Top Gear (2002–…): Season 6, Episode 5 - Episode #6.5 - full transcript
James road tests Nissan's new 4WD, the Murano. Jeremy goes back to the 1960's in an attempt to define "cool" when he reviews the Aston Martin DB5 and the Jaguar E-Type, and The Stig takes them both on a lap of the test track. Richard goes to the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti in Italy to drive the new Maserati Gran Sport coupé. Damon Hill starts a new board for Formula One drivers when he takes the Suzuki Liana on a lap of the test track.
JEREMY CLARKSON: Tonight, a Formula One world champion
-- is the star -- in our reasonably priced car.
-- The Jaguar E-type -- and the Aston Martin DB5.
-(GUNSHOTS FIRING) -And the British Army shoots me in the face.
Hello and welcome.
Now, we're starting tonight with a trendy new lifestyle vehicle.
So, obviously, the job of testing it had to be given
to our trendiest, most lifestyle-y presenter.
Er... That'd be James May.
--MAY: This is a new Nissan, -- and it's called the Murano.
It's a 4x4.
-- And if you're wondering -- why it's so bold and glitzy,
-- well, it's because -- it's from America.
Now, we could have explored its off-road limits in the hills of Scotland.
-- But we thought the best place -- to test it is actually here,
-- on tarmac, -- in the wilds of Hertfordshire.
You see, Hertfordshire is celebrity country.
--Sort of Heat--magazine territory.
An amazing 95% of the world's electric gate production
ends up in Hertfordshire.
The Beckhams have got a place round here.
So has Jade Goody, Kym Marsh,
half the EastEnders--mob and one of those blokes from Blue.
And we reckon the Murano would fit in rather well.
Let's start with the looks.
-- That grille -- may be a tad bling,
and the paint job may glow like the skin of a Palm Springs golfer,
but that's okay,
because the locals like plenty of garnish on their possessions.
Look at those pillars.
Genuine ancient Greek.
There's something else that's important to the residents around here,
a sense of exclusivity.
And as Nissan say they are only going to import 1,000 of these,
that means the paparazzi will never get you mixed up
with, I don't know, the plumber.
-- Now, the Murano -- may call itself a 4x4,
-- but it's not exactly game on -- for African expeditions.
There's none of that Land Rover levers and buttons nonsense.
-- In fact, most of the time, -- it's two-wheel drive,
-- with power only going -- to all four
-- when the front wheels -- start to lose grip.
But actually that doesn't matter, because around here,
all the country side features have been nicely organized for you.
So without doubt, there's plenty of style going on here.
But underneath it all, has the Murano got any substance?
Well, actually, it has.
This, for example, is a big, nicely proportioned, and very flat load bay.
There's really pretty good rear leg room,
and because it was designed in America,
the seats are big enough for your burger-munching, super-sized Californians.
-- And that's -- only the start of it,
-- because this car is also -- pretty good value for money.
-- For £30,000, -- you get a 3.5 litre V6
-- that does nought to 60 -- in under nine seconds,
-- with a really clever -- automatic gearbox.
-- Then, behind that -- privacy glass,
you'll find a sun roof, a top notch stereo with CD stacker,
climate control, leather upholstery and a sat-nav system.
And it's not just any old sat-nav.
That's birdview sat-nav, which I have to say is absolutely fabulous.
Makes you feel like a fighter pilot.
-- And that screen -- has another use.
Which is the reversing camera.
There you go.
Which means on a mini roundabout,
you won't drive into the small person's hatchback that's behind you.
And when you're at home, it means you won't reverse
into the neoclassical pillars holding your house up.
-- And the other good thing is -- that all this kit,
the leather, the aircon, the sat-nav, it all comes as standard.
-- There is just one trim level, -- and one price.
-- Now the Murano may be loud -- and brash on the outside,
but inside, you'll find it's a sheep in wolf's clothing.
This is actually a really nice car to drive around in.
It's got a good engine, it's got a very nice, smooth gearbox,
the ride is surprisingly good for this sort of car.
And it's fabulously quiet.
It's actually... Well, everything I approve of in a car, really.
-- What we have here, then, -- is a surprise.
At first glance, the Murano looks about as deep and sincere
-- as an American -- air hostess' smile.
But strip away the make-up, and underneath there's a good car for all people.
-- Whether you're a celebrity -- or a square.
I am rather surprised by that film
because your idea of the perfect night out
is down in your shed, mending an old motorbike.
So how come you like this car?
Well... I don't like the look of it, I have to say.
I don't like the chrome teeth.
Well, no, it's kind of Jaws from Bond,--isn't it? (GROWLING)
-MAY: Yeah, exactly. -It's that whole thing going on.
But I am with you.
-To drive, it's terrific. -It's amazing, isn't it?
It's comfortable and it's so quiet.
I thought it was gonna be the most stupid car
in the known universe when I got into it. And I thought it was great.
I could wax lyrical about it all day in fact,
but we must move on and do the news.
Yes, it is. Now we all know it's a very expensive business designing a new car.
It costs millions and millions of pounds.
Now Porsche has set the trend for not bothering with the styling each time.
-No, I mean, the new 911. -Same as the old 911.
Yeah. New Boxster, we're looking at it later in the show.
-Exactly the same as the old one. -Exactly.
