Top Gear (series 1)

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Top Gear (series 1)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 10
Release
Original channel BBC Two
Original release 20 October 2002 (2002-10-20) – 29 December 2002 (2002-12-29)
Series chronology
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List of Top Gear episodes

The first series of the relaunched television series Top Gear was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two starting on 20 October 2002, and concluding on 29 December 2002, and contained 10 episodes. The series included presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and Jason Dawe. This was Dawe's only series as a presenter on Top Gear.

Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Features/challenges Guest(s) Original air date UK viewers
(million)[1]
1 1 Series 1, Episode 1 Citroën Berlingo MultispacePagani ZondaLamborghini MurciélagoMazda6 Speed cameras Harry Enfield 20 October 2002 (2002-10-20) Under 2.43

Review: Clarkson reviewed the Citroën Berlingo Multispace in Calais, France and Newcastle, England. He likes that it is an affordable small car with character & great storage space and it rides like a Jaguar.

Preview: Richard Hammond presents a short retrospective on the Ford GT40 followed by a walkthrough of a prototype Ford GT – which has just been announced. The new model is slightly larger, a few inches taller, and is expected to sell in limited numbers for around $150,000.

News: The UK government has announced £145 million on road upgrades over the next five years; new cars showcased include the Fiat Stilo, the Nissan Micra, and the Smart Roadster; the state of Formula 1 racing is discussed, with Clarkson lamenting the overuse of technology; the Bentley Continental GT is also discussed.

Main Review: Clarkson drove the Pagani Zonda C12 S 7.3. Powered by a 12 cylinder, 555 bhp engine built for Pagani by Mercedes-Benz, the car can achieve a top speed of 220 mph. Clarkson loves the noise, the styling and calls it a proper supercar, with its only problem being that it must be compared to the Lamborghini Murciélago, which he does. He is pleased that new owner Audi has made the Murciélago easier to drive than all previous Lamborghinis, but in a head to head in a drag race against the Zonda, the higher powered Lamborghini is beaten by the lighter weight Zonda. Despite this, Clarkson is thrilled by the responsiveness of the Murciélago and anoints it the best Lamborghini ever made. However, as great as it is, he likes the Zonda more and calls it the king of supercars. Back in the studio, Hammond presents the Top Gear test track. Designed by Lotus test drivers, the course is just over 2 miles in length with specially-designed corners: Chicago, Hammerhead, Follow-through, Bacharach Bend, and lastly, Carpenter's Corner (which was renamed Gambon in Episode 8). Clarkson then introduces The Stig, an anonymous ("tame") racing driver whose sole purpose is to post lap times. The Zonda achieved a 1:23.8 around the track while the Murciélago had a 1:29.0 on a circuit which was damp in places.

Main Challenge: Make attempts to prove the claim that if you drive fast enough, you can beat a speed camera, with The Stig having to drive fast enough to be undetected by a speed camera. After several attempts in a Honda Civic Type R (129 mph) and a Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG (148 mph), he finally did it at 170 mph (270 km/h) in a TVR Tuscan S.

  • When MythBusters tested the same myth in 2007 in Speed Cameras, they deemed it busted because neither a Dodge Neon nor a Lamborghini Murciélago was successfully able to beat a speed camera using pure power. However, their fans, including some who knew that Top Gear had confirmed the myth, successfully convinced them to revisit the myth (Jamie Hyneman acknowledged Top Gear's success, referring to it as "a car show in the UK"). They subsequently verified Top Gear's Confirmed verdict in Myth Revolution after beating a speed camera using a jet car dubbed "The Beast" with a top speed of 300 mph (480 km/h).

Challenge: Clarkson looks into biodiesel, and tests the usage of biodiesel with a Volvo 740.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Jeremy introduces the concept behind "Star In A Reasonably Priced Car" as well as the car itself to be used in the segment: a Suzuki Liana (obtained from the manufacturer after Top Gear was turned down by Hyundai, Nissan, and Daewoo). Jeremy set the very first lap time of 1:50 (with both Richard Hammond and Jason Dawe in the back seat), while the Sitg is later revealed to have turned in a time of 1:48. Harry Enfield, the first celebrity to do this, sets a very slow lap time of 2:01.

