Top Gear (2002–…): Season 17, Episode 6 - Episode #17.6 - full transcript

Jeremy and James embark on a trip to the British seaside in two new electric cars, taking in an impromptu and thoroughly informative visit to Lincoln along the way. Meanwhile, Richard meets...

Tonight, James asks a girl
for a favour.


Richard listens to a man.

And I polish a bishop.

Hello and good evening!

Hello, thank you, everybody,
thank you. Now.

New cars come out so fast
these days, sometimes it is
difficult to keep up.

Nissan, for example, said the
other day that over the next
six years,

they will be bringing out
a new model every six weeks.

Happily, however,
there are some car companies,

usually Italian ones,
that won't be rushed.

That like to take their time,
have some lunch.

And nobody is better at this
than Lamborghini,

as Richard Hammond
shall now explain.

HAMMOND: When it comes to
their big V12 cars,

their flagship
battle cruisers,

Lamborghini really,
really like
to take their time.

Just these four, the Miura,

the Countash, the Diablo,

and the Murcielago,
span half a century.

And now,
at last, there's a new one.

It's called the Aventador.

It costs £248,000.

And it's the closest thing
to a stealth fighter jet

that you'll ever
see on the road.

It even has a starter button
that's straight
out of Top Gun.

The current boss of
Lamborghini said recently
that, in the old days,

the order of priority
for Lamborghini was

top speed, acceleration,
and handling, in that order.

The thing is though,
for this new car,

he says that order
is the other way round.

Handling comes first,
with top speed
being given a lower priority.

let's find out just how low
a priority that is, shall we?

0 to 60, 2.9 seconds.

So they still care
about acceleration, then!

220 kilometres an hour,



270. 280 kilometres.


290 kilometres an hour.
Oh, my God!

Oh, okay, and relax.

If that's them
giving top speed
a low priority, bring it on!

Flat out,
the Aventador will do 217 mph,

which makes it faster
than the old Murcielago.

How Italian is that?

No top
speed, okay, 270, no more,
no more than that!

This pulverising performance

comes courtesy
of the Aventador's
massive 6.5 litre engine,

their first all-new V12
for almost 50 years.

But what's surprising is that
they bothered to
make one at all.

You see, these days, a lot
of carmakers are shying away
from bigger engines.

BMW's new M5, for example,
will have a V8
instead of a V10.

AMG are ditching
V12s in favour of V8s.

It's called
moving with the times.

But that's not so easy
with a big Lamborghini.

A V12 is kind of
its signature dish,
it defines the car.

And the engineers insisted
that whatever happened with
the Aventador,

it had to have a V12.

And, of course, the by-product
of a V12 is lots
of horsepowers.

This has got 691 of them,
which in Top
Gear maths is 700.

That power is fed
to all four wheels

through a unique design
of flappy paddle gearbox.

It can change in less than
50 milliseconds, which...

I can't demonstrate that
even if I blink an eye.

There are other
high-tech features too.

We're in strada
mode right now,
which is for the road.

Let's put it in corsa ,
track mode.

Whoa, hang on!

All right, fella, all right!

That's absolutely brutal!
It kicks you in
the back of the head.

And now we're in corsa mode,

let's find out how they've
got on with their new
number-one priority,


always the scariest
part of testing a big Lambo.

Okay, here we go, I'm nervous.

I'm okay.

Still on the track.

I'm in a V12 Lambo,
I just threw it
at a corner at insane speed,

and it went round.

So why am I not
buried in row 85
of that 747?

This is partly
because the grip
is just unbelievable.

Also it's got
push-rod suspension
which is very clever,

and unheard of in an road car,
that's F1 stuff.

So even when it's coming under
some pressure, like that,

the steering is just...
It's just...
I'm turning a dial.

So, whilst the Aventador looks

as Miami Vice mental as
everything else
in its family tree,

it's now a serious player.

The noise it makes is spirited
rather than deafening.

The chassis is made from
carbon fibre, not pig iron.

The air-conditioning works.

It's a proper car, rather
than a machine that wants,
most of all, to kill you.

And that makes me a bit sad.

Basically, what's missing
is that Lambo fear factor,

that knot in the stomach test
that pilots must have felt in
the '50s

when they headed for the sound
barrier in
unproven jet aircraft.

Of course,
you might think
that's a good thing.

To be honest, I'm not so sure.

If a big Lamborghini is all
about pantomime, drama,
theatre, which it is,

then I want people watching
not just to go,

"Wow, that's
a stunning-looking thing."

I want them to look at me
inside and think,

"Whoa, there goes
Chuck Yeager Hammond.
He's brave."

in this, I'm not being brave.

It's as easy to
drive as a big Audi,
that's the truth of it.

I finally understand what they
mean by that, is it Helsinki

When people
who've been kidnapped,

when they're released,
miss their kidnappers.

I don't know that I want to be
in a big, loud V12 Lambo

that doesn't
every now and again
try and kill me.

I miss that.

-Very good.
-It's beautiful
but it's just not...

I think he made a mistake.

Whoa, hang on, hang on.

Hammond, did you say,
did you say Helsinki syndrome?

-Yes, I did.
-You mean Stockholm syndrome.

Yes I do. Yes.
What is Helsinki syndrome?

I think it's when you're an
idiot and get your syndromes
mixed up.

-Yeah, I've got it.
-Anyway, the Lamborghini.

What you're
saying is, it would be
better if it were a bit worse.

No, it's like
that McLaren MP4-12C
you drove the other week.

It is brilliant, undeniably.

But somehow it's just
not exciting enough.

He's right, actually.
I've driven this
as well and it isn't boring

but it somehow
lacks that sort of
Lamborghini theatre.

