year, Hyundai and Kia sold nearly 200,000 cars over here,
and no-one even noticed.
Because all South Korean cars are really, really boring.
Well, nearly all...
Now, this is a surprise.
South Korea has made a rear-wheel-drive performance car.
It comes from Kia, and it's called...
Terrible name, serious car.
365 horsepower of serious car.
The Stinger will do zero to 60 in under five seconds.
80, 90, 100.
Flat out, it will do 168mph.
It's the fastest Kia ever.
OK, that's not really that impressive a boast,
when you think about it,
but you can only beat what's put in front of you.
And it's certainly better in the bends than any Kia
I've driven before. Heavy on the brakes into Hammerhead,
throw it left, throw it right.
There's loads of power, loads of noise.
A decent amount of grip.
You can feel that momentum, pushing you out wide, but the tyres,
they do hang on. Until, of course...
..you switch everything off.
Yes, it will go sideways, I'm doing skids...
..in a Kia!
It's like moonwalking, in brogues.
It feels so wrong.
And, yet, so right!
This is the most memorable car to come out of South Korea since...
I mean, that's the whole point, isn't it? It's a memorable car
to come out of South Korea.
The Stinger is, in many ways, a ground-breaking car.
But, in many more ways, it isn't.
When you think South Korea, you think tech,
home of Samsung, LG,
a country at the cutting edge of microchips, nanos and other small,
So, you might expect South Korea's take on the performance car
to be a blue-sky thinking, outside-the-box shower of ideas.
But the Stinger isn't a different take.
It's old school.
Under the bonnet, you won't find the next big thing in hybrid drive,
but a very ordinary twin turbo, six-cylinder petrol engine.
The whole car is very similar, in fact,
to the fast saloons you can currently choose
from Mercedes and BMW.
Kia has looked at what the Germans have done recently, and gone,
"Oh, that's interesting, we'll do...we'll do, exactly that."
Just not QUITE as well.
For example, the centre console,
this isn't so much imitation carbon fibre as
imitation imitation carbon fibre.
And these buttons down here, they're more Matalan than Mercedes.
Yet, despite these slightly flimsy finishes, somehow,
the Stinger weighs nearly two tonnes. This is not a light car.
I mean, one way to look at that is that you are getting
quite a lot of kilos for the cash.
Until, that is, you find out how much it costs.
Which is quite a lot for a Kia.
Now, don't get me wrong, the Stinger is a good car,
a big...no, HUGE improvement over previous Kias.
But if South Korea wants to take on Germany at its own game,
they'll have to do better.
So it's just as well...
..they've sent backup.
This is the i30 N, Hyundai's answer to the Golf GTI.
Yes, as if a sporty Korean saloon wasn't weird enough,
now Hyundai are going after Volkswagen
and the greatest hot hatch of them all.
Just like the Golf, it uses a two-litre turbo engine,
driving the front wheels.
Just like the Golf,
it costs just under £30,000.
And not just like the Golf...
..it really is quite powerful.
Yes, where the Golf GTI has to make do with 230 horsepower,
the Hyundai develops 270.
That is a hot, hot hatch.
0-60 takes six seconds.
Top speed - limited to 155mph.
Oh, my God, that's quick.
Hyundai's let its hair down. Had a couple of pina coladas.
It turns out, they DO know how to party.
The "N" stands for "Not as bad as you might think!"
It is all good in here.
Manual gearbox - good, adjustable suspension - good.
Clever electronic differential thing between the front wheels.
Good. Nice, sharp turning.
This thing is a joy.
In fact, I was wrong.
The "N" doesn't stand for "Not as bad as you might think" -
the "N" stands for "nutter"!
Oh, I see. Let's have some fun.
Right, late on the brakes, turn in.
I'm going to get him on the exit. Yes!
Too much sideways.
Oh, listen to the exhaust.
Oh, no, you don't.
He's got me!
Right, I'm going in quicker.
Look at this! Look at this!
What we have here is a world first.
I'm having fun in a South Korean car!
All right, all right, truce. We're on the same side!
..the i30 N and the Stinger raise a very important question.
