Top Gear (2002) s03e03 Episode Script

Series 3, Episode 3

Top Gear Series 03, Episode 03 Tonight, James drives a car that you can hand on to your grandchildren; I engage reheat in a hot Saab; and Richard almost drowns! Good evening, and welcome to the new Bentley Continental GT.
Now, GT, as I'm sure you know, stands for Grand Tourer.
So I took it on a grand tour to God's waiting room: the English Riviera.
My actual destination, as you can see on the satellite navigation system here, is Budleigh Salterton.
And that's because in the olden days, that's who'd have bought one.
"Hello, my name's Budleigh Salterton," "and I've got a Bentley Continental GT.
" Well, that's the old-fashioned image of Bentley.
But today, things have changed.
There's no way the aristocracy is going to buy this car.
I mean, these days, they have to burn their children just to stay warm.
And all their furniture is held together by the moths that ate it.
All their houses are draughty and cold Look, there's a classic aristo house there.
Look at that.
Because this costs ã110,000, it's not a car for people who roast their children.
I think it's more for people who like to roast their girlfriends: Footballers - people called Gary and Wayne.
Presumably, that's why this thing has a twin-turbocharged, 6-litre W12 engine.
Because, you see, that way you'll be able to get from the shops to your drugs test in no time at all.
A colossal 550 bhp gives a top speed of 198 mph, and 0-60 in 4.
7 seconds.
This, in other words, will outgun a Ferrari 575.
Normally, I will do anything to steer clear of the A303, because you always get stuck behind someone with enormous ears in a J-registered Rover 214.
Or, of course, a caravan.
But in this, it's no problem, because you simply ease the gear lever into "S", for Star Trek warp factor mode, and then engage the turbos.
That is so fast.
You only need the tiniest little gap.
There it is! I can't tell you how quick this is! And yet, despite this ferocious power - and it is ferocious - there's no sense when you're in here that you're in a stripped-out hunkered-down racer.
It's quiet, and it's comfortable.
There's wood, and there's leather.
It's like doing 5,000 mph in Douglas Bader's sponge bag.
It makes you proud to be English, even though the engine does come from Volkswagen, and the floor, and the gearbox and most of the fixtures and fittings.
Still, because it also has a Volkswagen four-wheel drive system, this big ol' bruiser does have tenacious grip, useful on the winding lanes of Devon.
It's extraordinary.
For a car that weighs the same as a Range Rover, it really does feel lithe and alive.
It even stops properly, because it has the biggest brakes ever fitted to any car.
And it's a handsome brute as well.
Even though it was styled by a Belgian, it'll look good parked between the pillars of a footballer's Cheshire mansion.
However, behind the 18th century veneer, the interior is less successful.
First of all, there's this door.
You have to be a meat machine to close it properly.
That's got it.
And then, if you are a meat machine, you'll find it just a little bit cramped in here, chiefly because of these armrests.
They force you to drive along like you've got some kind of sports injury.
And if you put them down, listen.
Driving along How long before that would drive you up the wall? They are completely pointless.
Speaking of which, this button here allows you to adjust the hardness of the suspension like so.
Why do you need that? Why would you want to make your Bentley more uncomfortable? Really is as useful as a snooze button on a smoke alarm.
But a slight sense of claustrophobia and the odd silly button are nothing compared to the Continental's biggest problem: Its big brother.
The old four-door Arnage is a symphony of pomp and circumstance, hope and glory, absolute power corrupting, absolutely.
Oh, it isn't very good, but there's such a sense of occasion when you drive it.
This is the other way round.
Brilliant, sensationally fast, handles beautifully and it'll almost certainly be reliable.
But it leaves you feeling just a little bit cold.
It's a bit like Budleigh Salterton, actually.
On the face of it, you'd like to live here.
It sounds good, a small town on the coast of Devon.
You'd like a piece of that action.
But actually, there isn't any action.
In a recent survey, Budleigh Salterton was named as Britain's most over-priced, dreary place.
Everything is here, except the sparkle.
And that is what the Bentley's missing.
The sparkle, the X factor that turns a really good car, which it is, into a great one Which it isn't.
That's a bit harsh, Jeremy.
No! Yes, you're right.
It was harsh.
But, the thing is, it was cruel but fair.
Because when you drive the Phantom, which BMW made, they've captured the essence of Rolls Royce with that car.
When you drive this, it is brilliant, make no mistake, but it does feel like a big Volkswagen.
All right, but it isn't actually putting anybody off.
And here's the problem.
They can make 3,500 of these a year, that's all.
They already have 3,500 orders for next year just from America.