It's too refined
and it's sort of too clever.

It's as though Lamborghini
are trying to be Ferrari

instead of making cars
specifically for...

Lunatics. Rod Stewart. Fish.

-Tadpoles. What?
-No, people who like a laugh.

A big Lamborghini
should be
an instrument of terror

and this just isn't.

Well, now, let's examine
the scale of their failure

by seeing how fast
it goes round our track.

That means handing it over
to our tame racing driver.

Some say that his
favourite T-shirt

has a picture on
the front of a T-shirt.

And that he spent all week
waiting for a big cheque from
the Germans,

because he too has spent
the last 2,000 years

sitting on his backside
doing absolutely
nothing at all.

All we know is,
he's called The Stig.

CLARKSON: And he's off!
Ooh, I love that
pop as it shifts up.

Single rather than
double clutch system.

Changes are still
lightning-fast as he spears
into the first corner.

Wobble under braking,
shows how much
speed he's already carrying.

He's got it all
together for the exit.

Stig listening to Petula Clark
in French, very unusual.

Clean through Chicago.
Coming up now to Hammerhead.

Despite the carbon fibre
construction, this is still
a big, heavy car.

Will it get out of shape?
Nope. Not a bit of it.

None of the traditional
Lambo flamboyance there.

Now, Follow-through, the
spoiler fully extends at 80
miles an hour.

He's doing a lot
more than that now.

Fast through the tyres,
just two corners left.

Here he comes now.
Hard on the ceramic brakes,

an old V12 Lambo would have
bitten him in the face by now.

Through Gambon
and across the line.


Now, if we look here.

This is the old Lamborghini,
the Murcielago,

the LP670 did it in 1:19.
Here's the Aventador.

AUDIENCE: Ooooooh...


That's interesting, isn't it?

So... So it looks
absolutely fantastic.

And it's faster round our
track than a Bugatti Veyron
Super Sport.

And I think it's clear now
why Hammond and
May hate it so much.

He's no idea. He knows what
we're on about, he does know.

Right, it's time for us to do
the news and we
begin with this.

Attention morons everywhere.

Mercedes have a new hardcore
AMG version of
one of their cars.

It's from their
especially ridiculous
range of black editions.

Oh, now, I'm sorry,
this is a car
for connoisseurs.

-Yes, it is.
-It's a car for idiots.

It's for people who
know the difference
between Sweden and Finland.

Yes, all right, sorry.

This is the new black edition
of the C-class.

It will cost you £110,000.
It's got the old 6.2 litre V8,

tuned version of that, rather
than the twin turbo AMG
engines of today.

You also get the seven-speed
flappy paddle gearbox from
an SLS. Not so good.

-But I think it
looks fantastic.

-It's fantastic!
I think it looks infantile.

It does.

James, you are so old, you
think Werther's Originals
are infantile.

Can I just clarify
this a little bit?
He has got the old CLK black.

-Yes, I do.
-And I went in
it the other day.

-And you loved it.
-I hated it!

It's ridiculous!
The ride is stupid.

-It's like being
in a touring car.
-What's wrong with that?

Nothing at all, if you're,
I don't know, let's say,
in a touring car race.

If you want to use it,
let's imagine, on a road,

in, let's say, the world,

it's absolutely stupid.
It's a terrible car.

-You may mock, you may mock.
-Thank you, it's ridiculous.

The fact is, the fact is, that
the CLK black is
holding its value

a lot better than,
I don't know,
911s that you two have.

-Because they only
sold 100 of them.
-Yes, they did.

They'd have sold many more
but most of the people that
turned up to buy them

were wearing those jackets
that do up at the back.
You know?

They were only out for the
day. "I want one of those!"
Like that.

They'd eaten the pens you're
supposed to use to fill the
options form in.

-It's a stupid car.
It's ridiculous.
-It is a stupid car.

Oh, don't feel sorry for him!
Look at
the wheel arches on it!


-Let's move on.
-Yes, let's move on.

Now, we have been sent,
by a viewer,

a copy of
a motorcycling magazine
from 1976.

We have a picture of it here,
the front cover.

Sort of thing you love,
isn't it, James?

-Mmm. Lovely.
-What distressed
us greatly was,

there was an advertisement on
the back page,
for some leathers.

And it was the model that was
being used that
has terrified us.

Here it is.

Now... Don't say
that isn't you, look!

-1976! 1976.
-Is that 1976?

There is no point denying that
it's you.
He's wearing brown shoes.

-It's got to be you.
-It is you.

You looked
exactly the same in 1976
as... When were you born?

-I was only 12!
-You weren't,
though, were you?

You know, I have speculated
many, many, many times
over the years

on what sort of a man
appears as a model in leather.

You've let the motorcycling
side down there, badly.

Now, Lewis Hamilton has been
in the news this week

saying that
the national anthem
is too short.

And that when
he's on the podium,

he can't really milk the
moment 'cause it's over in
44 seconds.

He says it's not fair,
because when Massa wins,

who's Brazilian, that national
anthem goes on for 16 hours.

So I've had an idea.

Why don't we change our
national anthem to Wish You
Were Here , Pink Floyd.

-27 minutes... It isn't hell.
-Of hell.

The problem isn't that ours
is too short,

it's that everybody
else's is too long.

-The Greek one is. 158 verses.

I promise you.
The Greek national anthem...

How many times can you say,
"We're completely screwed"?

-So you're
saying ours is too...
-They're all too long.

I think we could
set an example to the world,

actually, with the Olympics
coming up in 2012,

by making
national anthems shorter.

We could get ours
pared right down.

"We hope she's victorious
and lives a long time."

