The Grand Tour (2016) s03e09 Episode Script

Aston, Astronauts and Angelina's Children

1 (ENGINE REVVING) (TRAIN WHISTLE BLASTS) (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) - Hello! - Hello, everybody! - Hel-lo! - You got tickets? Thank you so much.
Thank you, everybody.
Thank you.
RICHARD: Cut! JEREMY: Thanks so much, everybody! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And welcome.
And in today's incredibly topical show: Neil Armstrong walks on the Moon - some angry cyclists - (FURIOUS SHOUTING) and I throw a sandwich out of the window.
(APPLAUSE) All that All that is to come.
But first, Aston Martin has just launched a new car.
And here's Richard Hammond to tell us all about it.
And, well, it's not an ugly car, is it? I mean, I'm not sure about this colour.
You'd be on the phone to your doctor if your wee came out like this.
But the shape itself is stunning.
This is one of those superstar cars that leave a wake of dropped jaws and phone camera flashes.
(ENGINE REVS) And as the smallest, punchiest, sportiest car in the Aston line-up, it's fast too.
0-60 takes three-and-a-half seconds.
So you're not gonna be embarrassed by 911 Carreras.
Top speed, 195.
But here's the thing.
Astons have always been beautiful and fast in a straight line, but when you're making a sports car, that's the easy part.
It was when you dug deeper under the skin, into the areas you couldn't see, that in the past they often came up short.
The trouble is, the company has never had the money or the manpower of Porsche or Ferrari, and you could sense that in their cars.
They just didn't feel as well made or well-engineered as some rivals.
That means they sold mainly to people listening to their hearts and not their heads, because your heart says, "I want an Aston" even when your head says, "That door doesn't fit properly.
" But this is 2018.
Good looks and speed aren't enough if bits are coming off in your hand.
This car can't be nice to drive, "for an Aston".
It can't be well made, "for an Aston".
It's got to be good, full stop.
So, let's start with the interior, a place that normally tells you straightaway if corners have been cut.
And the news in here is good.
Everything you see is brand new, not warmed-up leftovers from an older model.
And it all feels properly put together as it should in a car that costs £121,000.
And if you push down on the electric height adjustor, it has the lowest driving position of any car I've ever been in.
I mean, I wouldn't claim to be a tall man, but this is low.
I feel seven.
Then we come to the engine.
It's a four-litre V8.
It has twin turbos.
It makes 510 horsepower, and it's German.
Specifically from the AMG division of Mercedes.
Yes, this will make people of a Brexity persuasion choke on their real ale, but look at it this way.
Why waste money you don't have developing an OK engine, when you can buy in a brilliant one? Besides, there's a plaque here that says, look, it's been inspected by somebody at Aston Martin.
Presumably to make sure those slapdash German engineers have done things properly.
But although the Vantage has Mercedes lungs, the engineers have tried to make sure it sings with an Aston voice.
(ENGINE ROARS) Yeah, in an AMG, this engine doesn't make this noise.
In a Merc, it's all oom-pah bass.
Whereas Aston Martin have added some British gravel to the mix.
(ENGINE REVS) (ENGINE RUMBLES) Rrrr! So, it's handsome, quick, tuneful and feels well built.
But now we come to the acid test - how the new Vantage handles corners.
And, on paper at least, things seem promising.
(TYRES SCREECH) It's built on an all-new chassis, a shorter version of the one under the DB11.
And it's the first Aston Martin to be fitted with an electronic diff, a very expensive but very valuable weapon of war.
So, let's see what's what.
(TYRES SCREECH) This is in control of its power.
It really is.
It's been set up by a man who used to work at suspension masters Lotus.
And you can tell.
This just feels fabulous.
(RICHARD LAUGHS) This knows what it wants to be.
There's no soft GT mode like you get in the DB11.
Your entry level setting is Sport, and then it goes Sport Plus and Track.
That's what I want, it's a sports car! I don't want a soggy setting.
Yeah, this is superb.
Of course, it's still a car from a small British company, so there are a few issues.
Visibility is not brilliant.
For me, sitting down here, it's like trying to drive a car from the back of a crowded lift.
There's no glove box.
I don't like the sound of the indicators.
It's like a 1980s Casio keyboard.
(THUD OF INDICATOR CLICKING) And there's too much Alcantara.
This will be all right when it's new, but buy one of these second-hand, and it'll be like using somebody else's flannel.
Still, in the big scheme of things, these are just niggles.
Because overall, the Vantage is fantastic fun.
In the past, you could buy an Aston and love it, but still know deep down that a 911 was a better car.
With this new Vantage, that gap has been closed to a point where it doesn't matter.
It's not just brilliant "for an Aston Martin".
It's brilliant, full stop.
(APPLAUSE) Good car.
It is a good car.
- I can see out.