Insider Dealing: Jason has found that the current Mini Cooper has actually appreciated in value. The Suburu Impreza Turbo is now £3,000 off the list price due to poor sales and a new model forthcoming. The Volvo XC90 is slated to be produced in very low numbers for the U.K., which both Jason and Jeremy find astonishing considering how good the car is.

Review: Hammond reviews a Mazda6, Mazda's attempt at a sports saloon. Hammond and Clarkson agreed the handling was fantastic for a Mazda, but a lack of power and prestige makes it meat for posh German executive cars.
2 2 Series 1, Episode 2 Ford Focus RSNoble M12 GTO Bus jumping over bikes Jay Kay 27 October 2002 (2002-10-27) 3.54

Review: The Stig tests the Ford Focus RS on the track against its main competition, the Subaru Impreza WRX and the Honda Civic Type R. The Impreza completes a lap of the Top Gear test track in 1:39 and the Civic finishes in 1:38.06. Surprisingly, the Focus RS beats the competition soundly with a time of 1:33.8. Jeremy Clarkson was initially stunned, because the straight-line speed of the Focus RS is poor compared to the Impreza's. He then drives the Focus RS on the empty roads of Wales and says that it "handles like it's in a cartoon". Aside from a highly positive review, calling it a "budget supercar," Clarkson claims that the differential and torque steering make the car uncontrollable on bumpy B-roads.

News: The popularity of live car chase footage in America (specifically Los Angeles) has given rise to the number of people intentionally trying to outrun the police; Vauxhall has a new family car with seats that cleverly fold away into the floor; Mazda has a new car, the RX-8; The Volkswagen Touareg is a cheaper version of the Porsche Cayenne; Clarkson reports that he has finally seen a bus in a London bus lane; MG has a new supercar that can be bought with options that will take it to 965 bhp.

Challenge: Hammond wanted to see how many motorcycles a double-decker bus can jump over. The bus managed to clear three bikes and crash into the remaining eleven.

Main Review: The Noble M12 GTO was also tested. Despite the car's wide turning radius, loose brake lights, and windows that cannot be lowered completely, Clarkson loves the car for its amazing handling, great power and, most notably, its complete lack of understeer. The Stig puts the M12 around a very wet Top Gear track in 1:32.9.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Jay Kay of Jamiroquai, complete his lap around the track in 1:48.1.

Skit: Jeremy states his belief that all good RS Fords bring "power to the people". Highlights are shown of the hosts & crew getting shots RS owners driving their cars around the Top Gear track. Hammond points out that when Jeremy drove an RS200 over the summer for his No Limits video, he too, became something of a mad man.

Insider Dealing: Jason has found deals on the Citroën C5, the Rover 75, used super-minis (like small Fiats & Citroëns), and used BMW 7 series.

Review/Feature: Richard Hammond admits that he doesn't like all RS models. He then takes a look back on his childhood dream car, the 1977 Ford Escort RS1800.
3 3 Series 1, Episode 3 Mini OneToyota Yaris VersoCitroën DSWestfield XTR2Aston Martin DB7 Grannies doing doughnuts with a Honda S2000 Ross Kemp 3 November 2002 (2002-11-03) 3.30

News: Using sex to sell cars; Transport 2000 (a lobbying group) is suing the government, as they want them to stop painting speed cameras yellow and paint them a less noticeable colour so that they catch more speeders.

Review: Jeremy looks at the new Mini and admits it handles well and is styled nicely. However, it is very big compared to the old one, and uses its space inefficiently. He then looks at the funky Toyota Yaris Verso, a much more practical car which he prefers. The major downfall of the Yaris is its styling – or lack thereof.

Feature: Jeremy talks to influential designer Peter Horbury about automotive design, national characteristics, and form language. Peter's pick for "Best Looking Car of all Time" is the Porsche 928.

