Top Gear (2002) s03e02 Episode Script

The Team Meets New Stig

Top Gear Series 03, Episode 02 Tonight, we drive like this on the road; Stephen Fry in our reasonably priced car; and how many caravans can you jump in a Volvo? Good evening.
Now, those of you who were watching last week may remember that the Stig attempted his most daring stunt yet.
He went out to HMS Invincible and attempted to reach 100 miles an hour on the 200-metre runway.
Now, as you can see, he went too fast.
He was unable to stop and he careered into the sea.
I should explain that the ship was off the coast of Portugal at the time.
The water there is four miles deep.
Now, I guess some of you will be expecting him to walk through the door with a comedy fish in his helmet.
But I'm afraid I have some bad news.
The Stig is dead.
And so, we've prepared this little tribute to the easy-listening man in black.
Looking fast.
Oh, that is very fast! Good Stig! Oh, nearly a tail slide, but he still cut the parallel.
Stoke up the Stig! Up to a huge speed! -And he crosses the line in -My car! And to get it back, you'll have to be a genius! He's sideways, he's sideways! he's lost it! One of these days, he's gonna kill himself and we're gonna need a new Stig.
"Ooh, no, baby please don't go.
" "And if you leave me now," "you'll take away the very heart of me.
" "Ooh, no, baby please don't go.
" "Ooh, girl, I just want you to stay.
" Very sad day.
But there's plenty more where he came from.
So, ladies and gentlemen, a very big hand please for Top Gear's new Stig! Like the last one, the dead one, this one will be letting his driving do the talking.
And he'll be doing just that actually, little later on, in this.
It's a new super-fast version of the BMW M3.
And we had the devil's own job thinking where we could test it.
Then it struck us.
It was obvious: the Isle of Man.
This is the CSL, a tricksied-up, hunkered-down road racer that's come among us shaved, spruced and wearing a ã58,000 suit.
So, why the Isle of Man then? This little island, in the middle of the Irish Sea, is most famous for motorcycles, but there's so much more to it than that.
There are castles.
This one is home to the Moddey Dhoo, a huge dog that terrifies people to death.
Nigel Mansell used to live here, Rick Wakeman and Norman Wisdom still do.
It's like Beverly Hills with kippers.
There's tradition, too.
This place is home to the first-ever waterwheel, an old train, some cottages, and the oldest parliament in the world.
And now we're getting to the nub of the reason why I came - the politics.
You see, the Queen is the Head of State here, but the Isle of Man is not in the EU, and Tony Blair is not the prime minister.
Which means that when you get out of the villages, there are no speed limits! They haven't really heard of the nanny state here.
And you're taxed at 10%.
And there's nothing to stop me going round this corner like this! This, then, is the ideal place to test the most hardcore BMW ever made.
To save weight, which is the killer in any good car, you don't get electric seats, you don't get air-conditioning, you don't even get a radio.
Think of it as a BMW with bulimia.
I suspect if you brimmed the tank right to the top, it would find that an affront to its weight-saving program, and would simply vomit it all out again.
And the diet isn't limited to the interior either.
The roof, as you can see, is made from carbon fibre.
The rear window is made from special thin glass.
The boot lid is made from plastic, and the floor of the boot, and I'm not joking, is made from cardboard.
This car is as light as a buttercup, but under here, you'll find the heart of a medieval Manx dog.
You even look at that engine, it'll kill you.
They've managed to squeeze 355 brake horsepower from a 3.
It's unbelievable! And to show you how serious BMW are with this car, look at these tyres.
They're like racing slicks! You have to sign a disclaimer before you buy a CSL saying that you understand that the tyres won't work in the rain or it it's a bit chilly.
What a car! Of course, it isn't especially comfortable or quiet.
And you can't put heavy shopping in the boot, in case it falls through the cardboard floor.
And you can't use it unless it's hot and sunny.
And if it is hot and sunny, you'll melt, because there's no air conditioning.
And if rain is on the way, you won't know, because you can't hear the weather forecast, because there's no radio.
Not the most practical car in the world then.
But when you get out of the villages, and into the Isle of Man's derestricted inner-centre, it is just incredible! Everything about this car is 10% or 20% better than I was expecting.
And I was expecting it to be seriously good.
I mean, the acceleration is just fabulously savage.
The balance of the chassis on these tyres mean that you get so much g-force, you feel like your liver is going to let go of its mountings before the rear end starts to slide.
And then there's the noise.
Can you hear that? Oh! Listen to that! The noise is astonishing! This car was made for this place.
It was just made for the Isle of Man.
It is a remarkable machine, and as such, it has a remarkable price tag of nearly ã60,000.
Of course, some say, it can't possibly be worth ã20,000 more than the normal M3.
But this is not the first time BM have ripped out all the equipment, then jacked up the price.