-No. That's too long.
-Not very long.

I'm thinking more
along the lines of...

There you go.

So he gets up on
the podium and...

Exactly. You'd have to have
the roll on the drums so
that people got ready.

-That's quick, I like it.
-That is actually
a brilliant idea.

Last year, my CLK Mercedes...

Stupid, stupid car.
With stupid wheel arches.

You may think it's stupid,
but it's very determined.

My CLK, it said one day
when I got in it,

"24 days until
the next service."

I mentioned this
on the programme
a year ago.

I thought,
I wonder what will happen
if I take it to 25 days.

Its German brain won't be
able to compute

the fact that somebody
has disobeyed a direct order.

Thing was, on the 24th day,
Mercedes turned
up while I was out

and took it away for a
service, which really annoyed
me. Good news.

Yesterday, it suddenly said,
"Nine days until service due."

What I've done this time is
I've parked it

in a London underground garage

and I'm not
going to tell anybody
which one.

I want to see what happens
when it goes to minus one.

No! That's dangerous.
It could panic,

like a horse in a stable,
and just go mad.

Or it's probably already been
building a glider
so it can escape.

That's why I've put it
in an underground car park

and not a multi-storey,
so it can't fly away.

It's probably been specially
trained to take
a cyanide pill.

It's hidden it in one of
its massive wheel arches.

"I must end it now!" Gone.

So when I go back to it,
you think it'll be dead?


Last week,
we had the Lotus T125
down here.

It's kind of a Formula One car
that you can buy

if you have
£650,000 lying around.

We wondered how
fast it would go
around our track,

whether it would be faster
than an actual
Formula One car.

Sadly on the day
we were going to try
for a lap, it was raining.

So we said we'd bring it back
when it wasn't. We have.

-And it isn't.
Did that make sense?
-I know what you mean.

let's find out how it got on.

CLARKSON: Away he goes.
Lighting up
the back tyres a treat.

Not quite
the sound of an F1 car.
Not as high-pitched.

That is the sound of torque.

The first corner.

The Stig sawing
away at the wheel.
It is an animal, this thing.

Down the gears, into Chicago.

Wrestling it through there.

Stig actually demanded
a softer chassis set-up

and a softer tyres for today.

Will it have enough heat in
those tyres to cling on
through Hammerhead?

Yes, he does.
Bit of a wiggle there.

Now he can really open it up.
Through the Follow-through.

this car weighs 640 kilos.

Flat out,
thanks to the air pressing
down on those wings,

it weighs two and a quarter
tonnes. Coming up to the
penultimate corner,

hard on the brakes.
Little bit of corrective lock.

Crackle on
the over-run up to Gambon,

Stig still working hard.
And across the line.


The actual Formula One car
we had down here
a few years ago,

that did it in 59 seconds.

The T125 did it
in 1 minute 3.8.

So it's about four seconds
a lap round here slower than
the Renault F1 car,

which means it's the same pace
as a current Lotus F1 car.

Now, the fact is
that the electric car
is very much with us.

You can actually
go into a dealership

and simply buy one
but the big
question is, should you?

What are the pitfalls?
What are the advantages?

To find out,
James and I decided
to do a sensible test.

No cocking about,
no catching fire,
no Richard Hammond.

We would simply get two of
the cars that you can
actually buy these days

and take them on a perfectly
ordinary run to the seaside.

This is the Nissan Leaf

and there are no visual clues
that it's
powered by electricity.

It looks like every other
five-door hatchback.

It also drives
like every other
five-door hatchback,

the engine doesn't shout
or bellow or roar.

It just sort of hums,
like a monk.

MAY: Peugeot has gone down
a different styling route.

Their new
electric car, the iOn,
is designed to look futuristic

and different and unusual.

But, just like the Nissan,
it is like a car.

Here I am driving along
the A46 towards Cleethorpes

and the situation
is completely normal.

-Clarkson, May.
-Yeah, what?

Is your Nissan like an car?

Yes, nothing to see here.

And, as I said before,
nothing to hear.

This car is so quiet,

they had to design a special
windscreen wiper motor for it

because the one they fit in
all other Nissans
was just too loud.

They had a similar problem
with the door mirrors 'cause
as you were driving along

all you could hear
was the air rushing
over them, not a nice sound.

So they've sculpted the
head lamps to deflect air
away from the mirrors.

So, what about performance?

The top speed is
only 81 miles an hour.

And 0-60 takes something
like 16 seconds.

It doesn't feel like
a liability on the roads.

It doesn't feel like I'm
holding people up or
anything like that.

The Nissan has
a much bigger electric motor.

It develops the equivalent
of 108 brake horsepower.

That means a top speed
of 90 miles an hour

and sufficient
acceleration to consider,
at least, overtaking someone.

James, for example.
Here we go.

One problem I have with
electric cars is that they're
just not very heroic.

James, I have the antidote.

"We need to be at the hospital
in 20 minutes.

"Only you can save me."

You may regret that.

68, 69 miles an hour. 70.

Or let me put it this way.

CLARKSON: Soon we pulled over
to examine our
cars more closely.

I want to see what it is
that's making no noise,

that's humming
like a Trappist monk.

Oh, that's an electric,
is that an electric...

an electric motor, is it?
It must be.

-And one moving part.
And no gearbox.
-Effectively, yes.

And there's no fuel tank
so you get a big boot.

Hey, that's not bad.

-What's that for? Is it?
-Solar panel. Yes.

It's a £260 option.
It means that you could use,

say, the air-conditioning
while you were parked,

-so you don't drain
the main batteries.
-Very clever. I like that.

MAY: The Peugeot, though,
is even cleverer.

