Top Gear (2002–…): Season 16, Episode 1 - Yeti Road Test - full transcript

The Ariel Atom, with a V8 engine, 900bhp-per-ton and a 0-60mph time under 2.3 seconds, is driven on the track by James. Will it reach 60mph? Richard plays with a Porsche - again. This time,...

Tonight, a dog won't get in a car...
A flipchart falls over.

And a man from
Liverpool drives a car.

Thank you, everybody!

Thank you. Hello,
hello! Thank you so much.

Can I just say how nice it
is to be back where we belong

BBC 2, 8 o'clock, Sunday night.

Unless, of course, somebody's
organised a snooker tournament

in which case, happy Easter.

And isn't the iPlayer...
brilliant...when it freezes?

Broadband connection.

What I'd like to do is shove
it up British Telecom's...

We start tonight
with the Ariel Atom.

Now, there is a new,
much f-a-a-a-a-ster version

which has come along recently.

And there was only one
man to test it for us.

He was born in a stable.

And his name is James May.

This is it, you'll be
able to spot it in a crowd

by virtue of its gold wheels,
its gold chassis

its F1-style engine cover

and by the engine underneath it,
which is now a 3L V8.

Now the normal rules are.

If you've got a big, heavy car,
and you want it to go fast.

You have to put a big,
powerful engine in it.

If you've got a small, light car,
and you want it to go fast.

You don't need to put
such a big engine in it.

So what happens if you
take a very light car

and put a very big engine in it?

Well, in my case

you look like a spaniel with
its head out of the window.

Lord above!

The old Atom had 275 horsepower.

This one has 500 horsepower

and it only weighs 550kg

which means it has a
power-to-weight figure

of over 900 horsepower per ton.

So in Top Gear maths,
it's twice as powerful

as a Bugatti Veyron
or a Ferrari Enzo.

But the Atom is not just a
rocket bolted to a roller-skate.

It's a bit more clever than that.

These little paddles,
for example, will shift

the sequential gears in
four hundredths of a second

or so quickly that there's
no appreciable drop in power

to the rear wheels,
and that helps you go from 0-60

in something like 2.5 seconds.

And now, let's bring all those numbers
to life with a practical demonstration.

Here we have a small selection of
supercars from around the world.

From Japan, the Lexus LFA

340,000 pounds,
bristling with science.

From Italy, the latest
lightweight Lamborghini Gallardo

180,000 pounds.

Both of them with
over 550 horsepower

and both of them packed with supercar
technology and the pride of nations.

So let's see how they do
against the Atom in a race

from 0 to 100 to 0.

And there we are.

Look how this cottage industry
supercar mocks the conceit of empires.


However, since we're on
this built-in-a-shed David

versus big-business Goliath theme

I have a confession to make...
on the Atom's behalf.

Now the standard Atom with 275
horsepower, costs 30,000 pounds.

This one, with 500 horsepower,
costs 150,000 pounds.

And even the seasoned
Top Gear film crew

were quite surprised by what
you get for your 150 grand.

Is there a radio? No.
(So no subwoofer? )

Hands-free kit? What?
"Hands-free"... No. No.

Glovebox? No glovebox.

Is it central locking? No,
there's no doors.

Where's the spare wheel?

I don't think there is a spare wheel.
There's no boot.

Cup holder? Nope, no cup holder.

Cruise control? No.

Somebody pay your sunglasses? No.

Your iPhone plugs in surely? No.
Tow bar? No.

The fact is, with this car, you're paying
for supergeek levels of engineering.

The bespoke engine and gearbox
alone cost 50,000 pounds.

And then you've got
the magnesium wheels

and the on-board computers that set
the car up for individual owners.

Also, the Atom V8 had a
difficult and costly birth.

Early attempts at the V8
were absolutely brutal.

They were only really
fit for track-day bores

who wanted to drone on in the pub

about how they'd driven
something that was undrivable.

So they went back to the drawing board.
And then they got this.

Not that. This.

A hardcore car with
a heart of pure gold

I love the steering in this thing
it's fantastically immediate

I'm just thinking my way
through bends, really.

It's as crisp as a bag of crisps.

In fact, driving the V8 Atom is one of the
great motoring experiences of my life

which is an excellent thought
on which to end this film.

Unfortunately, it isn't the end.

In fact, things get a
bit tricky for me now.

Because when Jeremy tested the
original Atom several years ago

he had a race round the track
against a fast motorcycle.

And the producers
enjoyed this so much

they've ordered me to do
the same thing again. Hm...

The thing is, since this Atom is
considerably faster than the old one

it'll be up against a
considerably faster bike.

The BMW S1000RR, the world's
most powerful road bike.

And whereas Jeremy raced against a
normal road-going motorcycle enthusiast

I won't be...

No, I'll be against British EVO
Superbike champion Steve Brogan.

Now, I thought this was
unfair and I protested.

I said the Atom should also be
driven by a proper racing driver.

But the producers said, "No,
it must be a Top Gear presenter" we go.

Oh, sorry mate, sorry.

Anyway, undo that strap,
stick it on your head, nice.