Where, after all this excitement,
does this leave South Korea on the Top Gear
International League Table Of Countries That Make The Fastest Car?
Or TGILTOCTMTFC, for short.
Well, check it out.
Now, I'm expecting big things from Botswana,
but, today, we're looking way,
way up there.
Using a highly sophisticated and scientific algorithm
formulated by cross-referencing countries and car-makers
that we could remember,
I'm excited to reveal that the i30 N and the Stinger have pushed
South Korea three places from 11th
to eighth, leapfrogging Australia, Czechia,
which is what the Czech Republic prefers to be known as these days,
I'll just put that there.
This is highly precarious.
We don't need Australia.
Couldn't we get magnets?
Right, I'll just hold it there.
In your face, Spain.
You know where they don't take siestas?
Right, can I get down, please?
South Korea, then, is heading up in the world.
Not so long ago, you couldn't have imagined Kia or Hyundai building
a serious rival to a Vauxhall Corsa.
And, now, here they are, taking on the best in the business.
It's admirable stuff.
But I know what you're expecting me to say here.
You're expecting me to say, "Yes, well done, South Korea, good effort,
"you've made great strides," and then tell you to buy German.
And that is what I will tell you.
For the Kia Stinger, it's missing that last bit of polish,
that sprinkling of magic.
It's just a bit too...fat.
But the i30 N?
Different story. Because, if it's this, or a base Golf GTI,
I'm picking the Hyundai.
More power, more speed, and, for me, more fun.
With the i30 N, the South Koreans aren't just going up in the world...
-Good South Korean cars.
Let's talk about the cars.
So, we can forget about the Kia Stinger, right?
But you're telling me you'd rather have that than a Golf GTI?
-All day long.
-So, that badge on your driveway
rather than a Volkswagen badge?
Yeah, I just, kind of, drive it, and park it up right against the house,
-no-one can see it.
-You know there's a badge on the back as well?
I'll rent a garage, I don't know.
So, Rory reckons the i30 N is better than a Golf GTI.
Well, it's time to find out using science,
as we hand over both cars to our in-house hot hatch connoisseurs,
it's the Stig's teenage cousins!
There they are, typical teenagers, five yards apart,
still communicating by text.
The Hyundai's got the jump off the line, but here comes the Golf.
Terrible weather conditions.
Side by side into the first corner.
How is he staying ahead, that particular spotty Stig?
Can you smell the Lynx Africa from here?
The Golf still ahead at this point, the Golf has a power disadvantage,
I don't know how it's still ahead, but it's doing a good job.
Oh, a bit sideways there.
Now, powering down the back straight, Golf still ahead.
Round the Hammerhead.
Come on, that Hyundai looks poised to me, here it comes.
Here it comes, all attitude,
Up the inside, now that's a fast move.
Oh, my Lord. Look at that!
Yeah, that's full Asbo spec, that is. Good driving.
Second to last, and the Hyundai is out of sight now.
So far apart.
It's all over the place, under braking.
Now we're going through Gambon, over the line,
and that is a victory for the Hyundai.
Much as it pains me to admit it, you called it. You were right.
-OK. So, a victory to the Hyundai, but what was the margin?
The weather was terrible, OK, so don't judge them too harshly.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI did it in a 1:39.3,
which puts it somewhere down near the floorboards.
Very wet though, don't forget that. The Hyundai, however...
-That's an absolute...
-That's a drubbing.
-There you go.
That's a crushing, crushing victory.
And now it's time to put not one but two stars
in our Reasonably Fast Car.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dara O Briain, and Ed Byrne.
All right, buddy. Welcome. Welcome, welcome, take a seat.
Great to have you. Great to have you. Now, you guys
are great friends, right? You were best man at each other's weddings?
Yes, we were, yes.
I mean, are we cueing up how naturally competitive we are?
Or are you thinking because we are just pals, it's OK,
-I'll be happy if he wins? I won't be.
-He'll be raging.
Everyone says that. "Oh, no big deal, no big deal."
-And then when they get out there...
-Well, he did that. That's the thing.
