Challenges How hard could it be? Top Gear Series 16

Top Gear: Series 16, Episode 3

  • TG test the Rolls-Royce Ghost, Mercedes S65 AMG & Bentley Mulsanne in Albania.
  • Jeremy tests the Ford Focus RS500, Cosworth Impreza STI & Volvo C30 PCP.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jonathan Ross.

Episode Guide

Watch this episode on Amazon Instant Video

Tonight’s episode begins with the TG boys in Albania, testing 3 candidate cars for the Albanian Mafia. On the ferry from Kofu to Albania, James introduces us to the car he has brought along – the new £200,000 Rolls Royce Ghost. Richard has chosen the Mercedes S65 AMG and Jeremy, well, he was meant to be in a Bentley Mulsanne. Except he wasn’t – just a few days prior Bentley decided they weren’t going to lend him the car. After the ferry docked in Albania, Jeremy shows the us the substitute car he has arranged to use instead – a Yugo 101 Skala 55. Jeremy argues that it is similar to the Bentley in a number of ways “The Yugo is exactly the same as the Bentley Mulsanne in the same way that Roy Hattersley is the same as a tub of lard.” Jeremy and Richard agree and they all hit the road, heading inland and into the rain to begin the test. James loves the Ghost, despite it being based on a BMW 7-series. Richard also loves the S65 AMG and is impressed by how much power it has for a large car. Jeremy on the other hand, isn’t so kind about his “Bentley”. He explains, “I must say I am terribly disappointed by the Bentley. It is the most expensive of the three – £220,000 – and from where I’m sitting, it is hard to see why.”

After a while the road turned to dirt – and instead of white lines to divide the lanes, the Albanians use large rocks instead. James and Richard both report that their cars pass smoothly over the rutted terrain – however Jeremy wasn’t getting on too well in the “Bentley”, eventually getting stuck on a large rock. Soon after, the road comes to an end at a river crossing – which the boys must cross on an old ferry. The boys gently load the cars, despite Jeremy’s worries of the 2.8t “Bentley” sinking the boat. A little bit further down the road, it becomes apparent that there are an insane amount of Mercedes-Benz cars on the road in Albania – giving Richard’s car the advantage of being able to blend in with the crowd. Jeremy reveals that they make up a whopping 80% of all cars registered in the country, and also suggesting that the majority of them have been stolen from neighbouring countries. The rain subsides and the boys hit a coast road. Jeremy’s “Bentley” overheats after some spirited driving and comes to a stop on a steep hill. After cooling down it fails to start again, so he attempts to roll backwards and push start the car in reverse – but this fails as well after he runs up against a side barrier. A roadside mechanic gets it going again and the boys press on, eventually arriving at a disused submarine base – with Jeremy insisting on stopping to check out some of the rusty old subs. In the next test, the boys compare the cars to see which one is best at fitting a dead body in the boot. James goes first and attempts to lift the rather large man’s body into the boot, but to no avail. Embarrassingly, the man springs back to life to help him out – climbing into the boot of the Ghost and fitting successfully. The Mercedes was up next, but a boot mounted fridge prevented the man from getting his legs in. He did however fit in the “Bentley”, but he could easily be seen through the rear window – defeating the purpose of putting him in there in the first place.

In the news, Jeremy mentions a mind reading hat which Honda has developed. Jeremy shows us the new 4-wheel drive Ferrari FF and Richard mentions the new Fiat 500 Twin-air, which is rather thirsty despite having a 2-cylinder engine.

In the next segment, Jeremy is out on the track testing a new Cosworth car – the Subaru Impreza STI CS400. Except he reveals there aren’t many Subaru parts remaining on the car – “The 2.5L flat four engine is fitted with new pistons, bearings, conrods, gaskets and head nuts. Along with a totally reworked oil pump, turbocharger, intercooler, intake system and exhaust.” There have been similar modifications elsewhere on the car too -with new wheels, tyres, springs, dampers, bushings and brakes. Jeremy suggests these changes help add a little bit of magic to the car, which used to be found on old model Subaru Impreza’s. Jeremy also praises the ride quality and also the sheer speed of the car – with a 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds. But this comes at a cost – turbo lag. At 60mph in 5th gear, putting your foot to the floor does almost nothing.

