Top Gear (series 2)

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Top Gear (series 2)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 10
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 11 May 2003 (2003-05-11) – 20 July 2003 (2003-07-20)
Series chronology
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List of Top Gear episodes

The second series of the television series Top Gear began on 11 May 2003, and concluded on 27 July 2003. The series featured 10 episodes. The series was subsequently followed by one "Best Of Top Gear" episode, charting the best moments from Series 1 and 2. The series was the first to be recorded with James May, as the first series featured motoring enthusiast Jason Dawe.

Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Features/challenges Guest(s) Original air date UK viewers
(million)[1]
11 1 Series 2, Episode 1 Smart RoadsterVolkswagen Beetle CabrioletBowler WildcatBentley T2 Drag racer jet engine incinerates Nissan Sunny Vinnie Jones 11 May 2003 (2003-05-11) 3.15

Note: James May's first episode as a presenter.

Review: Jeremy reviewed the Smart Roadster and said it was good to drive despite poor acceleration and a limited top speed. However, the boot space was described as "similar to a baking tray", and the semi-automatic gearbox was found to be almost unusably slow to respond to gear changes. Also viewed were Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet and the Ford Street Ka, which Clarkson and Hammond agreed were impossible for men to drive with dignity.

Cool Wall: VW Beetle Cabriolet and Ford Street Ka are Cool, but only for girls, and the Smart Roadster is Subzero. Renault Avantime is removed from the wall because it isn't produced any more, although it would later appear in series 12.

Love/Hate Board: Jeremy introduces the Love/Hate board. "Love" is already full with a photo of Kristin Scott Thomas and another one of Terry-Thomas. In the "Hate" section are chummy radio opening messages, cyclists, paddle-shift gear boxes and personalised license plates. Richard reveals his top 5 worst cars ever:

5. AMC Pacer

4. Peel P50 (3 wheel car)

3. Vauxhall Vectra

2. Suzuki X-90

1. Nissan Sunny (which he destroys with a jet engine powered drag racer)

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Vinnie Jones recreates a classic scene from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with a melon and a Smart Roadster. He achieved a time of 1:53.

Review: New presenter James May reviews his Bentley T2, which he says ruined his life because of poor fuel economy and he has to rent a garage 7 miles (11 km) from his house to keep it in. Clarkson enjoys the Bentley's ludicrously soft suspension, but is confused when May calls his Bentley "so cool that certain people will not understand."

The News: The Peugeot 206 GTI and 206 GTI Estate are spotlighted. Jeremy likes the Estate, Richard and James don’t. New cars since the first series wrapped include the Renault Kangoo, Saab 93 Convertible, and the Lamborghini Gallardo. Jeremy predicts that if the Gallardo is anything like its big brother the Murcielago, it will be a "stonking good car." However, James foresees a problem and reveals a mystery fax that the Top Gear office received consisting of some phone numbers and a drawing of a Lotus Esprit. It turns out when you call the numbers, you reach Lotus and are then asked to identify the picture that’s come through your fax. The reason Lotus is doing this is to try and prove that Esprit shape (supercar wedge) belongs to them so they can copyright it. Richard closes the news by showcasing a Ferrari 355 in studio. He tells the surprised audience that it can be had for a mere £20,000, but then reveals that it is actually a fake built from a Toyota MR2. Continuing the "cheap thrills" theme of this episode, Hammond goes on to explain that once it was completed, the bloke who built it was able to get a lower insurance quote because it was classed as a "kit car." He further explains that the guy has had to "disappear" into the "midlands underworld" for fear of the wrath of Ferrari.

Review: Richard Hammond reviews the Bowler Wildcat, becomes overwhelmed with emotion during the test drive and exclaims he is "a driving god", much to Clarkson's and May's amusement. The Bowler achieves a time of 1:39.4 on a dry track. Slow for a car, but immensely fast for a high-riding off-roader.

Review: Murray Walker, the former Formula One commentator features as a special guest, driving the McLaren F1, the fastest car in the world at that point, Now it is the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.