He phoned me yesterday, we were on the phone to each other
yesterday, he was all, "It doesn't matter. I'm not really
"that fussed about it. We'll a laugh. The interview will be fun
"and stuff. I don't really care about the lap."
And I know as soon as he got behind the wheel, he was like,
"So long as I'm faster than Ed!"
Yeah, that's just to get you to let your guard down.
Yeah. Exactly. It didn't work.
-Did it not?
-So, you're both on tour at the moment?
Yes. Separately, obviously.
We overlap in Aberdeen and Newcastle.
-In the same night.
So, watch out!
We are going to have some drinks in those cities.
That will be pretty wild. We're both crisscrossing,
so, we're both on the motorway a lot over the next while.
How's it going? Good?
It's going sweet, I'm on until June, with a show called Spoiler Alert.
And I'm on until next year sometime. Voice Of Reason until next year,
I started a little later than you.
-Any competition there, like...
I rock up to venues, and they're like,
"Oh, yeah, Dara O Briain here for four nights, sold out last time."
And I'm like, right, here's me struggling to just about
fill it once. I know my place. Hopefully, I'll get a faster time
-than him, and that will count for something.
-There you go.
-All the ticket sales are based on how we do here today.
So, that'll be great.
All right, let's talk about your driving history.
You're both kind of, late starters, right?
-Yeah, I came to driving quite late.
I started lying, and telling people I'd lost my license
because there was less shame in that than not having got it yet.
Can you clarify how it works having a provisional licence in Ireland?
Because the research notes slightly confused me.
I mean, are you thrown by the fact it seems to be that if you have
a provisional licence, you're allowed to totally drive for free, in Ireland?
-That may no longer be the case, I can't guarantee,
but that certainly was the case, because I had it for three,
four years, just on it with a P, or an L...
So, what was the benefit in having a full driving licence as opposed to
-a provisional licence?
-You put it like that, actually...
I mean, I'm surprised they didn't just phase out the full licence!
And just make it all provisional.
Yeah, it was quite loose.
-So, first cars?
-The first car I bought was a Seat Ibiza.
And I couldn't drive it, my girlfriend drove it.
-That was, that was the deal.
-The first car for me
was a Ford Fiesta, like, a 1991 Ford Fiesta
that I managed to crash twice in the same crash.
-You have to explain that.
-There was a crash,
it was my ineptitude. I'd only been driving a couple of months,
and I popped out from behind a stop sign,
would be the discreet way of putting it,
and much to the excitement of the car who was on the road at the time,
so he nudged me into a wall, and then my dad came round,
and went, "OK, fine, we'll take this car off somewhere to be repaired."
I said, "Great," and we pulled out, and I sat in the car,
and he attached a tow rope to this car.
This already crashed car, and he was ready to tow it, and I said,
"Brilliant," thumbs up, like, whatever, and he pulled off, and I pulled off,
and I'm pulling the wheel, but nobody told me you have to put
the car into neutral when you're being towed.
So, I, on the first move, it locked,
and then my dad pulled the car out of this position, across the road,
into another wall.
So I hit two sides, two walls on the side of the same road, twice,
with the same car, and just, it was just gone. It was written off
-at that stage.
-Have you ever seen a Laurel and Hardy film?
-That's all you have to say.
-Ed, your first car,
having passed your driving test, is extraordinary.
I think the audience will agree with this.
The first car after passing my test, the first car I got for myself,
was a Mercedes SL 350.
Yeah, not too shabby.
That was called Nora, I called that car.
Cos Nora Batty, and it was a tiny bit like the Batmobile.
I name all my cars, and they all have silly names.
What came after that one?
A Volkswagen Golf called James Golfandini.
And I think there was another Golf called Revvy Ballesteros.
And I got rid of that, and I now have a Jeep Renegade which is
called Lorenzo, after Lorenzo Lamas, who played the title role
in the obscure, yet seminal, '90s TV show, Renegade.
I'm good at naming cars. That's my Renegade, there.
And that's the canoe on top that's called Stinky Pete,
cos it's an old prospector.
I can't help myself.
-You named your canoe?
I name everything.
Can you imagine anything about him he hasn't named?
Now, Dara, your car history is a bit more exotic, right?