Skit/Review: Hammond disagrees with Peter's pick and instead makes his case for the Citroën DS.

Challenge: Richard presents five grannies attempting to do donuts in a Honda S2000. Rally car driver and stuntman Russ Swift was on hand to teach the grannies how to perform the doughnut.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Ross Kemp sets a time of 1:54 on a wet track. Because of this, The Stig out is sent out to set a wet lap time, which he does in 1:50. Jeremy deduces that the difference between a wet lap and a dry lap is roughly 4 seconds.

Insider Dealing: Jason has found an appealing lease option for an Alfa Romeo 166.

Review: As a further counterpoint to Richard and Peter's picks for the "Best Looking Car of all Time," Jeremy presents the Lamborghini Miura SV in the studio. He greatly admires the car's styling, but ultimately chooses the Aston Martin DB7 (specifically the Vantage), which he reviews via a short film.

Feature: Back in the studio, Jeremy talks with the DB7's designer, Ian Callum. As a wrap-up to the interview, Jeremy invites Peter Horbury back for a sketch-off. Both designers draw their interpretations of a modern Jaguar E-type and the results are strikingly similar.

Review: Richard drives the £20,000 Westfield XTR2. Despite having only a 1.3 liter engine which produces a mere 170 bhp, the Westfield weighs just 410 kilograms. This makes for an extremely potent power to weight ratio. The Stig takes it around the track in 1:22.6 (which Richard rounds up to 1:23). Rounded or not, it beats the Zonda's time from the first episode and tops the Power Lap board, though was removed from the board entirely at a later date.

- This is the first episode to end with Clarkson declaring "And on that bombshell…", though it would not become a regular catchphrase until in later series.
4 4 Series 1, Episode 4 Aston Martin VanquishFerrari 575M MaranelloNissan Skyline R34 GT-R Family Saloon Formula One Steve CooganRichard Burns 10 November 2002 (2002-11-10) 2.90

Review/Special Race: To celebrate the release of Die Another Day, there is a race between two classic Bond cars, Aston Martin Vanquish vs. Ferrari 575M Maranello (featuring Damon Hill in the 575M). While the Aston makes the better noise and is more comfortable, the Ferrari is faster, lighter, more fun to drive, will hold its value better, and has a much better gearbox. The Stig takes the Aston Martin Vanquish around the track in 1.36.2 and the Ferrari 575M in 1.35.2; set on very wet track. In fact, at about 140 mph the Stig spun the Aston right off the track.

Feature: Jeremy interviews rally champion Richard Burns. Clarkson demonstrates to him what rallying is really like. He makes him stand outside in the cold waiting for the cars to come past and when a car did come past it sprayed grit in his face.

Review: Dawe reviewed the Nissan Skyline GT-R, showing stock footage of racing-modified Skylines. Dawe calls the car a PlayStation on wheels, noting the extensive electronic monitoring and feedback systems that are displayed on a computer screen inside the car. According to Dawe, the Skylines were so dominant in racing circuits that the rules were eventually changed in order to outlaw the car. He presents the R32, R33, and R34 models for comparison, underlining the fact that Skyline production has ended and that the only source for them now is the secondary market. He concludes that the R34 is the best of the breed but recommends the R33 as the best overall value.

Preview: The Vanquish and Jaguar XKR convertible from Die Another Day were featured in the studio. In order to make room for under-bonnet gadgets, the original engines were removed and replaced with Mustang V8s.

News: How to make Formula 1 more interesting; a teenage delinquent wins the lottery; a clergy who wants to drive for Top Gear.

Insider Dealing: End of the year deals are inevitable as dealerships lower prices to make their sales targets. Current bargains include the Ford Focus for £9,995 and free insurance from Renault.

Main Preview: Further celebrating the release of Die Another Day, Richard and Jeremy show off the actual cars from the film in the studio: Bond's Aston Martin Vanquish (complete with machine guns, missiles, & an ejector seat) and the villain's Jaguar XKR (with even more machine guns & missiles). Both cars have inspired a future "Build A Bond Car" challenge – which will feature in the next episode of Top Gear.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Steve Coogan sets a time of 1:53.0 on a wet track (it was pouring with rain); the time is used as a benchmark wet time for the Liana's lifetime.