- Can you? Can you really? Amazing, I know.
I really can see out.
I agree with you, it is a brilliant, brilliant car.
But one thing I ought to mention - you know all that tech inside it? That is Mercedes stuff, but it's last-generation Mercedes stuff they're fitting.
But it's still better than all the stuff that Aston used to fit.
That's true.
No, that is true.
And the other thing, you expressed surprise that it's got that AMG engine.
But remember, the Aston V12, they've been using for years, that's German.
- It's made in Germany.
- Yes.
That makes it sort of German, doesn't it? No, no, no.
It's where it's designed and developed that matters.
- No, he has got a point.
- Yeah, I mean your autobiography, you could get it printed in Germany but it would still be dreary because you designed and conceived it.
It's Can't argue with that, May, it would be.
Let's not get bogged down with what's German, and what's not.
The point is, OK, unlike the previous Vantage, that is way, way more than a pretty face.
I mean, a lot more.
But, now, let's find how fast Abbie can get one around the Eboladrome.
(ENGINE REVS) JEREMY: And away it goes, with a little bit of wheel spin and a wiggle of the hips under power, but Abbie's got it under control, hammering onto the Isn't.
Working away there at that unusual and frankly stupid square steering wheel.
And already we're at the drop down into Your Name Here.
Was that a four-wheel drift? And another one! And now hard braking Ooh, look at that, turns in well.
And that looks quick.
Seems a bit lively there as all that turbocharged torque tries to kick the tail out.
If this run was at night, she'd be in trouble because the Vantage's headlamps are woeful! But no complaints about the speed, that's for sure.
Oh, coming in wide for Old Lady's House.
But keeping it neat round there, and now the short squirt down to Substation.
Floaty under braking.
Flicks it in.
Just Field of Sheep to go.
Surprisingly un-slidy and across the line! - Oh, there we go.
- Looks exciting.
- It does.
- That was lively.
Like an old-fashioned racing car, moving around.
- The old days.
- That was a good-looking lap, that.
Let's find out where it ended up on our lap board.
Shall we? Here we go.
Aye, aye ooh.
Exactly the same speed as a 911 GT3 RS.
When you think the Aston doesn't have a massive wing and scaffolding in the back, that is pretty impressive.
- It is very impressive.
- But never mind that.
It's no faster than a BMW M5.
Yes, but I think what that says, James, is the M5 is seriously quick.
- Well, quite.
- Yeah, yeah.
You do forget just how fast that thing is.
It is, it certainly is.
But now it is time to buy a four-pack of chat (LAUGHTER) from the off-licence of debate.
(GROANS) on Conversation Street! (MELLOW JAZZ) (LAUGHTER) - I remember that one.
- I remember that one.
- I enjoyed that one a lot.
- (LAUGHS) Anyway, Volkswagen.
They've come up with a new, a one-off, racing car.
All electric, uh all-wheel drive.
It's called the IDR, I've got a picture of it here.
Now, what interests me about it is that there's a claim that it generates so much cornering force, it can cause the driver to black out.
Is Is that a good idea? A car that renders its driver unconscious? I just don't believe it.
I know Kimi Raikkonen goes unconscious, but that's normally after the race in the hotel bar.
Yeah, that doesn't count.
That is Kimi's problem.
The other problem with that is, it's not lateral G that makes you go unconscious, is it? That's G from side to side, that's not really the issue.
Lateral G is what you get in a car and it's where the blood goes from side to side.
It's only got that And I'm wide, but it only goes that far.
So in your head you've got one bit a bit drowsy and black-outy, but the other side of your head, when going round a corner, is really alert cos it's full of blood.
No, it's more interesting - different sides of your head do different things.
Go that way, and you'd be: "I want to be really precise, and do science," go this way, you'd be all creative: "I just want to paint" Algebra "I just want to sing.
" (LAUGHTER) When motor racing commentators talk about, "That car's got 5G going through that corner," you think, "But it's five lateral G.
" - Yes, exactly.
- It's not the same 5G you get in a fighter plane when the blood's going effectively from the top of your head down to the bottom of your feet, which is a very long way, so your head empties and that's when you do black out.
JAMES: Yes, exactly.
And it used to be alleged that Douglas Bader could pull tighter turns in his Hurricane than other pilots because he didn't have any legs so the blood couldn't go into them, it stayed in his body.
- I didn't know that.
- Apparently so.
Didn't that mean he'd just get a big stiffy? - Well - (LAUGHTER) Because all his, all this It's science, that is medical science! JAMES: He's right.
- All his blood went there.
- It did.
He was known during the Battle of Britain as Douglas Boner.
(LAUGHTER) "My joystick's broke! Oh, I've got the wrong one.
" "Ooh, I love a dogfight, a nice" We We can move on.
