James: Now, the old 5-series famously had more computing power than the Apollo spacecraft that went to the Moon, but this one seems to be boldly going where no executive car has gone before.
[after James's 5-series film]
Jeremy: Were you... in any way unwell when you recorded that?
James: Well, actually, I did have a really bad dose of the pox.
Jeremy: That explains it. Because anybody whose eyes were working probably would recognize that this is the ugliest thing - it is!
James: It is a superb-looking car.
Jeremy: It's the first car ever where children will be sick before they get in the back.
James: All right. You are an executive - this is going to take a bit of imagination - you're an executive, OK, and you've got to buy a new car. You're not going to buy that S-Type Jag, are you? It's a great drive but you wouldn't let your kids sit around with their mouths open like that. E-Class Mercedes, now, you've got a Mercedes, how much have you enjoyed it over the summer?
Jeremy: No, I haven't, it's been innnnn the shop the entire time. It goes in broken, it comes back more broken and goes in again. That's pretty much Mercedes ownership these days.
James: Right. So you're not having one of those.
James: You're not having an Audi A6 'cause it's too old.
Jeremy: I love people's faces in traffic jams, they always look so miserable. Could be worse, you could be shot in the back of the head by a marksman.
[Jeremy has bought a kitschy rooster figurine with the money he saved driving the diesel Lupo around the M25]
James: Do you honestly think I am going to put up with a small diesel hatchback just so that I can have a golden cock?
Jeremy:Yes, almost certainly!
James: But on a small hatchback, OK, when you drive one of those and it's a diesel, it says three things about you. One is, you're tighter than two coats of paint. The second is that you care so much about the environment that you want to leave a little protective sooty film over it. And the third one is, you're probably French.
Jeremy: I've suddenly remembered why I don't like talking to you.
Jeremy: We get a hundred million letters every week from women complaining about their men's love of cars.
Richard: This is true. We do.
Jeremy: We don't write to Trinny and Susannah on What Not to Wear and complain about women coming out of changing rooms going, "This dress is perfect and I like the color, I'll try something else on."
Richard: No we don't.
[reading viewer mail]
Richard: "Hi, Jeremy!" With an exclamation mark. Very irritating. This is from Claire, and she signed it with a little X, which is like a little kiss. "My boyfriend has just bought a new Audi A3." Fair enough. "Now he's driving me mad with this new game he has where he tries to plip the remote locking from as far away as possible. Is he normal?" Yes! Clearly!
[discovering that his SL55's remote unlocker works from further away if he holds it against his temple]
Jeremy: What have I done to my head?!
[watching a video of automotive tomfoolery from Saudi Arabia]
Jeremy: This is what happens when you don't let people drink.
[on the Porsche 996 GT3]
Richard: It makes no apologies for what it is, so if you want a comfy ride, get another car. If you want to be cool on a hot day, get another car. If you want height adjustment on the seats... which I don't... get another car.
[on the 911 series engine placement, behind the rear axle]
Richard: Now, technically, that's just wrong. It's like building a pyramid with the pointy bit at the bottom. It was a daft idea when they first did it 40 years ago, and on paper it still is today.
Richard: In the '70s and '80s, the 911 was the Grim Reaper's company car. Huge crowds would gather at roundabouts to watch fat stockbrokers climb trees in their Porsches.
Richard: Look, ma, I'm going sideways!
Richard: The engine's at the wrong end, yeah... so what? Sure, it's a flaw, but it's a flaw like Cindy Crawford's mole. J.Lo's enormous buttocks. It's become its defining feature. It's the whole point of the car. The GT3 is final and absolute proof that evolution works.
Jeremy: You even look at that engine, it'll kill you.
Jeremy: You have to sign a disclaimer before you buy a CSL saying that you understand that the tyres won't work in the rain or if it's a bit chilly. What a car!
Richard: Every summer they arrive, ruining our roads just so they can pull up side by side with their new best friends and pee in a bucket.
James: In 1979 in Britain, the BMW M1 cost about £35,000, which sounds very reasonable. Until you discover that the Ferrari 308 GTS was less than 20 grand. And here's another thing, look. [raps on door panel]GRP, or plastic to you - on a BMW. How much worse could it get? Well, while the car was being designed, the rules for sports racing cars were changed, so by the time it came out, it wasn't competitive anyway. What a farce.