Remember the old CSL, the "Batmobile" that tore up Europe's racetracks in the '70s? Well, those of you with long memories will remember they made a road-going version of it.
I used to have one of these few years ago.
I loved the '70s-ness of them.
The chrome wheel arches, and "Ooh, let's make the stripes a little bit brighter.
" You've got them in lime green and orange.
Look at those bucket seats.
And the wood on the dash is exactly the same wood that you used to get on a Garrad 86SB turntable.
I used to have one of those as well, actually, come to think of it.
I fear I also owned this record, but that's not important right now.
What is important is that the old CSL came out in the middle of the 1973 Oil Crisis, sporting a price tag of ã7,500.
And that made this lovely, little road car, with its lightweight panels and its stripped-out interior, more expensive than the most expensive Aston Martin.
On that basis, the new car should cost ã180,000.
So, at ã60,000, it's a bargain! If I had to nitpick, and obviously, I do, then I'd centre on this area here.
I mean, this sport button, which makes it more sporty.
why? Why isn't it just more sporty all the time? The button that turns the traction control off.
Again, why? Why isn't it off all the time? Then there's this one here that adjusts the ferocity of the flappy paddle gearbox.
Why couldn't they just give me a manual? It could be so much simpler.
Overall, though, I think the CSL is magnificent.
Like the Isle of Man, it's a thorn in the side of the nanny state, a wonky roof tile in the Health and Safety Executive's vision of perfect Britain.
It's BMW at its absolute best! The thing is, though, I'm not sure that BMW, at its absolute best, is quite as good as Porsche at its absolute best.
No, I know what you mean.
Perfect example, the 911 GT3 Porsche on the show last week.
They're very similar.
I mean, they're both stripped-out, lightweight, essentially track cars.
But the 911, it's a bit more expensive, yeah, but it's that bit more powerful; it's that bit faster.
It's just better, ultimately.
I agree.
But we'll find out for sure now.
Time to warm up our new Stig.
So, wheel spinning off the line! Now remember, the tyres on this car don't work properly when it's cold or wet, and it's a bit of both out there today.
So the Stig has really got his work cut out.
Oh, no! No! I thought we'd heard the last of musical cheese when the old Stig drowned to death! Now, Chicago.
CSL's looking awfully twitchy! Now, I should explain new Stig likes music from TV commercials.
You may know that as Boccherini's Minuet, he calls it the Tune from the Building Society Ad.
He's sliding again out of Hammerhead.
He's really having to fight this car.
Ooh, that's quick.
Coming up now to the last corner.
Old CSL, halfway through, is two seconds quicker than the normal M3.
Coming up to Gambon! We nearly did a Gambon! And he's across the line.
-That was quick.
-That was very quick, and can I just say, it looks like the newer, whiter, brighter Stig is gonna be up to the job.
That was pretty good.
I've got the time as well.
Now, bear in mind, there's the standard M3.
In the dry, 1:31.
8, ok? The GT3 we were talking about, in the wet, 1:27.
-That's the fastest wet lap we'd ever had.
Now, I'm gonna call that trap.
Bear in mind, Stig did that on the CSL's ludicrous tyres.
-The near-slick things? Okay.
In the damp, so we'll call that a wet lap, ok? He did it in 1 minute 28 seconds.
Ooh! Good grief! It goes there.
1 minute 28.
That's very, very quick.
I'm amazed.
We've got ourselves a good little Stig there.
We were right about the We were right about him, we were right about the car.
Not quite as good as the GT3, -but ã15,000 cheaper.
Obviously, we've all come back, well, a lot of people come back from their summer holidays which have been ruined by caravans.
Well, the good news is, now, it's payback time.
Every summer they arrive, ruining our roads just so they can pull up side by side with their new best friends and pee in a bucket.
You pick your caravan site, slot your Tupperware mansion into place, inches from your neighbor, unhitch the family car, and set off to visit an abbey, a pottery, an arts and crafts bungalow.
You know the stuff.
And there they are, all parked up.
Magnificent sight.
Real fibreglass, that.
And seeing all those rows of little hermetically sealed sandwich boxes lined up gave us an idea.
While we've got 'em, why not do something useful with them? So we've got the caravans, we've got the perfect caravan owner's car, a Volvo 240 Estate.
And, we've got this: A ramp.
I think you can probably see where this is going.
We're going to jump this over these using that.
And before you write in to complain about cruelty to caravans, can I remind you, this is a Volvo, the caravan's friend.
And we're going to try and miss them.
I think this is gonna work Probably.
You can't stop it there! Can.
This is science, and we're gonna be a bit scientific about this.
I want to see how many caravans you reckon the Volvo will clear.
So Let's make this easy.
Who reckons the Volvo is just gonna vault all of them, undo the lot? -One.