Now Mitsubishi have gone one step further
by not bothering with the entire car.
Have a look at this. It's the new Mitsubishi Evo IX...
CLARKSON: Which looks pretty much exactly the same as the Evo VIII.
Yes, well, it is.
-CLARKSON: Engine? -The same.
-Suspension? -RICHARD HAMMOND: Pretty much the same.
-Price? -That's the same, £28,000, it starts from.
It is, in fact, exactly the same car.
What they've done here, which is very clever, is cross out VIII,
-and write on IX. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-That's pretty much it. -That's genius!
I think it's fantastic thinking.
You know what Lamborghini have done?
They've announced they're going to make
a convertible version of the Gallardo.
Okay, we've got a picture of it here.
-Check it out. -Wow! Cool.
What I love about this most of all though,
is you see this little groove thing here?
That's the rear-view mirror.
Now the reason it folds away, okay,
is because, according to a man from Lamborghini,
"We're basically saying that
"most of the time, you don't have to watch what's behind you
"because you're faster than anything else out there."
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -Hey! That is very Italian.
It is very Italian.
And because of that, I suspect that the rear-view mirror,
when it does come up, is like a full-length mirror.
-Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah. -I'm looking good.
Well, there's light bulbs all the way round it.
Because of course, looking good is more important in Italy
than looking where you're going.
-Or where you've been, for that matter. -Absolutely.
Right. Your mobile phone. Okay?
Now, you're not allowed to use this when you're driving,
'cause that's illegal now, so you have to have a hands-free kit.
And the problem then is...
Hello? They're gone. They don't work.
They're rubbish. Hands-free kits are rubbish.
-Not this one. -(LOUD LAUGHTER)
This is called the Phobile, okay?
And the brilliant thing is it's got an attachment on it,
you stick it straight in your mobile phone, and break it like that.
-And then... -Is that real?
Yeah. It works.
Whitehall 1212, please.
-Technically, you are hands-free. -Completely.
So you can buy those, then?
Yeah, they're mail order, £33.
You get a red one, you get straight through to fighter command HQ
and scramble some Spitfires.
Hey, now. Hey, hey, hey!
Did you know 80% of Ford Focuses
sold in Sweden run on alcohol?
-I didn't know that, no. -CLARKSON: No, it is.
It's not like... It's not Bacardi Breezers.
It's made from sugar and wood, apparently.
Actually, out where I live, in Gloucestershire, we would drink that as a cocktail.
"We'll have one of them wood and sugar cocktails! That's nice."
Anyway, the point is, is that they're planning on introducing this fuel here.
Yeah, they are. But there's a problem that I've seen.
-What? -Because they're gonna sell it from normal petrol stations,
but they're going to distribute it,
or you are going to put it in your car through something called an alco-pump.
Which essentially means that when you get into the petrol station
in the evening, it will be full of teenagers in hoods.
Can't get served in the town. Let's go down to the filling station
and fill up on wood and... What is it? Sugar.
Right. We've got to mention the Top Gear--survey.
-Oh, yes. That's important. -BOTH: It is very important.
Because the thing is, we can test cars on the show,
we can tell you how fast they are,
and how big the boot is and so on, but only you can tell us
what they're like to actually own in terms of reliability.
Oh, it's just recent experiences, that's all.
-Oh, stop it. -(ALL LAUGHING)
I can tell you what it's like to own a Ford GT,
but sadly, that's not in the survey, is it, 'cause it's...
No. It's got to be between 2002 on an 02 plate
and 2004 on a 53 plate.
-It's dead easy... -And if you have one of those,
-what do you do? -Well, you log on...
(READING WEBSITE ADDRESS)
...and you just click a load of buttons.
Oh, crickey! Now, here's a question for you. Question for the audience.
Which is the only country that can make proper luxury cars?
-MAN: America! -America?
-Who said America? -What?
No. The answer is... James?
The answer is France.
-(AUDIENCE EXCLAIMING) -MAY: But it is.
And to prove it, we've got the latest French luxury car right here in the studio.
This is the new Citroen C6.
This is going to be on sale here from the beginning of next year,
prices starting from around £30,000.
And there's a choice of engines.
A 2.7 litre diesel or a nice three litre V-6 petrol.
Now there is a tradition
that big luxury French cars are always loaded with clever technology.
This is no exception. It's got the latest generation
of their computer-controlled hydro-pneumatic suspension.
Inside it's got diffused air conditioning, whatever that is.
And a head-up display. All very clever stuff.
But most importantly...
Wow! Just look at it. I mean, mon dieu!
I mean, zut alors and sacrebleu!
It is actually... Seriously, this is a fantastic-looking car.
It's contemporary. It's really classy.
Look at that curve in the window, that is so lovely!
I have to say, the French really are
very, very good at this sort of thing.
They say, "Non,"--to sporty, firm suspension and extreme performance.
Instead, they give us this more sort of considered,
philosophical approach to luxury.
I really, really approve of that car.
-Watch it flop. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
Now, the cool wall. And there's a peculiarity on it, okay?
Because most of the world's expensive, exotic cars, like the Bugatti,
Porsche, Ford...Viper are all grouped down here,
towards the seriously uncool end of things.
And that's because cars like this tend to be kind of...