And I'm off! No, he's going past.

We've got roughly the
same power-to-weight ratio.

This is going to be about corners.

Got a bit of drive out
of the corner on me there.

But I think I'm catching him again,
round Chicago.

Been given a good beating there
by Hammerhead. Here we go.

Hard on the brakes. Turning in.

He can't get his power down
in the corners like I can.

Down to the Follow Through,
flat out.

Got to keep it right. Full power!

I'm gaining...

I've gone past, I've gone past!

Into the second-to-last corner.

Here we go for the last corner.
Don't muck it up!

And across the line!

Cheers, Tiff.

No problem, James,
any time you want me.


Do you want this shirt back?

Yes, please. Pretty
sure you don't want it.

No, you're right.

You cheat. Cheat.

Now, listen... Seven
million YouTube watchers

will testify to the fact
that when I drove an Atom

it completely ruined my face.

-Ruined! I used to look like Pierce Brosnan

was a ladies' man. Now they're
just sick when they see me.

But the thing is, this one obviously
is a lot faster than the one I drove.

But you look just as hideous now
as you did when you got into it

I think that's partly because
my face isn't as flabby as yours.

But it's's also...

No, listen, it's also...
It is partly that.

But it's partly because I drove
it with this windscreen on.

-Oh, yeah.
- I know it doesn't look like much.

It's just a little piece of Perspex.

But that is enough to stop
people ending up looking like you.

Interesting point, good.

Now I have actually
driven the V8, I must say.

And my abiding memory
is one of understeer.

Yes, you're right actrally because
you do get to a fast corner

and you turn the wheel more sort of...
It's more in hope than expectation, really.

Exactly, which is why, to find out
how fast it goes round our track

-we need a man who has no fear.
-And no face.

Absolutely, no face.
Now you may remember

in our Christmas Special, we found... Well,
we sparked fury in fact

when we found a baby Stig
in a manger in Bethlehem.

The thing is, though,
that was only one month ago.

Now you're probably thinking there's
no way that a car like the V8 Atom

could be handled by a mewling,
puking infant.

But the good news is Stigs
grow up very quickly.

They do, they do.

He's already been to school.
There he is.

He's been a teenager.

Got a photograph of
him here at university.

Soon he will be old enough
to get a job on Countryfile.

But now, he's here and
he's ready to go to work.

So everyone please welcome,
Top Gear's new Stig!

And he's off. Firing up the
straight like a microbe.

The Atom's 3L V8 is actually two
motorbike engines stuck together.

Here he comes, powering
it into the first corner.

Will it understeer? No, it will not,
and...Oh, the tail's coming out.

Stig playing the wheel like
a saxophone there. Chicago.

Now there is some understeer.

But he's sorted it out
with a bootful of power.

Coming up into Hammerhead.

This really will show up its
chassis flaws, if there are any.

Yeah, look, he's watching the speed.

But again, he's got it all sorted
out like a Japanese lunatic.

Look at him. If New Stig
keeps growing at this rate

he'll be 100 feet tall by Easter.

Follow Through, really
getting the hammer down now.

Is he actually having to put opposite
lock on there? I think he was.

Stig, though, not fazed even slightly.
More tail kicking out there.

Second-to-last corner,
beautifully handled.

And Gambon, sliding it
through and across the line.

Now...we should explain, we have tried
the new Stig out in a range of cars

and his times are broadly similar
to those set by Sacked Stig.

Yeah, we should also point
out that the Atom V8 is

within a shout of becoming the
fastest ever car round our track

which means, of course, beating the
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport at 1:16.8.

Yep, and it did it, I can
scarcely believe this, in 1:15.1.

That is unbelievable. What a car.

That is not bad, considering it was being
driven by a Stig that's only 34-days-old.

Now, just before we do the news

we thought you might want
to take a quick look at this.

It's the Jaguar CX75.

And it's kind of Jaguar's 75th
birthday present to itself.

And, well, I mean,
it is a bit of a looker.

And it's full of little references
to great Jaguar cars of the past.

This fin refers back to the massive
fin on top of the old D-type

and then the back has been styled

to have something of the old Jaguar XJ13,
a one-off of the 1960s, about it.

But here's a thing. In a modern world,
there's no denying I think.

That is a thing of beauty to behold.

But that beauty is much
more than skin-deep.

Absolutely. This is,
in fact, an electric car.

There is an electric
motor powering each wheel.

But you don't have to plug it
into the mains to charge it up.

Because if we look in the back

we see a pair of gas turbines,
jet engines, if you like.

They can either generate electricity to
recharge the batteries and increase the range.

Or they can feed power directly
to the motors in the wheels

in which case this car
develops 780 brake horsepower.

And the other remarkable
thing it has is a big spanner.

Hello! Yes, inside it's
all very modern, very cool.

This mood lighting shows the driver
which seat to sit in, I imagine.

And if you hit the buttons,
you can scroll through different modes.

And if you put it in Track,
it'll dim all the lights

so the driver can focus on driving.

And it's got these great door handles
that are like ejector seat levers.