-One guy.
How many do you reckon, seriously, it's gonna cover? -Three None None.
That Volvo weighs 8,000 tonnes I'm right, aren't I? -And it's doing 50 miles an hour.
-It's not very aerodynamic.
I'll tell you now, it's just gonna go, "clunk.
" It won't even reach the first one.
Don't worry, because we will find out later.
Well, we will.
We'll do it later.
Now, earlier on, we saw Jeremy driving this absolutely outrageous M3 CSL on the Isle of Man.
And back here at home, this gave me and Hammond an idea.
We thought, "Well, what about that car's bloodline?" So we took these three and we boarded a ferry, and we went to the Isle of Man.
This is the M1, BMW's first, and so far, only mid-engined car.
Back in the 1970s, BMW had the hump, because the Porsche 911 was winning absolutely everything in international sports car racing.
And the Bavarians hate losing almost as much as they like brass band music.
So what they needed was a proper bespoke sports racing car, something that would be a real feather in their felt hats.
And they came up with this, the BMW M1.
And it was a disaster.
First up, it wasn't a real BMW.
Because it was a rush job, they had to get Lamborghini to do the design, engineering and production work for them.
But Lamborghini went bust, meaning BMW had to start again, with some other people.
But before they could do that, they had to break into Lamborghini and take back all the bodywork moulds, otherwise the receiver would have sold them for scrap.
And that was just the start of their problems.
For the M1 to qualify as a racing car, 400 had to be made and sold to the general public.
But rather like that old CSL we saw earlier, there was a bit of a cost issue.
In 1979, in Britain, the BMW M1 cost about ã35,000, which sounds very reasonable, until you discover that the Ferrari 308 GTS was less than 20 grand.
And here's another thing, look.
GRP, or plastic, to you, on a BMW.
How much worse could it get? Well, while the car was being designed, the rules for sports racing cars were changed.
So, by the time it came out, it wasn't competitive anyway.
What a farce.
The real tragedy, though, is that this is a lovely car.
The engine was BMW's own, a 3.
5-litre straight six developing 277 horsepower.
Now, that doesn't sound that much, but it was also very light, just 1,400 kilograms.
So, 161 mph and 0-60 in 5.
8 seconds isn't half bad.
This is a 25-year-old supercar and, to be honest, I expected it to be absolutely dreadful, but it just isn't.
It's easy to drive, and it's actually quite civilised.
Maybe it's more of a BMW than we thought.
In fact, I'd say that the M1 enjoys the distinction of being the world's first truly user-friendly, mid-engined supercar.
But unfortunately, it wasn't enough.
The M1 became a bit like the toasted sandwich maker.
Everybody raved about it for a bit, but then chucked it in the back of the cupboard and forgot about it.
But it wasn't a complete waste of time.
Because BMW's engineers salvaged a couple of useful bits.
The first was that M badge from the boot lid, and the other was the excellent race car derived straight-six engine.
And they came together again in something much more practical.
The M cars.
Probably the best race-bred road cars there have ever been.
The M3, and the M5.
Now, this is an important car.
The original super saloon.
Today, all the big players make a four-door Formula 1 car.
Jaguar's got the XKR.
Mercedes, the E55; Audi, the RS6.
There's no end of sensible, practical cars that'll happily rip your face off.
And we owe it all to the M5.
This is a 1988 Series 2, my personal favourite.
It's bullet-proof, and a huge laugh.
0-60 in 5.
9 seconds, top speed 155 miles an hour.
It's properly quick, but at the same time, sophisticated, and I mean sophisticated by modern standards.
This is precisely the sort of car that makes me want to visit the Isle of Man more often.
Whereas this makes me want to live here! The original M3.
Not just a great road car, but the most successful saloon car racer ever.
And that's why the M3 is simply, unbelievably good on roads like these.
It's got proper race-car steering geometry.
I mean, it's quick.
0-60 in 6.
7 seconds, top speed about 143 miles an hour, 200 brake horsepower.
It's the way it delivers that power.
Listen to it! It's fantastic.
I don't wanna stop driving this.
So, the M1 was a cock-up.
But what a cock-up! If we had more like that, the world would be a better place.
Isn't the Isle of Man just amazing? Well, it's fabulous.
It's like somebody's gone out and designed Top Gear fantasy island, especially for us.
I was absolutely blown away by those kippers.
-That's all he's been talking about.
"There's no speed limits here, James.
" "Oh, I know, but what about the kippers?" I'd love another kipper, though.
I've never driven a car that drives so differently to the way it looks, 'cause that is not a four-seater saloon.
It's a race car with that body on top of it.
It's brilliant.
And on those roads, it was just perfection.
Yeah, they're all great.
I do, I like the M cars, and I like the Isle of Man.
