Top Gear 14.2

In this week’s episode of Top Gear, the boys built their own car, a guest drove round the track and they performed a test of an Audi and a Chevrolet.

First off, the guest. I had no idea who this guy was, but apparently he is in some Twilight movie that is quite popular. His name is Michael Sheen, and really, that’s all I know about him. Other than he was in Frost/Nixon and does a good impersonation of Tony Blair, he is also very quick around the track. Even though he didn’t seem to be taking the correct line or driving very smooth, he somehow managed to eek out a lap that was very impressively fast. I believe that the whole lap was won in the second to last corner, where he entered at an unbelievable pace that I have never before seen. Maybe more stars should use that tactic.

In the car test, Clarkson had an Audi R8 V10 on track. He said it was amazingly quick, and it should be. The thing has a Lamborghini V10 in the back that pumps out 520 hp, but it also costs about $150,000. And it doesn’t even look that much different from the V8, except for the little V10 badge on the arches and those horrible looking wheels. Really, those wheels are horrendous and I’m surprised they were approved. Overall, the car sounds good, looks good and goes really fast; but not as fast as the Chevy Corvette ZR1. Though these two cars may not seem like direct competitors, they are actually closer than you might think. For one thing, the Vette has a supercharged V8 that pumps out a ridiculous 638 hp and 604 ft lbs of torque. This means that it is faster than the Audi through the quarter mile and has a higher top speed. It is also surprisingly faster around a track, though you really do have to work at it to make it fast. Also, the Corvette costs only $107,000, and that is a bargain for the performance that you get. However, the Audi is, of course, put together better, will last longer, is faster in the real world, looks better and isn’t made of plastic. Plus, Corvettes have some of the worst seats in the business for being a sports car. Hell, my Subaru has sportier seats that that thing. In the end, the Vette blitzed the Audi around the track, even though it was damp as well. I can’t imagine how fast that thing would be if it had actually been dry.

In the third segment, the boys took a look at building their own electric car and posed the question, “How hard can it be?” turns out, it’s really hard. With Hammond on the chassis, May on the motors and Clarkson (the useless sod) on the body, their work all came together to create Geoff. It turned out to be a big box with a TVR chassis and two batteries for power. The top speed of Geoff was a paltry 10 mph and, as everyone should have seen coming, the boys got into trouble when they clogged up streets, caused slow downs on motorways and eventually left the car alone where it rolled down a hill and into a tree. But that wasn’t the end of the car. They came back in the second half of the segment and remade Geoff as the Thrust Eagle Hammerheadi… or something like that. Anyway, the basic car was exactly the same, with a new bumper and more batteries. They then took the car to the UK proving grounds and put it through its paces. They smashed it into a wall, put it in the side impact machine and performed a drag race with it against tough competition. The car, amazingly, passed all of the tests with flying colors and was given to the auto reviewers at Autocar so that they could test it. Turns out that it actually sucks.

Next week it sounds like they will be making rally cars or something and be figuring out which car company has made the greatest number of brilliant cars. Also, flying caravans; so stay tuned.

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