Challenge: Hammond judged mid-range 2.0-litre four-door family saloons. After he decided that the Honda Accord was the best compromise, The Stig then took them round the track in the "Mid Range Olympics". On a dry track for all of them, the Jaguar X-Type came in last at 1:46 due to a poor traction control system, narrowly beaten by the Toyota Avensis and the Renault Laguna at 1:45. The Honda Accord came in the middle at 1:44, which was in turn beaten by the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class at 1:43. The Ford Mondeo, despite being front-wheel drive and down on power compared to the Germans, came quickest at 1:41 due to its chassis.
5 5 Series 1, Episode 5 Mercedes-Benz S-ClassAudi A8Maybach 62Bentley Arnage Create a Bond car Jonathan Ross 17 November 2002 (2002-11-17) 3.43

Review: Jeremy reviews the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. After a short history lesson and noting "firsts" that now appear on many family and economical cars (like Anti-lock brakes and airbags), Clarkson fails to test drive the car after it refuses to correctly accept the telephone numbers Clarkson suggested. The S-Class test is a classic example of the new, less conventional style Top Gear has adopted. Jeremy said in his introduction "this car has a very economical, twin-turbo, 6.0 litre... I don't mean economical, do I? I mean massive V12." Eventually, he does get it on the road where he demonstrates the radar-guided cruise control. He ultimately deems it a fabulous car.

Review: Immediately following the S-class review, Jeremy then goes for a test drive in its rival, the Audi A8. He notes that the Audi is more of a sports car than a luxury car. He further says that it's not better than the Mercedes, not even slightly. He says the Audi is better to drive, but the Mercedes is more refined and more comfortable.

Preview: Hammond & Clarkson preview a pre-production model of the Jaguar XJ in the studio.

News: The Nissan Almera gets a facelift and a name change. Another new Nissan is the 350Z – which won't be coming to the UK as all models produced for the year will be going to the US. Wiltshire County Council are removing the white lines from the roads in order to create a feeling of uncertainty among drivers, thereby making them drive more cautiously. Studies show that MPG estimates are not accurate.

Review/Feature: Jason Dawe looks at used Peugeot 206s. He lauds the car for having character and classlessness, and though he acknowledges that the prices are inflated by too much demand, he still recommends buying them because they will hold this value until again up for sale. Clarkson and Dawe agree that it's the best used car buy of the time.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Jonathan Ross, while driving an extremely wet track, is penalised two seconds for cutting over the Hammerhead corner, and receives a time of 1:57.

Main Review: Hammond goes to Germany to "test drive" a Maybach 62 and gushes over the numerous features of the car. He says that it is better than a Rolls-Royce, but it is the sort of thing that can only be appreciated by those who can afford it. The S-class costs £87,000 while the Maybach 62 lists for £281,380.

Insider Dealing: The Rover 45 can be had for as little as £9,903 (down from £11.650). MG is knocking 15% off some of its models. BMW dealerships are fitting tires for less than franchise houses such as Quick Fit. The deal of the week is Vauxhall 2.2 CDX lists for £22,500, but Dawe has found one for £16,000.

Review: Clarkson then test drives a Bentley Arnage and thrashes the car on the Top Gear track. The Stig takes the luxury car to a time of 1:40.8 on a wet track.

Challenge: Make an 'average' car into a 007/Bond car, for less than £300. The result, a Rover 800 incorporating a paintball gun, a bullet-proof tea tray, a passenger ejector seat, and rocket tubes, makes a parody of many of the associated modifications that grace many James Bond cars. It was built and introduced by Edd China.
6 6 Series 1, Episode 6 Renault Vel SatisBMW Z4Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMGHonda NSX Type R Grannies doing handbrake parking Tara Palmer-Tomkinson 24 November 2002 (2002-11-24) 3.10

Main Preview: Opening the show, Hammond & Clarkson preview the Honda NSX Type-R in the studio. Honda are trying to decide whether or not to sell the NSX in Britain. The Stig posts a time of 1:33.7 on a very wet track – faster than both the Ferrari 575 and the Noble featured in previous episodes. If you take the 4-second wet lap deduction, the NSX places neck in neck with the Lamborghini Murciélago. As with the Aston Martin featured in episode 4 of the series, the Stig also spun the Honda during one of his attempts at posting a time.

