- Richard tests the Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst & Vauxhall Maloo ute.
- Jeremy & James attempt to advertisements for the VW Scirocco.
- Jeremy drives the new Aston Martin V12 Vantage.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jay Leno.
Review: Richard reviews the Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst Edition, a modified version of the VXR8 with a supercharged LS2 V8 engine. He also reviews the Maloo E Series, a ute built on the same body with a naturally aspirated LS3 engine. The Stig tests both cars on the track, with the Maloo clocking in at 1:27.1 and the VXR8 coming in at 1:26.3.
News: The trio discuss two new Ferraris; the F430 Scuderia Spider 16M and the upcoming 458 Italia, which replaced the F430 later that year. They comment on how stupid all 499 people who pre-ordered a Scuderia Spider will feel when they realise its replacement has already been announced. Jeremy asserts that the 458 will be a great car, despite the fact that no one has driven one, because of an apparent inverse relationship between the success of Ferrari’s Formula One team and the quality of their road cars. They also discuss Ferrari’s announcement that legendary F1 driver Michael Schumacher will be stepping in to replace injured driver Felipe Massa for the rest of the season. They offer their condolences to Massa, and comment on their astonishment that despite being hit by a spring at 140 mph (230 km/h), Massa survived and is on track to fully recover. Finally, they comment on how convenient it is that Schumacher has found the time to drive in Formula One now that the series is over and the Stig will have no more cars to test until November. This is a reference to the “unmasking” of Schumacher as the Stig earlier in the series, though Clarkson and Hammond insist that they were just stating the facts.[original research?]
Challenge: James and Jeremy are given the challenge to create a simple but effective TV advertisement for the new VW Scirocco TDi. They are told by their advertising exec mentors that VW insists on centring their advertising on truth, and that they should take the car out to discover its truth. They find that the car is good-looking, well-furnished, and has excellent brakes and handling. However, owing to its 2.0L diesel engine, it has very little power and a very small powerband. They come back to the execs lamenting about this fact and saying that VW have ruined the Scirocco by giving it a weak engine, and the execs spin it around by suggesting that VW instead have made diesel more attractive by wrapping it up in a great package.
Jeremy insists that advertisements are about saying as little as possible with as much fanfare as possible, and his attempts incorporate explosions and severed limbs. James takes a more factual approach, discussing the various efficiency characteristics of the car. Their attempts are met with much criticism, and then they collaborate on an advert centred on a funeral. This does not go well either, and finally they remake the classic VW ad they were shown at the onset of the challenge, with a certain negative ending.
In the end, James makes an ad showing a plant’s germination, implying that the Scirocco combines power and eco-friendliness. Jeremy’s ad shows clips about the evacuation of Poland following the German invasion in WWII, overlaid with various news anchors’ reports about the events, and finally ends with the catchphrase “VW Scirocco: Berlin to Warsaw in one tank”. Jeremy asks the audience to, through a show of hands, determine which ad was the best. The audience overwhelmingly votes for Jeremy, who receives a pair of slim glasses as a prize.
Cool Wall: For the first time in the series there is a segment on the Cool Wall. Several cars are ranked, including the BMW Z4 and Nissan 370Z shown in the prior episode, and the Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SV and Ford Focus RS from prior episodes. Hammond believes the 370Z is worthy of cool status, but because Jeremy disagrees he places it in the top corner of the “seriously uncool” section, well out of Hammond’s reach. Hammond responds by driving a power lift up to the wall, removing the 370Z, and placing it well above the wall on a ventilation duct in the “cool” section. Clarkson then kicks the kill switch on the lift, leaving Hammond stuck up there while he places the Pagani Zonda (one of Richard’s favourite cars) as well as various pictures of Hammond at the bottom of the “seriously uncool” section.
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: The guest is American talk show host Jay Leno. After discussing his extensive car collection, his lap is shown. He clocks in at 1:48.8, faster than Helen Mirren, who he hoped he would beat, and making him the second-fastest American behind Mark Wahlberg.