I don't know, ostentatious, which makes them vulgar and disgusting.
However, I think I've found a couple of exotic, expensive cars
which manage to make the Queen look nouveau riche.
-- What we have here -- is an E-type Jaguar,
and an Aston Martin DB5.
Both are from the early '60s.
-- Both, back then, -- were the GT cars
-- for the burgeoning -- G and T generation.
-- Now, though, -- they're even better.
-- They've become passports -- to a world so cool,
the people there burn Guardian furniture supplements
just to keep warm.
(THRILLING MUSIC PLAYING)
Naturally, you're gonna want one.
But there are gonna be some problems with that, chief among which,
is the amount of money that cars like this cost these days.
-- This Series I E-type, -- for instance,
-- is not the most -- sought-after model.
-- Even so, a good one -- will set you back £50,000.
Then there's the DB5.
-- This is much rarer -- than the E-type.
They only made 1,000 and as a result, a good one will cost around £120,000.
And what do you get for this huge amount of money?
Well, you get a car from a time when men were in black and white
and there was no such thing as Fearne Cotton.
-- What you get is -- a car that's 40 years old.
-- A car that predates -- the invention
-- of the front-loading -- washing machine.
-- And it's the same story -- with the Jag.
The early models came with a flat floor,
so there was no space whatsoever for a driver.
And this actually didn't really matter,
because no driver in the world could actually manage the moss gearbox,
which was from the 1940s.
Changing gear, well, it was a bit like stirring coal.
So, what about the handling?
-- Well, -- that'd probably kill you.
-- Luckily, -- most E-types overheated
-- long before they ever -- actually got to a corner.
-- "Still," you're thinking, -- "at least they'll be fast."
Well, they're certainly not weighed down with airbags, inertia reel seatbelts,
or anti-lock brakes, or any safety equipment whatsoever.
And there's no catalytic converters either
because their engines were designed not to save the planet,
just to get round it as quickly as possible.
-- So to find out how fast -- they are by today's standards,
let's compare them to a brand new 2.4 litre Honda Accord.
How can this be?
How can I be losing to a Honda?
-- It seems -- like a strange result.
-- I mean, when Jaguar launched -- the E-type,
-- they said it would do -- 150 miles an hour.
-- So how could it lose -- to a Japanese box?
Well, let me explain.
They were lying!
It would barely do 140.
And Aston Martin were just as guilty.
They said the DB5 Vantage would produce
325 brake horsepower.
But it wouldn't!
You got 280, tops.
In reality, this car would barely have been able to keep up
-- with Goldfinger's -- golden Rolls.
So the '60s styling can move you.
But the '60s engineering can't.
And speaking of which, I've just seen the temperature gauge,
which is, um... Hot.
This car, for instance,
Lives on a bed of peacock feathers
but even so, it's got a sticking rear brake.
And all the water that you see here on the floor,
a few moments ago, it was all in there, and it's come out.
See the joys of classic car motoring.
-- So these cars are -- ferociously expensive to buy,
-- not very nice to drive, -- unsafe and slow.
And on top of all that, they'll almost certainly break down
-- every time there's -- a week in the month.
You might imagine, then, that the price of all this coolness is too high.
-- You see, these days, -- there are companies
that can modernise cars like this without changing the look.
-- Think of the operation -- as automotive Botox,
nippy handling thanks to nip/tuck engineering.
This E-type, for instance, appears to be completely standard.
But it isn't.
If you get in close, you'll spot the big, modern brakes,
the modern tyres and round the back, the modern suspension.
So it should stop and handle like a modern car.
And if we lift up the bonnet, behold the magnificence!
And behold also, the cooling system
that can actually cool the engine!
And the electrics that don't need to be hit
with a hammer before they'll work!
I have to say, this is the nicest E-type I've ever driven.
It's crisp, the gearbox is good, the brakes work,
the turning's sharp, lots of grip.
And when it runs out, lots of fun!
-- There are Aston Martin -- specialists
that can do the same sort of thing with your DB5.
-- They can enlarge the engine, -- for instance,
-- so your car goes -- like Aston said it would.
And that's just the start.
Inside, you can have pretty much whatever you want.
I mean, this grille, behind which 007 had his tracking device,
you can have a sat-nav there and you can even have air-conditioning.
So you can be as cool as you look.
Trouble is, all this work isn't cheap.
I mean, the E-type we've been looking at today,
that's currently on the market for £90,000.
And you can spend a lot more than that.
(JAMES BOND--THEME PLAYING)
And if you want a worked-over DB5,
that'll be £200,000.
Who cares, though? Because think what you're getting.
Twenty-first century engineering with '60s styling.
-- That's a pretty unbeatable -- combination.
Oh, yes. Thank you.
But this does raise a good question.
Because could we really recommend that someone buys one of these
instead of a modern Ferrari or a modern DB9?
-Well, you do have to sacrifice a lot. -Yes, you do.
-I mean, comfort, speed... -(CHUCKLING) Reliability.
Yes, you sacrifice the lot.
But look what you're sacrificing it for.
I mean, they are achingly beautiful things.
They are. And the lovely thing,
if you drive around in this E-type,
nobody is going to think you're a footballer.
-I mean... What you looking at? -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
You know how sometimes you inadvertently catch a glimpse up a lady's skirt?