Jeremy then wheels out a competitor – the Ford Focus RS500. Jeremy calls it “Brilliant”, even though it has slightly less power and is front wheel drive. The Focus can also do 165mph – which is 10mph faster than a BMW M5. It is also well equipped and only costs £35,000, which is £15,000 less than the Cosworth Impreza. Logic would have the Focus as the car to buy – however it isn’t that simple. Jeremy introduces a third contender – the Volvo C30 PCP “Polestar”. The PCP is based on a normal C30, but in a drag race the PCP beats both the Subaru and the Ford. The PCP uses the same engine that is found in the Focus, however Volvo has managed to get 400bhp out of it – meaning 0-60mph in . It also has four-wheel drive and handles incredibly well even in the rain. Unfortunately the PCP was built as a one-off and will never be put into production. Back in the studio, the Subaru and the Ford are both put around the track in the wet – with the Subaru being 3 seconds faster most likely due to the advantage of 4wd. Jeremy also reveals that the Cosworth Impreza and Focus RS500 are both being made in very limited numbers and have already sold out.

Jeremy introduces Jonathan Ross as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Jonathan laps a slow 1:49.00 on a wet track.

Back in Albania, the boys have lined their cars up on a disused runway to have a drag race. Richard is confident that the 604bhp Mercedes will be victorious – and while James’ Rolls Royce has only 563bhp, it has 3 extra gears, bringing the total to 8. Jeremy’s “Bentley” fails to start so Richard and James give him a push start. It splutters to life and Jeremy leaves them behind to get a head start. Jeremy and Richard rush back to their cars and set off in pursuit – with the Mercedes being the slightly faster of the two. They soon overtake Jeremy and Richard wins the race by a few car lengths. Afterwards, the boys explore the airfield and discover a large amount of abandoned MIG fighter jets after the “Bentley” overheats. Jeremy and James re-live their cold war fantasies while the Bentley’s engine cools, with Richard choosing to wait in the Mercedes.

In the final test, the boys decide to rob a bank to see which of the three makes a better getaway car. The next day, Jeremy exits the bank first and takes the Mercedes. Richard comes out next and takes the Rolls Royce – unfortunately leaving James with the “Bentley”. Jeremy and Richard race through the city together and are followed closely by the Albanian Rozzers as they attempt to make their way to the ferry to Kofu. James has the heat all over him as the “Bentley” struggles to pull away. Richard and James eventually make it to the ferry and it leaves the port. James however, was not so lucky and ends up sending the Yugo over the edge of a cliff, crashing down in the valley below.

Back in the studio, Jeremy, Richard and James all agree that the Mercedes S65 AMG is the best car of the three.

Some say…

“Some say he once tore a goat in half, and that he is now regretting buying his new holiday home in downtown Cairo. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”

Stig Power Laps

Cosworth Impreza STI CS400
1:27.70 (wet)

Ford Focus RS500
1:30.80 (wet)

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Jonathan Ross
1:49.00 (wet)


Albanian Mafia Car Test, Pt. 1:
01:10 – 01:45 – John Murphy – Hit-Girl & Big Daddy
01:53 – 02:15 – Ramin Djawadi – Merchant of Death
03:20 – 04:31 – The Prodigy – Stand Up
04:40 – 04:51 – Jon Hopkins – The Low Places
04:56 – 05:10 – Jon Hopkins – The Low Places
05:15 – 05:51 – Gustavo Santaolalla – Iguazu
05:54 – 06:40 – Ramin Djawadi – Merchant of Death
07:07 – 07:15 – Alexandre Desplat – The Commute
07:15 – 07:40 – Fuck Buttons – Ribs Out
07:42 – 08:03 – David Lynch & John Neff – Go Get Some
08:05 – 08:35 – Danny Elfman – Walk to Rasul’s
08:37 – 09:17 – Alexandre Desplat – The Commute
09:53 – 10:01 – The Chameleons – Second Skin
10:04 – 10:42 – The Chameleons – Second Skin
10:44 – 11:02 – The Make-Up – Save Yourself
11:33 – 11:51 – The Make-Up – Save Yourself
11:57 – 12:38 – Lisa Gerrad & Pieter Bourke – The Subordinate
12:38 – 12:59 – David Arnold – Nothing Sinister
13:22 – 13:38 – Hans Zimmer – Specter in the Fog