Richard: There's no end of sensible, practical cars that'll happily rip your face off, and we owe it all to the M5.
Richard: It's fabulous! It's like someone's gone out and designed Top Gear Fantasy Island specially for us!
James: Oh, if the Isle of Man was this great, I'd be absolutely blown away by the Isle of Woman.
Richard: Yes, the kippers were good —
Jeremy: Yes, but there's no speed limits here, James! "Ooh I know, but the kippers!"
James: I'd rather the pussy cat than the kipper.
Richard: They were good, though!
Jeremy: (To Stephen Fry) Have you, um, have you been to the Isle of Man?
Stephen: Yes, you go to the airport, you say "I love Man!" and they say, "Not here you don't!"
Jeremy: You could be birched for loving man there.
Stephen: Yes, which is something people pay a lot of money for in London, so it's like a free service.
Jeremy: Some of the laws they have are fabulous! Handguns, for instance, are legal there! And you can be charged with "furious driving"! I'd love to have that on my licence!
Stephen: Well, I'm a sort of lefty in a way, but I cannot tell you the overmastering hatred I feel, the waves of disgust when there is that, that frowny-faced woman on the bicycle who looks at you as if you are the symbol of all capitalism and meat-eating and penis-owning - you know, you are the enemy of the people, you are the enemy of the planet, you are globalization - you are Capitalism with a huge cigar - just because you might've slightly blown her off course on her blasted bicycle!
Jeremy: You will never hear anyone say, "Look at that maniac in that Saab!"
Stephen: I came so close to losing my licence almost exactly a year ago. I was pootling along the M11 at a hundred and *hrm* miles per hour, and fortunately they took an average, which was 99.8.
Jeremy: An average from when you got into the car.
Stephen: Yes, quite. From the centre of London.
[on the benefits of driving a decommissioned black cab in London]
Stephen: Other cabs let you in, you know - "cabaraderie", I call it.
Jeremy: But it's strange, because most of the people I know who speak Latin find cars really rather trivial and infantile.
Stephen: Yes... yes... you've written well and turgidly about Norfolk! Not turgidly, exactly.
Jeremy: Well, it was just, that time, the first - well, not the first time I went there, but I can remember, not that long ago, driving along a main road, filled up with petrol and I gave the bloke in the cashpoint my credit card... he just put it in the till! "No, no... no, no... you're supposed to swipe it..."
Stephen: This is the home of Lotus! It's an advanced, sophisticated county!
Jeremy: Now, you see, that was a bad example.
Stephen: Well, there were the - all right, but it's a... it's a mysterious county. There are - you go through a beautiful Old World village with a sort of mullion-windowed rectory with ivy over it and the squire's house and a beautiful old church, and then a sign saying, "HOT RODDING".
[watching himself on tape driving the reasonably-priced car]
Stephen: Look at him, doesn't he look a ****.
James: Obviously, driving a convertible yellow Porsche raises certain sociological issues. I mean, some people are going to look at me, I know, and think I'm a merchant banker.
Jeremy: There's no way the aristocracy is going to buy this car. I mean, these days they have to burn their children just to stay warm, and all their furniture's held together by the moths that ate it.
Jeremy: It's like doing 5000 miles an hour in Douglas Bader's sponge bag.
[criticising the armrests]
Jeremy: They are completely pointless. Speaking of which: this button here allows you to adjust the hardness of the suspension, like so. Why do you need that? Why would you want to make your Bentley more uncomfortable? It really is as useful as a snooze button on a smoke alarm.
Jeremy: The old four-door Arnage is a symphony of pomp and circumstance, hope and glory - absolute power corrupting absolutely. Oh, it isn't very good, but there's such a sense of occasion when you drive it. This is the other way round: brilliant, sensationally fast, handles beautifully, and it'll almost certainly be reliable. But it leaves you feeling... just a little bit cold.
[after pausing the playback of his escape-from-a-sinking-car film]
Richard: And we'll find out later if I die.
[on the Jaguar R-D6 concept car]
James: But the bit I really like is the inside. Have a look at this. Now have a look at that black leather and all those shiny bits, and those red lights down in the footwell. Now clearly a Jaguar designer got completely lashed at a vodka bar and thought, [in drunken voice] "Uhh, I'll make it look like thish then." So obviously there'll be a bouncer on the door, telling you you can't come in 'cause you've got trainers on.