Sadly, though, my guest tonight, I don't think he can ever have gone there.
Because if he did, he'd be birched.
Ladies and gentlemen, Stephen Fry! Thank you very much.
-How are you? -Fine, thank you.
Very good.
Take a seat.
Have you been to the Isle of Man? Yes.
you go to the airport, you say, "I love man.
" And they say, "not here, you don't.
" -It is I should explain -It is illegal to love man in the "Isle of Man.
" It was illegal, and you could be birched for loving man there.
Yes, which is something people pay a lot of money for in London.
So it's like a free service.
It's a peculiar place, isn't it? You've spent much time there? Yeah, I go there quite a lot, actually.
Some of the laws they have are fabulous.
Handguns, for instance, are legal there, and you could be charged with furious driving.
I'd love to have that on my licence! Furious driving! Do you hanker after that kind of freedom? Well, I'm a sort of leftie in a way, but I cannot tell you the overmastering hatred I feel, the waves of disgust, when there is that frowning woman on the bicycle, who looks at you as if you are the symbol of all capitalism and meat-eating and penis-owning You know, you are the enemy of the people, you are the enemy of the planet, you are globalisation, you are capitalism with a huge cigar, just because you might have slightly blown her off course on her blasted bicycle.
You know that kind? And yet, none of this is kind of ringing true, -because I know that the car you drive today -Oh, dear.
-it is a Saab.
-Yeah, right.
Now, do you know something, you will never hear anyone say, "Look at that maniac in that Saab.
" That's true.
Saabs are the most beautifully driven cars on the roads.
We're gonna review one next week actually, because I'm fascinated to find out what happens to you when you climb in a Saab that suddenly you become It's peculiar, you're quite right.
But I have to confess, I am a speed merchant, and I have came so close to losing my licence.
Almost exactly a year ago, I was pootling along the M11 at 100 and miles per hour.
And fortunately they took an average, which was 99.
An average from when you got into the car? Yes, quite, from the centre of London.
It's a very rare day I'm overtaken, to be honest.
I mean, I don't know what it is.
It's pathetic.
It's either infantile, or vanity, or competitiveness, or it is, at best, a low boredom threshold.
And so, you wanna keep just being on edge all the time, so that you're awake.
And yet, you're, of course, also famed for having a London cab.
-Yes, yeah.
-Is that for use in London? Purely, yes.
A purely practical decision.
I just thought eventually, you know, driving around London I did, I'd given up having a trail bike.
You, on a motor bike? Yes, I know, it's a terrible That's something I would have paid to watch that.
I had a cousin who was a surgeon in New York, in the Casualty, or Trauma Department, as they call it.
And I was in a plane, and we met afterwards at a restaurant.
He saw me checking in my skid lid and he said, -"I didn't know you rode a bike.
" -I said, "yeah.
" He said, "do you know what we call motor bike riders" "in the Trauma Department in the Roosevelt Hospital?" I said, "no.
" "Donors.
" It's a bad sign, I thought.
Then, weirdly, a week later, I'm seeing to a friend of mine who had an aunt who'd gone into Moorfields Hospital for one of those cataract operations.
And the doctor came in rubbing his hands and said, "well, now, Mrs Smith," he said.
"I'm sure it's all been explained to you.
" "We cut out that cloudy old cataract "and we sew in a nice, new, fresh, sparkly donor lens.
"Unfortunately, we don't have any donor lenses at the moment.
" He went to the window and said, "but it's raining, so it shouldn't be too long.
" And he really meant it! Anyway, that stopped me from riding a motorbike, eventually.
-That, and being banned.
-So, why a cab? Well, I just thought it's The bike would be a great way of getting into town to do voiceovers and the things in the centre of the town, quickly.
And I thought a car I've got to have a car now, all right.
I wasn't near a tube station, and cab seemed ridiculous.
And I thought, "my own cab, on the other hand" Not that I would admit to using bus lanes in public, 'cause it's illegal if you're not a licensed cabbie.
But let's face it, they do exist, bus lanes.
-And you can drive in them if you have a cab.
-If you have a cab.
Who's gonna check the registration plate? And other cabs let you in.
You know, "cab-eraderie," I call it.
And most cars, you know, you just stick your hand out of the window, and you move out into traffic.
I mean, that's the real gain.
But it's strange, because most of the people I know who speak Latin find cars rather trivial and infantile.
Yes, I think I mean, as a generalisation, I suppose you are right that this tweed does not bespeak someone who loves cars.
People often say to me, Stephen, you were born in the wrong age, weren't you? You would have loved to be in a high Victorian or a Regency dandy or, you know, an Elizabethan or something, and it's absolute nonsense.
I mean, I think to live at the summation of human achievement in everything from computing to the internal combustion engine is a wonderful thing, because we've got the past age, you can imagine if you're a Victorian.