Well, I learned to drive with an Audi TT. I thought
when I started again, I might as well start with an Audi TT.
-That's punchy, as well.
-Yeah, it's a zippy little thing, yeah.
-I got my test with that.
-You fit in an Audi TT?
-Not very well.
-I can't fit in one of those!
-There's an element to which,
if you put to the roof down, I look like Noddy.
But I was very happy in the Audi TT.
It was very pleasant. Now I have a Maserati Grancabrio,
which is the soft top, with the four seats, which is...
Yeah, you're going, "Ooh!"
That's actually your driveway, isn't it?
It is, actually. Well, we opened it out.
I mean, most of the time, West London doesn't look like that.
Who cleans your pool, by the way?
He's constantly at it. Takes ages, to be honest.
It's a... It's a very pretty car. It's a very lovely car.
-And they're quiet?
-There's a nice noise off it, you know.
-What? Does it have a sufficient noise to it?
-It's obnoxiously loud!
Yeah, there is a point where they sold, I think, four
on my road and surrounding area, they had a big push on them.
There was some sort of deal, and at eight in the morning it's...
HE IMITATES ENGINES ROARING
All the people leaving at different times.
-They are very loud.
-It's got a lovely noise on it.
What's it like for carrying a 16-foot canoe on the roof?
Not so good. And, interestingly,
a Venn diagram of people who drive Maserati Grancabrios and people who
-about canoeing is...
There's surprisingly small overlap.
No, it's not really for people...
It's great for stepping out of a private beach club in Monte Carlo,
but not so much for the canoeing.
All right, what do you think? Take a look at your laps?
-Yeah, go on.
-How did it go, come on, let's have... What about conditions?
It was wet. First of all, can we just say that, it was very wet.
I'm surprised you've any footage
because the lenses must have been just pounded with water.
It was incredibly wet. I don't think there's been a day like this.
I saw you in the production office, you were walking around, I said,
"How did it go?" You said, "It was good, but it's drier out there for Dara now."
Yes, I went first. I went first. It's always, always,
everything just comes up roses for this dick.
It's always, like, I'm there, I've got the windscreen wipers on
and everything, going through this monsoon weather, and as soon as
I get out of the car, rainbows, sunshine...
There you go, Dara, away for an hour, steam coming off the track,
on you go, dry as a bone. I hate you!
I want a W next to my name.
And just a D, for damp, next to his.
OK, well, maybe, first, we'll take a look at Dara's lap.
And, while we're watching that,
-we can get a little marriage counselling for you.
All right, let's take a look at Dara's lap.
So, this is Dara, the track's looking pretty dry.
Little bit of a stumbled start.
Operation crush Ed's dreams.
So, not remotely competitive!
Now, your line through here was always pretty good.
That was just... So many G forces!
It doesn't look fast.
OK, don't hit the tyres, don't hit the tyres.
-Don't hit the tyres.
-You didn't hit the tyres.
The exit of Chicago, smooth again.
-Oh, no, no, oh, no.
The violent slap between the seats indicates something else.
Now, driving the car really fast.
God, Ed will be so disappointed when he loses this.
He seems confident, doesn't he?
Here, around the invisible Hammerhead.
Why? What's supposed to be here?
Put some trestle tables with custard pies on it, or something.
You've got...you've got the left-right bit
-for the first time in the day, I think, there.
Go into...fourth gear!
There's even a fifth and sixth, we'll never use it,
it's hard to get out of third.
Stop that! Got this corner.
Follow Through, Follow Through.
That was good speed. Now the tyre wall.
And this one, that you keep saying don't brake on.
Has Ed broke on it? Well, then, I'm not going to brake on it.
Good speed. Oh, that was a brake light.
Coming in to second to last.
Tricky seeing this one. Now onto the slippery bit.
Oh, whoa, whoa.
Through there, safely. And now through Gambon.
Completely slowed down.
-And over the line.
Yeah, I think there's very little in it.
-I think that looked pretty racy, actually?
I think it looked smooth.
Honestly, the first turn, I thought I'd lost it.
I honestly thought, "Oh, you've screwed that up now."