I know, and the sort of people who've ordered these things aren't the kind of people who like to be kept waiting.
Bentley were telling me the other night when I ran into a few of them at a party, and they were saying that they've had people phone up saying, "if I don't have my car by Easter, you're not welcome in my restaurant," or, "you're not welcome in my football club.
" They even had one who called up and said, "if I don't have mine by Christmas, you're not welcome in my country.
" Now, imagine you're driving along one day, and suddenly you veer off into a lake.
It does happen, seriously.
It does happen, seriously.
Every year in Britain, more people drown in cars than on boating lakes.
It's absolutely true.
So, I decided Well, Jeremy and James decided, that I should investigate this by drowning myself.
First, stunt coordinator Sean Rogers took me aside for a quiet word.
This is not to scare you, it's just to show you how quickly this car could fill up, all right? Okay.
If you wait, we're talking about the water coming in, coming in -And that's it.
-Now it's gone.
-That's quick, isn't it? -That's right.
So you haven't got time to muck about.
Now, obviously, it isn't a good idea to simply drive a car into a lake and see what happens.
Instead, we've got ourselves a tank and some safety divers.
Now, all I need to do is learn some basic diving techniques, just in case things go wrong.
Before we did the stunt for real, I had to go underwater to practise the emergency hand signals, in case there was a problem, and the divers had to give me air.
Then, just to spice things up a bit, they ripped my face mask off without warning.
And sure enough, within seconds, I was breathing water.
Not a good start.
And then to add insult to my likely injuries, I got first sight of my potential coffin.
A F-reg Vauxhall Carlton.
Not even a GSI! Oh, thank you.
As the time approached to actually do this, even though I knew I had a host of safety people around me to make sure I was okay, I've got to confess, my nerves were on edge.
I'm swinging above the water in a car.
About to have a horrible accident.
Real fear.
A real sense of fear.
-Richard, are you okay? -I'm okay.
-Ready, Fred? -Ready.
Divers, ready? Okay, standby.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, action! And we'll find out later if I die.
But first, here's yet another Jaguar concept car.
This one is called the R-D6.
It's made almost entirely of aluminium.
It's very light.
And it's powered, remarkably enough, by a turbo-charged V6 diesel engine.
But the bit I really like is the inside.
Have a look at this.
Now have a look at that black leather and all those shiny bits and those red lights down the footwell.
Now, clearly a Jaguar designer got completely lashed in a vodka bar and thought, "I'll make it look like this then.
" So, obviously there will be a bouncer on the door, telling you you can't come in 'cause you got trainers on.
It's a gorgeous looking thing, I think it's fab.
But here's the thing I don't get about Jaguar concept cars.
Two years ago - about then - they showed us the XK180.
And there it is, that was to show us what Jaguars of the future will look like.
But then last year, they did the R-Coupe, to show us what Jaguars of the future will look like.
And now they're back again with this to show us what Jaguars of the future will look like.
Now look, Jaguar, you have made your point.
Just make the car! Right, let's meet this week's guest.
He's an actor, he's a comedian, he's responsible for Marion and Geoff, which I just love.
Terrific television programme.
And if we look down here, I think I'm right in saying, he's the first Welshman we've ever had on.
Ladies and gentlemen, Rob Brydon! -Jeremy! -All right? Have a seat.
Hello! Now, we know the Scottish have given us, really, -everything that matters in the world.
And it would be cheap to say the Welsh have given us nothing.
Here we go.
No, really, because we were working it out, really, the Welsh have given the theatre everybody.
Yes, but You see, you forget the big names.
The big theatrical media names.
Sian Lloyd, the weather girl.
Yeah, she's H from Steps.
-Is he Welsh as well? -Yeah.
I think H actually, he's got a, sort of, mini Graceland now up in North Wales, where he comes from, and they get up to six or seven visitors a year.
It is an astonishing thing, when you think about the great performances, it is Hopkins at the National, and it is Burton at the Old Vic, whatever.
You, not really been there, have you? You're more famous for your car advertisement voiceovers.
He is! Every time you hear a car advert on the television, I can pretty much guarantee he is the voice.
How many have you done? Now, there's the Ford Mondeo Tom and Jerry, that was you.
-I think that's still running, yeah.
-That's still running.
And what were the other ones? I think the Renault Scenic, at the moment.
How does that one go? I've forgotten it.
Okay, you have to quiet for it, ready? "In the recent NCAP Euro crash tests," "only one car in its class got five stars for safety" "The new Renault Scenic.
" It's him! Now, Marion and Geoff.
-I can't tell you how much I love it.
-Thank you.