But if you're a Victorian, you couldn't imagine you lived in the 1970s.
You couldn't imagine you lived in the 1990s.
And the beauty of it is, we are at the absolute peak of everything.
As we speak, this minute is the most modern minute that ever happened.
But then you say that, we are speaking, what, just a week or so after we went over it in terms of aviation, the Concorde.
You're right.
That is one of the rarest events.
Whoever thought this would happen? I mean, there are few things like that we've crested and suddenly we're going backwards, and that's a very rare event in recent history.
I can't think of another time since the Romans left in 410.
-Yeah, that's right.
-1,600 years.
We abandoned the virtues of the lavatory for 700 years or something.
That's extraordinary.
-Absolutely, it is.
-Pooed out of the window.
'Cause you had a big car collection, didn't you, at one point? Yes, I had 8 or 9 entirely British cars, which, again, seems to sound very tweedy.
They were odd things, like I had a Wolseley 15/50, which is that sort of police car, the one with the badge that lights up in the strange little visor.
And an MG Magnette, one of those Pininfarina ones, you know.
And an Austin Healey 100-6, which is a gorgeous car, ice blue over ivory.
To me, it does sound like you're sort of hankering back to those days.
You claim to be a modern man, but in actual fact It's true.
The B road, you know, it's that sort of thing.
You know, Midhurst, and southern counties of England, going around the B roads like the avengers or something.
There is a real pleasure, a real joy in motoring there.
And of course, you do have a taste of that because you live in Norfolk.
Yes, yes.
You've written well and turgidly about Norfolk Not turgidly, exactly.
Well, it was just that, that time the first Not the first time I went there, but I can remember not that long ago, driving along a main road, filled up with petrol and I gave the bloke in the cash point my credit card, he just put it in the till! "No, no, you're supposed to swipe it.
" This is the home of Lotus.
It's an advanced sophisticated county.
Now, you see, that was a bad example.
All right.
No, it's a mysterious county.
You go to a beautiful old-world village with a, sort of, mullion windowed rectory with ivy over it and the squire's house and the beautiful old church, and then a sign saying, "hot-rodding.
" -You know, it's that sort of a thing.
-Tractor pull! And they imagine themselves, rather tragically, to be good old boys.
They have these rotting Mustangs with confederate stars on the bonnet, rather hoping there's gonna be some tobacco-chewing sheriff on their ass any minute! They imagine they're in Alabama, and it's tragic, 'cause they're not.
They're in Norfolk.
No one is gonna say Telling the police, "I've got some moonshine in the boot.
" It's fine! "No, it's moonshine.
I made it myself out of potatoes!" -What I'm most interested in, though, is how you got on -Oh, hell.
in the Suzuki Liana.
How was it out there? I have to say that I had fun.
And I seemed to myself to be going faster than I usually do, but for all I know, I did it in four minutes.
You just don't know, because your mind's in a whirl.
It's a totally different way of doing things.
How would you like to do on this? I would like to be above Alan Davies, I have to say.
Alan Davies, your co-conspirator on QI.
So this is really your target, 1:54 on a mildly damp track.
What was the track like out there? It was I'd like you to put something like "slightly moist," or you know Because it's you, slightly moist.
But let's see how you got on.
What did you think of the car? Angel.
Joyous to drive.
Look at him, doesn't he look a dick! Really! Now, that's the hardest corner on the track.
Let's accelerate out of these things.
I see, it is, you're right.
That is mildly moist.
Into the hammerhead.
And this one, as you flick it in, and then it always run wide, which it has done.
Yes, nearly into the cameraman.
That would have been on the news.
Oops! -Ooh, that looked good.
-That's a lovely sky.
That's a beautiful sky.
In, and we've got Gambon, where he nearly rolled it over.
Nearly killed Dumbledore before he ever was.
S Fry.
So, I think we're all in agreement, that was mildly moist, the track.
So, we'll say it's the same as Davis' one, okay? Mildly moist And you did it You want 1:54 to beat.
in 1 minute, 54 seconds, ladies and gentlemen! Oh, well! That is really interesting.
That's far and away the most common time, isn't it? 1:54 in the rain is the most common -What we say is that if it were to be dry -Yeah.
you would take 4 seconds off that.
So, you would be in the 1:50 or maybe mildly down, probably only 3 seconds, so you're slower than me.
That's most important.
-It's been absolutely fabulous having you here.
-As it has for me.
Ladies and gentlemen, Stephen Fry! Thank you very much.
Right, right.
Back to the caravans.
Now, earlier on in the show, we saw as the Volvo 240 Estate, the caravan's friend, remember, mounted the ramp, and was about to clear the caravans, and then we stopped the tape and we all had a guess.