Richard: It's a gorgeous-looking thing, I think it's fab. But here's the thing I don't get about Jaguar concept cars. Two years ago, about then, they showed us XK180, and there it is, that was to show us what Jaguars of the future will look like. But then last year, they did the R Coupé, to show us what Jaguars of the future will look like. And now they're back again with this, to show us what Jaguars of the future will look like.
James: Now look, Jaguar. You have made your point. Just make the car.
Jeremy: Brand new! Things going well. Your next car... is a third-hand Vauxhall Carlton. What in God's name possessed you to do that?
Rob: You know, my dad came across it, you know, it was reasonably priced... it was a big, brown Vauxhall Carlton -
Rob: Wait, let me finish. It was a big brown Vauxhall Carlton, the inside was a kind of creamy sort of biscuit colour, it was velour, the seats. It was a nice car, it got me from A to B, that was not the worst of my cars.
Jeremy: What, you're trying to say the green Sierra you had was -
Rob: That was the worst, yes.
Jeremy: What possessed you to do that?
Rob: Um, my dad came across it, you know, it was a good price...
Jeremy: Did you branch out on your own for the 1992 Ford Escort?
Rob: Now! The 1992 Ford Escort, I thought, and I don't know anything about cars -
Jeremy: That's obvious.
Rob: - was quite a sexy little car. I quite liked it, actually.
Jeremy: Have you ever actually watched Top Gear? 'Cause you might...
Rob: I've never seen a whole one, no. [Jeremy looks dismayed, audience applauds] It clashes with Heartbeat, OK, which goes against you.
Jeremy: I know! But I do make a special effort to watch Marion and Geoff. You should try to watch one all the way through. Because after the Escort... you're not going to believe this, ladies and gentlemen...
Rob: Oh, I know what you're going to say now, yeah. OK.
Rob: Well, my dad came across it... [audience laughs]
Jeremy: Anyone who sits in the back of a four-seater convertible looks like Hitler.
James: The British toff: though rare and endangered, they are easy to identify. They are most readily spotted in the countryside, because they own it. Distinguishing features include their clothing, which used to belong to their parents, and their characteristic mating call of "Harrumph."
James: I almost forgot to tell you what it's like to drive. Well, I quite like it, actually. It's relaxing and it's... unstressful.
Richard: This whole survey throws up some fascinating stuff. Like the Porsche 911. A favorite car of mine, known for its... somewhat scary handling sometimes. Ninety-six percent of 911 owners in this survey claim to be absolutely satisfied with their car's handling, which is very good. It leaves four percent, and they probably were entirely satisfied with the handling of their 911 right up until they hit the tree. Then they changed their mind.
Jeremy: Yeah, but think of it this way. The people who got their bone marrow and their eyes are very satisfied with the handling of the 911.
Jeremy: A Ferrari. There's an interesting statistic on Ferrari, ah... what is it, James?
James: [consulting clipboard] Um, 90% of people who said they had a Ferrari were lying.
[after Richard's sinking-car film, in which he needed the rescue diver's help to escape the car]
Jeremy: So did you die in the making of that film?
Richard: Well, yeah. I mean, if it was real, yes, I did.
Jeremy: And the thing is, it was very lucky you were in the GL model, 'cause that was the one that did come with the diver in the back seat with the aqualung.
Richard: Yeah. If it'd been an L, pfft. That would've been it, curtains.
[on people carriers]
Jeremy: Obviously all of them are uncool. If you buy a people - anyone got one? You have. Basically what you're saying about yourself, sir, is: you've had your children and now you're just waiting to die.
Jeremy: All dentists have Saabs, OK? All. And graphic designers all have them, and all architects have them, and all Stephen Frys have them.
[on the Saab "night panel" function]
Jeremy: That's handy if you want to line up for a bombing run on a Soviet nuclear submarine base, but of limited use on the A38 just outside Burton-on-Trent.