I'm not just being nice 'cause it's you, and you know you're visiting England and everything, I really genuinely I can't I just can't miss it.
There's a chap that's telling me here he's just the same.
He just can't miss this thing.
What gave you this idea Have you seen it? It's basically You're a sort of minicab driver, graduated now to be a chauffeur and sit talking about your miserable life.
Well, Keith Barrett is his name, and his wife, Marion, has left him for a man called Geoff.
So in the first series, he was a minicab driver.
In the second series, he's graduated to become a chauffeur.
And he just sits there telling you about his life, but he always sees the, sort of, silver lining.
Somebody once said in a newspaper thing, "he'd see the silver lining in a mushroom cloud.
" He would.
And the thing is, it's not comedy, is it? I mean, I wanna show a clip of Marion and Geoff, 'cause I love it.
Ok? And it's the bit where he's explaining what he would do if he were attacked by a terrorist.
So what I'd do, as a middle ground, I keep it under the seat.
It belonged to my dad.
It's a machete! And that's there as needs be.
That's there as needs be, so Like that.
So I spot trouble I do keep an eye in the mirror.
I look in the mirror.
So here he comes, here comes the terrorist And I'm down, and I'm there.
The fear is that I knock myself out on the steering wheel, or that I inadvertently set off the airbag.
Let's just do that one more time.
Mirror, mirror.
Down! Out! Up! It's not fool proof.
Oh, I love it.
Now That's my mum.
For a man who has made his name in a car and by advertising them, -I have to say -Oh, here we go.
No, I'm not gonna let you off this.
You have had the most wretched car history of anyone I've ever, ever met.
It starts off, where were we, radio DJ BBC Radio Wales.
Good morning.
-You bought yourself a Volkswagen Polo.
-Brand new.
Brand new.
Things going well.
Your next car is a third-hand Vauxhall Carlton.
What in God's name possessed you to do that? You know, my dad came across it, you know, it was reasonably priced.
-It was a big, brown Vauxhall Carl -Brown! Wait! Let me finish! It was a big brown Vauxhall Carlton and the inside was a kind of creamy, sort of biscuit colour.
It was velour, the seats.
It was a nice car, it got me from A to B.
That was not the worst of my cars.
-What, you're trying to say the green Sierra -Yeah, that was the worst.
What possessed you to do that? My dad came across it.
You know, it was a good price.
Did you branch out on your own for the 1992 Ford Escort? Now, the 1992 Ford Escort, I thought, -and I don't know anything about cars, -That's obvious.
was quite a sexy little car.
I quite liked it actually.
Have you ever actually watched Top Gear? 'Cause you might I've never seen a whole one, no.
-It clashes with Heartbeat, okay? Which goes against you.
-I know.
But I do make a special effort to watch Marion and Geoff.
You should try and watch one all the way through, because after the Escort, you're not gonna believe this, ladies and gentlemen Oh, I know what you're going to say now.
A Mitsubishi Carisma.
Why on earth did you buy one of those? Well, my dad came across it By this time, my dad was, and is, working for Mitsubishi.
What did you do to upset your dad so much, though, over the years? "It's that Rob, he's come around," "I've got another magnificent car for him!" No, you're a snob.
I make no bones about it.
I want to rescue people from bad cars.
I've already been rescued.
I've got an Audi A4 convertible.
What more do you want? Well, what's happened to the Carisma? I've given it to my girlfriend.
-So you bought a petrol-engined Audi A4 convertible.
You see, it's a nice car.
I mean, don't let anyone sit in the back.
Why? Anyone who sits in the back of a four-seater convertible looks like Hitler.
He was the only man Or maybe Mussolini He was the only man who looked good in the back of a four-seater convertible.
He was, you need to just bear that If somebody says, "I'll go in the back," advise against it.
-Advise they go on the bus or something.
Now, it is time, I think, to start looking at your performance, really, today.
You're probably, actually, come to think of it, the first person ever to drive that thinking, "yes, this is a nice car.
" -Yes, yes, yes! Alright.
-Shall we see how you got on? -Yeah.
-Now, we should explain before we start, we did put the camera today in the Marion and Geoff position for you, Yeah, on the other side, so that you were able to, if you felt the need, 'cause we knew you'd be out there some time getting around the lap, to do a little bit of Marion and Geoff for us.
Here we go.
Well, wheel spin start.
-First time with wheel spin? -Yeah.
I have to say, all around, a very nice ride.
That's very smooth.
And I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that Geoff has got himself one of these as well.
Having a bit of fun, taking the kids out with him.
My little smashers.
I think they'd have a lovely time together.
All of them chanting in the back, singing songs.