The general consensus of opinion is that the Volvo is either gonna clear all of the caravans or kind of drop miserably off the ramp.
Good news is, now we find out.
So, we've lined up our caravans in the accepted manner, allowing the regulation, 12 inches of air space in between each one.
And here's our Volvo 240 Estate, the GL model.
3, 2, 1, go! And he's off! Now, I should remind you, the national speed limit when you turn your caravan is, of course, 50 miles an hour, and we will be sticking to that.
We like a laugh as much as the next person, but that doesn't mean you have to be reckless.
Well done! Wow! That was art! That is art! In fact, who wants to see it again? -Yes! -Go on then! Oh dear, so I was wrong! I was wrong! I didn't think it would clear any of them, and it was actually 2.
But anyway, let's get on to some of our viewers' letters.
Now, you may remember, last week, we discovered that if you hold your car's remote control central locking device against your head, it doubles its range, okay? -Now, we didn't understand that.
There was a girl in the audience, last week, who was a scientist and she said it had to do with the fillings in your teeth.
-Yeah, but we tested that.
-We did.
-Our producer deigned to come in to work one day -Which is nice.
and he has no fillings in his teeth and it worked for him.
So, it isn't that.
Loads of people have written to us, and all we've been able to discover is that no scientists watch Top Gear.
No, that much is clear.
Not one.
There's a chap here who says, "the reason is, 'cause your body acts like a grounding plane.
" Which sounds good.
It sounds like a plausible explanation, but then you read on, and he's got a GSX-R1000, which I believe I've got one of those, it's brilliant! He's a biker.
Sound fellow, I believe him.
Lots of people think it is your body that does it.
A guy here, Craig from Bromley, reckons it's because your body has iron in it.
Well, it does, but a tiny bit! I have no iron in my body.
I'm pure fat.
-All the way through? -Yeah, I'm just fat.
From here, down Well, fat and hair.
-What I say is, it's nice to be consistent.
-I am, yeah.
There's a chap here called "zmcan" at America Online.
And he says, "human bones are a great amplifier of radio waves," "and it's something to do with your elbows.
" We had loads that were to do with bits of your body doing this.
So, we have one guy who reckons it's your ears working as radar.
Which I quite like! Another one, not sure about this, saying, "it's your nasal cavities.
" Apparently, they are as big as an acoustic guitar or something.
-Which they are not, are they? -His Close, but it's not.
I'm looking at you and I'm thinking, he's got a big schnauzer, but it's nowhere near an acoustic guitar.
That ain't no guitar, no.
You know, I'm not gonna see him and go, "that block's got a guitar on his face.
" -"for a nose.
" No, you're not.
-It's rubbish! What they're basically saying, I think what the audience is saying here is that, if you were to build a creature that had my bone structure with, sort of, -enormous elbows and Martin Clunes' ears -Looking good.
-and Danniella Westbrook's nose, -Nice touch.
you could set off some nuclear missiles in North Korea from your house in Birmingham.
Yeah! Perfect.
Another sequence of letters that we've had this week is from children who are ashamed, frankly, of the cars that they're being taken to school in.
There's a chap here, George Howard, he's 14 years old.
He says his father takes him to school in a 1992 white Fiat Panda.
Oh, no, that's cruel.
That's not right.
He actually says, "God has not answered my request for help, "no matter how much I ask Him.
" He says, "I'm so desperate, I even tried sacrificing a small goat.
" See, it's having an effect already.
This is serious! This has a deep sociological effect.
It's a short trip from being dropped off in a rubbish car at school to, well, be kicking down the door of your bedsit and finding a head in your fridge.
There will be.
So listen, kids, you know, I know there's a lot of discussion in the newspapers and on TV about the school run, what it should be done in.
It's what type of car, that's what matters.
George Howard of where's he from the Internet.
George Howard from the Internet, Mr and Mrs Howard, sell the Panda.
Doesn't have to be expensive, or a Ferrari.
Just not rubbish and embarrassing.
-They'll have a nice Can I just say, obviously, we had a lot of mail about the Stig.
Odd one here from Steve Rowland, "we have a cat called Stig.
"So, can you please change the name of your racing driver to something other than Stig, "because every time your programme runs, "his sleep is disturbed when you mention the Stig's name.
" Actually, come to think of it, Stig! See those slippers? Pee in them! Tell you one thing that's really, really got us going this week.
You know how, kind of, young men - let's call them that, it tends not to happen with women - have taken to fitting enormous exhaust pipes on the back of their car.
-Have you seen this trend? -Yeah.
Well, we were sent a fantastic photograph this week, and they're always on very inappropriate cars, but check this one out, ok? Citroen! Whoa! What's that! Now, at first we suspected that perhaps he had an organ on the back seat and he went around playing ecclesiastical music of some sort.
But no! I don't think so.