And then when you want to get comfortable
to really get down to the driving

you don't move your seat about,
you move the instrument binnacle

the steering wheel and
pedal box back towards you

or forwards like this,
to suit the driver.

Obviously in my case, it's going
to be coming this way quite a lot

Jaguar say this would do 0-60
in 3.4 seconds and 205 mph.

And the great thing is that
the gas turbines will run

on pretty much any flammable liquid,
so you could fuel it

with petrol or with diesel or
if you wanted to save yourself

quite a bit of money,
single malt Scotch whisky.

Now there are just two problems really,
as I see it, with the Jaguar.

One, it doesn't actually work.

And two, they'll never make it.
But don't worry.

Because if you want to buy
something very exciting

the Lancia Stratos is back!

Here it is. Here it is

I know. It's one of the greatest
cars ever made, the Stratos.

What they do to create this one,
take a Ferrari 430

remove the hideous body...

-Oh, I'm sorry, James, I forgot you've got one
-Thank you...

-Anyway, they removed the foul, disgusting body...
-Yes, all right!

And fit that new one.
I just think that's fantastic.

How much is it? Half a million quid.

Oh, that's... If that's
a bit rich, don't worry.

Because the Jensen
Interceptor is back!

Oh, yes. There's a car!
That genuinely is amazing.

What you do is you take
an old Jensen Interceptor

to a factory in Banbury

give the man there a
check for 105,000 pounds.

And in exchange, he'll fit a
Corvette engine, new brakes

new interior, better rear suspension.
And you end up with that.

So that's all new underneath?
Yeah it's basically a new car.

You'd actually be able
to say to your wife.

Shall we take the Interceptor
tonight, darling?

You just... You want to do that

I'd change my name to
Captain Stingray if I...

That is an amazing looking car.
My grandfather used to build them.

Oh, well, don't bother then.
In Birmingham?

He did.

Hey, now there is a new
Lamborghini on the way.

It's so secret and so new,
we don't even have a picture of it yet.

But we can tell you that it's the
replacement for the Murcielago

and it's going to have
a 700 horsepower V12

I fear, though, it's going to be
rather overshadowed by this, OK.

Now this is a new American car.

And let me just give you
the headlines, if I may.

Horsepower, 2,000.

So that's twice what you
get from a Bugatti Veyron.

Top speed, 300 miles an hour

0-60 mph, 1.5 seconds.

And it holds the lap records,
as we can see here

at the Nurburgring and the
Virginia International Raceway.

Hold on a second! 0-60,
1.5 seconds? Yep.

Why haven't we heard about this?
I don't know.

Probably because the bloke who
did it swallowed his tongue.

He's still stuck down the back of the
driver's seat, they can't fish him out.

Oh, no, no! I apologise,
I apologise! I hadn't read this thoroughly.

Look at that. You look at this, and here
it is. Those are the things, horsepower...

"We will not quit until
we achieve these goals"

It's just a wish-list? It's just
a wish-list of things. No...

The biggest problem with this car,
though, is its name.

What, Is it called the Scrotum?
The Sweatcrack?

It's called the Dagger.
Well, that's all right.

That's quite a good name.

No, no! "dagger" like a little piece of
poo stuck in a sheep's anal shrubbery.

What?! That's a dagger.

It's not a dagger. It is!

No, that's a dingleberry
you're thinking of.

Klingon, dingleberry...

It's not a dagger.
Nobody's ever stood over a body

and said, "What was the weapon?"

"I think he used a dingleberry
from the state of the body"

It's not in Cluedo. Certain words,
they have two meanings.

A dagger is not a
dingleberry. It is!

Lady Macbeth didn't say,
"Is this a dingleberry I see before me?"

Turns out it's a great name.

And if they can achieve all their goals,
it'll be a fantastic car.

Now that's enough new cars,
it really is enough new cars.

Because obviously the big news
at the moment, fuel prices.

And if I could just be serious for a moment.
The problem we've got is.

Yes, the Government could bring the
tax down and therefore cut the costs.

That would be very popular.

But we think the overall trend must,
from now on, be up.

Because getting oil out of the ground
is becoming more and more complicated.

You have to get it out of
sand in Canada and so on.

And so prices have
to keep increasing.

And what worries me most of all
is that we've always thought

that by the time petrol becomes so
expensive we can't afford it any more

science will have come up with a solution.
And I don't think science has.

No. I think at the moment we are all
imagining that we're just about to see

a whole new generation of
electric cars that will solve it.

But the fact is, from everything we've seen,
from our experience thus far.

The electric car isn't ready.
They don't work in the real world yet.

How long would it take you, for example, to get
from here to your house in an electric car?

Cos the range, I'd have to
stop halfway and recharge.

It's two days to get home.

So, I'll pop home and get something,
that's a 4 days...

2 days to come back.

We can't use public transport.

Because aeroplanes are grounded by a
volcanic burp near the Arctic Circle.

Trains don't work in the autumn or on
a Tuesday, buses are full of murderers.

Really, the car is the only
solution. For now, yeah.

And now it's getting to the point that
nobody can afford to fill them up with fuel.