Concluding the show, Richard returns to the Top Gear test track with a caravan, which is then destroyed by the jet engine powered drag racer.
12 2 Series 2, Episode 2 Rolls-Royce PhantomRover P5BMW M3Audi S4 Fastest political party Jamie Oliver 18 May 2003 (2003-05-18) 3.28

The theme of the show is "luxury."

Review: Jeremy drives the new Rolls-Royce Phantom in and around Hull and the Humber Bridge. He has to swallow preconditions of the Germanness about it, and realises that it is a faithful reproduction of the Rolls-Royce marque. Power, from a 6.75 litre V12, is 453 bhp (338 kW). Clarkson was impressed with other aspects, such as the responsive handling and fuel economy. In the end he found it to be a magnificent car, but lamented the aspects of it that the British were unable to do themselves. May consoles him with the realisation that the Germans and British can work together to make fantastic cars. Jeremy also disappoints May by saying, "no-one called James can buy this car"

The Cool Wall: The Rolls-Royce Phantom is uncool. So is the Ferrari Enzo. Richard claims the Audi A3 is uncool, but Jeremy disagrees and places it high on the cool wall – out of Richard’s reach. While Jeremy moves a previously cool Alfa Romeo to the subzero section, Richard stands on a box and relocates the Audi to the uncool section.

The News: Jeremy leads off with the bus boat – a bus that can both drive in the bus lane as well as the River Thames. Richard introduces a service called motor flirting – a service that allows motorists to contact each other via text messaging. James mentions the new BMW 5-series which touts active steering. Jeremy isn’t impressed at all and moves on to the Lexus RX300 which is advertised as having a driver’s side air kneebag. This impresses no one. Finally, for the first and probably only time, Jeremy is excited by a small, cheap car. He calls the well-equipped Daihatsu Charade "fantastic" and notes that it is priced at £5995.

Review: Richard drives the Queen's Rover P5 and recommends secondhand P5s to luxury car enthusiasts, but only the later V8 models.

Insider Dealing: BMW is offering deals on the 5-series. This is noteworthy because BMW never deals. Alfa Romeo GTV Spyder can be had for £20,000. Citroen C5 can be had for £16,000.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Chef Jamie Oliver, who was set a challenge of cooking a salad in the back of his campervan whilst being driven by the Stig (Oliver could not do it). Wanting to beat Gordon Ramsay in the Suzuki Liana, he achieves the same time of 1:50.

Love/Hate Board: People who sit too near the wheel, people who sit too far away from the wheel and horses go into the "Hate" section.

Challenge: Richard decides to elect a new government based on which party is the fastest at racing in an MG ZR. The results were as follows:

6. Official Monster Raving Loony Party (represented by Howling Laud Hope, who had no driving license) - 2:13

5. Conservative Party (represented by Bernard Jenkin MP) - 1:41.8

4. Green Party (represented by Ian Dixon) - 1:41

3. Labour Party (represented by Richard Burden MP) - 1:38.8

2. Legalised Cannabis Alliance (represented by Mark Gibson) - 1:36.5

1. Liberal Democrats (represented by John Ault) - 1:33.9

The Liberal Democrats representative won a "safe seat" (an actual front seat) from a Volvo.

Review: A comparison of the Audi S4 and BMW M3. The Stig drives the M3 to a lap time of 1:31.8 but at 1:30.9 the S4 is faster. Clarkson comments that he would have the BMW for one lap of the track, but for everyday life he would go for the Audi to which James concurs.
13 3 Series 2, Episode 3 Volkswagen TouaregLexus SC430Hyundai CoupeBMW Z8Perodua Kelisa Country with fastest supercar David Soul 25 May 2003 (2003-05-25) 2.98

This episode marks the first time Jeremy introduces the episode with the simple and direct "Tonight!..." followed by (usually) three things that the viewer will see in the episode.

Review: Jeremy was blown away by the torque of the V10 diesel engine in the new Volkswagen Touareg. The torque is so strong it can even pull down trees but found nothing else to like about the car. He complained about two equally intolerable ride settings: sickeningly rolly in comfort mode, bone-shatteringly harsh in sport mode. Handling, trim, rear visibility, ride, and price issues doomed the Touareg. It was priced at £50,000; Clarkson gave his most scathing review yet and said he'd rather eat the money than spend it on a Touareg.

