Top Gear: Series 16, Episode 6
- The boys each buy second-hand BMW 325i convertibles and find out who’s is best
- The McLaren MP4/12 is shown in the studio
- Jeremy power tests the Pagani Zonda R & Pagani Zonda Tricolore
- Stars in a Reasonably Priced Car: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
The episode begins with a challenge from the Top Gear producers – the boys are given £2000 and told to each by a convertible 4-seater car. Naturally, they would face a number of challengers at the Top Gear Test Track to see who’s was best. Richard is on the scene first, with a maroon 1987 BMW 325i which he bought for £1600. It has been lowered and also has a set of very cheap looking aftermarket alloy wheels. Jeremy arrives next in… another BMW 325i – this time a black 1988 model which set him back £1950. James turns up soon after in yet another BMW 325i – a 1989 model also in black which cost him £1900. The boys are initially disappointed with the prospect of all having nearly identical cars, before Jeremy has a brain wave. He explains, “So what we’ve got here are 3 cars that were made in the same factory, by the same robots, at roughly the same time – and they’ve all been driven in the same country by the same sort of people.. so they should be the same. But I bet you they aren’t.” The boys therefore decide to ignore the challenges provided and go about comparing the cars. Richard’s car fails to start due to a malfunctioning aftermarket alarm system so Jeremy and James go off to have a drag race – from 0 to 100mph and then back to 0 again. In theory, they should perform almost the same – but the race proves otherwise. James reaches 100mph a few seconds before Jeremy and they both slam on the brakes – James pulls up quick but Jeremy’s car continues along quite a bit further. The end result is staggering – Jeremy paces the distance and counts 281 yards between the cars.
In the next challenge, the cars are taken to a forensics lab to find out what kind of life they had – in great detail. The forensics company “Manlove Forensics” goes over each of the cars before coming back with the results. Jeremy’s car had traces of crisps, some remains of leaves/foliage and also a few flakes of skin. James car had a more traces of skin, including what appeared to be picked scabs. It also had nasal mucus present in the footwell and the steering wheel was covered in saliva. Richard’s car had some black sports tape with blood stains on it, more saliva on the steering wheel, pubic hairs and also some fecal matter (poo). After the alarming results, the boys head back to the track and run a test to see which car is the most difficult to steal. Richard feels confident in this test, due to his car being fitted with an alarm. This fails to stop the thief however, who breaks in and steals his car in record time. The thieves break into the other two cars but fail to steal them even after 20 minutes. It is later revealed that Richard’s 325i had a worn ignition barrel and could be started with almost anything – such as a teaspoon.
In the news Jeremy talks about speed cameras, before ranting on about Magpies. Jeremy then shows us the new Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder Performante, and James introduces us to the new 593bhp McLaren MP4/12 which is in the studio.
In the next segment, Jeremy tests the final Pagani Zonda - the Zonda R. The Zonda R is a confusing car – it looks like a purebred racer, but it can’t be raced on any tracks because it fails to meet regulations. It also can’t be used on the road due to it’s slick tyres and the absence of indicators. The Zonda R has a 6.0L Mercedes V12 which produces 740bhp and can do 0-60mph in just 3 seconds. The top speed remains unknown, with Jeremy suggesting it is “definitely more than 230mph.” Jeremy claims the R is the the easiest Zonda yet to drive, due to the grippy slick tyres and the sheer stopping power available from the carbon brakes – which can take the car from 125mph to 0 in just 4.3 seconds. The R is the first Zonda to have a flappy paddle gearbox which helps you stay on the power. Jeremy continues, “This car is fantastic. An extraordinary example of what can be done when there are no rules.” But at £1.46 million it is very expensive for a car which you can use almost nowhere. Jeremy sums it up, “It seems a shame then that we wave goodbye to the Zonda with a car that is absolutely brilliant, but also completely useless.”
Pagani seem to agree, when they announced they would make 5 road-going versions of the Zonda R and then another 5 convertible versions of those. They also released another car, the Zonda Tricolore – which is a quietened down softer version of the R. The Tricolore is heavier, has less power and also less grip due to the road tyres fitted to it, but Jeremy maintains it is a great car. Jeremy also calls it “good value”, due to the fact that you don’t need to purchase your own racetrack just to have a place to use it. Jeremy concludes “What makes this best value of all, is that I’m driving revelation… the final encore. Bye bye Zonda…” Back in the studio, the Stig takes the Zonda R for a lap of the track, returning a time of 1:08.50. Afterwards, Jeremy reels off a few more Zonda’s which Pagani have announced that they are going to release.
Jeremy introduces the Star(s) in a Reasonably Priced Car – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Simon laps a 1:44.90, and Nick a 1:44.50, both on a dry track.
Back to the cheap car challenge, the boys must try and match a lap time set by the Stig in a modern day BMW 325i convertible. Stig laps a 1:35.90 and Jeremy, Richard and James head off to set their times on the slightly damp track. Richard is confident that his lowered car will be faster than the others, but this is not the case – his car oversteers wildly even at low speed. Jeremy passes James (who later spins) and quickly catches up to Richard. Richard then loses control and spins out, letting Jeremy past. With just one lap left, the boys press harder to set their best time – which results in Jeremy’s engine dying and James spinning out (again) on “Gambon”. They return to to find out the results – James lapped a 1:55.40, Richard 1:55.30, and Jeremy a 1:48.00. Jeremy describes it as a hollow victory because his car no longer runs – luckily for him the next test does not involve movement. It is in fact, a test designed to see which car has the best folding roof seal. This involves each presenter sitting in their car with an open bottle of helium, using the pitch of their voice to see just how much gas leaked out. James goes first and steps out with a very high pitch – good result. Richard goes next and gets out with a completely normal voice. Jeremy steps out of his car with a high pitched voice, complaining of how pointless the test is.
The next test involved a bunch of BMW specialists going over the cars to determine how much it would cost to bring each one back to showroom condition. The results are, Richard – £7,500, James – £5,500 and Jeremy – £11,000. In the final test, the boys watch a stunt driving team do a performance in Mazda MX-5′s, before they set about organising their own. After a rather poor practice session, Jeremy, Richard and James arrive at the Essex County Fair the next day to do their “Dukes of Harlow” stunt performance. As expected, it goes badly – with the boys backing into each other all at the same time. Back in the studio, the scores are tallied and James is declared the winner, Jeremy comes second, leaving Richard in third place.
“Some say his nipples are explosive, and that he’s recently had a Mexican… I mean Brazilian! Why did I say that! I’m sorry Mr Ambassador! Anyway, all we know is he’s called the Stig!”
Pagani Zonda R