To be brutally honest,
the only real solution

to keeping fuel prices
down is population control.

What, we nuke China? No, not...

James May's fuel price solution!

Not "kill people"...

Well, fair enough, think about it.
How many people are there in France?

About the
same as here, 60 million.

We don't need all of them, surely?

I'm not talking about
a pogrom. Oh, sorry

I'm talking about limiting the rate
at which the population expands.

Oh no. So you're saying that

because I've got three children,
I'm causing fuel prices to go up.

And because you spill
your seed alone...

Rather than killing everybody in
France and not having any babies.

How about this for a much better
idea to keep fuel prices down?

No... individually.
What about "never brake"?

I think I know what you mean,
You burn fuel to get your car up to speed

and then the moment
you hit the brakes,

you are scrubbing that speed
off and throwing it away.

Well, I mean, actually,
you do have a point there.

You really should bear it
in mind when you're driving

particularly with petrol at
whatever it is, 5.68 pounds a gallon.

Every time you press
the brake pedal

you are turning your money
into heat, pointless heat.

You're heating your wheel arches,
which is an absolute waste of time.

So if you just think, "OK, What I'm going to do
is I'm going lift my foot off the accelerator"

Keep the car in gear,
and if it's a modern car.

As you slow down for the roundabout,
the traffic lights, whatever it might be

you're not using any fuel at all,
Top Gear top tip.

Braking is actually the
worst thing you can do.

Actually, I'd like to modify that,
sometimes it's the best thing you can do.

Yeah, yeah...

For example, if a pram rolls out
in front of the car, don't think.

"Well, this is going to cost me."

Stop the car.

If a pram rolls out, stop,
but then send the mother the invoice.

Right, that's the end of the news.
And now, moving on.

Yes, now, whilst we were off-air,

we had a bit of an argument

because you see, Jeremy decided
that the best car in the world

was the Skoda Yeti.

Well, it is. Well, it isn't.

It is. I'm sorry, it isn't.

Well, no, it maybe is
if perhaps you're...

old enough to qualify for
membership of SAGA, which you are.

He is, he is...

With age comes...Well, actually,
on Countryfile comes the sack.

But with age on this
programme comes wisdom.

And the wisdom that I
now have has taught me

that the Yeti does every single thing
better than every other car on the market.

Coming up now is a film
which shall prove my point.

This is the car I'm talking about.

The Yeti, 14 feet of
Czech magnificence.

It's available with two or four-wheel drive,
petrol or diesel engines

and lots of exciting buttons
which do many things.

This model is a four-wheel drive,
1.8L Elegance, which, at 22,000 pounds

is less expensive than a 1.7L
two-wheel drive Vauxhall Astra estate

and not much more than a Focus.

And there's more room in it
than there is in a Focus as well

I mean, look at the headroom.

You could have a massive Afro,
not damage it at all.

But is it roomier than a
300,000 pounds Maybach?

Well, this is a Maybach.

And as you can see, it will take
four people in sumptuous comfort.

The Yeti can also take four.

But if you fold the rear drinks tray away,
there's room for five

on seats which slide forwards and backwards,
or fold down, roll over

or can be removed
altogether to create a van.

The Yeti, then, is more
practical than a Maybach.

But is it faster than
an Italian supercar?

Well, to find out, we've come to
the Donington motor-racing track

where the Yeti will have a one-lap
race against a Ferrari 308 GTS.

To ensure there's no bias, I shall be driving the
Yeti with my fists of ham and my fingers of butter

while the Ferrari will
be driven by His Stigness.

Want a tip? Bet on me

Ferrari a little
quicker off the line.

It does 0-60 in 6.7
seconds. This is 8.7s.

But that's not bad
for a tall-riding van.

Getting its knee down a bit there in the corners,
but nowhere near as much as you might expect.

Four-wheel drive system working now

sending the power to whichever
wheel has the most grip.

Eventually, the Ferrari
pulled out a bit of a lead.

But I've got a sneaking suspicion
its lead is short-lived

I was right.

In various places,
Donington was being rebuilt.

So to protect its low nose and fragile
fetlocks, the Ferrari had to slow right down.

Whereas I did not.

Look at that! Come on! Go!

He's having to go round
the outside, Haha...

The Skoda is in the lead!

Ah, and there we are...

Proof the Yeti is faster round
Donington than a Ferrari 308.

But what about toughness?
How well is the interior screwed together?

To find out, I'm going to throw
this super-bouncy ball into the Yeti

and as it pings around, I'm going to invite this
enormous, excitable dog to run in there and retrieve it.

No... not the flies! Getting the
flies won't damage the car in any way.

No, stop chasing flies!

Here, look, look... Bouncy ball.

Ready? And retrieve! Retrieve!

It's OK. Luckily I
have a backup dog.


It's kind of like a mouse in there really.
Yeah, it's like a mouse.

If I'm honest, this test hadn't
been terribly informative.

So I decided to line up another one.

As we can see, an enormous
fire is raging out of control.