Jeremy: Now what I'd like to do at this point to demonstrate the difference between car and plane even more is bolt the Stig into the Saab here and have him race a fighter jet round our track. [laughing] Only trouble is, can you imagine ringing up the Royal Navy and saying, "Hello, I'm from that pokey motoring programme on BBC, would it be possible to borrow one of your Sea Harriers?" You can imagine what the response would be.
[cut to a shot of a Sea Harrier taxiing into position next to the Stig-driven Saab at the start/finish line of the test track]
Jeremy: [voiceover] Yes, they were there in a jiffy.
Jeremy: [On the Saab 9-5 Hot Aero] The handling is just hysterical. It's like driving a - fast! - bouncy castle!
Jeremy: Tonight: Richard drives a green Lamborghini; James drives a blue Lamborghini; and I drive a yellow Lamborghini.
Richard: [voiceover] And as befits the decade that celebrated being young and groovy, youth created the Miura. The man who designed its gorgeous body was just 22.
Richard: Think about that. What were you doing at 22? At that age the cars I was drawing still had guns on them.
Richard: So, beautiful and ingenious it may have been, but in terms of driving, you were still at the wheel of a bit of a dog's breakfast. The fuel tank was over the front wheels, so as it ran low on fuel, it went light at the front end, which meant you couldn't steer. Nice touch, that. Keeps you on your toes. The interior is, well, tiny, and every now and again the carburettors would spit petrol onto the hot engine and the whole thing would go up in flames. Gooood.
Richard: Lamborghini knew their masterpiece wasn't perfect, and they steadily improved it throughout its life, culminating in this: the SV of 1971. It had a better gearbox, better differential, better tyres, better rear suspension, and these better gold wheels. D'you know what it was? It was better.
Richard: Um, Jay, I did notice there's, uh, there's no window in.
Jay: Well, I'll tell you what I did with the window. [opens driver's door]
Richard: Re-enact it for us.
Jay: I will re-enact it.
Richard: Go on, then.
[Jay shuts the door normally and mimes the window shattering]
Richard: Oh, you closed the door! You mad, impetuous rock star fool. You were asking for trouble, Jay!
Jay: You know, I mean, that's rock 'n roll, hey?
Jeremy: This is a man with a two-tone beard who's come here to tell us about style.
James: This wasn't just a car, it was a pin-up. And you might like to know that countach is a bit of Italian slang. It translates roughly as phwoar!
James: [voiceover] So it looks fantastic and it sounds fantastic, and that's what matters when you're 15 and dreaming. But I'm not 15 any more, and after an hour at the wheel in 2003, my dream car turns out to be a bit of a nightmare.
James: It never occurred to me, for example, that I'd need a hammer to change gear. Or that depressing the clutch pedal would be a lot easier if I got a friend to help me. It's absolutely baking hot in here - look, I've got the window fully open [puts fingers through tiny slot of driver's window] - and there's also a really alarming smell of petrol.
James: God in Heaven, this is hard work.
James: I'm absolutely gutted. But you know what, it's not the car's fault, it's mine. I've broken a golden rule: You never, ever meet your childhood heroes.
Jeremy: When I started in this business, writing about cars, I was earning... about 40 quid a week. OK? I borrowed one of these, took it into a petrol station, to fill it up... £147!
[indicating a board covered with photos of rock stars]
Jeremy: Problem is, what do all of these people have in common?
Audience member: They're all dead.
Jeremy: This, then, is the £117,000 Gallardo. Lamborghini's idea of being sensible.
[Talking about Lamborghinis]
Jeremy: Let me put it this way: a picnic, okay? If you went, you'd want the Germans to make the hamper so the handles don't fall off, but you'd want the Italians to make the food, yes? That's what you get with that [points to Murciélago]; it's a German-Italian picnic where the Italians have done what they're good at and the Germans have done what they're good at. With this [points to Gallardo], the Germans have done ze food.
Jeremy: It's almost like they had a styling suggestion box at the factory, they got millions of ideas and then said "I know! Let's have all of them!" So it's got triangles and curves and gills and the back window from a Ford Anglia and look at these lights. They're busier than a bishop's hat!
Jeremy: It's not the torquiest engine in the world, or the most economical, but God it's smooth. You even get a little buzzer - ready? - to tell you to change gear at 9000 RPM 'cause it doesn't feel like it's running on anything as coarse and vulgar as petrol. Feels like it's running on double cream!