Now, you might be wondering why we haven't featured the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, their new sort of super luxury SUV, on this series.
And that's because Rolls-Royce did express some reservations about lending us one because they said they were worried we might say it was ugly.
- Why would they think that? - Because they've seen it? (LAUGHTER) We've actually got a picture of the Cullinan here.
There it is.
- JAMES: Yeah.
- RICHARD: (GAGS) Oh, sorry.
JEREMY: It's a very interesting car.
And I don't doubt that it's exquisite to drive and to sit in.
But it is disgusting to look at, isn't it? - That's the main thing.
- I've been thinking about this, OK? You might want to drive one, or own one.
But you're gonna have to come out of your house and walk up to it and see it.
So I was wondering, could you dig a tunnel, if you had one, from your cellar, and then that emerges underneath it? - Then you wouldn't have to look at it.
- Exactly.
You'd have to cut a hole in the bottom of your Rolls-Royce to get in and nobody's gonna do that.
What if you fitted the Cullinan with you know that magic glass that is clear when you look through it at right angles, but if you look through it at any other angle, it's sort of frosted so you can't - That won't work.
- How do you know? Because I've got that - and I genuinely have got that - in the bathroom in my flat in London.
- Right.
- Now, for six years I've been taking showers by the window.
(LAUGHTER) Cleaning my gentleman's area very thoroughly, and sometimes quite quickly.
And I'm actually not making this up.
The floor is six storeys down, the pavement.
You go, "Well, I can't see that", so nobody down there can see me.
" But a friend, the other day, said.
"You know you can be seen from the street?" - Oh, my God! - Seriously.
- But you can't see out when you're in the shower? - No, I said.
- Well, the builder put the glass in the wrong way round.
- Must have done.
I think that builder saw you coming.
(LAUGHS) (APPLAUSE) - I think the only answer for Rolls-Royce - Hold on.
I just heard Is there a phone in there? No, you had a stroke.
I'm sure I heard a phone.
Wait a minute, wait a minute.
- WOMAN: My school alarm, I'm sorry.
- Was it you? - My school alarm, I'm sorry.
- Your what alarm? My school alarm to pick my kids up from school.
Oh, well, that Now you're a terrible parent! (LAUGHTER) Oh, ladies and gentlemen, the art of great parenting, right there! I'm gonna call the NSPCC on you.
How old are your children? - Oh, 11 - Oh, for God's sake! She still hasn't moved.
- Oh, they'll be fine.
- 11, nine, eight and three.
- I wasn't that interested.
- (LAUGHTER) We've established they're not in their 30s, is what I was trying to say.
- Meanwhile - Yes.
I don't think that that one-way glass that isn't one-way is gonna work.
I think really Rolls-Royce's only hope with that new car is they're gonna have to hope they can find a lot of very rich people with absolutely no taste.
- That's their only chance.
- Where are they gonna find people like that, I wonder? - Well, there's Cheshire.
- Yeah.
- Dubai.
- Solihull, Monaco, Moscow.
Beverly Hills.
They're gonna sell millions of the things.
Yeah, they are.
Massive hit.
Now, there's a man in Nottingham.
He's building a house and he's told the planners that outside, the big empty area, is actually a landing pad for a self-driving electric flying car.
Hm, yeah, that sounds like what he's built is a helicopter landing pad.
Yes, it does, it does sound very like that.
Unless he's planning to land there in this, the new Aston Martin flying car.
Looks very cool.
No, Hammond, that's not a flying car, that's just a drawing of something that'll never happen.
It won't.
But somebody has actually made a real flying car and I've got a picture.
- JEREMY: That's practical! - JAMES: Pretty dreary actually, isn't it? JEREMY: You can't drive that on the road.
If you took it into town and someone dinged the folded-away wing, you couldn't fly it then.
- Nobody flies in a bent aeroplane.
- No, exactly.
And when are people gonna get it into their heads that a flying car is an aeroplane? Because, if your car flies, why the bloody hell would you drive anywhere? I mean, it just doesn't make sense.
Or worse, you're driving that, not feeling at all self-conscious around the M25, you hear there's a bit of a traffic jam ahead, so you think, "I'll lower the wings, build up to a take-off speed" of, what, 120, 150.
" The police will go, "What the bloody hell are you doing?" They're gonna have a word.
You'd need to get a pilot's licence to operate that.
- That takes months.
- And then you'd have to learn that gobbledegook you two No, you'd have to learn to communicate in the air Yes, but you two don't talk English when you get up in there.
There's a language so you can pass information quickly and clearly.
Yes, but why do you got your own alphabet for? "Did you come through the alpha vector" on the three approach to four I.
? Oh, I had to get on the tower and say I was It's about controlled airspace! "I was Mug Paper Picture Oscar.
" Why do you have to have a word for a letter? So that you know what the letter is - a P and a B on a crackly radio sound the same.