And the fire brigade has arrived, but their
route to the inferno is blocked by the Skoda

so they're going to have to
go through the car itself

with their boots and their hoses
and their breathing apparatus

I think if a Yeti can stand up to this, it can
certainly stand up to your children's Jammie Dodgers

it can certainly stand up to
your children's Jammie Dodgers.

Go, go, go, men,
quickly! Go through there.

That fire could set fire
to literally anything.

The whole of Derbyshire
is at risk here

or Leicestershireor wherever
we are, It's at risk.

He's coming out of the window.
His enormous boots...

After the terrifying fire had been brought
under control, we examined the car

and found that not a single
thing had broken or come off.

Onward, then, to the countryside

where we find the Yeti has
reinforced underside panels

to protect vital components,
such as the brake lines.

It also has ABS, EDC,

And crucially, ESBS.

In short, a lot of
acronyms to make sure

that it doesn't run away with you
when you're going down a slope

or that it doesn't roll backwards when
you're attempting to do a hill start

I meant to do that because
now I can demonstrate the HBA.

Ready? Here we go.

See, I've got my foot on the clutch,
not on the brake.

Handbrake off and
it won't roll back.

That's... Oh,
that's impressive. Oh, yes!

And look at this, the sat nav is tracing
my route, so when I've had enough of

driving around in the countryside, I can simply
follow the route back to where I started from.

That's clever.
But what about comfort?

Well, to find out how well the Yeti
absorbs the bumps and the bashes

I've stolen an idea from
another television programme.

What I'm going to do is drive
around some countryside

while the chap on the left over there sits in the
back and gives a tattoo to the chap on the right.

And I'm not talking about some holiday henna
drawing that he can rub off when he gets home

I'm talking about a real tattoo.

Right. You may begin.

Whoa! Now, Rob... Right!

In terms of pain, where are we?

I'm on about a six out of 10 now...
Flipping hell. A what?

Whoa! I do apologise... Sorry.

Let me remind you, Rob is getting a
real tattoo here. This is not faked.

That may... you may have
gone a bit wrong there.

Up front, I thought the
Yeti was doing rather well.

Slightly boggy bit here. Sorry

I reckon we can do brain surgery in
the back of this car. It's so smooth

I possibly agree with you.

Eventually, the tattoo was finished, so
we pulled over to see what it looked like.

Is that blood? Is it bleeding? Yes.
Is it bleeding?

You're joking. That's blood.

Now, look at that. I think that's
quite good. I think that's amazing!

It does look, not brilliant,
but it's really not bad at all.

Well done, mate. I've done worse.

Now, listen, Rob, I'm afraid
we've got some bad news for you.

Cos, you see there is a
second part to this experiment.

Second part? Yeah, second part.

See, what we're going to do now to
demonstrate just how comfortable this is

is put you in the back of another car and then
do another clover leaf on the other shoulder.

And then we'll see what
that looks like. Really?

You probably think this isn't too bad,
yeah? At the moment.

It's all right at the moment.

What I'm going to do, is raise it
up now into its off- road setting

and that does have quite a profound
affect on the, shall we say, ride quality.

Oh, jiggling, really quite badly.

Ooh, I'm sorry. I do apologise.

There's a lot more pain involved in a rough
ride like this, Rob, would you say that?

I would say definitely, yes.

Ah! I've stabbed meself!

It actually sounds like we're
filming an episode of 24 in here.

Does that really hurt? Yeah.

Soon it was time to stop
and analyse the results.

How does it look? Honestly?

Honestly. Not brilliant.

So, what we've learned so far is that the
Yeti is more comfortable than a Range Rover

more practical than a Maybach

faster than a Ferrari

cheaper than a Vauxhall Astra

and tougher on the inside,
at least, than the fire brigade.

But, and this is crucial,
a lot of people ask me this.

Can you get Sienna
Miller in the glove box?

Well, let's find out.
Sienna, are you in there?

Yeah. You are.
And are you comfortable? Very.

Marvelous, good bye.

Good mark for the Yeti there.

But what about the
air conditioning?

Rolls-Royce always used to
say that the aircon they used

had the cooling power of
the 30 domestic fridges.

So can the Yeti beat that?

To find out, I'm going to drive this car...
through that burning building.

While holding this ice-cream.

Now if it melts and I end up with
sticky fingers, the aircon's no good.


900 degrees in here.
Scientists would call that toasty.

And it is, I suppose.
You can roast a chicken at 180

I've asked, on the dial here,
for 18 degrees.

And if we look on this rubbish
temperature gauge here

I don't know if you can
see that, it's 18.7.

This is amazing. Not a dribble

I'm actually quite surprised! I thought
this would be more uncomfortable than it is.

What this car is,
is the opposite of a pop tart.

Satisfied that I proved
my point about the Yeti

I was going to call it a day at this
stage and head back to the studio.

But then, I had a thought.

You see, Roman Abramovich has probably
been watching this and thinking.

"Yes, that's a remarkable car,
but could I land my helicopter on it?"

Well, let's find out.

Now, I should stress,
that we've not modified the structure

or the suspension or the
roof of the car in any way.

We've simply added a
100-kilogram roof- rack.