I think it'll be the Black Eyed Peas coming out of the doors, -and those really are exhausts! -How is that nine on there? Nine exhaust pipes.
We were thinking, no one will ever be able to top that.
And then somebody sent us this photograph.
What is it? If you were following that, you would think, "am I behind Sellafield?" Yeah.
I'd get out of the way.
-Who'd like to see the car it's attached to? -Yes! Yep.
It's a 1.
6-litre Toyota MR2.
Now, that was kind of heading the list, and then yesterday, from, I think it's America.
Check this one out.
Look at that! One day somebody is gonna drive up that thing and they'll get a big surprise.
Now, while we were on the Isle of Man, and we were there for a very long time, a bit of an argument brewed up.
James reckoned that the best sports car you can buy is the Porsche Boxster.
Pah! Obviously, I had to show him the error of his ways.
Now, I love Porsche.
I've got one, which makes it all the more significant when I say this: You can shove the Boxster.
I'd rather have the Z4.
It's a man's car.
It feels like a proper roadster.
You sit low down and right at the back, almost over the rear wheels, and the big bonnet stretching ahead of you.
No, I don't care what you wanna read into that.
It feels great.
And best of all, listen to that! Straight six, three litre.
That is a proper sports car's engine! Listen to that! This is a modern take on a proper old-school Roadster.
And I love it! Rubbish! What you want is a Boxster.
Some of you will be saying, "that's a soft Porsche" "for people who can't handle a 911," but that's rubbish as well, because what this is is what the 911 was, before it was turned into Liberace's boudoir.
It's a proper sports car.
Because the Z4 is a modern car, it does all the usual kind of stuff.
But it's that bit more sophisticated.
Things like the electric roof, ten seconds from fully up to fully down, and that makes it the fastest electric roof in production.
Just don't catch your tie in it! And then there's the looks.
I love 'em.
I think BMW have got this challenging thing going on at the moment.
And yes, at first glance, it's, "Ooeewh!" But you get used to it and then you realise, they're right.
It looks superb.
Obviously, driving a convertible yellow Porsche raises certain sociological issues.
I mean, some people are gonna look at me, I know, and think I'm a merchant banker.
But I'm not sure I'm terribly interested in all this brand attributes stuff.
This is a great car; that's what matters.
For all I care, you can take the Porsche badges off and stick some Hyundai ones on.
Do you know what, the more time I spend with it, the more sure I am I have picked the right car.
-You haven't.
-I have.
You haven't.
The Porsche is a more honest sports car than that BMW.
-Honest? -Absolutely.
You've got the wrong cars! Can you hear? You've got the wrong cars.
Oh, God.
I've got the right one up here.
Here! I thought he'd gone home.
Welcome to the superb Honda S2000.
Let me give you the simple facts.
This car is ã5,000 cheaper than the BMW and ã6,000 cheaper than the Porsche.
And which is the most powerful? This one.
This one is.
The two-litre VTEC engine in this is astonishing.
At 6,000 rpm in the other cars you have to change gears, but in this, there's 3,000 rpm still to go.
9,000 into third.
That's what I call an engine! And this is legal! But the power and the excitement is only a part of the equation.
The other bit is reliability.
In the last 13 years, Honda has made 15 million VTEC systems, and they have never, not once, had a single failure.
So, it's powerful, extraordinary value for money, and more reliable than a wood-burning stove.
The Porsche and the BMW, they've got great badges, but this, this is the essence of sports car motoring: Pure and simple.
And what was it that Richard was saying about the Z4 having the fastest roof in the world? 3, 2, 1, go! Yes! Yes! Yeeeeees! -Loser! -It said in the book! Don't believe the Germans! -Who cares how fast your roof is, anyway? You cared.
You went, "oh, I've got the fastest automatic, electric roof in the world.
" And now it turns out, you haven't.
Oh, your lawnmower then? Was just gonna push my starter button.
Have you got one of those? Odd rattling sound, hold on.
That night I met up with the others at our house, to explain why they were so wrong.
Your car is American, it doesn't work here.
It rides like a Corvette.
I have to say I'm with you on the ride in the BMW.
The ride in the It is atrocious, isn't it? It's exactly what we were after, isn't it? Look, it's a physical experience, driving that car.
For a physical experience, the Honda is the one that fits.
Are we agreed the Honda is considerably the cheapest here? It needs to be the cheapest! -It's ã5,000 less than yours and ã6,000 less than yours.
-Yes, fair enough.
And it's more powerful.
The reason the Porsche, I think, is the best car, is you know when you drive some cars, you get a sense that the car is smiling when you're driving.
-What on earth are you talking about? -No, listen Hear me out.
Jean-Paul Sartre.
Is the beer happy now? Oh, what's this bulge in my pocket? It's the ã6,000 I've saved by buying a Honda rather than your Porsche.