Jeremy: The guy who was running Mazda when they were designing the RX-8 used to race cars. [laughs] And it kind of shows.
Richard: This being a car programme, let's talk about houses.
James: Well, it is very small, just three and a half metres long, but more importantly, it's got really quite a lot of space in it. You could get a couple of full-size adults in the back here, or - more importantly - about half a dozen children. Now this is vital in your small Italian car, and all because of another of their great inventions: the Catholic Church.
James: Now, you'll be able to buy a basic 1.1-litre Panda for £6000. £6000! This, however, is the 1.2-litre Dynamic. This is a posh Panda. But it's still only six thousand, five hundred pounds. Six and a half grand. And it's a whole car!
James: I quite like this 1.2-litre engine, it's sort of feisty and eager. Makes a great deal of fuss without really achieving very much. Bit like the Italian government, really.
Jeremy: [Voiceover] It damaged my spine quite badly, doing this. And then it set about damaging Bristol.
[tapping on a mangled fender after running the Hilux into a tree]
Jeremy: That'll buff out.
[when the Hilux starts after having been washed out to sea in the Severn estuary]
Jeremy: [shouting over the engine roar] I do not believe this! It works!
[At the grassy part of the test track]
Jeremy: The problem is, what can we do here that we haven't already tried? [The pick-up then drops behind Jeremy] Difficult one.
[Before the caravan drop on the Hilux]
Jeremy: The Americans have used daisy cutters on these things, to no avail. But I have something much more powerful... [cuts to a parked caravan; voiceover] The Mistral GT... [shows the same caravan dropped on the Hilux]
[After the caravan drop]
Jeremy: [crawling in through the window] Lordy lord, I'm too old for this.
Jeremy: I honestly can't believe this; the steering is fine, the gearbox is fine, the low-range box is fine, the brakes are fine... Even the speedo's telling me we're doing thirty.
[Announcing the result of the Hilux torture test]
Richard: All of which makes it more of a shame that in the end you killed it with fire.
James: That was churlish.
Jeremy: Well, that's the thing. You probably won't believe this, ladies and gentlemen. I want a huge round of applause, IT IS STILL WORKING!
[after the end credits]
Simon: Can we just stop the competition now?
Jeremy: No, we bloody can't; I'm going to phone Damon Hill next week!
Jeremy: [voiceover] Look at the details. The gear lever that seems to have come from a sex shop. The translucent trim. The 12 million gigawatt stereo. And the bumf, which is full of words like "wicked" and "cool".
Jeremy: [standing in front of the car] Now this, it seems, is the language of something called cruising, which... isn't what I thought it was.
[at a tuner meeting]
Jeremy: This cruising thing. What's it about?
Young man: What's it about?
Young man: It's about flexing, man.
Jeremy: It's about what?
Young man: Flexing, like. Having a good time, you know.
Young man: Yeah, yeah.
[crowd of young people laughs at Jeremy's oldster incomprehension]
Jeremy: What the f--k are you on about? [appeals to the crowd] What is flexing?
Another young man: Flexing means winding, basically.
Jeremy: It means winding. I'm none the wiser! We're flexing, we're winding... Does anybody here speak English? Does anybody speak English here?
A third young man: Showing off.
Jeremy: Showing off! This man speaks English! [crowd applauds] Flexing and winding means showing off.
[back in the studio after the tuner film]
Jeremy: That makes me feel very sad, that.
Jeremy: Well, I just wish that we'd had flexing and winding when we were kids, 'cause I love this whole modifying scene, I think it's brilliant.
James: Mm. We did have cruising, though.
Jeremy: I know, but that meant going to a gentlemen's lavatory, and that's... [dismissive gesture]
[having interrupted the second Toyota torture film at a critical moment]
Richard: As we stand here, both of these cars are slowly sinking into the floor. They're that heavy.
Jeremy: So if I were to say to you, "OK, I'm going to shave your poodle... "
Jeremy: "... unless you tell me which one you'd have."
Richard: [looks at a loss]
Jeremy: Which one or the poodle's bald.
Richard: ... Bring on the razor, mate, I'm afraid.
Sanjeev Bhaskar: Now, Indians do like bling. I mean, if there was a Datsun Bling...