And in a minute or so

we're going to be trying to land a 600-
kilogram helicopter on top of it

700 kilograms on the roof.

Don't look at the helicopter...
Just look at the speed.

It was crucial that I kept the
throttle pedal as steady as a rock.

Here he comes.

The problem is a car is very quick
to respond, one twitch of your foot

that's disaster for the helicopter,
cos that's very slow to respond

I can feel the car being
pushed down now by the blades.

'Abort. Abort.'.

Has he aborted?

A million things can
go wrong with this.

And all of them end up with a
fireball and me with no head on.

OK, we will have another go.

Here he comes.

I can hear it,
I don't know where it is.

It was a lot worse
for the pilot, though.

He cannot see the car...
When he lands.

He has no reference points.

Is he down?

He's down.

Oh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

Ease it down. Not too sharply.
I do not want...

a 150,000 pounds helicopter jerking
off and landing on the bonnet.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

The Skoda Yeti, with a
helicopter on the roof, hahaha...

Now, hand on heart, tell me that you've
seen a more complete car than this.

Because I haven't.

All right. Sell your AMG
Mercedes and buy one.

Well... You're not going to,
are you?

You can't. You can't, because there's a waiting
list. Six-month waiting list for a Yeti.

And anyway, I don't want
to talk to you two any more.

Because it's now time to put a
star in our reasonably priced car.

Now, my guest tonight is a comedian

who comes from the same place that Cilla Black,
Jimmy Tarbuck and Paul McCartney call Home.

What, Buckinghamshire?

No, Liverpool! Oh...

Ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome, John Bishop!

How are you? Nice to meet you.
Have a seat.

A popular man.

Must be a long time since you played in
front of a crowd as small as this one.

Well, to be fair, it's not,
because the last 12 months

things have gone a little
bit massive and a bit crazy.

But, I mean, literally 18 months ago,
I was doing the Leicester Comedy Festival.

And 14 people turned up.
14! 14 people!

I actually bought a round
of drinks for the audience!

And I said, "You're not
going to believe this

but I'm on telly next week"

And they went, "No,
you're not, mate."

I did the Michael
Macintyre Roadshow

and then Live at the Apollo.

And things have spiralled from there,
but it's literally in a hair's breadth.

And you're now doing the big stadium,
the O2 comedy gigs?

I did. I did Wembley.
On this current tour, I do Wembley

and we've just booked, which is brilliant,
we've just booked the Albert Hall.

Cos I've never been to
one of the stadium comedy

like the equivalent of Queen,
We Will Rock You and all that.

How do you hear a heckler,
for example

if he's three and a half miles away
at the back of what was the dome?

They have to send an e-mail...

But I'm like you,
I walk on thinking,

"I can't believe this is working,
" but it's lovely.

But you've been invited on Celebrity,
what was it, Mastermind, wasn't it? Yeah...

What did you choose
as your subject?

When they phoned me up,
I didn't want to do it

cos I'm a bit cautious of that thing, whatever
celebrity is, so I didn't want to do it.

So they said, "It's all for charity,
and it's a good thing to do."

I said, "OK, then." They said,
"What's your specialist subject?"

So I said, "Can I have
holidays I've been on?"

And they said, "Sorry,
you can't have holidays you've been on."

I said, "Why,
is someone else doing it?"

So they said,
"Pick something else."

And it was just one of those awful moments,
when you hear yourself speak

and you hear a voice, and you think,
"That's me. I just said that."

And I heard my own voice say,
"The Irish potato famine."

My brain was going,
"What did you say that for?!"

Honestly, did you know
anything about it?

I knew nothing about the Irish
potato famine! Nothing! I came last.

What annoyed me is, I was on
with the Irish comedian, Ed Byrne

whose specialist
subject was Star Trek.

And I'm doing why his
granddad had no tea!

I thought, "I know about Star Trek!
Why didn't I do that?!"

Now, my kids, first alerted me
to the presence of John Bishop.

They said, "You've got
to see this guy "He's in our living room!"

"What's he doing here?"

They said, "You've got to
come to have a look at this"

So you're dragged,
and you went...on You...Tube.

And I think, "There's no way that guy is going
to be funny, cos his teeth are too white.

Forgive me for saying this,
all right.

But a good-looking chap such as
yourself tends not to be funny.

You are funny.

Well, yeah. That says a lot.

I think... Thank you so much.

But now I think, because I know,
girls always say,

"The thing we look for most of all
is in a man is..." "Sense of humour"

A big what?

Yeah, I know, I got that
as well, to be honest.

No, what? Sense of humour,
yeah? It's not true.

Because whenever you go, there's someone like you,
big teeth, "Look at my arms, look at my pecs"

Basically girls go for that.

And then there's some poor bloke like
Bill Bailey going, "I'm really funny"

And it doesn't work,
cos his hair's trying to escape.

So, do you see....? What made you think,
"I need to be funny?"

I don't know. I've got to be honest,
this is... This is one of those

I don't know any other bloke in
here who has had another bloke

particularly a famous bloke going,
"You're a good-looking lad."

Particularly a man
in a velvet jacket!