I thought I'd gone way too wide and lost control of it there,
because of the conditions. You can see, from the driving rain.
And the sleet. Which cameras can't pick up on.
It looked like you carried pretty good corner speed,
I didn't see a lot of wheel spin. Right, let's see Ed's lap.
OK. Well, that's wetter, definitely wetter.
Cleaner start. Using more revs.
Yes, you might sell more tickets than I do,
when you're on tour...
..but who, who will be faster round the Top Gear track?
Slightly wider on the way in, is he tighter through the corner?
He is. And more speed on the exit, too.
Perfect, nailed that.
That's for the time you opened for me, and were funnier.
You really warmed to this!
That's for having a bigger house than I have.
Stick that up Brian Cox's bum!
Exit of Hammerhead, I don't know what to say after that!
OK, got a bit cocky there, almost lost it.
Down the back straight, through the Follow Through.
This is for getting me to be your best man, and then doing a speech,
just before mine, and being even funnier than my best man speech was!
No brake lights, all right.
There you go. Nailed it.
Nailed it. OK, brake, and change down.
Unstable on the entry, and now the super slippery bit.
Man, I can't wait for the next episode of Mock The Week,
you ain't never going to live this down. I have destroyed you.
And now Gambon, oh, a big slide, showboating.
Over the line, that looked quick.
Hey, not only...not only was that a lot of very good driving,
I also thought you got a lot out of your system.
-That was very cathartic.
-I can't believe how much I care about numbers that are written
right there. It makes no difference to anything, and I care deeply.
I'm looking at this, right here,
and I used to share a flat with Ross Noble,
I know I'm nowhere near there.
But I'm looking at Lee Mack, and I'm thinking...
Yeah, he's a realistic target.
What I'm thinking is we could pretty much forget the lap board,
this is about head-to-head.
-I mean, it's clear, is it not?
-It's a grudge match.
Yeah, OK. So, you've got the same car, same conditions.
Roughly the same conditions. Roughly the same conditions.
Not being petty, just...
You don't even know the times yet!
No, I don't, but I'm already making excuses.
-All right. Are you ready?
Dara. You did it in one minute...
-You beat Lee Mack.
-Beat Lee Mack.
I'm disappointed I didn't beat John Culshaw, but I beat Lee Mack.
-That's a good thing.
-But, remember, we're wet.
-One minute, 53.2.
You did it...
..in two... No, I'm kidding.
OK, you did it in one minute...
Do you see what you get? Do you see what you get?!
Ladies and gentlemen, Ed Byrne, and Dara O Briain!
-Well done, mate. Hope you enjoyed it.
-Great job. Great job.
That was funny, funny guys.
Now, big question.
What's the most game-changing car of them all?
Well, there's the Mercedes S class.
Introduced ABS, airbags,
like, a million tech firsts,
or the Tesla Model S, electric pioneer.
Not even close, OK?
Because there's one out there that's even cleverer than the S class,
or the Tesla. A car that defines cutting edge.
Who are you talking to?
It's a quintessential slice of France
that has amazed, delighted, and charmed the world over for 70 years.
And, in my humble opinion,
it is one of the most perfect cars that has ever existed.
Yes, it's the Citroen 2CV.
It may not be conventionally beautiful,
or even unconventionally beautiful, but this...
..this might be the most ground-breaking car of the lot.
And this...this is just joyous.
Driving a 2CV on a minor, rural, French road
is the same as driving a Ferrari at Fiorano.
I'm in its element.
I'm in context.
I love it.
You want to know how much I love the 2CV?
I love it so much I bought one.
This is my 2CV.
Citroen launched the 2CV in 1948, a hardy car for both road and field,
developed for over a decade to bring rural France
a better alternative to the horse and cart.
And, boy, did they succeed!
With its simple but robust air-cooled engine,
its pioneering all-terrain ride,
and its uncanny ability to carry way more stuff than you'd expect,
the 2CV was an unprecedented feat of less-is-more engineering.
In fact, so timeless was the 2CV,
they kept building it for over 40 years.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention,
and the wonderful 2CV is proof.