Is that why you call him a bunt all the time? JAMES AND RICHARD: Yes.
That's exactly why, so that it's clear.
Now, there is a new report which says the Scottish are the best drivers in the world.
If you think about it, they've got Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, David Coulthard, Franchitti, Allan McNish What? No, not best in that way, they mean the safest drivers in the world.
- That's what they mean.
- The safest drivers aren't the best drivers.
- Well, they sort of are.
- No, they aren't.
If that were true, if you think about it, I would be a better driver than Jackie Stewart because I've had fewer crashes.
- But I'm not better, am I? - No, you're emphatically not.
- Exactly.
- What they're saying is Actually, 51 per cent of Scottish drivers have never been in an accident.
- 51 per cent.
- That's not that good though.
That means 49 per cent of Scottish people have been in an accident.
That's nearly half of them.
- Well - No, but it's "never" is the big word, though, isn't it? I mean, never Who here's never had an accident? Never? But how long have you been driving? Um one month.
- (LAUGHTER) RICHARD: Well done! - She's doing well.
- Well, there you go.
RICHARD: Keep it up.
Keep going.
- That's better than you did.
- That's quite a record.
(LAUGHTER) I did 36 hours before I was off the road with no wheels on my car.
Er we'll drop that.
That hasn't worked out quite as well as I'd hoped.
That is the end of Conversation Street.
- Thank you very much.
Lovely, lovely.
Now, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first landings on the Moon, and I thought I should take a little celebratory look back at that truly historic mission.
James, this isn't a grand tour of whatever is in your head.
- You do know that? - No, but I promise there will be some cars in this film.
I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.
JAMES: When President Kennedy made that speech to Congress in 1961, he gave the scientists at NASA a planet-sized headache.
Let me try and put the size of that headache into some sort of perspective.
When Kennedy said those words, America's total experience in space amounted to just one 15-minute suborbital flight that reached an altitude of just 116 miles above the Earth.
By contrast, a journey to the Moon was 238,000 miles, and no rocket existed that was powerful enough to get the astronauts there.
And even if they did reach their destination, there was then the immense challenge of getting them home again.
Let's imagine this basketball I'm holding is the Earth, in which case the Moon can be represented by a baseball 23 feet away.
There it is over there.
All the space exploration that had taken part so far, so all the Mercury capsules, all the Soviet stuff, that happened about there.
Now, the thickness of this piece of paper represents the corridor that the astronauts would have to fly along to get home safely.
Now, to do that, obviously you'd want some sort of guidance computer on board.
Problem is, the computers of the time were so huge and so primitive, they lived in their own buildings.
And the President wanted all this done within the decade.
People thought he was mad.
Nevertheless, the brains at NASA knuckled down, and throughout the 1960s set about developing and testing the rockets and the technology that would be needed to crack this monumental nut.
However, machinery on its own was not enough.
Equally important to the success of the space programme were the astronauts.
Now, these men were generally of a type.
They were fighter jocks and test pilots, and they were very familiar with moving around at very high speed.
So, and I did promise we'd get some cars into this, when it came to moving around on the face of the Earth, there was one car they favoured above all others.
(ROCK MUSIC) The Corvette - America's "premier" sports car.
The big love-in between the American astronauts and the Corvette started with Alan Shepard the first American in space in 1961.
And on his safe return to Earth, he was given a free Corvette by General Motors, a sort of medal for services to the country.
(MILITARY MARCH PLAYS) However, even though Shepard was deemed worthy of a tickertape hero's welcome by the American public, NASA saw astronauts like him as government employees, and as such, unable to accept free gifts.
So, an enterprising Corvette dealer near the Cape Kennedy Space Center in Florida came up with a cunning idea.
He offered the astronauts a special deal whereby they could lease a Corvette for the enormous sum of one dollar.
Now, NASA couldn't complain about that.
Technically the cars weren't free, they were being paid for.
So all the astronauts bit his hand off.
Gus Grissom, the second American in space, had one.
So did Gordon Cooper, a man so cool he actually fell asleep on the launch pad while waiting for lift-off.
Jim Lovell, the hero of the ill-fated.
"Houston, we've had a problem" Apollo 13 mission - he too was a Corvette man.
Basically, in the '60s and '70s, Cape Kennedy and the surrounding roads were awash with spacemen driving one-dollar Corvettes.
But it was the holy trinity of Shepard, Cooper and Grissom who were the real petrolheads.
The good news for them was that the Space Center here at Kennedy was criss-crossed with lovely wide, straight roads which NASA engineers used to move stuff about - i.
But that meant, as far as those three were concerned, that they were in heaven.
They'd come to places like this after work and just drag race the hell out of their cars, and then they'd have them modified, and then they'd drag race them a bit more.