It's a kind of undertone,
you know what I mean.

Switching to cars. Reading up
on your notes, I understand that.

You say your dad invented
the people carrier?

Yeah, he did. He doesn't
get the credit he deserves.

My dad had a Ford Escort van,
but obviously, 4 kids.

So it's difficult transporting kids in
a Ford Escort van, so what he did is

he cut the side panels out of the side,
and put glass in the van

and then took the rear seat of a car
like this, and put that in the back.

So me mum and dad
would sit in the front

and all three of us were able to sit
on the seat in the back of the van.

No windows, just sheets
of glass on the side

I mean, this was the '70s.

There was no seat belts.
If you fell out, it was your own fault

I can remember being transported
to school, when I was a kid.

And it was just this.
"There's room for another one in here!"

And it was a Moscovitch,
I remember that.

It was a local newsagent who took
me to school in a Russian car.

No, no, my dad had a Moscovitch!

Derek Atkins, he was called,
he had a newsagence in...

My dad's Derek Atkins! No...

No, my dad had a
Russian Moscovitch!

I was banned from it

because I broke what I thought was the
biggest technical advancement ever

which was the lighter.

Must have been about eight thinking,
"That's not really hot"

Because I've seen him
light his cigarette

I burnt the end of me tongue and I
remember me dad coming out and I was crying.

And his lighter was broken.
I went...

So you broke his lighter?
I broke his lighter.

Oh bless. There we are, the Moscovitch,
it sounds like a trip

down Northern memory lane,
this does.

So, anyway, look, you came here, obviously, to
see how fast you could get around our track.

You're the first guest who has
to be trained by the new Stig.

Is he good? Is he nice?
Is he pleasant?

I don't know what to compare him to,
but he was nice.

He's only a month old.
Has he got manners? Yeah, yeah...

What's odd about it is,
I was expecting to get him.

And he was to say, "Yeah, I'm Kev,
" or something like that... Stig.

It's a proper secret.
Do you put him in a box?

After what happened last time,
does he get into a gimp box and go.

"No! You're not coming out! It's the job you
signed up for! You live your dream, son!"

We're not teaching this
one how to read and write.

Who would like to see
John's lap? Anybody?

Let's have a look.

Look at it,
gleaming in the sunshine.

All right, come on, come on.
Come on, lad.

Nice ensemble of
sunglasses and visor there.

Now let's have a look at
that line through there.

Yep, that's not looking too shabby.

Go on, son!

In there now, too wide? No,
that's nicely done.

Get along with that, Stiggy boy!

You can take the man
out of Liverpool.

Right, do you keep it
between the lines here?

Let's have a look,
absolutely bang on.

It looks very nice going
around there today.

Come on, lad, go for it.

Flat out through here?
Yeah. Good man.

Flat out through the
tyres as well? Yeah.

Let's have a look... Yes.

That's looking nice.

Ooh, I say, that's fantastic!

Right, second-to-last corner,
this is where most guests get it wrong.

But no.

And here we into Gambon... round there
and there we are, across the line

I'm happy with that.

You're happy with that? Yeah, yeah.

They obviously didn't see the
five that I wrote off beforehand.

So where do you think
you came on our board?

Perfect day today, I have to say.

Who's up there?
Tom Cruise... Tom Cruise is the fastest.

And then Cameron Diaz.
I've always wanted to be on top of her.

So I wouldn't mind. If that could happen,
that would be a dream come true, but...

So, Cameron Diaz, to get on top of her,
you'd have to go faster than 1:45.2

I can't see that.

You did it..John Bishop...
one minute... Forty...


That's put an Englishman
back on top. Brilliant!

That's bizarrely fast. Loving that.

That is bizarrely fast.

Now there's much to talk about there.
I'm loving that!

Honestly, because that's so much faster than
anybody else has ever driven that car round...

Tom Cruise, my...

Days of Thunder right here.
This is really...

I mean, sporty? How...

Where's it come from?

No, honestly, I've not done anything and
I'm not a mad car person, but I loved it.

Well, you are! Well, I am from now on,
to be honest with you.

Realistically, where does a man from Liverpool
learn to drive that fast in somebody else's car?

No idea.

That's just genetics,
that, isn't it?

You're genetically,
you are just programmed

I mean, it really is an
absolutely blitzing time.

That's it, give it all
down to the new Stig.

And that's two lap records in one day,
which is unbelievable.

Ladies and gentlemen, the fastest man we've
ever had round our track, John Bishop

I'm loving that!

Quite a time.

Now, I was accused recently

of talking too often and too
enthusiastically about the Porsche 911.

In fact whenever I mention it now

Jeremy sticks his fingers in his
ears and hums songs about Hitle.

And to make matters worse,
the producers agree

they say that the 911 is just
a VW Beetle with a spoiler.

Well, I'd had enough and I
decided to prove them all wrong

I think the sports car that's changed
and evolved the most over time is this.

If you know cars, I think I
know what you'll be thinking.

You'll be thinking, "What nonsense!
It's not changed one bit.

The only thing to change in
1,000 years is the price"

But you're all wrong because the 911 is a long,
long, long way from its earliest ancestors.