There's more ingenuity in this single door panel
than there is in most car companies' entire history.
This isn't just a car, it's a revolutionary.
It's one of the most significant engineering feats
of the...20th century.
-Where did you come from?
-Not important. What is important
is that you just called this one of the most significant engineering
-feats of the 20th century. Come on.
-Are you crazy?
Look, it looks like it's made out of car parts that...
..none of the other cars wanted.
It's a triumph of...functional design.
Look at it, it's perfect.
-Look, open your mind. Don't be facetious.
-OK? Can I take you for a drive in it? Go on.
So, let me get this straight.
This is your car, that you bought, with your money.
-Yes, I did.
What do you mean, why?
-Aren't you feeling it?
-Feeling what? Claustrophobic? Yeah.
What does it have for a motor?
I mean, I assume it has a motor, we're moving, but what is it?
A 425cc air-cooled flat twin.
Oh, two cylinders, wow, they went big!
What does it make for horsepower?
You're an idiot.
Let me tell you about the 2CV's original design brief.
Citron decreed that it had to be able to carry
its occupants wearing their church hats and it had to be driven over
a bumpy field without breaking a basket of eggs onboard.
Stop the car.
-Where are you going?
Now. Hat for me, hat for you.
You're such a child, I'm not wearing that.
Be a good church wife, and put the damn hat on!
I'm pretty sure that 1940s French farmers didn't wear stovepipe hats.
Well, this farmer did.
-That's a very big basket of eggs.
You're very pretty.
-Now, be careful.
So, Abraham Lincoln wanted to put the design brief to the test.
Fine. Frankly, the eggs are safer in the 2CV
than they are in the hen.
We're safe here, this car is going to pass with flying colours.
None of those are moving. This car is genius!
Oh, there they go.
There they go!
No, you utter bastard!
-That was a tip.
-No, I didn't...
-That was a tip!
-I didn't tip it.
All right, all right. All right!
Oh, they smell so bad.
They smell terrible.
OK, well, there you go.
So, as my own eggs will testify,
I would say that your car has failed to meet one of its design briefs.
One very thorough jet wash later, Chris decided it was time for lunch.
You want to sit down somewhere, right? Check this out.
Ugh! It still smells of eggs.
-Whoa, what are you doing?
-This is our seating area.
This is the beauty of the 2CV.
Right, I'm going to find somewhere cosy and romantic for us, come on.
Put your hamper down.
Come and join me. Take a throne.
You look like a homeless person.
Is this a date?
-I suppose it could be.
-Let's pretend it's not.
-What is this?
-That's gentleman's relish.
And that was the end of lunch.
You genuinely do like this car, don't you?
I love this car.
This is the essence of motoring.
There's an essence in here, but I don't know that it's motoring.
You'll like this.
The original design brief for the 2CV also specified that it should be
able to carry two adult farmers,
and 50kg of farm produce at 37mph.
-Stop the car. Stop the car.
OK, here you go, 50 kilos of farm produce.
Meet Nicole and Papa.
Could have gone with potatoes.
Yeah, but potatoes won't crap all over your car.
After all, the egg test had gone so well, this should be a breeze.
Hey, hey, you over here, I'm driving, my turn.
Oh, come on! This is my car.
-I paid for it with my money.
-I know! Still cracks me up!
So, 37mph with 50 kilos of sheep in the back.
Time to see what the 2CV was made of.
Right, here we go, downhill, tuck.
-Come on, deux chevaux.
-Come on, come on!
37. 37mph. There it is.
It worked. It works, it meets its brief.
And, if driving sheep around at medium speed
wasn't enough to seduce him,
as we bid au revoir to Nicole and Papa,
I had one more trick up my sleeve to convince Matt
that this really is the greatest car of all time.
Take a left here. There, down there.
-What are you doing?
-We're going racing.
Against what? Pedestrians?
No, we'd be racing in what is quite possibly the finest form of
motorsport, the 2CV One-Make Championship.
So, here we are, the world of 2CV racing.
Don't they look fantastic?
-I think they're cool.
-Look how low the rear is.
Yeah, those are way lower than yours.
Here we go, then. This is our racing car.