-Where's the engine? Is it?
-Ah, it's in the back.

It's rear-engined,
rear-wheel drive.

-It's a 911.
-It is a 911.

This is what the 911 will
look like in another 10 or
15 years' time.

So the engine's in there.

It's under there,
the batteries are under there.

That's not a very big boot.
You wouldn't
be able to get a dog in there.

luggage space is like
I'm back on old Top Gear .

-Can I get a beard?

MAY: So far then,
all seems well
with these cars.

But they're not
what you'd call cheap.

The Nissan is £30,990.

Nearly twice what you'd pay
for a normal car of this size.

The Peugeot is
even more expensive,


with both you get £5,000 back
from the Government

but even with that,
they're not good value.

And mine isn't even
very well equipped.

Have you got sat nav
in your car, James?

-No, I haven't. Have you?
-Yes. Cruise control?


So that's £3,000
more expensive than this

and isn't as
well-equipped or as big?

CLARKSON: And what's more,

the Leaf can even
deliver your own
personal Greenpeace lecture.

-It's talking!

WOMAN: By the 12th of May,
electric cars worldwide

saved a total of
344,000 eco-trees.


And 659 tonnes
of carbon-dioxide
has been reduced.

What does that mean?
What's an eco-tree?
What are you saying woman?

Still, there is an upside
to the nagging and the cost.

These days
eco-ism is seen as cool.

People like James May and me,
petrol heads, we're dinosaurs.

If you have one of these cars
with zero emission

and full electric plastered
down the side,

you are more likely
to get a girlfriend.

You just have to hope she
doesn't live at the other
end of the country.

James, can I just ask,
what range do you have left?

I have 19 miles.

I was down to 14 miles.
as is the way with all cars,

we decided to
buy some go juice
in the next town,

which turned
out to be Lincoln.

And then I
realised we might be
there for quite a while.

James, I have another read-out
on my dashboard.

Guess how long it will take

to charge this up to
100% fully charged?

Well, a few hours I suppose.
Is it?

-11 hours.

By the time we reached the
city centre, my range was
down to seven miles.

So I looked on the sat nav for
the nearest
official charging point.

The nearest charging space
it gives me is 45 miles away.

I can only go seven.

That's very useful function
you've got there

Okay, Covent Garden car park.
77 miles away.

What possible use is that?

We pulled in at
the council offices
to see if they could help.

Do you have any idea where
we can charge electric cars
up in Lincoln?

Electric cars...

-It just needs a socket,
-You do, don't you?

We didn't have to wait long
for an answer.

I checked with our team,

there are definitely no points
within Lincolnshire.

Not in Lincolnshire?

Who's pushing who?

Various people
suggested friends
who might be able to help

but they were
all too far away.

32 miles.

-32 miles to Immingham.

So, we stopped at a restaurant
in the marina

to ask if we could buy
some of their electricity.

Use some of your charm.
It will begin with
the word "hello".

-Ready? "Hello."

We were just wondering, we're
trying to... We've got two
electric cars.


James has a way with women.

I should imagine he'll be able
to talk her into it,
no problem at all.

It's going to take 12 hours.


James, I do apologise,

those boats must
be getting power
from the shore.

Yes, they'll have plugs
like caravan sites do.

Getting to the boat park
meant more driving,

so now my car
was saying it would
need 13 hours to charge up.

WOMAN: Very low battery
charge. Search for nearest
charging station.

You're just
wasting electricity
telling me that.

I've only got four miles left,
Jeremy must be running on

the equivalent of empty is
for a battery.

We've just got to stop
somewhere and beg for
the use of a socket.

CLARKSON: No, that's it.

No, that's it, that's it.

MAY: Oh, not there.

CLARKSON: This is the future
of motoring here.

MAY: This is all
of you lives here.

what's going to become
of you all.

the solution would be
to get a tow from James.


"Do not tow this vehicle
with all four
wheels on the ground.

"This may cause serious
and expensive
damage to the motor."

Thank you.

some of the large crowd
we'd attracted

kindly pushed me
to the boat park.


I can see two
problems with this.

You have got to get
across that water.

-And the other one is... Yes.
-It's too short.

We'll have to push
it somewhere else.

So, once more, we appealed
to the good people of Lincoln

who pushed me
to the university

where, finally, we found
somewhere to charge up.

See that,
blue light on the dashboard.

When all three are flashing,
it's fully charged. Okay?

We now had a 13-hour wait

but, thankfully, we were in
the magnificent
city of Lincoln,

where there are many things
to see and do.

MAY: I like a good cathedral.

I would never normally
be brass rubbing

and do you know why
I've never done it?

All the cars I've ever owned
have been powered by
petrol or diesel.

Look, it's Hammond,
only in a diving bell.

It does look
a bit like Hammond,

Lincoln Castle was founded
by William the Conqueror,

two years after
the Norman Conquest.

You can't build a stone castle
on the earthen banks,

initially, you have to wait
for the banks to compact down.

-That is the best
building in the world.

For a department store, that's
a fantastic piece
of architecture.

-What's he doing?
-I'm doing
an abstract floor rubbing.

Look at that,
that's quite interesting.

Basically, in the Ice Age,

the Lincolnshire edge,
a big lump of limestone...

-Do you know what
this hill is called?

-No. Steep Hill.
-Is it?

Yes, it really is.
They spent ages
thinking of that.

Can you see
the square frontage?

-There's a square
within the square.

That is like a Norman
fortified building...

You know Nissan are going
to start putting

fast-charge points
at all their dealerships?

You'll be able to charge your
car up in 30 minutes.

The problem is,
if you do that all the time,

then you could
ruin the battery pack
in three years.