Review: Clarkson drives the Renault Vel Satis through Swindon. He finds the ride to be too "pillowy" to cope with bad roads and its looks to be too wacky for its target audience of executive car buyers. However, like the Renault Avantime, Clarkson loves the bold design.

Preview: Back in the studio, Richard and Dawe showcase the new versions of the Renault Mégane and the Renault Avantime. As with the Vel Satis, Clarkson thinks they are fantastic to look at. Hammond and Dawe are not convinced.

Challenge: Following up from the successful Granny donut challenge from episode 2, Dawe meets up with the grannies as Rally car driver and stuntman Russ Swift teaches them how to handbrake park in a Mini.

News: Nissan are coming back to motorsports – specifically the Dakar Ralley; Mazda is coming out with a limited edition MX5; a sequel is in the works to the Fast And The Furious, with Richard and Jeremy amused by the Hyundai that is slated to appear in the film.

Review: Hammond drives the BMW Z4 in Portugal. He admits to not liking the wet BMW Z3, but finds the Z4 to be excellent. Clarkson disagrees, but allows it to be put onto the Cool Wall as a cool car. The Renault Vel Satis has been voted "tow car of the year".

Cool Wall: Jeremy debuts The Cool Wall – a board divided into four sections (seriously uncool, uncool, cool, and sub-zero) onto which images of cars are posted. As Jeremy explains, where the cars fall depends not on how they look or drive, but solely on how cool they are. The BMW Z3 is uncool. However the Z4 is cool. The Fiat Multipla is cool. The Lexus IS200 was cool but since Alan Partridge owns one, it is now uncool. Finally, Jeremy thinks the Renault Avantime is "the coolest car money can buy" and he places it as far into the sub-zero category as he can.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Tara Palmer-Tomkinson posts a time of 1:54 on a very wet track.

Insider Dealing: Dawe has found the Suzuki Liana for as low as £7,995 – £2,000 less than what Top Gear paid for theirs. It's the time of year that the bigger automotive dealers need to get rid of their used cars. They might not be advertised, but they will definitely be dealing. Dawe also has some tips about settling the financing on trade-ins.

Review: Continuing the theme of "cool cars," Dawe looks at used car that has never gone out of fashion: the Volkswagen Golf. He laments briefly at the poor performance of petrol Golfs in the past two generations, and recommends the torque of the diesel versions to those who want performance. Dawe then looks at a metallic pea-green Golf with a beige interior and black dashboard, remarking that a poor choice of colour and trim can make a secondhand Golf worth £500 less than if it was in a proper colour scheme.

Main Review: Clarkson revisits the cool wall and places various models of the Mercedes-Benz SL in nearly every category. He then previews the latest model, the SL55, in the studio and postulates that it too, may be "uncool". However it has a big brother. With that, he drives his personal Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG around the track very carefully extolling its virtues, before giving in and opening the taps (as he puts it) just a little bit. Back in the studio with Hammond, he explains that ultimately the car is a bit "northern" and he confesses that, as being from the north himself, that is probably why he likes it so much. He makes an attempt at what will become his signature send-off ("And on that bombshell, we have to end…"), but Hammond cuts him off. Hammond notes to Clarkson that, according to a UK gay-oriented website, the SL55 AMG is considered to be the fourth-gayest car. The car is then stolen by Hammond and given to the Stig for a lap. The Stig posts a time of 1:33.2 (Very Wet Track). Like the NSX at the top of the show, a quick time.
7 7 Series 1, Episode 7 Saab 9-3Lotus Elise 111S Religious leaders race Rick Parfitt 1 December 2002 (2002-12-01) 3.61

Review: Hammond drives a Saab 9-3, following the government guidelines for "commuting in an eco-friendly manner". He finds it to be well-equipped and a bit of a bargain compared to German orthodoxy, but not as wacky and interesting as old Saabs.