If you look through these slats on the bonnet, you can...
Look, there's the manifold!
That's filth! That's filth in there!
Thing is though, we now have to find out
which is the fastest around our track.
We know they're slower than a Honda Accord in a straight line,
but we're going round the corners as well.
That means of course, we've gotta hand them over to our tame racing driver.
Some say that his breath smells of magnesium
and that he's scared of bells.
We know only that he's called The Stig.
CLARKSON: Okay, away he goes.
-- Now, this Aston -- is completely original.
-- The brakes, tires, -- suspension, engine,
they are all as they were when it was built by men in a shed,
so this could be interesting.
-- Already it's rolling -- like...
(CHEERY MUSIC PLAYING)
-- Prog rock Stig back to Focus -- this week.
House of the King.
-- Okay, right, -- comes through Chicago.
Good Lord, that's messy.
Oversteer... Oh, a whole palette of vintage behaviour here!
-- So what's it gonna be like -- in the Hammerhead?
-- Oh, look at those... -- Everything going on!
And certainly not fast.
Whole car wishing it was pottering through Monte Carlo in '65.
Follow Through sounding good. Don't think The Stig's gonna lift off.
-- -No, he hasn't. ---(TIRES SQUEALING)
If he did, I think the car would grind to a halt.
-- Looking... Well, slow, -- actually, frankly.
And the last corner, Gambon, and, eventually, across the line.
And we have a new record on the Top Gear--track.
The slowest car ever!
-That's... -It's disappointing, really.
That's what you call progress, really.
Slower than a Range Rover, but there we are.
We must now find out how fast the tweaked E-type goes.
And he's off again!
Now this car has modern brakes, modern tires and uprated suspension.
So hopefully, it'll be rather more lively than the Aston.
Let's find out. First corner.
-- Looking especially fast, -- but at least body roll
-- isn't on a par with that -- of a small yacht.
Here we go into Chicago.
Oh, that is much better.
The cornering's neat and flat.
And Stig looking good!
Tires squealing on the way in, but it's still keeping its composure.
-- Those updated bits -- have clearly worked well.
-- Sounding good -- and looking gorgeous!
-- If you hear a funny noise -- at this point,
-- it's Richard Hammond having -- a trouser accident.
Coming up to... There's Gambon. And across the line!
I've got the time here, and it was one minute 32.8.
Hey, that's not bad! That's not bad!
Look at this.
As near as makes no difference,
exactly the same time as a V6 engined Audi TT.
Yeah, and we say the TT is a beautiful car.
-Look at that! -I know, unbelievable.
Anyway, we must now move on.
A lot of people say that The Stig, who we've just seen, is Damon Hill.
Well, let's ask him. Ladies and gentlemen, Damon Hill is here!
How are you?
Have a seat.
-That is a big welcome! -That is a fantastic welcome. Thank you very much.
And obviously, I've got to start with the big question.
Are you The Stig?
Well, I am glad you asked me that, Jeremy.
Because I get asked that all the time.
And I keep saying, "No, I'm not The Stig."
-But they won't believe me, so I'm gonna get a T-shirt. -Okay, prove it.
Well, I think I'd have to be standing next to The Stig
or something like that to prove that I wasn't The Stig.
So if we had The Stig next to me, perhaps that would be proof
-once and for all. -(AUDIENCE AGREEING)
-But you see, we can't do that. -No. I thought not.
Breathe on me.
-Breathe on you? -Yeah.
-(EXHALING LOUDLY) -Magnesium.
-Formula One. -Yeah.
American Grand Prix.
What in the name of all that's holy was that about?
It's outrageous. I mean...
You know, six cars on the grid.
It was a very sad day and a complete fiasco.
Frank Williams was quoted as saying,
"The atmosphere stinks in Formula One at the moment."
Well, I mean, it's been pretty smelly for quite a long time.
This is because the teams want to move away, isn't it?
-And form their own series? -Yeah.
And Bernie Ecclestone doesn't want them to,
and Ferrari want to stay, and the others want to go.
Yeah, there's a lot of factions,
and there's a lot of politics involved.
So if something like this happens,
there's a problem with the tyre,
suddenly there's an opportunity
for certain people to make political capital of it.
And I think, unfortunately, that the fans, the people who actually pay for these guys
to go and enjoy themselves racing,
are left standing in the grandstands, not seeing what they're paying for.
You're right. On the grandstands, how many people?
200 million people worldwide.
It strikes me that Bernie used to be this big power
and he was completely in charge.
And he's lost his power now, hasn't he?
Because in the past, he would've just put all the team managers
in the back of a van and broken their legs.
-Um... Yeah. -On the grid.
It was all very simple in the old days, wasn't it?
Even when you were racing, he'd get things done, wouldn't he?
I can remember sitting on the grid for some races and Bernie would come down,
and there would be about that much water, and a torrential downpour,
and we'd all be saying, "Oh, it's a bit dangerous."
And he'd say, "You're driving, you're driving, you're driving."
-And we did. -(CHUCKLES) Yeah.
That's how it should be. You need a dictator. You need me, really.
Actually, I've got some great ideas for Formula One, to be honest.
-We'd like to hear them. -Well, no, 'cause if...
I've always said, "If you pay the drivers a living wage,
"20 grand a year, okay, they could live on that.