-Yeah, how much is
a new battery pack?

Nissan can't say how much,

but we rang an expert.
He said,
in today's money, £7,000.

How long do they
think batteries last

if you charge them slowly
and don't thrash them?

If you charge them up when
they're half empty,

rather than letting
them get all the way
flat, maximum, 10 years.

-Possibly five. No.
-It's not that long, is it?

-Are you going to go?
-I can't go, actually.

Since you put that in,
my word doesn't fit any more.

As evening fell,
we really were
running out of things to do.

-I think mine's
worked quite well.
-Yeah, not bad.

-Hurt like hell.
-Is mine all right? Look.

What is it?
He's just having me on.
What does it say?


MAY: The next morning,
after the longest
refuelling stop in history,

we set out once
more for Cleethorpes.

WOMAN: As of the 12th May,
your energy economy was
0.1 kilowatt hours per mile.

The cost of charging this up
at the University

with its cheap deal was £2.34.

But, if you charge
it up during the day,

depending on who
your supplier is
and what deal you've done,

it could cost you £8.30.

That's £8.30 to do,
it says, 100 miles.

CLARKSON: To do 100 miles in
a Golf BlueMotion diesel

will cost about the same.

But remember, the Golf is
over £7,000 cheaper to buy.

And its fuel tank is unlikely
to be worn out
after five years.

There are other issues, too.

One of the problems
with the electric car is

you drive constantly
as if on an economy run,

because a part of your brain
is acutely aware

that when it's gone,
you're in for a big wait.

It will get different.
They'll have quick charging,

three-phase charging, and
the batteries
will improve, yes.

But today,
with this car on sale,
you simply have to accept

that you're
going to learn a lot
of medieval history.

MAY: Plus you
really do need to be able
to work out where you'll be

when the charge runs out.
And that's not easy.

So I've now done 26 miles
since I set off

but I've lost 40
miles of range.

Interesting. I've also done
26 miles but this is the bit
you'll like,

I've gained two
miles of range.

A lot of people think I have
a downer on
the electric motor.

I don't.
Nothing wrong with it at all.

it could be immensely
powerful. And I like the Leaf.

Beautifully made,
it's very quiet.
It's extremely comfortable.

And spacious. Good car.

But the batteries it uses
have to be
recharged from the mains

and I don't think
that's the answer.

I think that what I'm actually
driving is
a squariel or a laser disc

or a Beta tape machine.

Batteries? Batteries are
rubbish. Batteries are
rubbish in everything.

Think of all the things
you've got at the moment
that are battery-powered,

like torches and mobile phones
and digital
cameras and laptops.

I bet you, they're all either
completely flat or going
flat very quickly.

Eventually we arrived
in Cleethorpes.

We've made it to the seaside.

And it was on the dodgems
that we had an epiphany.

This is an electric car.
But it has no
on-board battery.

It takes its power from
the chicken wire in the roof.

all we have to do, really,
is put chicken wire

above all the motorways
and dual
carriageways in Britain.

You drive to your nearest
one, extend the pole on the
back of your car,

and off you go
driving on the mains.

It gets better
than that, you know,

if the traffic's really busy
on the motorway,

the government could just
cut the power a bit

and everyone would go slowly,
then if it was empty

they increase the power
and everyone would go fast.

Exactly. Actually if there
was an accident or some bad
congestion ahead

they could just turn it off

and everybody would glide to
a safe halt at the same rate.

We have solved it.
We have solved it.

If you think about it,

if you're driving
along the motorway
and you're really bored,

you could just deliberately
crash into someone to
amuse yourself.

That's true. Motorways are
boring, aren't they?

So you just drive along doing
this to the man next to you...

These cars,
then, are not the future.

But they did at least bring us
to where the future lies.

Oh, no, I've got oversteer.

Nobody does this deliberately
on the motorway. Do they?

-Er... Chaps.

So, you are proposing
a sort of chicken-wire grid

above all of
the nation's motorways.

Have you two
completely lost your minds?

What, is it bringing you out
in a Helsinki syndrome?

-Yeah, it's itching.
It's bad, it is.
-It is a brilliant idea.

I've had another one.
It's based on
the London tube network.

-It's electrified roads.
-Yeah, brilliant.

I'll just cross the road to
that shop there.
That's a stupid idea.

I've had an even better idea.

What about, you fit a car
with a special tank,

into which you put
a flammable liquid.

When the liquid runs out,

you pull into, let's call it
a petrol station, fill it up

in a couple of minutes, and
you'd never have to go
brass rubbing.

-I think that might catch on.
-But, seriously,

what are we all going to do
when the oil finally becomes

too expensive to
use for personal
transport? Which it will.

Well, it's tricky because
the government recently said

that there will
never be a charge point

on every street corner, so
you will be reduced to
going to universities,

and that's not practical,
like what we did.

And you can't use a hybrid

because that
uses a petrol engine
to charge up the batteries.

we're going to have to have
a whole new approach. Dodgems.

No, Honda are already there.
It's hydrogen. It has to be.

Truth be told, it is hydrogen.

Yes, but isn't hydrogen very
complicated to work out?

Yes, but it was complicated
to take television from
Logie Baird's attic

to the point where
you're now appearing

on a television in Syria,
but they did it.

-In a very short time.
-They did.

Anyway, it is now time to put
a star in our
reasonably priced car.

My guest tonight
is responsible for
bands such as Boyzone,

Westlife and Jedward.

And yet, surprisingly, he
hasn't been tried for crimes
against humanity.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's
the other one from
The X Factor , Louis Walsh.


Have a seat. Have a seat.

