Top Gear/Season 3 Episode 5

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Season 3 Episode 5
Season 3, Episode 5
Airdate November 23, 2003
Written by
Directed by
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Season 3 Episode 4
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Season 3 Episode 6
Top GearSeason Three

Episode Five of the third season of Top Gear, and is episode twenty-five overall.

Guest Stars: Simon Cowell



Mazda RX-8

Jeremy Clarkson reviews the Mazda RX-8. He says it's not the prettiest car in the world and it's as if they took a number of styling suggestions at the factory and decided to use all of them. Clarkson also demonstrates how the RX-8 isn't really a coupe as it has four doors allowing easy access to the rear seats. It's also cheap at 22,000 GBP (about 40,500 USD) when the old RX-7 was priced to compete with Porsches at 35,000 GBP (about 64,500 USD). Yet the RX-8 comes with electric seats, satellite navigation and airconditioning. It has a 1.3 liter Wankel rotary engine developing 228 bhp. Clarkson says the engine isn't the torque-ist or most economical, but it's very smooth. He says the styling is a bit fussy, but it's got a great engine, makes a great noise, it goes like stink, it's very comfortable, it's practical, it's well-priced and well-equipped. And the really good stuff is its handling. Yet after you finish thrashing it around the track, it becomes quiet, comfortable and dignified. Clarkson thinks the RX-8 is sensational and, out of all the other cars he's driven in the past year, is the best.

The Stig takes the Mazda RX-8 around the test track in 1.31.8. It's the exact time a BMW M3 put down on the test track. But Richard Hammond shows off the Nissan 350Z in the studio and says it was sent around the test track by the Stig in 1.31.8, the same time as the RX-8. Clarkson points out that 350Z is 2,000 GBP (about 3,700 USD) more than the RX-8 and wears you out when driving it, while the RX-8 is more practical and more fun to drive.

Future Classic Cars

Richard Hammond tries to find cars that will be future classic cars. A car that is young and reliable, but old enough to have been forgotten. A car like the VW Corrado VR6. He claims it drives better than most current cars, yet went out of production eight years ago. 2.9 liter V6 engine produces 190 bhp, pushing the Corrando from 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. There were other Corrando variants made, but the VR6's engine is the best one made. The car was a complete flop because it was too expensive and no one bought it, thereby making it rather rare. And it's the only 90's coupe that isn't embarrassing.

Hammond's second pick is the 1980's Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5 16. He notes that it's not even its full title as "Cosworth" is added to the end as Cosworth developed the engine. Mercedes developed the car for rally racing, but did not enter it after Audi developed their Quattro and all-wheel drive changed rally racing. It's not very sophisticated, with a 4-cylinder engine, but it developed 197 bhp. Its racing pedigree is good since Mercedes took the car track racing instead of rally racing. It took 50 wins in the 90's and the German Touring Championship.

Classic Wall

Richard Hammond introduces the Classic Wall. On one side is the cars considered Classic and the other side for cars that are a Crock. To start off the board, Hammond puts the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5 16 and the VW Corrando VR6 on the Classic side. James May introduces a few rules for cars to be considered future classics: they have to be rare, beautiful, or interesting.

May puts the Lexus LS400 up for consideration. He thinks it's interesting, but Hammond disagrees. It's put up on the Crock side.

Hammond puts the Citröen XM up for consideration, and puts it up on the Classic section.

May brings up the BMW M3 CSL and puts it up on the Classic section.

Hammond brings up the BMW Z1 and puts it up on the Classic section.

May brings up the Ferrari F355 and puts it up on the Classic section.

Hammond and May note that Jeremy Clarkson owned a BMW M3 CSL, a BMW Z1, and a Ferrari F355. He sold car for less than he bought it and, about a year later, each one was worth more than what he paid to originally buy it.

Top Gear Toupee Test

How long different toupees last in a convertible. Featuring the TVR Tamora and Mercedes-Benz SL. The Mercedes comes with a wind deflector, allowing the toupee to stay on at over 140 mph.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

This week's Star in a Reasonably Priced Car is Simon Cowell, a British executive for Sony BMG Music Entertainment. He is best known as a judge for Pop Idol and American Idol. Simon Cowell takes the Suzuki Liana around the test track in 1.47.1.

Cool Wall

Richard Hammond brings up the Mazda RX-8 and thinks it's a cool car. Jeremy Clarkson thinks it's uncool because it's trying too hard and places it in the Uncool section. Hammond thinks it's cool because of the rotary engine and moves it to the Cool section.

Clarkson brings up the Lamborghini Gallardo. He puts it in the Uncool section.

Hammond brings up the Daihatsu Copen. It's placed in the Uncool section, likening it to an expensive shoe.

Clarkson moves the Ford GT from the Uncool section to the Cool section. Hammond points out that it means Clarkson is in the process of buying the Ford GT.

Fiat Panda

James May reviews the Fiat Panda. He says it's unpretentious and doesn't try to be anything more than a small, cheap car. A basic, 1.1 liter Fiat Panda can be purchased for 6,000 GBP (about 11,000 USD). May's version is a 1.2 liter Fiat Panda Dynamic, yet it's still only 6,500 GBP (about 12,000 USD). It has four doors, electric front windows, radio, power steering, two airbags, alloy wheels and anti-lock brakes. However, the Panda isn't fast. 0-60 takes 14 seconds and top speed is only 96 mph. May likes the Fiat Panda a lot.

Toyota HiLux Destruction

Clarkson attempts to destroy a 13-year-old Toyota HiLux Diesel with 190,000 miles on the odometer that he purchased for 1,000 GBP (about 1,800 USD). He takes the HiLux to Bristol and first drives it down stone stairs, but only manages to damage a stone wall and not the truck. He then smashes it into a tree, but the HiLux still starts. So, heading to the seaside, parks the HiLux on the beach at low tide and ties it down with ropes. High tide comes in, breaking the HiLux free of its ropes, and sends it sinking. After the tide goes out, the HiLux is found partially buried in the sand. With no spare parts, a mechanic works on the engine and manages to bring the HiLux back and Clarkson is able to drive it off. Clarkson brings it to the Top Gear test track and the HiLux is dropped from a height of about 10-15 feet, but it only damages some of its tires. He then drives it through a wood shed, but to no ill effect for the HiLux. He then drops a caravan on top of the HiLux, but it still able to start it drive away. A wrecking ball is then swung at the HiLux, but it still survives. Clarkson then lights the HiLux on fire, but it is still able to drive and makes its way inside the studio.


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