"And then give them a million every time they overtake someone."
Then watch them say the aerodynamics...
Well, it was called Grand Prix for that very reason.
I mean, the original idea was that it was a big prize you went racing for.
And then somehow, it got confused
and nobody knows what you earn now for winning a Grand Prix.
Oh, God, I don't know what to do with it.
Anyway, listen, you, okay?
You're running a wedding car business these days.
It's not a wedding car business, no, not quite.
It's a car club, which...
You've had all the cars on this show, the top cars.
Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins. All of those top performers.
And you join... Basically, it's a club that you call P1, which you...
People pay yearly membership and they can use all the cars as much as they like.
So then you can drive a car...
You can just ring up and say, "I fancy a Ferrari this weekend,
-"or a Lamborg." -Yeah.
-Yet you drive an Audi A3. -Yeah. Well, it's a practical car.
(CHUCKLING) It is. Yeah, whatever.
I'm always fascinated by this.
I once went to interview a fighter pilot. Bloke I had met down in Boscombe Down.
He was a trainer. Bloke who trained fighter pilots.
He had a beige Volvo.
Why do you all, when you've lived
at 300 miles an hour, drive rubbish?
Because we've lived at 300 miles an hour.
So you don't need the actual...
What you just want is something practical that gets you around.
You don't need the thrill, if you like, of driving. You've had that.
What, so you just pootle around now in your Audi?
I don't exactly pootle, but you know...
There's too many people driving very wide Ford GTs.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -And left-hand drives.
The slowest men are not driving Ford GTs, because it's...
Again, back with Ford.
Don't you miss the excitement of going a million?
Well, there's a corollary to that.
There's the imminent accident that you can experience.
And I've had enough of that, really.
I raced up to the age of 39.
And I think, biologically, we kind of get to the point
where a little voice at the back of the head says,
"You know, you could make it to 60
"if you really took care of yourself, if you're lucky."
I must confess, this is why I don't do the fighter jet stuff anymore.
I just look at the kids and think,
"Why do I want to go upside down now?"
I had enough of it. I don't need any more.
-No, I sympathise with you. -Yeah.
Okay, right. We've got to talk now about your lap.
-Uh-huh. Yes. -(AUDIENCE CHUCKLING)
It wasn't exactly my neatest lap I've ever done in my life.
But it's quite difficult in one of those cars.
I'm not complaining about the equipment, Jeremy.
Of course not. That would be... That would be poor form.
When was the last time you drove competitively?
I think when I was in Formula One.
Well, who'd like to see how he got on then basically in his comeback?
-(AUDIENCE CHEERING) -(INAUDIBLE)
Play the tape.
-CLARKSON: That's a rubbish start! -HILL: Oh, come on.
It's obviously a lot slower than a Formula One car,
but I'm still feeling a little bit of the old adrenaline, yeah.
--CLARKSON: That's -- a new line in there.
The Stig actually told me I was doing it all wrong there.
CLARKSON: Well, I suspect that... That looks quite quick.
No, it's almost like I've forgotten how to do this.
-HILL: That was not bad. -CLARKSON: No, that was really very good.
-HILL: Right up to the edge. -(CLARKSON LAUGHING)
-CLARKSON: It's the Hammerhead! -(TIRES SCREECHING)
-Ooh, a bit wobbly there! -Ah, just went over the line.
I just killed a bug.
CLARKSON: I'm not even going to ask you if you lifted off for this one.
-- -Because there's no way. ---HILL: That was flat.
--CLARKSON: Yeah, -- looks pretty flat.
--HILL: Quite -- easily flat, that one.
CLARKSON: Here we go, second to last corner, catches most people out.
-- And you, you're on the grass, -- like most people, and then...
Across the line!
So where do you think you've come here, then?
I dread to think, actually. It's gonna be a bit of a shock.
Come on. Tell me.
He actually said this morning,
(MOCKINGLY) "Well, if I'm not at the top, I'm going to be suicidal!"
You did it.
D. Hill. One minute, 50.3 seconds.
He actually believed me!
He fell for it!
Oh, I love that so much!
You actually did it in one minute,
46.3 seconds, ladies and gentlemen!
-Fastest ever! -(AUDIENCE WHISTLING AND CHEERING)
Right up, Jimmy Carr,
Ronnie O'Sullivan, blown away.
I really ought to, though. I wouldn't mind, really, I mean.
Yeah, but this... I have to ask you,
did you just find it incredibly easy?
'Cause you were chatting round there. Not even...
Yeah, I think it's quite easy, one of those Suzukis.
There's quite a lot of time to think.
But that's the funny thing, because that was...
I had started to think, "Well, no one will really ever go faster
"than, you know, Jimmy Carr. It's as fast as the car will go."
Now we know it isn't.
But the thing is though, I am not going to put you on that board.
No, I thought not.
We anticipated you might be the fastest man ever to come here,
so we've had an entirely new board made up,
which is for Formula One drivers.
-Here it is. Okay? -Yeah.
And you are going at the top of that.
-Thank you. -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
I think this could be a brilliant idea,
because now that Formula One racing,
-well, doesn't really happen anymore... -Yeah.
If the drivers feel the need to come and have a go on a track,
they can land their jets here.
-We have no ad breaks. -Yeah.