High Performance Hatchbacks:
23:17 – 23:23 – Brian Tyler – No Rules of Engagement
23:22 – 23:28 – The Qemists – Drop Audio (Instrumental)
23:28 – 24:08 – Ilan Eshkeri – Soldiers Attack
24:35 – 25:12 – 30 Seconds to Mars – Stranger in a Strange Land
25:12 – 25:45 – Blockhead – Sunday Séance (Loka Remix)
25:51 – 26:18 – U.N.K.L.E – Ever Rest (Instrumental)
26:18 – 26:30 – Mark Mancina – Pop Quiz
26:26 – 26:34 – The Qemists – Take It Back
26:34 – 26:41 – ?
26:41 – 27:56 – Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard – Myotis
27:56 – 28:22 – Ilan Eshkeri – Soldiers Attack
28:21 – 28:40 – Patrick Chardonett – Eve By Day (Ripperton’s Lovelee Dae Mix)
28:51 – 29:00 – Hexstatic – Distorted Minds (Zero dB Remix)
29:00 – 29:14 – John Murphy – Kanada’s Death, Pt. 1
29:14 – 29:24 – Coldcut & Hexstatic – Timber (Seiji Remix)
29:24 – 29:49 – Brian Tyler – Hunting Mercenaries
29:52 – 30:07 – For A Minor Reflection – Dansi Dans
30:24 – 30:55 – The Qemists – Stompbox
30:55 – 31:34 – Brian Tyler – The Compound
31:34 – 32:21 – Wild Beasts – Underbelly (Instrumental)

‘The Stig’ Lap:
33:44 – 33:48 – The Four Tops – Loco in Acapulco
34:08 – 34:12 – The Four Tops – Loco in Acapulco

Albanian Mafia Car Test, Pt. 2:
47:13 – 47:30 – ?
47:50 – 48:11 – Harry Gregson-Williams, Trevor Rabin – NSA Research
48:09 – 48:56 – Zack Hemsey – Mind Heist
49:10 – 49:56 – Zack Hemsey – Mind Heist
50:00 – 50:07 – Zack Hemsey – Mind Heist
50:28 – 51:00 – The Choir of the Trinity College – In Paradisum
51:00 – 52:19 – Steve Jablonsky – Sam at the Lake
52:40 – 53:25 – John Murphy – Leaving Rasul’s
53:46 – 54:34 – John Williams – Munich, 1972
54:34 – 54:52 – Zack Hemsey – Mind Heist
54:52 – 56:36 – Brian Tyler – Hunting Mercenaries
56:42 – 57:34 – Hans Zimmer – Dream is Collapsing
57:34 – 59:10 – Ramin Djawadi – Arc Reaktor
59:10 – 59:25 – Marius De Vries, Ilan Eshkeri – Roof Jump
59:35 – 59:50 – Marius De Vries, Ilan Eshkeri – Roof Jump


Related posts

Top Gear: Series 22, Episode 8

Sean McKellar

Top Gear: Series 22, Episode 7

Sean McKellar

Top Gear: Series 22, Episode 3

Sean McKellar

Top Gear: Series 22, Episode 2

Sean McKellar

Top Gear: Series 22 – Patagonia Special (2/2)

Sean McKellar

Top Gear: Series 22 – Patagonia Special (1/2)

Sean McKellar


the guy with no name December 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Did anyone else notice the Sniper Ghost Warrior soundtrack during the final chase (which by the way was awesome)?

Jay November 14, 2013 at 5:01 am

What is the song in the background when they are at the air field looking at old migs? I have heard it on something else but I don’t know what, I thought desperate housewives

the guy with no name December 7, 2014 at 7:31 pm

I don’t know the song name but I remember it being used in the first Transformers.

Qualitymax September 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm

The episode in Albania was probably the best ever.
Just like a real action move lots of adrenaline.


Leave a Comment