This? Oh, we're not using your car?
No, cos my car is mine.
Anyhow, jump in, you're driving.
With upgraded 602cc engines,
producing no less than 50 brake horsepower,
these race-modified monsters can reach speeds of up to 85mph.
Yes, 2CV racing is serious business.
I noticed that you have a neck brace.
I don't have a neck brace. Do I need a neck brace?
No, you don't need a neck brace.
Why do you have a neck brace, and I don't have one?
Don't get caught up in the details, you look great.
We'd be up against some of the finest,
fiercest drivers the 2CV world had to offer.
And, as we took our position on the grid,
we were completely focused on the challenge ahead.
How's the water temperature?
I don't think we have a water temperature gauge.
-Maybe there's no water in... There's no water in this, you
It took me a minute!
What a start! What a start.
Go over to the right, get over to the right.
Squeeze him. First into the first corner.
There's one coming, there's one coming.
He's right there.
Brake late, brake late, brake late!
Get in there!
-Where did he come from?
-He's right there.
That's the famous Steve Walford...
He was the one in the paddock that was saying that Ross was funnier.
I think he's got it in for you.
But Steve was going down.
Oh, mate, you showed him there.
This is demon stuff, Matthew.
However, as the only two-man team on the track,
-our car had a weight problem.
-That didn't sound good.
Oh, come on!
It's Rosie Racing.
They're well known in 2CV circles as being brilliant.
And it wasn't just Rosie who was out for blood.
-Oh, no, come on.
-Got another one up the inside.
It's the famous Steve Walford again.
What's this one doing... Oh, my lord!
As the laps piled on, we slipped further and further back.
Third, second, third, fourth - we're sixth, come on!
-I know, I know, it's the weight.
-What do you mean, it's the weight?
It's not my fault! Matt kept pushing harder...
..but our chances didn't look good.
We cannot come last!
I'm doing my best!
But, then, Chris stopped whining and started helping...
Up the inside of Rosie Racing.
..and we started to fight back.
I got him!
Use all the circuit, all the circuit.
..and one 2CV at a time.
OK, we're P4. P4.
Heading into the final lap,
we set our sights on a podium finish.
Standing in our way, the formidable Jelly Snake Racing.
What's a jelly snake?
Come on, come on, come on!
Don't give it up. Don't give it up!
Down the middle, down the middle, my son.
Down the middle!
Final corner, dude. P3.
-Come on, come on.
-We've got a podium! We've got a podium!
-That's not bad.
-That's more than not bad!
Way to go, girl! That was fantastic.
That was really fun. I love this car.
So, there you go. The 2CV.
Everybody loves it in the end.
In a Ferrari, people hate you.
They love the Ferrari, but they hate you.
In this, though, people love the car,
and they love you for driving it.
This is a car that makes people smile.
-OK, I concede, you won me over.
-Isn't it just brilliant?
It really is. And I've got to say I want one.
-How much is it?
-About seven grand.
Seven grand! Are you out of your mind? Forget it.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
So, both of you actually agree that this heap of junk...
..is a work of genius?
Whoa, whoa, easy there.
This is Chris's heap of junk.
So, this is actually your car?
I get it. It's refreshingly simple.
It breaks down, you fix it.
Gets a dent, you bash the dent out.
You have, like, a real connection with the car.
I mean, I suppose so. I mean, it's got potential.
I could straighten out the bodywork, wrap it, slam it.
Throw on some dubs.
-I could work with this.
Just don't open the door, it smells awful in there.
I think it's the eggs and the, what you call it, sheep dung.
That's the joy of the 2CV, you see.
I've given it a quick wash, air freshener inside,
it's as good as new.
This is what it looked like when it was new?
Ah, I still like it.
All right, that's all we have time for.
Join us next week when we try to speed up farming,
and Sabine tries to speed up Rory.
See you then. Goodnight.
Matt LeBlanc tests the world's fastest accelerating car, with a little help from NASA. Chris Harris pens a heartfelt love letter to the Citroen 2CV, while Rory Reid samples some exciting cars from South Korea. Dara O Briain and Ed Byrne are the studio guests.