They don't have to wear a hat.
They don't have to say for me, "The car was perfect,"
in a press conference afterwards.
And do you know the best thing?
We checked it this morning, it's true,
the Suzuki runs on Bridgestones!
So there you are, you're at the top of that.
And if any more F1 drivers out there who want to give it a go,
you are more than welcome!
-Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, Damon Hill! -Thank you!
Now, I've got two words. Two words for you, okay.
Together they sound fantastic!
Unfortunately, the reality has never quite measured up.
We last tested the Maserati Coupe three years ago
-and we didn't much care for it. -(TIRES SCREECHING)
-- We didn't like -- the psychotic handling.
Or the looks. Or the interior.
-- Most of all, we didn't like -- the flappy-paddle gearbox.
Great gearboxes, these. Love them.
HAMMOND: In fact, the only thing we did like was the engine.
That's not exactly a long list of plus points.
Still, if Maserati's given it another go, so should we.
-- This is the new one. -- It's called the GranSport.
And straightaway, you can tell that this is more hardcore.
It's got a bigger, meaner grille
that should stack up a spectacular fly kill.
These side skirts are like surfboards.
And in each corner, huge 19-inch wheels.
The volume really is nudging up towards 11.
You get more power, too. An extra 10bhp from the 4.2 litre V8,
which brings it up to a nice, meaty 396.
So nought to 60, 4.8 seconds,
top speed, an enormous 180 miles an hour.
All of which is frankly worrying.
Because from past experience, the last thing this car needed was more power.
Quite frankly, it was already
a bit of a wild and unruly beast with what it already had.
But you know what? Here, today, now, in this GranSport,
I think they've cracked it.
The whole car has been lowered,
the suspension's been stiffened.
All the computer software that controls the chassis
has been modified and improved.
And I can tell you all of those facts.
-- But what's hard to describe -- is just how different,
just how much better, this one-time mongrel now feels.
It's grown-up. It all comes together and works.
It feels confident, planted, sure-footed.
I know I can use all that power, even the extra power.
There's a button down here marked "sport".
Press it, which you will, and wonderful things happen.
The suspension is stiffened up.
And there's a little flap in the exhaust that opens,
so the noise...
-Well, does that! -(ENGINE ROARS)
That is sporty.
-- Maserati has also had a crack -- at improving the interior.
The new seats are fantastic and there's carbon fibre on the centre console,
the dash, and this weird-shaped steering wheel
that gives you a clear view of the clocks.
The only really odd thing is this material.
It's a sort of space-age tweed.
And I just don't see the point of it.
Not unless James May becomes an astronaut.
This Maserati is starting to look like the car it should always have been.
-- And there's something else. -- The badge is now cool.
Bono has bought a Quattroporte.
Jamie Oliver, saviour of schoolchildren, he is a Maserati man.
This car costs £66,000, or the same price as a Porsche Carrera S.
And in the past, I'd have said, "No contest. Buy the Porsche."
-- Now, though, the Maserati -- is a real contender.
-- But there is one issue -- still to settle.
The flappy-paddle gearbox.
-- This was the Achilles heel -- of the old car.
-- It was as sluggish and jerky -- as going to work on a camel.
The thing is, though, it's all controlled by computer software
and blokes with lots of pens in their top pocket have been fiddling with it.
So, have their changes worked?
To find out, I've come to the Varano de' Melegari circuit.
They test Maseratis here, and it's somewhere that allows me free rein
-- to really give the GranSport -- a spanking.
This place is thick with second and third-gear corners
that'll show us whether you really can teach some old cogs new tricks.
And just to spice things up, I'm going to see how close I can get my lap time
to that of Maserati's chief test driver, Gabriele Tarquini.
So, no pressure there, then.
Tarquini laid down a time.
Yeah, he's pretty quick.
Flat on this chicane.
HAMMOND: A rather quick time.
That wasn't bad.
-Yeah, the car is warm and now it's your turn. -Thank you so much.
-- But now, let him watch -- and learn.
I'm braking as hard as I possibly can up to the first corner.
This is not an automatic gearbox, remember. It is a manual gearbox.
You change gear using these flappy paddles.
You have to accept that.
There is an automatic mode, but it's still a manual gearbox.
A bit too late on the throttle.
Brake. Turn in.
But do you know what? I like it!
I think it works.
This is the first time, finally,
I'm happy with the flappy-paddle gearbox.
Finishing line ahead!
This is it. How close will my time be?
And I've done it!
Can I just ask? Can I just ask?
Can you have this thing with a proper gearbox?
No. It's flappy-paddle only, I'm afraid.
But... No, it works! I like it in this car.
It won't work! I mean, they work on a track, fine.
But have you ever tried parking with a flappy-paddle gearbox?
Because you've got no clutch, you either roll into the car in front
or drive at a very high speed into the car behind.
-That's all you can do. -No, it can be tricky but in this car, for once...
-Don't argue. -But...
No, I don't want you to argue. That's the fact. They're rubbish.
-But for once... -You're arguing! If you carry on arguing,
I'm going to show everyone here the telemetry from your lap.
No! But this...
-He's arguing! Who wants to see the telemetry from his... -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
-Yes, fine. Here we go. I've got it here. -No, I've got to explain.