Feature: Jeremy drives the Aston Martin V12 Vantage, a modified version of the V8 Vantage with a V12 engine pulled from the Aston Martin DBS V12. The feature shows a montage of rolling and interior shots of the Vantage, with Clarkson remarking very little on the car itself (he says it is an Aston Martin Vantage with a V12 engine, what do you think its going to be like? Stating that it should cover everything he desires.), and more about how various factors such as the Environment, the Economy, the war on speed and problems in the Middle East mean that in the future such cars will be consigned to the history books. Clarkson ends the series by simply saying ‘Goodnight’, as the credits roll over continuing shots of the Vantage driving through mountainous British countryside.
“Some say that he cut that man’s hair, and that if he compensated a soldier for getting wounded he wouldn’t try to take it all back again. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”
Stig Power Laps
Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst Edition
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car
Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst & HSV Maloo Review:
01:10 – 01:29 – Kronos Quartet – String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima) – Closing
01:40 – 02:02 – Amon Tobin – Stampton Bridge
02:18 – 02:48 – Klaus Badelt – Operation Rescue Dawn
02:52 – 03:34 – JD Mayer – Tent City
03:36 – 04:08 – Massive Attack – The Dog Obeys
04:08 – 04:41 – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘N’ Roll
04:43 – 05:08 – Kronos Quartet – String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima) – Closing
05:13 – 05:38 – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Very Rare
05:38 – 05:40 – Autechre – Basscadet
05:48 – 05:59 – The Presets – My People
05:59 – 06:25 – Explosions in the Sky – Greet Death
06:37 – 07:06 – Justice – Phantom Pt. II
07:14 – 07:23 – The White Stripes – Icky Thump
07:37 – 08:17 – Late of the Pier – VW
08:19 – 08:32 – Aphex Twin – Avril 14th
Volkswagen Scirocco Adverts:
20:44 – 21:09 – James Newton Howard – Split to London
21:58 – 22:30 – Secret Machines – Atomic Heels
22:32 – 23:08 – LCD Soundsystem – Big Ideas
23:27 – 23:47 – Deadly Avenger – The Bayou
23:53 – 24:00 – James Newton Howard – Back to the Unit
25:52 – 26:03 – James Newton Howard – Split to London
26:36 – 27:02 – The Simon Park Orchestra – Up to Date
27:34 – 27:43 – James Newton Howard – Security Meeting
29:47 – 29:56 – James Newton Howard – Back to the Unit
29:57 – 30:04 – Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard – The Wheat
30:04 – 30:27 – Queens of the Stone Age – First it Giveth
30:27 – 30:41 – Mychael Danna, DeVotchKa – The Winner Is
31:17 – 31:34 – Brian Eno – Chemin de Fer
31:40 – 31:49 – Queens of the Stone Age – First it Giveth
32:28 – 32:32 – The Simon Park Orchestra – Up to Date
32:54 – 33:36 – Francis Monkman – Lydia (a)
34:03 – 34:23 – Samuel Barber – Adagio for Strings, Op.11
34:24 – 34:51 – Kasabian – Secret Alphabets (Instrumental)
35:07 – 35:25 – Kasabian – Secret Alphabets (Instrumental)
35:42 – 35:48 – Kasabian – Secret Alphabets (Instrumental)
36:02 – 36:22 – Kasabian – Secret Alphabets (Instrumental)
36:39 – 37:08 – James Newton Howard – Following Claire
37:19 – 37:49 – Geoff Zanelli – Gloom With A View
39:35 – 40:18 – Graeme Revell – What’s My Line-Up?
Aston Martin Vantage V12:
57:37 – 61:51 – Brian Eno – An Ending (Ascent)
This is the greatest episode of Top Gear ever made from the greatest season ever made, where we got not one, not two but THREE used car challenges, which are always my favourite type of challenge. Everything from the previous seven years added up to this episode. The same episode that made us cry tears of laughter from Jeremy and James’ Scirocco themed tomfoolery made us cry tears of sadness from Jeremy’s emotional piece on the Aston Martin at the end. This episode was perfect, and I don’t think anything made before or since will ever top this.