Of course, I admit that if you spool back
through the 911's 70-year family tree

you do end up at the Beetle

which was, of course,
designed by Ferdinand Porsche

I also admit that when it comes to looks,
there hasn't been much of a revolution.

Very little has
happened to the shape.

And of course the engine has
remained stubbornly at the back.

But to say the current 911 is
therefore just a glorified Beetle

is nonsense.

One is a wretched, awful, miserable,
spluttering, puttering, slow, noisy, ugly

piece of hateful misery and the worst attempt
at a people's car the world has ever suffered

but from it evolved this,
the acknowledged finest driver's car

and ultimate automotive precision
tool that mankind has ever created.

And this is my point, the
difference between these two is like

the difference between an
ape and a brain surgeon

or Jeremy and a brain surgeon.

Take the one we have here.
The 911 Turbo S Cabriolet.

Perfect day for a drop-top 911,
this was a good call

I just happened to be wearing the hat
and coat anyway so I left them on.

This 911 costs 131,000
pounds, which is a lot.

But for that you get just
about every conceivable gizmo

it's possible for Porsche
to cram into a 911 right now.

So it's got four-wheel drive, it's got a
seven-speed double-clutch flappy paddle gearbox.

It's got active engine mounts that
are supposed to improve the handling.

It's got ceramic brakes.
The engine, 3.8 litre flat six

has got twin variable geometry
turbos and a top speed of 196 mph.

It isn't my favourite 911, it's too
complicated for my taste, and a bit cold.

And that's why I volunteered to get out
of it and into the Beetle for a drag race

523 brake horsepower against 50.

That was when it was new.

Two turbos versus
four decades of decay.

OK, it's pretty certain the
Beetle will lose, but by how much?

That is the cheap laugh... The important
anthropological point we're after here.

Three, two, one... Go!

We're off.

It's just... Yeah




I thought at this point
that my case was made.

But the producers insisted
that with one tiny tweak

the Beetle could be made to go just
as fast as its turbocharged descendant.

So I was shipped out to a vast
salt flat in South Africa...

where another Porsche turbo convertible
and another awful Beetle had been lined up.

Along with a man with a flag.

So here we are and I think I know where
you think I think I know this is going.

You're thinking the Beetle now has
a twin-turbo V8 engine in the back.

But, no... Same miserable
configuration as always.

No, the producers reckoned that
all the Beetle would need to win

a drag race with the Porsche
was a bit more gravity.

Let me explain.

The helicopter is going
to suspend our Beetle

exactly a mile above
the finish line here.

At the start of the race,
the helicopter will release the Beetle

and it'll begin its race
towards the chequered flag.

At the same time,
I'll release the Porsche...

from a mile away in this
direction and the race will be on.

Best predictions at the moment, the Porsche
will complete the mile in 37 seconds.

The Beetle, somewhere
between 36 and 40 seconds.

The maths, which was
done entirely by me

and not at all by the Doctor of Aerodynamic and
Automotive Sciences at Loughborough University

state that this really
should be very close indeed.

The Porsche can hit 62
mph in 3.7 seconds...

The one problem we do have is wind.

Anyway, take my word for it,
it's going to be close.

It was time to take our positions

I don't think I've ever been so
worried about wind speeds before.

Just a five-knot breeze could alter where
the Beetle will land by half a kilometre.

And that's slightly scary.

Hello, what's the
latest wind speed?

Wind speed, six knots.

We're just climbing to 4,004 feet.

Not exactly sure what use the
crash helmet's going to be if...

You know, if...
But it's a nice touch.

Soon the Beetle was hovering
one mile above the finish line.

'Lining up for the drop.
Stabilised load'

I'm ready.

'Three, two, one...'.

We're off!

Three seconds, I should be
doing 60 by now, I'm at 45.

This surface does not
react the same as tarmac.

Seven seconds in, he's doing
100 by now, I'm doing 75.

With the Porsche struggling to
accelerate on the slippery salt flats

the Beetle was
romping into the lead.

Look at him tumble!

I'm doing 100 miles an hour, it's moving
about on the salt, it's a terrible surface.

But the Porsche wasn't beaten
yet because at 125 miles an hour

the Beetle reached terminal velocity
and couldn't fall any faster.

Whereas my speedo
could keep climbing

I've got to keep pushing through.
125 for me, we're matching speed.

He's rolling about
all over the place!


No, no!

Oh, God, I lost! No!
Not the Beetle!

Well, that's... My life is over.

On the plus side... I think the Beetle
looks in worse shape than the Porsche

I wanted to make it best of three.
Never mind that.

What we've learned from that film
is that Porsche over the years

has spent millions and millions of Reichsmarks
developing active ceramic geometry turbos, OK?

And the finished product can be beaten by a
Volkswagen Beetle that is propelled only by gravity.

There's an all-new 911
out later this year.

It won't be new. It will.

Listen. What?

I told you not to bring somebody
from Liverpool on the show.


Oh My God...

And on that bombshell,
it is time to end.

Thank you so much for watching.
See you next week, good night!