News: The Daihatsu Copen looks like it might compete with Smart Roadster, but it appears it may be too expensive; tuning house, Brabus, has one-upped Jeremy's Mercedes AMG from the previous episode with their own model; the Mercedes E-class, Renault Vel Satis, Renaut Mégane, and Saab 93 are the latest cars to receive a 5-star crash test rating from EuroNcap, while furthermore, the Suburu Outback was singled out as the safest car for children (in the back seat); transportation secretary Alistair Darling wants a "hole czar" to take on all of the holes in the roads; the trio close out the news complaining about buses.

Challenge: The Fastest Faith (part 1): A search for the "fastest faith" starts, with the contestants being a Catholic Priest, a Rabbi, a Buddhism Lama, an Anglican Priest, Bishop Wallace Benn also from the Church of England, and a follower of the Hare Krishna. Each driver drove a highly tuned Subaru Impreza WRX STI. The car was spun by the rabbi and the Hare Krishna, giving them 5th and 6th place respectively. Fourth place went to the Lama, third to the bishop. The Catholic priest was beaten by the Anglican priest for the best time.

Preview: Hammond showcases three cars with diesel engines in the studio: a Ford Focus, BMW 5-series, and a Citroën C8 people carrier. Out on the track, the Peugeot RC (a diesel-powered sports car) does a wet, untimed lap.

Cool Wall: The VW Golf is cool, while The diesel version is uncool; The Saab 93 is cool, while the diesel version is, predictably, uncool.

Main Preview: Hammond showcases the Ford Think – an electric prototype. The Stig takes it around the track in a race against Jason Dawe – who is on foot. Jason wins because the Think runs out of battery power. Following this (and Jeremy's vocal complaints), Hammond follows this with a look at the Toyota Prius. Jeremy places it well off the "seriously uncool" end of The Cool Wall into a place he terms "deep, dark recesses of Hell".

Challenge: Jason Dawe takes a number of cars to a primary school to get the kids' verdict on coolness. Among them were the Ferrari 360 Modena, the Pagani Zonda, the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34, the TVR Tuscan S. Their favourite was the Lamborghini Countach, the oldest, dirtiest, least comfortable, and least safe of the cars.

Preview: Back in the studio, Hammond & Dawe showcase a Bristol that has been converted to run on LPG. Dawe remarks that you will recoup the cost of the conversion after around 20,000 miles.

Review: Clarkson drives a Lotus Elise 111S badly and then gets a lesson from a Lotus test driver on how to drive it properly. The Stig takes it around the track in a time of 1.35.6 (wet track).

Preview: Clarkson reveals the Peugeot 607 to be the greenest car in the world – because it's so awful you wouldn't want to drive it.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, sets a time of 1:52.

Insider Dealing: The Fiat Stilo, normally £11,700 is now £7,995. The Ford Ka is a mere £4,995. But the best deal of the week goes to the Isuzu Trooper. The previous year's model originally listed for £27,000. Now it can be had (still brand new on the dealers' lots) for £18,995
8 8 Series 1, Episode 8 Audi RS6Mercedes-Benz E55 AMGMaserati CoupéFord FiestaCitroën C3Honda JazzNissan MicraMG ZRLada Riva modified by Lotus Fastest white van man Sir Michael Gambon 8 December 2002 (2002-12-08) 3.43

Intro: Jeremy opens the show with an apology for stating he was going to kick a barn owl for fun in the previous episode. He says that while they made the effort to go "green" in episode 7, they mucked it up and won't bother again.

Preview: Jeremy briefly shows the BMW M5 and the Jaguar S Type-R in the studio. Both have 400 bhp. They also both have new competition in the form of the Audi RS6.