Gordo Cooper allegedly had his car modified up to 180 miles an hour, and he and Gus Grissom even used to go and pit crew for a racing team if they had a weekend off.
They liked cars.
Then there was astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, and as a test pilot, the first man to cross the American continent at supersonic speeds.
Clearly, this was a man comfortable with putting his foot down.
However, the car he drove was not quite as sporty as a Corvette.
Yes, John Glenn, holder of supersonic flight records and the first American to orbit the Earth, drove this.
It's called a Prinz.
It's made by the long-dead German car maker NSU, and it's a microscopic economy car.
It has an engine of just under 600cc, two cylinders.
(ENGINE JUDDERS) 0-60? 35 seconds.
But Glenn wasn't worried about the sedate pace.
He lived out in the sticks, he had a long commute to Cape Kennedy, and he wanted a car that gave him good gas mileage.
Right, let's give it some beans and see what it'll do.
(ENGINE HUMS) That's what it'll do.
- (CAR SQUEAKS) - Oh, man! (ENGINE REVS) I've read accounts by the astronauts of what the rocket launches were actually like - a lot of noise, a lot of clattering, a lot of banging.
Well, John Glenn was ready.
By 1969, just inside Kennedy's deadline, NASA was ready to try landing some men on the Moon.
The astronauts chosen were Buzz Aldrin, who drove a Corvette, Neil Armstrong, who drove a Corvette, and Mike Collins, who drove a Beetle.
Presumably that's why they left him in the command module and didn't let him walk on the lunar surface.
The rocket that would take them there, the Saturn V, was, and remains, the most complex machine ever built.
It was constructed of three million components, all of them provided, as the astronauts, used to joke, by the lowest bidder.
And it stood as tall as a 30-storey building.
NASA ANNOUNCER: Ignition sequence starts.
Six, five, four, three, two, one, zero.
All engines running.
We have a lift-off, 32 minutes past the hour.
Lift-off on Apollo 11.
At blast-off, these five engines produced seven-and-a-half million pounds of thrust.
During the first-stage burn, the rocket produced enough power to light the whole of New York for 75 minutes.
It burnt its fuel at a rate of 20 tonnes per second and just two-and-a-half minutes after launch, nearly all of it was gone leaving just enough to take the three astronauts to the Moon and return them safely to Earth.
And even though 411,000 of America's brightest minds were fully engaged in this perilous endeavour, sending three men to the Moon, bringing them home safely again, they were still very much constrained by the technology of the day.
If you have a Ford Fiesta, the engine management system in your car has 10,000 times the computer processing power that they had.
- Eagle to Houston, we have you now.
Do you read? Over.
- Loud and clear.
JAMES: When the astronauts finally approached the surface of the Moon, the landing was not without drama.
CONTROL: OK, all flight controllers, gonna go for landing.
JAMES: The designated spot was full of craters CONTROL: Houston, you are go for landing.
JAMES: forcing Armstrong to fly manually and look for another place to set down.
CONTROL: Four forward, drift in to the right a little.
OK, engine stop.
Mode control, both auto.
Descent engine command override off.
We copy you down, Eagle.
Houston, uh Tranquillity Base here.
The Eagle has landed.
When they finally landed, they had just 20 seconds of fuel remaining.
But no matter, they were down on the Moon.
That's one small step for man one giant leap for mankind.
(MILITARY BAND PLAYS) JAMES: Back on Earth, a heroes' welcome awaited.
And once he got home, Armstrong, like so many astronauts, would swap the seat in his spacecraft for a seat in a Corvette.
And when I say Corvette, I mean this actual Corvette.
This one.
This was his.
Oh, my word.
I'm turning onto the space shuttle runway.
It's three miles long.
Here are some enormous skid marks left by the wheels of the space shuttle.
But this is Neil Armstrong's Corvette! Ohh! (CHUCKLES) His hands were here.
He looked at the instruments like that.
He He touched that.
Neil Armstrong! The first person to set foot somewhere other than the Earth.
I mean, almost a quarter of the world's population watched him live.
The owner of this car, when he realised what it was he'd found, decided not to restore it.
He would leave it exactly as it was.
He would just do enough to make it run.
So he hasn't done the paint, he hasn't replaced bits in here.
This is all exactly as he found it.
There's patina on the bonnet there.
There's a scuffed bit on the door.
It's real! Hello, rev counter.
Neil Armstrong's looked at you, hasn't he? Oh, I think a Huey is coming.
There's Mr Huey, there's the evocative one.
(HELICOPTER WHIRS) Those are the two sounds of the '60s, aren't they, that one and the sound of Neil Armstrong speaking from the Moon.
Neil Armstrong's Chevrolet Corvette.
Love it.
Love it.
What an honour.
(APPLAUSE) can take off and land six times on that runway.
- Easily.
- Well done.