Louis Walsh,
he's come among us.

And, um, now, to be fair,

I happen to know you do have
very good musical taste.

-Of course I do, yeah.
-I mean,
it doesn't look like you do.

-In my job, in my day job?

That's what I sell.

-I'm in the music business.
-So, you sell?

What I listen to at home
is totally different.

I happen to know that you
and I share a particular...

-What, one person, yeah.
-Bob Seger.

-And the Silver Bullet Band.
-And the Silver Bullet Band.

Who here is
familiar with Bob Seger
and the Silver Bullet Band?

MAN: Yes.

-Yes? A big fan?
-MAN: Very.

That's one big fan and I think
that's enough of a reason

to discuss Bob
Seger at some length.

What is your
favourite Bob Seger song?

Ooh. Night Moves , I think.

I agree.
What would you go with,
Night Moves , best one?

-No, Old Time Rock And Roll.
-Old Time Rock And Roll.

- Old Time is good, yeah.
-As used in Risky Business .

-Starring Tom Cruise.
-I've a Wurlitzer jukebox,

all the old 45s.
I'm a fan of music.

So are you just
flogging the noises
that come out of...

I sell.

-You sell Jedward?
-Yeah, they're
doing incredibly well.

-Do you listen to Jedward
at home? -No. Honestly,
no, no, I don't.

Does anybody own
a Jedward record?

They've a new
album out next week.

-Have they?
I'm not interested.

-Doing really
well around Europe.
-Still not interested.

-Your kids would like them.
-No, they wouldn't.

-They would!
Kids love Jedward.
-They'd get savagely beaten!

Kids like Jedward and Westlife
and Take That.

established that you are
a man of great musical taste.

-At home. At home, yes.
-At home.

Is it Cowell, then, that's
got the Celine Dion fixation?

Has Simon Cowell got
a rubbish musical taste?


He gave us Robson & Jerome.

-He did, actually.
-And he gave us Zig and Zag.

Has he,
do you think, in his house
got any Led Zeppelin at all?

No. Absolutely not.
I have Led
Zeppelin albums at home.

Bad Company?

Bad Company, Can't Get Enough .
He wouldn't
know who they were.

He has a lot of bad company
but it is not the band.

So, anyway, X Factor, when
is that back? What stage
are we at now?

That's series eight,
it's back,
we've got three new judges.

We've got Gary Barlow,
Kelly Rowland,
who was in Destiny's Child,

and we've got
Tulisa from the N-Dubz.

-I know Gary Barlow.
You'd know Destiny's Child.

It's three girls, Beyonce was
like the front
lady in the band.

Boncey what?

Beyonce. Beyonce!
She's like a big, big star.

-Boncey and who? What?
-She's married to Jay-Z.

Jay-Z. He's very cool.

Literally no idea what you're
talking about now. So, anyway,

the important
thing to establish
is when is The X Factor back?

-Back on TV, August, ITV.
-Until September?

Till December 12th.

I have to ask you this
because we have to go out

on Top Gear on a Sunday night
when you're not on.

And my children are saying,

when we are sitting on a beach
freezing ourselves
to death in December,

"Daddy, why are we here now?"

-"Because Louis and Simon..."
-Simon's not on this year.

Oh, he's gone.
"Because Louis
and Boncey's mate

"are watching a girl who last
week was working
behind a till in Asda

"and she's on a journey."

Everyone's on a journey.

We have to move Top Gear to
get out the way of the
ratings juggernaut.

Because people wouldn't watch
Top Gear . They'd prefer to
watch X Factor.

No, they wouldn't.
You're just being
annoying! But anyway...

Just while
we're on the subject
of The X Factor .

Is it true that Simon Cowell
bought you all Botox vouchers?

He actually did,
last Christmas.

You know what,
you know something?
I haven't used mine.

I'd like to...
Jeremy, Jeremy...

I'd like to offer it to you.
I won't be using them.

Is that where you get injected
or is that collagen?

-What do you do with Botox?
-It's something to
do with your face.

-What do you do with it?
-Ask Simon next time he's on.

- Does he use Botox?

Every time he's on he goes,
"You really should..."


"Darling, take more care
of your appearance."

I always think, but what could
I do to improve myself?

-Do you want my
Botox vouchers?

I want to talk
to you about cars.
Because this is a car show.

-It is, actually.
-What turns you
on about a car?

I like the look of cars.
I just love looking at cars.

I love looking at
Maseratis, Ferraris.

Bentleys, Rolls, I love...
I'm always taking
pictures of them.

I don't like driving them fast
but I love looking at cars.

-It's the aesthetics of a car?

After you'd got...
Which was the first one?
Boy's World?

I had a Toledo.
Boyzone was my first band.

Your first band?

My first car was a Toledo.
It was a white Toledo.

Yes, and I took it out
the very first time ever.

I was parking it
at home and I put
my foot on the accelerator.

I went bang into the wall
and wrecked the car.

-The first time I took it out.
-The first time?

The first time
I'd taken it out.

And weren't you
employed as a chauffeur
by a record company?

I wasn't
employed as a chauffeur,
I was an agent.

I used to bring
artists to Ireland,

singers, different singers,
like Sinitta and
Hazel O'Connor.

I used to drive them
around to the gigs.

In your Toledo?

No, I had a Mustang.
I had a really nice Mustang.

Do you remember
what period Mustang?

It was red and black,
that's all I remember.

I'm driving
a Maserati at the moment.
I've had it three years.

A Gran Turismo.
I've 3,000 miles on it.

-3,000 miles? In three years?
-3,000 miles. In three years.

-Yeah. I love it!
-Do you like it?

I love looking at it.
I wash it
every week. I love the car.