Review: Jeremy road tests the 450 bhp Audi RS6. He liked the power and the speed, but found the ride a bit stiff. Despite this he deemed the Audi "one of the best made cars on the road today" … "easily better than the BMW M5 and the Jaguar S Type-R". Clarkson then drives the 500 bhp Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG. While he is not a fan of the E-Class styling or of Mercedes service and customer care, he does like the power, speed, and sound that comes from the 5.5L supercharged V8 engine. He says that the Audi and the Mercedes are equals in just about every way, but that he ultimately prefers the Audi. The track times were: The Audi RS6 did 1.33.0 and the Mercedes-Benz E55 completed the track in 1:35:5 (both wet tracks, though considerably wetter for the Mercedes). Nick Mason of Pink Floyd makes a brief cameo during Clarkson's review.

Challenge: A Lada Riva 1.5E Catalyst is modified by Lotus. After driving it on the track, the Lotus test driver calls it "easily the worst car I've ever driven". They take out the shoddy Russian 35 bhp (26 kW) engine and replace it with an identical type and size of engine, but tuned to deliver 180 bhp (130 kW). The gearbox, suspension, and bodywork are replaced or substantially tuned. With a modified exterior (debadged of any Lada markings), a refreshingly updated interior, and a much-improved suspension, Lotus spent a total of 1000 hours and £100,000 to deliver a Lada that is actually good to drive and be seen in.

News: Ridiculous parking tickets; the latest Citroën Berlingo is prettier, but still odd-looking and still inexpensive; the new Vauxhall Astra has 200 bhp for £16,000; the Audi TT has a bigger engine and a press release full of techno-speak regarding the gearbox.

Challenge: White-Van Men raced a Ford World Rally Transit van around the Top Gear track. They all had similar times but one, Clarkson's preferred man (a fellow Steely Dan fan), got lost and turned up two minutes behind the others.

Main Review: Hammond looks at superminis, choosing the mid-range 1.4 litre of each type. He finds the Ford Fiesta to be rather good to drive and quite practical, but extremely boring both inside and out. The Citroën C3 is interesting, but slow and forgettable to drive. The Honda Jazz is easily the most practical and spacious, quite like a mini MPV, as well as intelligently proportioned inside. But the Jazz has all the downsides of an MPV, such as noise reverberation and poor drive feel. The Nissan Micra is less practical, but offers a huge amount of technology and options for its price. Hammond is finally satisfied by the MG ZR, which feels special to drive even in the midrange non-hot version.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Michael Gambon sets a time of 1:55 on wet tarmac. His driving style was so much, that he nearly rolled the car while cutting the last corner of the test track ("Carpenter's Corner"). As a result, Clarkson renames the corner "Gambon Corner", in honor of his near accident, which it has retained to this day.

Insider Dealing: Dawe has found another new Suzuki Liana – this time for £7,495. Deals can be had on re-registered cars. That is cars registered by the dealer (a trick to meet sales quotas) and then sold later at a discount (because they are technically "used"). Deals include the Renault Scenic £9,000 (down from £12,500), a Ford Focus 1.4CL 7,995 (normally £10,500), and a Fiat Punto £4,995.

Review: Jeremy tests the Maserati Coupé on the track. He finds it to be a confused and unsatisfying alternative, somewhere between the performance of a Ferrari and the comfort of a Jaguar. The Stig achieves an underwhelming time of 1.38.0 on a very wet track.
9 9 Series 1, Episode 9 Volvo XC90Subaru ForesterVW Golf R32Honda Civic Type RToyota Land Cruiser Stripped down Jaguar XJS Gordon Ramsay 22 December 2002 (2002-12-22) 3.67

Review: Jeremy opens the show with a brief review of the Renault Espace. He finds it to be a bit pricey, but the perfect family car. Immediately following his review, Jeremy places the Espace into the uncool section of the cool wall. He also places people carriers from Citroën, Chrysler, Kia, and Toyota in "uncool". As he puts it, "All people carriers are uncool". Hammond recommends SUVs (like a Range Rover) as a "cool" alternative.