Review: Clarkson, May and Hammond ask the audience what they think is a bad car, recommending first the Audi A2. Hammond then reviews the presenters choice for the worst car – Lexus SC430. He also reviews the Hyundai Coupé, pointing out how a manufacturer not previously renowned for sports cars has made a much more competent sports coupe than the Lexus for less than half the price. Also mentioned are the Hyundai Sonata (ne Kia Magenta), Daewoo Lanos, and the Vauxhall Vectra. However, one audience member mentions the Vauxhall VX220. Jeremy disagrees and immediately escorts him from the premises.

The News: The team discuss the Citroën Saxo VTR, its appeal among young drivers, and its replacement – the Citroën C2,. Richard introduces the new Porsche 911 GT3, which leads to a discussion about how confusing the 911 range is, and how wonderful the new £330,000 Carrera GT. James is interested in the £230,000, 210 mph, V-10 gull-winged Bristol Fighter but moans that merely knowing Jeremy Clarkson bars him from ever buying a Bristol. Concluding the news, Jeremy shows an image of a Jaguar that has been customised in an unfortunate way. James goes one step further and shows photo of a car with bodykit built from MDF.

Insider Dealing: Oversupply has led to some incredible car deals including pre-registered cars that are virtually new, the Mazda MX-5, and the Kia Rio for £1 deposit.

Challenge: What country makes the fastest supercar? Last series' stripped down Jaguar XJS goes up against the Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari 360 Modena, Porsche 996 Turbo, Venturi Atlantique and Honda NSX on a straight line race. In standard trim the Jag manages a poor 18.5 second quarter-mile.

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: David Soul of Starsky and Hutch, who was the first American and first guest to break two Suzuki Lianas. He posted a time of 1:54 despite having coasted the last 300 yards (270 m) with a broken gearbox. To Soul's disappointment, he was not able to explain that he broke the gearboxes because of his unfamiliarity with driving on the right side of the car and shifting with his left hand. If not for that problem, the Stig believed that he could have beaten Jay Kay, currently at the top of the leaderboard.

Challenge (part 2): The Jag is given nitrous injection to bring its power up by 200 bhp (150 kW) to 500 bhp (370 kW), and it beats all the other supercars despite its bulk.

Review: James road tests the Perodua Kelisa. He and Richard agree it is very soft and easy to drive. Jeremy says that no one would want one and that its name sounds like a disease.

Review: Jeremy reviews the BMW Z8 Alpina. He says that even though that Alpina have re-engineered it in an attempt to focus it, the Z8 is like a "delinquent child - born bad and will always be bad". He also compares it to a pair of botched trousers he made throughout the episode. It achieved a surprisingly good time of 1:29 on a dry track.
14 4 Series 2, Episode 4 Jaguar R Coupe • Jaguar Mk IIJaguar XKR-RAston Martin DB7 GT How far can you drive until you become bored in a Mark 3 Jaguar XJR? Boris Johnson 1 June 2003 (2003-06-01) 3.23

Review: Clarkson briefly looks at a Jaguar R Coupe prototype and says that it looks fabulous (despite similarity to the S-Type, which he hates). May relates the humorous story of Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt at the 1953 Le Mans Jaguar C-Type and Hammond drives a 1960s Jaguar Mark II coating it in praise.

The News: Next year’s Vauxhall Astra surprises the three with its decent looks. Ferrari offers a stripe on the F360 for a mere £3,643. Rover MG fails to deliver on its promises. The team question the truthfulness of the Reliability Index, which puts Fiat (an otherwise unreliable brand) as the 3rd most reliable make of car, and Subaru (an otherwise reliable brand) as the 2nd most unreliable make. James is invited to the opening of a car park. And Richard shows a poorly-conceived Volvo customisation.

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Boris Johnson talks about his love of cycling and his car column in GQ magazine. Jeremy tells him he drives in bus lanes and cycle lanes, Johnson challenges the show's director to put that statement in the final cut. Johnson achieved 1:56 in the Liana.