Now, this is where you'll be caught out.
No, you stayed on line.
Oh, Sh.
sugar babies.
Here we go.
Right, I'm doing 75 miles an hour.
Bloody hell! Final corner, Michael Gambon.
Ladies and gentleman, he's across the line there.
You know, before I came on, in my little heart I've been going, "Ooh, maybe I was quite fast.
" I wasn't, was I? I just Where would you like to be? -I'd like to beat Steve, obviously.
-What, Coogan? -Yeah.
-Steve Coogan who produces your show.
And you're mates, I'm aware of this.
Well, he did it in 1:54, soaking wet day, I remember that.
Absolutely pouring with rain.
But we do say that if it were dry you go four seconds faster, so he's at 1:50.
You'd like to beat him.
Let me tell you something.
Realistically, that was never gonna happen, was it? Oh, don't say that! -But it did! -Seriously? You went faster than that! You wanna know something more amazing? You did it in 1:48.
-Seriously? Seriously? -Seriously.
Bloody hell! -Seriously? -Yes, 1:48.
Yes! It's astonishing, but true.
It's okay.
Jodie or Jay, if you're watching, he was .
so actually fits in just there in third place.
I'm speechless! Are you really expecting to get a Christmas card from Coogan this year? I think not! I'm almost crying! That is, honestly, for the worst car buyer we've ever had, one of the greatest drivers.
Ladies and gentlemen, Rob Brydon! -That was great, thank you.
-It's true.
Now, earlier we saw Jeremy driving this Bentley Continental GT.
And he pointed out, quite rightly, that it's as new money as an onyx mug tree.
And that had me wondering, what's the old money being spent on these days? The British toff.
Though rare and endangered, they're easy to identify.
Well done, Rupert.
They are most readily spotted in the countryside, because they own it.
Distinguishing features include their clothing, which used to belong to their parents, and their characteristic mating call of 'harrumph.
" Everything they have, like their families, their titles and their houses, is very old, because toffs don't buy things.
They only inherit them.
And this includes their cars, which are oily old bags of bolts, and smell of dogs.
In fact, the aristocracy just doesn't care for spending money on transport.
Let's imagine you're master of all you survey, and it's most of Buckinghamshire.
And let's imagine the time has come to replace the ancestral transport.
Now, this means you're going to have to do something very un-aristocratic: Buy a brand new car.
Well, here it is.
It's the new Subaru Legacy Outback.
So, why this? Why not something German and obvious? Well, for a start, it's very discreet, and Your Lord and Ladyship don't want anything too showy.
Bad form.
Its radiator grill has no real presence.
In fact, it has the look of a car you could lose in a station car park.
And that's just perfect.
Secondly, the Outback is tough and well-built, so it can be handed on from generation to generation.
It has an excellent four-wheel drive system and good ground clearance, which is useful, because the drive up to the house was built by William the Conqueror, and it's a bit rough.
And just look at these materials.
Look at this gear knob.
It's gonna take years for the dog to chew its way through that lot.
I heard a story recently about a landed lady who bought one of these for her farm manager.
But when she tried it, she decided, "It's far too good for him.
" So, she kept it.
Charlie! Come on! And frankly, that's as it should be, because the nobs have always liked Subaru.
And there's a good reason for that.
When the first ones came to Britain in 1977, there were no dealers.
So they were sold alongside muck spreaders and tractors at farm equipment showrooms.
Just the sort of place where the landed gentry hangs out.
This also meant they didn't have to go into town and visit a car dealership, where they might have had to mingle with the proletariat.
Now, to be honest, previous Legacys were a bit agricultural.
They had harsh interiors and rather lumpen engines.
But this new one is much, much more sophisticated.
Now, that's probably not of much concern to the posh people up in the big manor house, but it makes it much more appealing to those of us in the grasping lower orders.
Now, Lord Bufton, he doesn't really care that the engine is a brand new three-litre flat-6, but, of course, we do because it's smoother and more powerful than the old four-cylindered donkey engine you used to get.
He probably also won't notice that the interior is now much smarter, because what's the point when it will all be eaten by the dog anyway? But the rest of us are actually chuffed to bits, in our small-minded and aspirational sort of way, because the interior of this car used to be very basic and hosed down, but now look at it.
It's like a Honda.
And look at these gadgets.
This is one of the finest satellite navigation systems I've ever used.
Mind you, it's a bit pointless if you really are an aristocrat, because then you'd own a whole county and you can't fit that on that on the screen.
I almost forgot to tell you what it's like to drive.
Well, I quite like it, actually.
It's relaxing and it's un-stressful.