Thank you.
Hold on.
What's gone wrong with astronauts? They don't go to the Moon any more.
No, no, no, no, they used to be rock gods.
I mean, if you think about it, they would drive their Corvette into town, get hammered, get Chlamydia, and the next morning, they'd be upside down in a star fighter.
Whereas I met one not that long ago, he was the first astronaut ever to dock the space shuttle to the space station in space, and he turned up for the interview in a maroon Toyota Camry.
And And he had his polo shirt tucked into his chinos.
Your point about the polo shirt is? My point is very simple, OK? You look at pictures from the space station.
I follow it on Instagram.
Look at this.
I mean, I'm sorry, they look like people who run a port-a-loo rental company.
If you go for an audition with NASA, yeah, and you don't arrive in the car park in your Corvette on full opposite lock, you don't get the job.
They should get the maths out of the space programme and replace it with some flamboyance.
You probably need a little bit of maths.
No, you don't, you just want them to be funny.
No, that's children's entertainers you're thinking of, Jeremy.
- Not astronauts.
- Buzz Aldrin, a flamboyant man, used to wear shirts like that.
I met him, he had an excellent shirt on.
Very funny.
One of my favourite stories about Buzz Aldrin, second man on the Moon, you mentioned him in your film.
He was being interviewed many years after the Moon landing.
Very nervous young reporter standing there.
Live interview, this was.
"We're going over live now," and the director's going, "In five, four" And on three, Buzz Aldrin leant to the reporter and went, - "Nothing about the Moon, OK?" - (LAUGHTER) "That's all I've got!" -"I've got no questions! I've got literally nothing!" Anyway, that's enough about space.
I wanna move it on.
Because I came into the office um the other day and told these two that the Citroen C3 Aircross that I'd been driving was very good.
And they said it wasn't.
- Because it isn't.
- Yes, it is.
And I decided to prove that it is by doing one of those very thorough tests where we cover all the things that matter in a car of this type.
Wait a minute, is this gonna be one of those stupid films where you do ridiculous tests to discover if a car can, I dunno, drive faster than itself? No.
JEREMY: This is the car in question.
It's a five-seater, front-wheel drive hatchback.
Prices start at £14,720 and it looks rather funky, with those splashes of orange paint here and there.
It's also easy to see out of because the windows are made from glass.
And all the controls fall easily to hand, because they're on the dashboard or the steering wheel, rather than under the carpet in the boot.
But you may be wondering what makes it so special.
Well, to find out, I've decided to break the test down into segments, so that all the important questions can be answered.
To find out, we've come here to the banked Millbrook Bowl in Bedfordshire.
Citroen say that because the quite small, 1.
2 litre, three-cylinder engine in this particular version of the Aircross is turbocharged, it produces 128 horsepower.
And now it's time to see what that means in terms of top speed.
And here we go.
Obviously you can't go as fast on a banked track as you can on the straight and level.
I was going to ask James May why this is so, but um I was frightened he might tell me so I so I didn't.
That's 100, moving up into the fifth lane, the lane of terror.
114, there it is.
And I think that's it.
Top speed is Oh, 115.
The little car has more to give.
Right, I think we've established there that this car's top speed here on the Millbrook Bowl is 115 miles an hour.
And that, for a practical, high-riding, family SUV, which can do 50 miles to the gallon in ordinary driving, is not bad.
But can it do better? OK, what I've done now is hooked up to the back end of a Bentley Bentayga.
Now, this is a car with a top speed of 180 miles an hour.
What it's doing is, it's punching a hole in the air for me and I'm driving along in a vacuum.
So that should mean I go faster.
Let's find out.
That's 115 easily.
116 117 I'm also using less fuel, so this is good for the environment as well.
119, 120 miles an hour now.
121 this is flying! 122 miles an hour, 123! What we're doing now is proving that the Citroen C3 Aircross can go faster than itself.
124! God's truth, it's like being in Bluebird! My only worry is that I just saw a single magpie and it is Friday the 13th as I do this.
So now I'm gonna ease out of this dangerous situation.
Well, if the space is smaller than the Aircross, then the answer is no.
But if the space is bigger, then the answer is yes.
And with that sorted out, it's time for one of the most important tests a little car can face.
To find out, I've come to Southampton docks, where obviously I've been forced to wear a hard hat in case a ship lands on my head.
Anyway, as you can see, the little car has been attached by rope to the enormous car transporter.
Which I've just noticed has a face.
It's Boaty McBoatface! The challenge I'd come up with was to see if the one-tonne C3 could pull the 13,000-tonne ship a distance of 25 metres.
Right, now, I should explain that my colleagues May and Hammond think this is a stupid test.
They say the Aircross only develops 151 torques and that that isn't enough to pull a medium-sized child.
I, however, disagree.