Telemetry is a computer printout from the car about how fast you're going
and what you were doing when you were steering.
And it's far too complicated to work on the television and we won't understand it.
So I don't think we should bother. Please!
I think we will understand it, ladies and gentlemen. Here it is.
Okay, now this blue line here, this was set by Tarquini,
who basically is a middle-aged, bald man who once crashed a touring car.
Okay? And that's his line. And then the red line is...
That's mine. Basically, if you look at the blue line as right,
-and I'm consistently at no point on it. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
Although, in your defence, here, momentarily, you are faster.
Because this is speed. You're faster than...
If you look at what happened afterwards, I'm then in a complete mess
-for the next three corners, as a result! -That's true.
My favourite though, my favourite is the braking.
-What happened here? -I don't know...
CLARKSON: He's fully on the brakes. You're... What?
I think I might have left the track and gone shopping, at that.
I think I was pulling up outside a shoe shop.
-It's not good. -The fact is, though... That fact is your time.
-Yes. -You were...
And this isn't bad. You were only, what was it?
-Four seconds. -Four seconds a lap slower.
And I was quite pleased until I worked out on the way home,
four seconds, on a one-minute lap,
which means, in a 70-lap race,
he'd have lapped me five times!
Right, our quest continues to find the greatest driving song in the world ever.
Here are our five finalists, as nominated by you.
And as you can see, they still include that massive albatross poo
on the windscreen of popular music,
Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell.
However, it's not all over and that hasn't won yet.
You see, each week, we're going to show you
a short film about one of these songs,
tell you a bit about it and why it was written,
and then you get a chance to vote for the absolute winner.
Here's this week's.
MAY: Our first contender is by a Dutch band called Golden Earring.
-- # I've been drivin' all night -- My hand's wet on the wheel
-- # There's a voice in my head -- that drives my heel
MAY: It features one of the most preposterous lines in any rock lyric.
-- # And it's half-past 4:00 -- and I'm shifting gear
--MAY: But then comes the chorus -- and all is forgiven.
# When she is lonely
-- # And the longing -- gets too much
-- # She sends a cable -- coming in from above
# Don't need no phone at all
-- # We've got a thing -- that's called radar love
# We've got a wave in the air
# Radar love #
MAY: The lyrics were written in just four hours, late one night.
It's a dark, brooding song, about a man trying to talk to his dead lover,
which makes it perfect for driving at night and in the early dawn.
(SONG CONTINUES PLAYING)
--Radar Love was a worldwide hit -- when it came out in 1973
and has since been covered by fans such as U2, R.E.M. and Bryan Adams.
The lead singer may look a bit of a girl in his sister's clothes,
-- but when it comes to -- driving songs, he's the man.
-Nice. -(ALL LAUGHING)
Okay. Now, to vote for Golden Earring's Radar Love,
you dial 09011-98-6363.
And press 1 on your keypad. That'll cost you 10p.
You can vote for any song at any time with the appropriate number,
but we have just heard from the British Medical Association,
that Meat Loaf contains herpes.
Okay, now, in the olden days, you could only buy a Porsche Boxster
if you were a stick-thin city boy
with floppy hair and a squash racket and a friend called Dom.
And you could only buy a Mercedes SLK if you were a girl.
Uh, now though, there are new versions of these cars.
And, apparently, things have changed.
This is the new Boxster.
-- And if you study -- the details of it very hard,
you still won't be able to tell it apart from the old one.
-- Porsche design. -- The least a man can get.
-- Happily, however, Porsche's -- engineering department
has expended a bit of effort with both the chassis and the power plant.
-- You can buy the new Boxster -- with a 2.7 litre engine.
But, while that may say Porsche on the back, it goes more like a porch.
This, though, is a Boxster S, which has a 3.2 litre engine.
This is much more like it.
The engine may be the same size as it was in the old Boxster S,
but it's now lighter and cleaner.
And you get 20 more brake horsepower.
That means 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. And a top speed,
-- Then there's the price. -- £38,000,
for a fast, practical, well-made, two-seater sports car.
That's good value.
Inside, it's much better than it used to be, in the old car.
I mean, it's no longer laid out like a children's playroom,
you get air-conditioning, which you never used to get.
Lots of new air bags,
and best of the lot this little tray here
into which you put your SIM card.
And then, when you close it, you end up with a big, 3.2 litre telephone.
It all sounds very good,
-- except it has exactly the same -- problems as the old Boxster.
The only reason why you would buy one of these is because you can't afford a 911.
So all you're doing as you drive around
is advertising the fact that your life hasn't worked out
quite as well as you'd been hoping.
-- And then there's the feel -- of the thing. It's just too...
It's kind of like an iPod.
Brilliant, clean, easy to use, great sound.
But not quite the same as seeing the band live.
That's where this comes in.
-- We've actually reviewed -- the new Mercedes SLK before.
And we liked it a lot.
That one only had a 3.5 litre V6 engine.
This one has a 5.5 litre V8!
That's 5,500 cc in a car the size of a shoe!
You really have to think of this thing as a lightning jet fighter.
Just a huge engine and a steering wheel.
And that's it.
And listen to the noise it makes. Listen to this. Ready?
It is monstrously fast.
-- It goes from 0-60 in -- 4.5 seconds
-- and has to be physically -- restrained at 155.