"Agreeable" is probably the right word.
Nothing more than that, but that will be plenty.
Finally, we come to the vulgar business of money.
This car will cost ã28,000, which seems a lot, but then again it's expected to last for several hundred years.
One day, it will be very old and battered and probably a bit whiffy, but it will be around long after socialism and the fox hunting ban have been completely forgotten.
Maybe the aristocrats aren't quite as daft as they look.
They don't spend money very often, but when they do, they spend it very carefully.
Once every few generations, they might get a new coat or have the roof done, or buy a car.
This should be all the car they'll ever need.
And I knows me place, so it will do for me as well.
This is the biggest survey ever undertaken into how satisfied you are with your car.
How reliable it is, how good the dealer is to you, the lot.
-I think we had, what, 43,000 responses to this? -Mmm-hmm.
And there are 137 cars in it.
And I'd just like to point out that the Subaru Legacy, the old one, admittedly, came 10th.
-Which is very good.
-Well that's It's very good.
But it's not surprising.
What is surprising is the car that came first out of all 137.
-Not a Lexus? Lexus always wins.
Not a Lexus.
Not this time, because it is the Jaguar XJ.
There's one over there.
That's incredible.
And it didn't just do well, it did astonishingly well.
It got the maximum five points in nearly everything apart from practicality, I think.
And it got four in that anyway, so that's brilliant.
One thing even more amazing than that though, okay? Anyone want to hazard a guess at what came last? The least reliable, nastiest car, where the dealers really hate you.
Wanna hazard a guess? Vauxhall.
Vauxhall, no, completely wrong.
It is the Volkswagen Sharan.
The horrible people carrier.
If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen, you'd never get on another plane as long as you live! Your dog would die every 15 minutes! And this whole survey throws up some fascinating stuff, like the Porsche 911, a favourite car of mine, known for its somewhat scary handling sometimes.
96% of 911 owners in this survey claim to be absolutely satisfied with their car's handling.
Which is very good.
It leaves 4%, and they probably were entirely satisfied with the handling of their 911 right up until they hit the tree.
Then they changed their minds.
Yeah, but think of it this way, the people who got their bone marrow and their eyes are very satisfied with the handling of a 911.
Let's just run this one around the room.
Let's just find out.
What What do you drive, sir? A 355.
-A Ferrari.
There's an interesting statistic on Ferrari.
What is it, James? "90% of people who said they had a Ferrari were lying.
" It's true! Honest, it's true! People were actually filling in the form and then we checked everything, or the company that did it checked everything with the DVLA.
90% hadn't got a Ferrari.
And you think, "Why did you do that?" What did you think, some really beautiful girl is gonna, "Ooh, there's a bloke here with a Ferrari! I'll ring him " It's a computer! What have you got? A Golf Mark IV.
A Mark IV Golf.
Now, there's an interesting one on the Golf, isn't there? Yeah, now, there's a lot of cars based around the Golf, you know.
All the SEATs, the Beetle, the Audi A3, the Audi TT.
They're all Golfs with different bodies and different badges, okay? Yeah.
Now, which do you think is the worst of all the Golf-based cars? It's the Golf.
You're right.
The worst Golf is a Golf! If you want to buy a Golf, don't get a Golf.
That's basically what we've learned from this survey.
-That's a beard! -Subary Impreza.
-There's always one, isn't there? Every single week, we come down here and there's a fleet of Subarus.
Do you wanna know where it came? -Yeah, go on then.
Fifteenth most reliable car, -so not as good as the Outback.
-I don't believe it.
You don't, but why? Is it not reliable? -No, I keep mucking it up.
-You keep mucking it up? I'm part of your group of I've messed up my car with a stupidly big exhaust as well.
Oh, really? How big are we talking? Four inches.
Do girls come running up to you? -No.
-Not with that beard, actually.
Silly question, sorry.
What have you got? -A Passat.
-A Volkswagen Passat.
"Whoa," exactly.
What a man! Where's it come? -78th.
78th most reliable car! And, actually, while we're on the subject of this German business, there's a chap over here I was talking to earlier, okay? -You've got a -SL.
-A Mercedes? -Mmm-hmm.
Okay? Now, they are a byword for durability.
Where's yours? Well, it's gone to have its MOT today, but unfortunately they did a pick-up this morning and it broke down on the way to Tony Purslow in Guildford.
So, it broke down on the way to the dealer! This is not the first time Mercedes Do you want to know where the best Mercedes came? The highest placed Mercedes was 57th! And if you look at the bottom 10 or 11 place, okay? The bottom 10 or 11.