You watch it every week!

That's the first
time we've ever
had a guest who says,

"I love my car,
I watch it every week."

-I wash it. Wash it.
-Oh, wash it!
I'm a bit mutton.

So you have a penchant for
American cars and
good-looking cars.

But you're not
really a driver?

I'm not a fast driver.

-So, the bad news.

I know I'm a terrible driver.
I know.

How do we know?

I know!
I drove around
that bloody track.

I ended up on the grass.
I know I'm not good.

I'm probably
the worst you've ever had.

when you went on the grass,
the cameras weren't running.

-Oh, good.
-Yes, they were!

I believe this is
the first corner.

Yes, look, here you go.
Foot still in it.

the dictionary definition
of understeer. Still in it!

I love the way that you had
the hope that it
was going to be

-okay as a lap time.
"Still keep going!"
-Have many people done that?

The only person
who ever went off
there was Lionel Richie.

-The wheel fell off.

-That was the only reason.
-Okay, Okay.

Who would like to
see the actual lap?

-ALL: Yeah!
-Let's have a look.
Here we go.

Racy start.

No wheel spin. Why not?

a terrible smell of oil.
The handbrake is on.

-It was on, yes!
-You set off with
the handbrake on?

Okay, let's have a look at
turn one. Have we got it
right this time?

Yes, no, yes. Just held it all
together there.

-Ooh, changed gear.
-I need Stig, badly.

I need Stig, yes. He was good.

You're going
a very long way round.

I'm going to be
the last person ever.

You really do
need to get those
gear changes worked out.

-When it's going...
-I drive an automatic car.

Change gear!

-Change gear.
-What are gears?

There we go, that's it.

Okay, here we go. I'm finally
going to fly this one.

Scary doing that. Here we go.

I hope I'm insured.

No, you don't
needs to be insured.
Nothing to hit.

Second to last corner. That's
rather a neat line through
there, if I may say.

And Gambon.
That's also very nicely done.

Across the line, everybody.


-There it is,
where do you think?
-I'm near the bottom.

These are wet times. Ignore
the wet times. Anything
with W after it.

The slowest we've ever had was
Amber Heard,
and she did a 1.50.3.

-So you think you
were slower than that?
-Am I under Angelina Jolie?

I don't know!

1:53 is the slowest so far.
You did it in 1...

-Oh, really?

-That's not bad.

That's good!

Sitting there between
Alastair Campbell
and Danny Boyle.

-A weird place
to find yourself.

-So I did better than Geldof?
-You what?

I did better than Bob Geldof.

-Oh yes, you beat Gob Beldof.
-I'm happy.

-And Al Murray. There we are.
-So there we are.

The audience loves you,
the Stig loves you,
we all love you.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Louis Walsh!

Louis Walsh!

Thank you!

Now, we recently received
an invitation to
a motorsport event.

And as it involved mud and
4x4s and it was in Wales,

who better to attend,
we thought,

than Top Gear's own Minister
for Rural Affairs,
Richard Hammond?

This is cross-country racing.

It takes place at
various locations
across Britain

and for the teams taking part,

it's one of
the toughest amateur
motor sports around.

We're here to
follow one of those teams

as they take part
in their very first event.

But here's the thing,
there's something
about these guys

that takes that challenge
to a whole new level.

This team is
made up of soldiers

who've all suffered massive
injuries whilst fighting
in Afghanistan.

Soldiers like Tom,
the co-driver.

TOM: I was a sniper out there.

I shifted
a sandbag and detonated
a booby-trapped IED.

I just lost my
feet to begin with
and, through infection,

and other various things,
I just had to keep having
aggressive surgery

and ended up basically losing
my left arm and having my
legs amputated.

HAMMOND: Then there's Gav,
the team's mechanic.

GAV: I was
unlucky enough to strike
an IED,

obviously maiming me
like this, leaving me
a bilateral amputee.

I lost both my
femoral arteries.

I've got no
idea how I survived
that, to be fair.

Compared to those two,

Tony the driver actually
feels quite lucky.

-I'm a below-knee scratch.
-Is that what you call it?

Having been
mercilessly ripped by
Tom and others for just being,

well, it's just a flesh wound,
really, to quote Monty Python.

These soldiers are
using motor sport
as a way of helping them

come to terms
with their injuries.

They've set themselves an
incredible challenge, because
in just 18 months,

they aim to
compete in the world's
most gruelling race.

The fearsome Dakar rally.

TOM: I know there's amputees
all round the world

for us, it's like pushing it
as far as we can.

If you can crack on in a
Dakar rally where you're
doing 18-hour days

for two weeks solid, you can
pretty much achieve anything,
I'd like to think.

Your career's going one
direction and, all of a
sudden, it grinds to a halt

and you have to think about a
totally different way of
living your life,

it's important to challenge
yourself, to keep on
challenging yourself.

Out on the eight-mile course,
most of the other competitors

are running in powerful,
bespoke 4x4s.

But the soldiers must begin
their long climb to the Dakar

in a humble Land
Rover Freelander.

First disabled
team to do this, mate.

Amber. 3, 2, 1, go.

Straight down here, mate.

Brake, brake, brake, brake.

Good, good.

What would you
like to see come out
of this weekend then?

I'd like to see it function,
for a start.

To find out
where our weaknesses
are and work on them,

just keep focusing
on our weaknesses.

That's it.

Tony and Tom complete
their first run
in 12 minutes 14,

some four minutes
shy of the big boys.

And, already, they've
discovered a problem that is
unique to them.

The problem we've
got is obviously

because Tony's missing his
left leg, he can't feel the
palm of his foot

on the clutch and that's
going to give slip and
you'll lose power.