Jeremy: Well, hold on a minute. Now, we've had flexing, I've got that, and winding... what's bling?
Sanjeev: Bling is just, you know, flash. Color. It's kind of like - Indian parents, traditional Indian parents, are the only ones who'd watch The Fast and the Furious and say, [in Indian accent] "If you became an accountant, you should get a car like that."
Sanjeev: I'll tell you the reason that I stopped driving [in India]. I did about a mile and I told my cousin to take over. And I said - it was at night, and nobody uses their headlights, or very few people use their headlights because, you know, you wear 'em out. You'd just have to buy another one. Um, and so there was, there was - I stopped when I saw one headlamp coming towards me, and I said, "Look, I don't know if that's a scooter or it's a truck with one failed headlamp. And he kind of - my cousin stopped for a second, he said, [in Indian accent] "Or two scooters transporting a wardrobe." I said - I said, "You know, you're right, there is that third option. I'm an idiot. I don't know why I didn't think of it."
James: If I could only have one drink for the rest of my life, it would be a pint of bitter. And if I could only drive one supercar, it would be this: the Aston Martin Vantage.
James: In order to understand the impact of the Vantage, I want you to imagine a simple scene down your local boozer. Now, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, all that lot - they're the blokes round the bar with the big opinions. Giving it lots of that. [mimes talking] Aston Martin is the quiet bloke in the corner, with his pint of best and the crossword. And then, suddenly, he decides he's had enough. So he gets up, he takes them all outside, and he gives them a bloody good hiding.
James: The Italians, you see, would concentrate on making a really, really fast car, but then they'd start to worry about all the practical stuff, like, where's the driver going to sit, and can he see out, and how are you going to join up all those wires that make the lights work? The British way, however, is to start with a normal car and then make it very fast. Think of the Jaguar XJR. It's one of the world's most comfortable saloon cars, and it just happens to go like a stabbed rat.
James: Say you wanted to bang in a nail. You could belt it really hard with a little hammer, or you could give it a tap with a really big one. The Aston's engine is a sledgehammer.
Jeremy: It's far from the most sophisticated engine in the known universe, but because it's so big, you can put it in sixth and pootle around at three, doing plenty of miles to the gallon. Or you can poke it with a stick. Then you will go from nought to sixty in six and a half seconds and reach a top speed of over 160. Usually sideways.
[for a joke, Clarkson claims that the car issues insulting voice messages if the traction control is engaged]
Monaro: Backs to the wall, everyone, there's a pom on board! He's turned the traction control on! What a poofter.
Monaro: You hopeless pom.
Jeremy: Shut up.
Monaro: And you got lucky in the rugby.
Jeremy: Shut up!
Jeremy: It's big and simple and I love it.
Jeremy: Pray silence, please, for Dame Edna Everstig.
Jeremy: Damn! I think I've won.
[in the studio, after the film showing the Hilux falling with the roof of an imploding tower block]
Jeremy: Now, we've seen that it started.
James: Yeah, it did start.
Jeremy: But did it move?
James: I can hardly believe this myself - ladies and gentlemen, here it is!
[horribly battered but still moving under its own power, the Hilux enters the studio]
[on the state of the utterly smashed but still running Toyota]
Richard: That's not bad. I've taxed worse.
Jeremy: We could carry on trying to destroy it, but do you know what? I think we should build a plinth.
Jeremy: Nought to 60 takes five seconds. And about 17 gallons of fuel.
Richard: [on the CityRover] At 6,900 pounds it is too expensive, particularly as, well it's rubbish.
Jeremy: [voiceover] As an engineering exercise, the Cayenne is astonishing. Only the Germans could've pulled it off. But all their efforts with the power and the speed and the toughness and the agility - they were all a complete and utter waste of time. Because look at it.
[pulls over, gets out]
Jeremy: I think what they tried to do is make the front look like a 911. Which it doesn't. And then from here back it looks like they just haven't bothered! Honestly, I have seen more attractive gangrenous wounds than this. It is a monkfish among cars. It has the sex appeal of a camel with gingivitis, and frankly I would rather walk back to the studio than drive another yard in it. So I shall. [looks around, points] That way. [walks out of frame]
Richard: So much grip! It'll crease the road before it lets go, I'm sure.