That's where you normally find the Alfas, and the Renaults and the Citroens You find the M-Class, the A-Class, and the C-Class.
Now, earlier on we left me dangling above a tank of water in a large Vauxhall, which interestingly came in 74th in the survey.
I can testify, anyway, that it lets water in.
Now, this theory runs that you're supposed to sit in the car and let it fill up with water until the pressure equalises and you can open the door and get out.
Well, let's see what really happened.
Five, four, three, two, one.
Action! We're now on the water.
Now, surprisingly, it's sinking fast from the back.
I didn't expect that.
I can hear the water coming in.
It's around my feet.
It's a very strange feeling.
I feel the panic rising with the water.
You can hear it in my voice.
It's around my ankles.
I think The central locking is going crazy.
Now I can see the water at the glass and that is scary.
It's coming up to my stomach.
Let's control this panic.
I'm starting to get my breaths ready.
We're leaning a lot as well.
I'm gonna save the last bit of air.
Because it's no good thinking you could sit in here for ages.
I'm gonna have to take my last breath.
We're going very sideways.
This is very frightening.
Now, remember, the theory goes that as soon as the car fills with water, the pressure should be equalised and the doors should open easily.
But as the car sank, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't open the door.
It was 30 seconds since I'd taken my last breath, 30 seconds since I should have been able to open that door.
But still it wouldn't budge.
I realised I wasn't gonna get out.
Eventually, the car hit the bottom of the tank, but it still took more precious seconds for the water pressure to equalise.
Only then could I open the door and escape.
If it was for real, I'm pretty sure I would have drowned.
So, did you die in the making of that film? Oh, yeah.
If it was real, yes, I did.
And the thing is, it was very lucky you were in the GL model, 'cause that was the one that did come with the diver in the backseat -with the aqua-lung.
If it had been an L, that would have been curtains.
I think I've just got to get it straight in my head.
If the thing's sinking, you have to wait for it to get to the bottom? Yes, because as it sinks, there's always greater pressure on the outside, basically.
It doesn't catch up until it stays -at the same point.
-So you have to wait for it to get to the bottom and then you can get out.
And then the pressure slowly equalises and you can get out and swim.
Which is all right if it's, what, five, ten feet deep.
Yeah, but I mean, it could be 150 feet.
So, that advice goes out the window, basically.
And RoSPA now say, "If you do drive into the water, get out as fast as you can.
"Don't mess about.
" So, I gave that a go as well.
Did you die that time? Well, let's find out.
Five, four, three -Here we go.
-two, one.
-Action! -Okay, I'm going in.
From a big drop this time.
Straight in the water.
Now I will try the windows.
I'm gonna try the door.
It's very difficult.
Wow! I went for the windows, as the advice says.
Nothing doing.
And it sank quickly that time.
But I went for the door straightaway and as I tried it, I feel like I've wrenched my arm.
It started okay.
As soon as the car started to descend, you could just feel it.
It was just getting harder to do.
So, there you go.
If you do drive into the drink, according to my experience and what RoSPA says, just get out as fast as you can.
-Now, can we do something important? -Yes.
-The Cool Wall.
-Oh, yes! -Lot of cars.
We've done a lot of cars -It's good to be back! in the last few weeks.
We haven't put them up.
We're gonna start with the Bentley Continental GT.
Where do we think? Cool? No! It's cool.
Well, thank you all for your opinion.
-It's cool.
-It is cool.
-It is! -Aha! However, with a proviso.
As soon as you open your copy of the Sun newspaper and you see that Mr Beckham has taken delivery of his, it's on its way down.
But, for now, since he doesn't have one, it's a cool car.
You drove it.
It is a fantastic car! -Subzero.
-Subzero? What do we think? Anyone else? -Subzero.
-So wrong! -All of them, totally wrong! How can it be cool if you have to explain, "That's my carbon roof, that is.
" That is not cool.
That is going to be bought by the sort of man who lies awake at night thinking of his gear shift aggression strategy for the drive to work the next day.
This is not just uncool like an M3.
That is in there.
That is true.
It's true.
Now then, Ford GT, the new one.
That's a tricky one.
Well, let me hear.
Let me hear some opinions on this.
What do you think? -Subzero.
-Subzero? -Subzero.
-Now, we've got one over here.
-Seriously uncool.
Needs to be in light blue and orange.
-Yeah, but -I mean, subzero.
Okay, if it were light blue and orange You're referring to the Golf colours.
-I can match your -anorak levels here easily.
Then it would be okay? It would be subzero.
Subzero, if you get the colours right.
Good point.
Anyone over here got opinions on the Ford GT? It's a very cool car.
-Very cool.