Preview: With some assistance from James & Jeremy, Richard previews the new Jaguar XJ in the studio.

Challenge: Jeremy sees how far he can drive until he's bored, taking with him a black Jaguar XJR. He managed to get all the way to John O'Groats before saying "Oh dear, I seem to have run out of country". He then proceeded to drive back to England and complete the challenge without beginning to hate driving.

Cool Wall: Jaguar XJR is cool in black as Hannibal Lecter owned one, however the rest of the XJ range is deemed uncool.

Preview: Transitioning from the Cool Wall to Insider Dealing, Clarkson offers a very brief, in-studio peak at the forthcoming Volkswagen Phaeton

Insider Dealing: Cheap old Jaguar XJs. Hammond would like to try it, but he's always dissuaded by the depreciation.

Review: Clarkson drives the Jaguar XKR-R, a racing version of the XKR, before looking at the Aston Martin DB7 GT. The Stig drives the Aston Martin DB7 GT to a lap time of 1:30.4. Clarkson says that it's the opposite of the BMW Z8: slow on a track, but fun to drive in the real world. The Jaguar did go onto the test track, but it had to be returned to Jaguar beforehand. Jeremy revealed that the differential had been taken off the car, making it very difficult to drive, as proved by the Stig when he spun several times.
15 5 Series 2, Episode 5 Porsche 911 TurboFord Street KaTriumph TR6Renault Clio V6 Rally pit crew vs. women getting ready for a night out Anne Robinson 8 June 2003 (2003-06-08) 3.33

Review: Richard explains the difference between understeer and oversteer as a lead in to Jeremy Clarkson’s review of the Porsche 911 Turbo. Given forehand knowledge of his hatred for 911s, Clarkson quietly explains that they've managed to engineer their way around the rear-engined problem. Having once claimed that the Ferrari F355 was the best car ever, he now says that the 911 Turbo is better. The Stig drives the Turbo to a lap time of 1:31.0 on a very wet track. Clarkson also reviews the 911 Carrera 4S and didn't get the point of it. Clarkson ends his review by explaining the differences between the various models in the 911 range by using female models.

Feature: Richard meets Britain’s biggest car bore, Robert Lynn - a Lotus engineer and Gumball Rally driver who built a car in his kitchen and had to cut through the wall to get the car out.

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Anne Robinson discusses what cars she thinks are cool and why her Mercedes SL is better than Jeremy's. She achieved 1:57 in the Liana.

Challenge: Can a Ford's World Rally Championship pit team dismantle and rebuild a rally car faster than four women can get ready for a night out? They can, a lot faster. Hammond got bored of waiting and left.

The News: Ford has a new Mondeo (which looks just like the old Mondeo). Vauxhall offers free, 48-hour test drives of the Vectra. The Volvo XC90 is a bargain at under £30,000, but the price skyrockets once you start adding extras. Honda offers a personal road-rage defence system and offers ten top tips for avoiding road rage. Peugeot, Renault and Daihatsu offer new cars with folding metal roofs. James makes the case that he is the only bloke of the three and that a bloke can drive a convertible.

Review: James extolls the virtues of the Triumph TR6 which he says is a proper "bloke's car".

Insider Dealing: A good used TR6 starts at around £10,000. BMW offers no deals. However, Jaguar offers the X-type (a BMW 3-series rival) for as low as £18,799 and possibly less if you really bargain. The new Vauxhall VX220 is out, however the original can be had for the list price of £22,995 and all the options will be included at no charge. The one exception is that hard top isn’t officially included in that deal (though some dealers are including it).

Review: Jeremy reviews the mid-engined Renault Clio V6, stating that it would be in his "Perfect 10 Garage". The Stig gets a time of 1:36.2 on a very very wet track.
16 6 Series 2, Episode 6 Subaru Impreza WRX STIMitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIIIVauxhall VX220 TurboPeugeot 206 GTI Land speed record for caravan towing Richard Whiteley 15 June 2003 (2003-06-15) 2.46

Review: Clarkson drives the Subaru Impreza WRX STI against the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII in Scotland but, despite having a lot of fun, is unable to give any reason to choose one over the other. The Stig drives both around the track where the Mitsubishi comes out fastest with a lap time of 1:28.9 (faster than the Lamborghini Murciélago). The Subaru manages a time of 1.30.1, 0.3 seconds faster than the Aston DB7 GT from episode 4. Hammond and Clarkson prefer the Impreza, for no particular reason.