[on the SLR's engine]
Richard: It puts out six hundred and twenty-six brake horsepower, and more torque than in all the rest of the cars in the world added together.
Richard: This is the sort of power that planets are built with! Awesome!
[disappointed by the SLR's interior]
Richard: There's plastic - [raps on dash] - in here. Come on.
Richard: And then they tell you - proudly! - that there's enough room in the boot for two sets of golf clubs. And that worries me, that's just fat-businessman stuff. It's a marriage between McLaren and Mercedes, the SLR. And it's brilliant! I just wish it was a bit more McLaren and a bit less Mercedes.
Jeremy: Inside, it's pretty much as you'd expect: hopeless. I've got no satellite navigation, no electric seats, no airbag, and while there is a third gear - nnnngh! - I don't really have the strength to engage it. Furthermore, this window doesn't go all the way down, as you can see, the antilock brakes are broken, there's nowhere to put my left leg, the dashboard looks like I made it, and half the time the dials come over all Longbridge-ish and go on strike.
Jeremy: This car has one of the world's great engines, a big, gurgling V8 with huge torque and an even huger thirst. Flat-out, at 165 miles an hour, this car is using a kilo of fuel every minute. That's jet fighter consumption, but then it goes like a jet fighter!
Jeremy: Oh, this is terrific! Just imagine how good it would be if you could get third.
[after Jeremy bangs his head on the XPower SV's door frame during a hard maneuver]
Richard: I could watch that all day! Who'd like to see it in slow motion?
Richard: But it does sound a lot like a TVR in feeling, you know, noisy and different...
Jeremy: Yes, except a TVR has got a better interior than this, and actually, I think a TVR will be more reliable.
Richard: [giggling] Just how bad was that knock on your head?
Jeremy: This car is plastic. It has a stupid rear spoiler and it's made by a company no one's ever heard of on an industrial estate in Leicestershire. So for posing it's hopeless. But for the undiluted thrill of driving, it's almost impossible to do better.
[on Jeremy's advocacy of the Noble]
Richard: He just - he misses the point, he's reduced the whole thing to a mathematical equation! That's not a car, it's a calculator.
[on Jeremy's advocacy of the Noble and Richard's of the Morgan Plus 8]
Jeremy: Tonight: Cameron Diaz tests Lamborghini's lightweight Murciélago naked; We drive Schumacher's F1 Ferrari; And our Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car is her Majesty, the Queen.
James: Have a look at this, this is our - Jeremy's - bar bill from the Isle of Man trip. [allows large stack of fanfold printer paper to fall to the floor] That's a huge number of fruit-based drinks.
[accompanied by James playing the theme music on a Casio keyboard]
Richard: On tonight's cut-price Top Gear: A small plastic car that's actually quite economical; we take a seasonal Yuletide trip to, eh... Birmingham; oh, and we do have a supercar! Albeit a quite cheap one.
Jeremy: Now, of course, being a coupé, the styling is hugely important, and... oh dear.
Jeremy: Nought to 60 takes 7.2 seconds. There are animals which are faster than that.
Jeremy: So. It looks like a dog doing a poo; it's slow, uncomfortable, expensive, and cursed with a cramped, badly trimmed interior, an awful gearbox and no back seats. The engine doesn't make a particularly sporty noise, the ride is terrible, and it isn't especially economical.
James: There's normally something really tragic about the bottom of the range. You know, the 1.6 version. A little boot badge that says you're on the bottom rung. And you sit there in a world of velour looking at a little - a little slot on the dashboard where you know there would be a switch if this was a posh version, but instead you've got a little bit of plastic that just blanks it off. And you can't help driving along and thinking, "If I'd just paid a bit more attention at school and if I'd just worked a bit harder, I'd have air conditioning."
James: This car has that magic X-factor that we like so much on Top Gear. You'd sort of expect it to be really boring, but then when you drive it, you discover it makes perfect sense. I mean, here's a Jaguar that saves you a shedload of cash, and in return, all it asks is that you just press the pedal a bit harder. That's it!
Richard: And as for the Alfa 147 GTA, well, that's not dead, but it's as mad as a badger.
Richard: It's always been a bit of an old-school hooligan, the Civic Type R. If it were in a porn film, it would play the stable lad. Or the plumber. Rather than the smooth international businessman.