-Very cool.
-Very cool.
-Pretty cool.
Not a democracy here.
No! You're wrong! Now, now that's wrong! Now, look.
If this were a Ferrari, I think we'd I'd be with you, they might disagree, but it's not a Ferrari.
It's got a kind of retro something It's like those '70s shades with the holes down the side and the big It's cool.
That is a cool car.
If you were to turn up to someone's house in a red American car with white stripes down the side, they'd pretend to be out.
It goes there.
You're talking about the Starsky and Hutch car.
This is a retro supercar.
It's essentially cool! Right.
There is just one proviso on that.
If I buy one, it'll be moving up a bit.
-Funny, that.
Funny, that.
-All right? Right, here's one that I drove.
And this is a truly awesome car.
The Porsche 911 GT3.
-Fabulous! -Uncool.
-Again -Whoa, whoa! Why is this uncool? -It's just a 911.
-All 911s are uncool.
-Oh, now, you're just daft.
-And you think I think 911 suck.
I like some of what this audience is saying.
No, they're They're in -Go somewhere else, Jeremy.
-Super cool.
-Thank you, sir.
-He's come in an all-black rugby shirt.
Get to the back.
What do you think, girls? -Seriously cool.
-Seriously -Seriously cool.
-Seriously cool.
Seriously cool.
How interesting that the girls are wrong and the blokes have got it right.
Yeah, I mean, it is a brilliant car! But it's got no backseat.
It's just got a load of scaffolding and roll bars here.
-You don't have to explain it.
-Let me put it to you this way.
I come to take you out in one of these one night, okay? You say to me, "Why has it got all that scaffolding in the backseat and the ironmongery?" I'd have to explain that to you, how interesting do you think that'd be? -Very.
-Oh dear! I'd go out with you again.
You see, the thing is You'd make the second date.
Blimey! I agree.
Can we, um, can we now Can we move on? Can we just talk about people carriers for a while? -Obviously -Oh, my word! All of them are uncool.
If you buy a people Anyone got one? You have.
Basically, what you're saying about yourself, sir, is you've had your children and now you're just waiting to die.
However, the Renault Espace, here, -is cool.
-It is.
It just It's what? Very, very ugly.
Are you a policewoman? -Yes.
So, as I was saying, it's very, very cool.
'Cause I can do that in here.
However, the moment you've all been waiting for.
It's the new 5 Series.
Let's just see, run 'round the room on it.
What do you reckon? -Seriously uncool.
-Seriously uncool.
-Quite uncool.
-Quite uncool.
-Do you play golf? -Yes.
That's the problem.
This car will be bought almost entirely by people who play golf.
Ergo Sorry.
However, this car has given the world a problem.
Because, you see, for years, I know loads of people who've always had 5 Series BMWs.
They've all looked at this and went, "That is so ugly! There's no way I'm going to have one.
" So it leaves them a problem.
What do they buy? Well, eventually they're gonna have to have something done with their teeth.
And while the dentist has got his bit in their mouths, he's going to say, "I've got a Saab.
" All dentists have Saab.
Okay? Or And graphic designers all have them, and all architects have them and all Stephen Frys have them.
And when you ask someone who's got a Saab, "Why?", you always get the same patronising smile.
Like they know something we don't.
Okay? And I think I've worked out what it is.
Okay? I think it's because they spend all day doing root canals, then when they drive home, they think, "I'm not a dentist.
"I'm Chuck Yeager.
" Saab has been telling us for years that their cars are jets with number plates.
The message is clear.
Buy a 9-5 and you'll be able to blast a hole in the sound barrier and manoeuvre up your own tailpipe.
Really? I mean, do jet fighters have handbrakes, for instance, or ignition keys down here, or electric windows or a cup holder? I actually asked a bloke from Saab the other day what elements of this come from the aeronautical industry.
And all he could come up with was this night panel button on the dashboard, which turns all the lights and most of the dials off at night.
That's it.
That's handy if you want to line up for a bombing run on a Soviet nuclear submarine base, but of limited use on the A38 just outside Burton-on-Trent.
There are other differences, too.
The plane takes off at 137 mph.
The car doesn't.
The plane is made by Saab.
The car is made by General Motors.
And, finally, the plane uses a Volvo engine.
Now, what I'd like to do at this point, to demonstrate the difference between car and plane even more, is bolt The Stig into the Saab here and have him race a fighter jet 'round our track.
The only trouble is, can you imagine ringing up the Royal Navy and saying, "Hello, I'm from that poky motoring programme on BBC Two.
" "Would it be possible to borrow one of your Sea Harriers?" You can imagine what the response would be.