It's not all sweetness and light, though.
It doesn't have the poise or the delicacy of the Porsche.
The ride is bone-shakingly hard
and the anti-lock brakes cut in just a little bit too soon, I think.
You get a seven-speed gearbox.
Too much choice!
And it doesn't feel as well made as the Porsche.
Everything has a kind of cheap feel to it.
-I mean, listen to this. -(SCRATCHING)
Till now I didn't actually realize you could get sun visors from Matalan.
Thing is though, you have to concentrate hard to notice any of these things
-- because that engine -- sits in the mix
-- like a giant anchovy -- on a mini pizza.
It dominates everything.
-- This is just so much more -- exciting than the Porsche.
And what's more, you have to say it's better looking.
-- And while the Boxster has -- a neat folding roof,
-- the SLK's hardtop -- is miles more impressive.
When it is down, you get the benefit of these little vents in the headrests here,
which waft warm air into the back of your neck as you're driving along.
That is a very good idea.
-- So what we have here -- is an iPod and a lightning jet
-- with hairdryers -- in its headrests.
-- Two different ways of building -- a sports car
and now we must send them to fight club to see which is best.
This is the battleground. The village of Eastmere, in Norfolk.
It was built by the Army to be a replica of a German hamlet,
-- somewhere they could practise -- fighting the Russians.
-- But, unfortunately, -- it was opened in 1989,
-- just 12 weeks before -- the Berlin Wall came down.
Today it's used to train the troops in the art of urban warfare,
which is kind of what I've got in mind.
You see, what I'm gonna do is drive each of the cars in turn
right round the village
while an elite eight-man sniper squad from the Irish Guards
tries to shoot me.
Now obviously, I'm going to take the fewest number of hits
in the car which is the fastest and most agile.
So, that'll be the winner.
These are the men in question.
They're all battle hardened and they've all got the Mark II version
of the Army's SA 80 rifle,
-- which differs from the Mark I -- because it works.
Unfortunately, the BBC's Health and Safety Department say
we can't use live bullets.
I know it's ridiculous but there we are. So, what are we doing instead?
We're gonna use a laser targeting system attached to our weapons.
CLARKSON: And I'll be wearing a talking jacket fitted with sensors
-- that'll detect any shots -- from the rifles.
-- Then a computer boffin -- will log the hits.
--AUTOMATED VOICE: -- Wounded. Wounded.
You go get in your positions and I'm coming, ready or not.
There we go!
This is horrible!
Where the hell are these guys? I can hear them, I don't know where they are!
--AUTOMATED VOICE: -- Wounded. Left arm.
-It is so beautifully balanced. -(TYRES SQUEALING)
You can really stick it in.
-(GUNSHOTS) -(TYRES SCREECHING)
I like this car.
They won't be expecting this.
Well, sort of.
-- Unfortunately my plan gave -- the soldiers a chance
-- to reposition, -- regroup and reload.
Come on, come on, come on, come on!
-- So when I came out, -- I was in real trouble.
(SCREAMS) Help me!
And there we are, back again.
-- In the Porsche, -- I was hit six times.
-- So let's see how I get on -- in the Mercedes.
-(ENGINE ROARING) -(TYRES SCREECHING)
I have soiled myself.
I love that noise.
-(GUNSHOTS) -Come on, come on, come on!
What a mad, mad car!
It's completely insane.
Come on, automatic gearbox, wake up!
AUTOMATED VOICE: Wounded. Head, chest, left arm, right arm.
I've been shot in the ear, the chest, the lung.
I've made a big mess in my pants.
They're throwing grenades!
(SCREAMS) Help me!
I've crossed the line!
AUTOMATED VOICE: Wounded, head, chest, left arm, right arm.
Wounded, wounded, wounded.
(APPLAUSE AND CHEERING)
-I'm officially four years old. -You're a big kid.
I am four. I am four.
the extraordinary thing is, I didn't see these guys all day.
But here they are.
The guys who shot at me from the Irish Guards!
CLARKSON: Thank you very much.
Did you all have to use blanks?
Couldn't one of you just have accidentally...
I mean, you had the best view of him ever with crosshairs.
You could have just accidentally...
Can I just talk about the cars for a minute?
-In the Porsche, you were shot six times, yes? -Yes.
-How many times in the Mercedes? -Ah, 13.
-Thirteen. -Yes, 13 times in this.
Well, that shows that this is more agile, faster. This is the better car.
No, because you see...
You said, didn't you, after I'd driven the Porsche
which went in first, you'd got your eye in, you got the lead,
so when I went out in the Merc they knew, kind of, where to point.
-So this is a useless test? -No, it's not useless.
A, I had very good fun, really good fun,
and B, I drove the cars back-to-back, same terrain
and the Porsche is brilliant, absolutely brilliant,
but this is just astonishing.
The engine is amazing.
I love this car. This would be my choice without a moment's hesitation.
No, but you're saying that you want the car that costs £11,000 more,
isn't as good to drive as that one and gets you shot more?
-Yes, that's basically it and you agree with me, don't you? -I do.
And on that bombshell, it's time to end.
Next week, you know the races we do?
We've raced to Verbier and Monte Carlo,
we've got our biggest ever next week.
Don't miss it. See you then. Good night.