Review: Jeremy prefers the Toyota Landcruiser as the "cool" alternative. He likes the legendary Toyota reliability, eight seats, "and enough boot space for a cameraman". He finds the latest model to be better looking, better equipped, and better riding than previous models. However, he also says that as a family car, you end up paying for things you'll never need or use, such as a low-range gear box, adjustable ride height, and locking differential. As an alternative, Hammond offers up "grass & gravel" 4x4's in the form of the BMW X5 and the Audi Allroad – which retain the cool looks, but dispense with the offroad extras. However, they only have five seats.

Review: Jeremy drives the Volvo XC90 Estate and finds it doesn't work off-road, it's big, thirsty, and not very nice to drive. However, he likes the safety features, amenities, the price, and the fact that it was clearly designed for families.

Challenge: Can a heavy car be made faster by simply making it lighter? Hammond and Dawe start with a used 1985 Jaguar XJS V12. The Stig sets a 0–60 mph time of 8.6 seconds. Hammond and Dawe then turned it over to a crew from Cornwall. They pull off speakers, bumpers, seats, etc. for a total reduction of 223 kilograms. The Stig then sets a new 0–60 mph time of 7.4 seconds. The 0–100 mph savings turned out to be 5 seconds.

News: Morgan "The Morgan Club" to help finance their racing team. Clarkson has found a better investment: a house in the south of France with a "full on racetrack" on the grounds. A motorcyclist files a lawsuit against the DVLA demanding to settle case with a fight to the death.

Preview: Jeremy presents the MG SV – a V8 muscle car priciest around £60,000.

Review: Hammond reviews the Subaru Forester 2.0 XT and finds it to be fantastic off-road and on. On the downside, he finds it to be a bit thirsty and the interior to be somewhat dull.

Cool Wall: Returning to the board, Hammond & Clarkson place the Forrester in the "cool" section. Other cars include TVR (uncool), the VW Polo (cool). Hammond thinks the BMW M3 is cool and wants to move it up from "uncool". Clarkson disagrees, but when his back is turned, Hammond sneaks it over into "cool". Clarkson is aghast to find that someone has put the Porsche Boxster into the "subzero" section. The culprit turns out to be the cameraman (who owns one). Clarkson drops it down to "uncool". Clarkson then notices the M3 in the cool section, pulls it off, and prepares to demote it yet again. Hammond intervenes and convinces Clarkson to put it to a studio audience vote – which he does. Not liking the results, he declares "this isn't a democracy" and places the car back into "uncool".

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Gordon Ramsay sets a time of 1:50 – matching Jeremy's time.

Insider Dealing: The deal of the week is a new Nissan Torano for £15,500 (a £4,500 savings). Jason says that in the next few months, there will be deals on the Toyota Avencis as a new model is coming out which will force dealers to drop the price on the old one. Dawe also predicts the hot cars for next year will be the BMW Z4, VW Beetle Cabriolet, and the Nissan 350Z. He says that the demand for those three will outweigh the supply and anyone lucky enough to buy one will likely be able to get their money back (and even make a small profit) if they sell it 6–12 months down the line.

Main Review: Jeremy reviews the VW Golf R32. He finds the Golf to be a lot more car than its predecessor, but lacking in the original's spirit as well. Comparing it to its immediate competition (Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, and SEAT León Cupra R), Clarkson finds the Golf to be showing its age. The Stig drives the Focus RS to a lap time of 1:32.2. He then takes the R32 to a time of 1:33.3. As shown in Episode 2, the Ford is again quickest on the track, but Clarkson prefers the Golf because it is easier to control.

"Car Vs. Something" Race/Feature: The Stig raced a Radical SR3 around the track against an aerobatic plane. The plane wins the race, but the Radical tops the Power Lap board with a time of 1:19.8, beating the Westfield XTR2's time of 1:22.6 (from episode 3).
10 10 Series 1, Episode 10 Range RoverLotus EspritNissan PrimeraTVR T350C Religious leaders race again • Top Gear Awards 2002 None 29 December 2002 (2002-12-29) 3.59
Note: Jason Dawe's final episode as a presenter.

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