It’s sad to say this, but it’s true. There are only two more episodes left for this run of Top Gear. However, they seem to be getting better by the week. This time, the boys had one of their famous “Cheap Car Challenges,” Jeremy drove the new Jaguar XRF against an M5 and invents a pollution free car, while the guest was Sienna Miller.
First to the XFR. This is the Jaguar that is the competition for the M5 and the E55 AMG. It may seem a little too soft at first, but Clarkson reckons that it has what it takes to be a viable alternative to the German saloons. He loved the interior and the seats and the versatility that the car gave him. Not only is it comfortable enough for everyday use, it is powerful enough to give the M5 a run for its money. Of course, Clarkson still likes the M5 for the track, but he says that this Jaguar is just as good as the M5 in every other way, and much better on the road. High praise from a guy who loves the M5. I have to admit that I also love the M5, but to a lesser extent than Clarkson does. I really like the look of the XFR and if I had the money, would probably get one if I my only choice was between the two of them. Not only is the Jag more understated, it would be better for all of these potholed roads we have here in the Midwest. That is one great car.
The cheap car challenge that they had involved them purchasing rear-wheel drive cars for less than 1500 quid. This was in reference to the boys saying that if new drivers want to have fun, they need to get rear-wheel drive, because all new front-wheel drive cars are not any fun at all ever in a million years. Ok, so it may not have been that bad, but that was the gist of it. So they all met up in France with their cars and proceeded to go about mucking around in them. Clarkson showed up in a Porsche 944 S2. Why he is so on about these cars is beyond me, but whatever. Richard Hammond showed up in a very nice (for the money) Nissan 300ZX twin turbo! And James May? Well, he did what Captain Slow would do and showed up in a Ford Capri. Oh well, I guess he had his reasons. I was very impressed with Hammond’s purchase. For one thing, Clarkson’s car had the miles that I expected out of a 1500 quid vehicle; 202,000 or something. Hammond’s on the other hand, had only done half of that. Bascially, that thing was ready to go and it even came with Volk wheels. He got a hell of a deal. And James’ car had probably about a gazillion miles on it considering that it started to smoke and gave up completely after the third challenge. Of course, what would be a challenge without having a backup car in case one of them broke down. Much like the hated Beetle from the Africa special, this time they had the hated Morris Marina. To say that the Marina Owners Club hates Top Gear because of their previous actions toward the car would be an understatement. Eventually, it was James that had to pilot the atrocious car.
The first challenge was a race, of course, against The Stig in a front-wheel drive car. And of course, they all lost. The second pitted their cars in a 0-60 and back to 0 test in which they all had to stop before hitting something beloved to them. May had a new piano in front of him, Clarkson his drum kit, and Hammond a motorcycle. May was obviously not very happy about this test considering his car would probably be still accelerating when he hit his piano. Hammond was fairly confident and Clarkson could only hope for the best. At the starting line, all the cars accelerated cleanly away with Hamster in the lead. He was also the first to pull up and missed his bike by a clean margin. Clarkson’s Porsche was next and his car pulled up just in time and only bumped his precious drum kit. James May was very unfortunate and completely ran over his piano. I’m not sure he was even on the brakes when he hit it. This ended up seriously damaging his car and it constantly poured smoke from the engine bay into the cabin afterward. Eventually, it even died on him and he had to use the hated Morris. Their final challenge involved them driving to a ski resort and going ice racing of all things. And their competition included former Formula One driver Olivier Panis. They were all demolished, but eventually because of Hammond and Clarkson going at each other, May actually slipped through in the Marina and won their event. As it happens, a piano fell on top of it and crushed it. All in all, a good episode. Oh and in case you were wondering, the star was Sienna Miller, who was all right in the car, looked good on the couch and is going to be in a little movie called GI Joe. This weekend is more Formula One action as the teams head to Hungary. I’ll have a full report on Monday with predictions tomorrow.