Let's do this! (ENGINE CRUNCHES) Oh, Christ, there's some elasticity in that rope! Oh, hello? Why's it going backwards? This is a bit of a worry.
Is that ship The ship's going back! Look.
The ship is going back.
What The situation's bad.
As we reattached the tow rope, I wondered what had gone wrong.
Why did Did he put his engines in reverse as a sort of amusing joke? I mean, he is Greek, the captain.
We're not German! It's We didn't mess your economy up.
With the rope reattached, we began the test again.
Here we go.
(ENGINE STRAINING) That's just clutch spin.
Now it's just clutch.
That's clutch.
Traction control off, that's the only solution.
I think that ship is moving.
(TYRES SQUEAL) I think we're getting further and further with each pull.
Come on, Boaty! Move, you vicious boat! Give it a bit of left and right.
What a machine this is! (STRAINS) The power and strength of the Citroen.
- That - (SHIP'S HORN BLARES) That is Boaty McBoatface admitting defeat.
And with that sorted out, it was time to address the C3's practicality.
(PHONE BLEEPS) I should explain, these are not actually Angelina's children, they're much um cheaper.
Let's just get your names, first of all.
You're? - Cardboard.
- Cardboard.
- Satisfied customer.
- Satisfied customer.
- Goat.
- Goat? - Dislocated elbow.
- Dislocated elbow.
- (CLICKS TONGUE) - I'm sorry? (CLICKS TONGUE) -(CLICKS TONGUE) Is that right? Don't wanna mispronounce it.
And you're? - Vauxhall.
- Vauxhall.
Right, come on.
Let's see how many of you can get into the Citroen.
VAUXHALL: Where's my seat belt? Hang on, Vauxhall's got a problem.
What is it, Vauxhall? - No seat belt.
- There is a seat belt.
No, there isn't! Vauxhall, no, no, there must be a seat belt.
There we are.
It's somewhere in here.
You just have to find it.
Who's gonna be driving the car, though? Probably your mum.
Your dad's left home to be with a French woman.
- My dad is in America.
- Your dad's Brad Pitt.
Not your real dad, you were bought from a market somewhere.
Oh, I found it, look.
- Ta-dah! - That's just weird.
Now, come on, Vauxhall, sit properly.
They're all in.
No space, I'm afraid, for either of you.
- Y-You've had it.
- Oh.
- Can I sit in the boot? - In the boot? Well, no, because you see, if your mum goes into town, or to Africa, and buys a disabled child, where would its wheelchair go? Must say, I am surprised.
I thought horses were bigger than this.
Anyway, come on, let's see if we can uh get you in.
Come on, up you come, up you come, there you go.
Up you go.
Oh, yep.
Citroen say that this has the biggest boot in its class.
(CHURCH BELL CHIMES) To answer this, we've come to France where an armed robbery is in progress.
(ENGINE IDLING) (ENGINE REVS) (CRUNCHES) RADIO: Burglars anglais avec visages horribles are maintenant making their escape in a red nineteen-seventy-deux.
De Tomaso Pantera GTS.
Oui, je les ai vus, cinq par cinq.
Au dessus et sortir.
(SIREN BLARES) Let's do this! (SIREN BLARING) All around the world, police forces normally have pretty good cars.
The Americans have Crown Vics, Germans have BMs, Italians have Alfas.
But France has always been a bit of a burgling free-for-all, because you knew that you were only ever gonna be chased by Inspector Clouseau in a diesel Renault Mégane.
Well, not today.
Because I'm in an Aircross and I've got a moustache.
To make my life a bit tricky, the robbers' Pantera wasn't standard.
It had an all-aluminium, seven-litre V8, producing 550 horsepower - four times more than I had.
(TYRES SCREECHING, ENGINE REVS) Soon I caught up with them.
But to get ahead, I decided to take a shortcut.
- Digger.
- (HORN BLARES) - Deploy skill.
- (TYRES SCREECH) Skill used.
No need to slow down because of my raised suspension.
Come on, dogged little Citroen! Argh! You couldn't have done that in a De Tomaso.
Where is he? Where is he? (ENGINE REVVING) I can hear him.
He's like an Australian.
You can hear him before you see him.
Right, I'm gonna cut him off.
(TYRES SQUEALING) Ha-ha! Got him! (HORN BLARES) Les anglais avec les visages horribles s'enfuient.
(SIREN BLARES) I know where he's going and I know I'm gonna get there first.
Ooh, heavens! Ooh, damn it! (SIREN WAILS, TYRES SCREECH) There he is! Were this not such a serious situation, it would be a good laugh.
Ultimate baddy's car, of course, the De Tomaso Pantera.
It even has an Argentinian flag on its badge.
(HORNS BLARE) Agh! Deploying skill! (HORN BLARES) Skill s Ooh, skill not successful.