-ã6,000, and I've got more power.
-It's worth ã6,000 less.
-Why don't you save 20 grand and buy a Micra? That's not an argument.
-No, no, no! Because -Because it's not the better car The next day, we all drove each other's cars to see if we could reach an agreement that way.
Thing is, I've never spoken to a Boxster owner, ever, without them starting to talk about why they haven't got a 911.
There's only one reason you buy a Boxster, one.
'Cause you can't afford a 911.
That's it! There are a few things I don't like about this pink car.
It's got too many gears, six; not enough cylinders, four; and it does too many revs, 9,000.
So listen It's harsh.
This ride is totally unacceptable.
Absolutely unacceptable.
It's an American car, thats why the ride's so hard.
"'Cause, hey, it's sporty.
" "And sporty got no suspension.
It's sporty.
" That night we all met up at the pub to see what we'd all found out.
How many gears did your car have, Richard? That'll be six, Jeremy.
How many did my car have? Do you remember? I'm thinking it was probably six again.
It was six.
Five, because it has better mid-range.
Five! -Because it's old-fashioned.
-Old-fashioned! Cheers.
Welcome, six-gear man.
You're such a pair of wittering Nancy Boys.
I can't believe it.
Six gears! Now I should explain, we didn't drive home from the pub.
We had our butlers take us home instead.
And still, the debate raged.
Richard, for instance, and this is marvellous, actually said he liked the ruched leather work in the doors of the BMW.
-That's rubbish, it's not ruched.
-It is ruched! It's slightly rippled a bit.
You said you thought that had a simple engine.
Have you seen the cutaway diagram? All right, stop, stop, stop! The one thing that we did agree on, ok, the one thing we agreed on, was this would be settled on our track by fresh Stig.
So, we sent him out there.
Fastest lap wins.
First up, the Porsche, and is it facing the right way, James? Oh, yes it is, and it will be all the way around thanks to that perfect weight distribution.
First corner there, look at that balance! That's lovely.
I tell you what you can't actually see there and that's the steering wheel.
It's like that on a ship.
This bit's gonna decide whether you've got bad oversteer in a front-drive car and it's not gonna do that because this has got the engine in the middle.
It's gonna be fantastic.
Your cars are gonna make a complete hash of this.
Look at that! Come on, you, Stig! -That's a bit wobbly.
-No, it's not! Now, through the Follow-Through.
Bwoah, it's so boring I'm falling asleep.
-Has he spun it? Uh-oh.
-Look at the speed he did there! Look at that! That is clearly victorious.
Absolutely beautiful, Stig.
Fabulous final corner, right across the line.
Massive speed.
-And now -A plastic surgeon's car! Look at that! Listen to this.
A proper straight six, massive speed already.
Must be doing about 350 into the first corner there.
Fabulous! Of course, with its miserable 55-litre fuel tank, it'll have a job reaching the end of the lap, Oh! And nearly losing it there.
It doesn't actually need much fuel at the rate it's going, it'll be round in seconds.
This American car, more cup holders than cornering, I reckon.
Look at that.
Here we go.
Look, he held it.
-It's balanced, it's poised.
-It's slithering about! Last couple of corners, look at that.
It's inspiring.
I might cry actually.
Gambon corner there - sounds great.
Across the line! Oh, dear, look what we have next.
The Amstrad 200.
Off it goes.
Or the foregone conclusion, as I like to call it.
Stig probably baffled by the flashy lights all over the dashboard.
That's a clear, concise dashboard, if you ask me.
And anyway, if you think about it, all proper race cars have digital readouts.
The only thing baffling the Stig, in fact, is the power of this thing after the other two.
Or that annoying screaming noise from the front end.
That engine is ridiculous.
That is precision engineering at its best.
The Stig plainly loving it.
He just loves it.
Look, you can see.
He's not sure whether he's driving, or in a branch of Dixons.
He's just amazed by the speed.
Through Gambon, here he is.
Look at that.
Little bit of a twitch, but perfectly held and across the line! Now, genuinely we have absolutely no idea at this stage which one of the cars has won it.
So, we need someone from the audience.
You're the nearest.
Could you just come and help us out here.
Could you please reveal for us now, the time done by the BMW Z4? Gotta be good.
1 minute 37, it's a good solid time.
-It was not good weather.
-That's awful time.
Okay, and now, the Porsche Boxster.
3 to beat.
1:37 dead! You're in the lead at the moment.
You're already out of it as I predicted.
Probably ran out of fuel.
Okay, here we go.
-The Honda S2000, 1:37 to beat.
-The ridiculous Honda.
Yes! Unfortunately, that's all we've got time for! That's all we've got time for this week.
I'm very sorry, but that's it.
No gloating! Top gear Series 03, Episode 02