Yes! They were there in a jiffy! So, top-of-the-range Saab 9-5 Hot Aero versus Sea Harrier FA2.
2, 1, Go! And they're off.
3-litre, 250 hp turbo against 21,500 pounds of jet thrust.
Harrier's off the ground and already doing 200 mph.
Saab's up to 58.
The plane's pulling 6G in the corners.
And the car's still lumbering down the first straight! That's another corner dispatched.
And the pilot, yes, I think he's already got the finish line in his crosshairs and the car, yes, well, here it comes up to the second corner, which is Chicago.
Oh, bit of oversteer on the way in and lots and lots of understeer on the way out.
And the plane Yes, there it goes across the finishing line.
It's Ride of the Valkyries or, as he knows it, the music from the Pirelli advert! Into Follow Through, it is quick.
It is quick! Stig's not giving up.
I like to see that in a man.
But he's nearly lost it though! He's into Gambon and he's just held it.
And across Oh, look, the plane's waiting for him.
That's nice.
What about that? Well done.
The pilot did go a bit wide in some of the corners, didn't he? He did go wide.
He did say with a Harrier it would be possible to actually follow the confines of the track and it would still be faster than the car.
But we said, "Nah, nah, nah, go for it.
" So, he did run a bit wide.
I mean, over this corner he was over Brighton.
Round here it was Oxford.
Coming 'round that one, he actually hit Edinburgh.
But I have the time.
Do you wanna know? Go on.
2 seconds.
So, if you could pop that up for us there, Richard.
-Go on.
-I'm not Thank you very much.
That's the new That's the new fastest thing ever to go 'round our track.
-I think that might last a bit, that record.
-Right, the car, 1:37.
That's nearly a second and a half slower than a Honda Civic.
-Which takes us back to the original question.
Why do those people who have Saabs have that smile on their face? Well, I went back out there to find out.
To drive, it's nice, in a quiet, relaxing non-jet-fighter sort of way.
Middle-of-the-road motoring from the country that invented middle-of-the-road pop.
It costs ã27,000.
Not quite as much as you'd pay for the German alternatives, but not a bargain either.
Inside, I can find very little that would put that smile on the face of the graphic designers and the architects and the dentists who buy these things.
The thing I like most of all is this satellite navigation system.
You've got a touch screen and it lets you choose your language.
And you can have English (UK), and English (US).
Sort of exactly the same but with extra adenoids! I also like the performance.
Like all the fastest Euroboxes, it gets from 0-60 in six or so seconds and keeps on going to 155.
The only trouble is that to get that level of performance from a big car, you need a lot of power.
That's okay with a Mercedes or a Jaguar or a BMW, 'cause they're rear-wheel drive.
But this Isn't.
An engineer at Saab once told me that the absolute limit for a front-wheel drive car is 220 bhp.
This has 250.
Handling is just hysterical.
It's like driving a fast bouncy castle.
And if you push too hard in a corner, you just go into a world of smoke and brimstone.
And then you come out of the corner on the other side and everything's fine, except you need some new tyres.
This car has a five-star safety rating.
That's the top.
You know, I suspect it has nothing to do with the strength of the passenger cell or the energy absorbance of the front and everything to do with the fact it's almost impossible to crash it! So, to sum up, it has foolproof handling, it's quite fast, quite good-looking and it's quite hard to think why anyone would buy this instead of a Merc.
Perhaps, though, I'm missing something.
Perhaps it's at the cutting edge in some other unusual way.
Somehow I doubt it.
You see, this car is part Vauxhall Vectra, part Saab 9000.
And the 9000 is so old that I think I'm right in saying Helen of Troy had one.
I think that was the car that the suspension was made out of myrrh.
You have to dig very deep to find the point of this car, but it's worth it, because it's there all right! Firstly, it's eco-friendly.
The trees hug it as it goes by.
And then there's the mid-range clout.
The rate this thing goes in second gear from 40-70 mph is just That is sensational! For overtaking a lorry, never mind the 5 Series BMW, this will do it quicker than a Porsche 911 Turbo.
So, there you are.
The Saab 9-5, good in parts, better in others.
-What a nice programme it was tonight.
-Mmm, yeah.
Really was.
And a nice Saab.
I really like that.
-I drove a really nice Subaru.
-I didn't drown, which is nice.
-And we have the lovely Bentley.
-That was very nice.
Most of all, though, we have some fantastic people here and I want you to give them a round of applause.
From HMS Invincible, who brought the Harrier.
And that's all we've got time for, I'm afraid.
See you next week.
Bye! Top Gear Series 03, Episode 03