Sorry, my bad.
Oh, no, he's going right! (TYRES SCREECH) (ANGRY SHOUTING) I think I hit one.
Did I? Oh, no.
(ANGRY SHOUTING) It's OK, I've got 'em all now.
Come on, get back in the chase here, man! Payback! Little bit bumpy.
There's the car! It was beginning to seem that despite my best efforts, I wouldn't be able to catch the Pantera.
But then, when all seemed lost, the Citroen played its trump card and didn't break down.
Whereas the Pantera reverted to type and did.
There you go, son.
Oh, God! He's using hair dye! Anyway, it's now time for the final test, the big one - the answer to the question I'm asked five or six times a day.
Italy is a difficult country to invade, because it's surrounded on three sides by sea and on the fourth by mountains.
These mountains.
The Alps.
But back in 218 BC, a Tunisian general called Hannibal did cross those mountains, using elephants to carry his gear.
And what I want to know is: could he have used an Aircross instead? I mean, obviously, the Aircross wasn't invented 200 years before the Baby Jesus, but if it had been, could he have used it? We know that the Citroen is powerful and torquey.
But what really matters on a job like this is traction.
And that's where this knob down here comes in.
It engages something called the grip control system.
And that sounds like a gimmick.
But it isn't.
Last winter, Britain was hit with a weather bomb which became known as the Beast from the East.
Everything stopped and nothing was moving, apart from me in an Aircross.
I genuinely couldn't believe it.
I put it in snow mode and it was going through drifts up to its door handles.
So let's see if it can pull off the same trick here, when the track runs out and the going gets tougher.
Yes, look at the little Citroen, clawing away.
No elephant could do this.
I am zooming up here.
God knows what sorcery the computers are using to keep me going here, but they are.
(CHUCKLING) Downhill stretch here, so engaging the hill descent control.
Take your foot off the clutch and off the brake.
You can hear the anti-lock brake system working, keeping me in check, stopping the back sliding round, stopping me accelerating.
That's so clever in a little car like this! But as the climb resumed, the going got really rough.
No, no.
Let's just pop it into mud mode.
There we go.
There you have it.
Come on, little car, come on, little car.
That's the engine mountings you can hear wobbling away, but the good news is, the engine is still in.
With the satnav telling me Italy was just two miles away, I found another path.
I've passed 2,000 metres here.
Christ, if I go over the edge now Agh.
Finally, the border moved into view.
Come on, little Aircross! There you are, clever car! So there we are.
Faster than itself at the test track.
Strong enough to pull a ship.
Big enough for the entire Jolie family and a horse.
And better at invading Italy than an elephant.
- Really? What a machine.
Pumpy little car.
Are you all right? - In the head, I mean.
- What do you mean? We learned nothing.
You learned it could get to the top of that mountain, even though it doesn't have four-wheel drive.
But what about things that matter to people who buy that sort of car? What about, you know, boot, interior space? - I did boot! - OK, safety, insurance group, all that.
- That's a bit boring.
- And are you seriously expecting us to believe that a little French hatchback can catch a tuned De Tomaso Pantera on a mountain road? Well, you say that - James Bond, Goldeneye, you may remember.
He is in his Aston DB5, he's chasing the Ferrari 355, he caught up with it.
Then there was the other Bond film called Quantity of Porridge, something like that.
He is in his Aston DBS, Italian police, diesel-powered Alfa 159, keep up with him no problem at all.
You do know they're not documentaries, don't you? It was The Rock, The Rock was a Hummer and a Ferrari again.
Look, can we try and salvage some useful information out of this? There's no need.
No, there is, I mean, OK isn't that Citroen basically, tell me if I'm right, the same car as the Vauxhall Crossland? - It is.
- Yes, it is, good point.
So, for instance, would you buy one of those instead? Well, you can't have the Vauxhall with the grip control system, so it's no good as an elephant.
No, the elephant test isn't actually relevant.
Is there not something um OK, the Vauxhall, is it How easy is it to vacuum out the interior? There you go.
I knew you were gonna mention that.
So what I did was I took the Vauxhall down to a man who knows a thing or two about vacuuming, none other than Sir Dyson.
(VACUUM CLEANER WHIRS) Can you get that bit in there? (VACUUM CLEANER OFF) - Any good? - Brilliant.
- Is it? - Very easy.
Sir James Dyson.
Doing a test, an important test for us there.
- Actually was James Dyson.
- JAMES: Just a minute.
- What? - Sir James Dyson is developing a new solid state battery.
He is working on the future of global personal transport.
- Yeah.
- And you've wasted his whole afternoon vacuuming out the interior of a Vauxhall.
- Yes.
- You have literally speeded up the end of the world.
- Yes.
And on that terrible disappointment, it's time to end.
Thank you so much for watching.
See you next time.
- Goodbye.