I think what we're going to do
is devise
a light that comes on

and warns him he's riding the
clutch, so he can pull his
leg slightly off.

-Neat idea.

The clutch fix isn't one
that can be done on site.

So, for now,
the team must
crack on regardless.

And crack on, they do.

You did 10.54
on that last one.

Hairpin. First gear, mate.

10.41 on that one.

Go through,
go through, go through.

Spending a day with them,

it becomes
obvious their injuries
are more than just physical.

-The bloke
alongside you killed?
-Yes, Anthony Lombardi.

He was also a mechanic.
Young lad, 21 year old.

A really good bloke, yes...

It just, I think,

it's difficult because...

-Can you just give us a
minute? -Please. As long as
you want, mate.

Oh, mate...

It's then that you start to
realise the value of a
project like this.

These guys are soldiers,
they're men of action.

They're used to
having challenges,

obstacles to
overcome by working
together as a team.

This isn't a treat.
This is therapy,
it's something they need to do

if they're going
to recover as well
as they possibly can.

By the end of the first day,

the amputee team
are running second
in the Freelander class.

Hey, mate!

But there's little
time for celebration

because they must very quickly
get to grips

with the car
they'll be
driving in the Dakar,

a four-litre,
V8 engine Wildcat.

Now, to make the move to this,

the guys are going to need
some training from an
expert driver.

And we've got one.

Yes, it's ex-Stig,
special forces
driving instructor

and romantic novelist,
Ben Collins.

All right? Are we ready?

-Yes, very good,
looking forward to it.
-Good, good.

When you're going round,
don't tell him anything,

he'll put it in a book.
Make sure of that.

-All right, Ben?
-All right? Aye!

If you see writing,
just stop talking.
Leave it at that, all right?

-Have fun.
-Happy days.
Okay, let's crank it.

Do you know, to be honest,
I am quite glad to see the
old splitter back.

And I do know how
much giving these
guys a hand means to him.

So, this is all right.

Clearly, Jilly Cooper had lost
none of his teaching skills.

Pop it back into second.
You don't want
to use the brakes,

so, that time,
just pop in the gas.


Which meant on their first
solo outing, Tony and Tom
didn't disappoint.

Just remember this
bit here, Tone. Nice.

-That's a nine minute 51 guys.
-We'll do it faster next time.

But mastering the Wildcat
is just the beginning,

because these guys face
problems that their rivals
won't encounter.

There you go, mate.

Gavin, for example, has had
to devise a unique system

for doing repairs
in the middle of nowhere.

Tiredness is an issue too.
As a triple amputee,

Tom uses 300% more energy
than an able-bodied person
just to move around.

And then,
there's their prosthetics.

If I show you
the back of mine,

it makes more sense.
See the back of it?

That is quite unnerving when
you do that. You just wanted
to do that.

Sand's getting
into the piston there,

getting water
into the electronics,
'cause it's all electronic

but if the legs play up
and that, I can just...

Pop them in
the back and just crack on.

One thing that won't let
them down is
their camaraderie,

which shows up best
when they talk about

the kind of tricks they'd play
on each other in hospital.

One of the big ones was either
swapping their wheelchair over

by the bedside
while they slept,

with maybe an office chair
with castor wheels,

and then pushing them around
on that for
the rest of the day.

-Or padlocking
them to their beds.
-So they set off and...

I got injured about a week
after a guy,
a Ranger, Andy Allen.

Basically he lost his eyesight
and both his legs as well.

He was a big
Manchester United fan,
like, huge.

The guy obviously had
Manchester United shirts

and we swapped them all
for Liverpool shirts

and the guy would
be cutting round
in Liverpool shirts.

That is
a properly devious idea!

But when he started to get
his eyesight
back a little bit,

he basically just
let loose on us then.

It feeds the sense of humour
that you're used to and takes
it a step further.

It also makes
you come to terms
with what's happened to you.

You don't have to stop being
you just because of what's

You don't have to...
People shouldn't pity you.

Come on.

Throughout the day, the lads
have been getting faster
and faster.

You've just done two runs.
That was a 9.17 and a 9.08.

Break that barrier!
Eight second.

And as they
lined up for the last
run of the weekend,

everybody, us, the organisers,
the other competitors,

wanted to see them break
the nine-minute barrier.

Mate, if we don't do it
in less than nine minutes...

Got amber. 3, 2, 1, go.

accelerating this bit, mate.
Keep going, keep going.

Second, yes?
Second gear's good.

Boot it, boot it, boot it.


This is awesome!

Keep going, keep going.

-Here he is, here he is!
-Oh my God.

That's it!

Sadly, they hadn't broken
that nine-minute barrier,

probably because
they had broken
something else.

Oh, yes!

Most of that will polish out.

-That'll tap out.
-Largely, yes, largely.

That's a below
centre point scratch.

I really hope that these guys
do make it to the Dakar,

because, on spirit alone,
they deserve to be there.

On that day I got blown up,

I never thought I'd make
the stage where I'm at now.

We said this in
the car before,
who'd ever have thought

we'd be sat in a Wildcat on a
Sunday morning,
rallying around?

What an experience.

You do deserve to be in the
Wildcat on a Sunday morning.

And they are here
with us tonight!

I don't see why
you shouldn't be in a Wildcat.

Now, can I just say, really,

I think everybody here will
join us in wishing you all
the very best.

We really do hope you make
it to the start and the
finish of the Dakar.

You really do
deserve it, guys.
You do deserve it.

That's it!

That's it.

Not only for this programme,
but for this series.

We'll be back whenever
The X Factor's finished.

See you then, good night.