Review: Clarkson tests the Vauxhall VX220 Turbo, saying that the poor badge has forced Vauxhall to make it much better than the Lotus on which it was based, to get taken seriously. The Stig posts a time of 1:31.3 on a dry and sunny track.

Challenge: Richard Hammond goes on a track day in the Peugeot 206 GTi and has a great time.

Cool Wall: Jeremy moves the Audi TT a little bit up the Cool Wall so it is still in Seriously Uncool. Richard puts Jeremy's Mercedes SL is Uncool as Dale Winton owns one and in response Jeremy puts Richard's old left-hand drive Porsche 911 in uncool and describes it as hideous. The Subaru Impreza WRX STI and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII are borderline as they are very gender specific. Jeremy gives Richard a Chinese burn for putting the Peugeot 206 GTi in Uncool.

Challenge: James tries to set a land-speed record for a caravan. The first attempt involved towing it at high speeds behind a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII, but one of the windows imploded as the caravan's speed approached 100 mph, substantially increasing its drag and forcing the first test to be aborted. The window was then sealed and a second run was made, and hit 120 mph before the stress of towing the caravan at high speeds caused the Mitsubishi to suffer massive engine failure, ruling out any further runs with that car. For his final attempt, James decided to exploit a loophole in the record which didn't state how the caravan had to achieve its final speed, and so dropped it from a high crane. The caravan was totally destroyed on hitting the ground, and while the team weren't actually able to work out what its final velocity was, they enjoyed the caravan's destruction enough to abandon any further efforts.

Race: The Stig races five track-day cars to find the fastest one to take to a track day; the results were:

5: Lotus Elise Sport 190 - 1:28.2

4: Caterham Seven R400 Superlight - 1:25.0

3: Ariel Atom 2 - 1:24.0

2: Westfield XTR2 - 1:23.2

1: Radical SR3 - 1:19.8

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Jeremy plays a game of Countdown with Richard Whitely with words such as IMIN, SEXUL, NEVOR LARD, I MUSHI BITS, and PIANOS SHIAZU. Whitely achieves the slowest time ever in the Liana (2:06).

Insider Dealing: Minor facelifts can cause large price drops in brand-new cars, especially with the Volkswagen Passat.

Review: Richard reviews the Peugeot 206 GTI; it is, however, not as safe in a crash as a Peugeot 205.
17 7 Series 2, Episode 7 Koenigsegg CC8SRenault MéganeHummer H1Hummer H2 Crash testing the Megane with a real driver Neil Morrissey 22 June 2003 (2003-06-22) 3.61

Review: Clarkson tested the Koenigsegg CC8S which, with a top speed of 242 mph (389 km/h) was at the time the world's fastest production car. Clarkson did a speed run on the test track. The record of 170 mph (274 km/h) set by the Pagani Zonda was broken, with the Koenigsegg managing 174 mph (280 km/h). Clarkson later commented how he felt nervous before the run because engineers from Koenigsegg had asked him if they could put gaffer tape around the windscreen; he thought that the tape was to keep the windscreen from flying off. The Stig drives the Koenigsegg to a lap time of 1:23.9, which is just one-tenth of a second slower than the Zonda. Jeremy has frequently referred to the Ford Modular engine in the Ford Mustang as a "terrible engine" but declined to mention that the Koenigsegg's engine was a modified 4.6 L Modular V8.

Car Safety: Hammond test drives the new Renault Mégane in London and then brings it to the Top Gear test track where they simulate a crash test with a real driver. The car survives its impact very well. Back in the hangar, Richard and Jeremy look at how other cars perform in crashes. Surprisingly, the Ford Fiesta survives better than the Land Rover Freelander. They then proceed to look up crash test ratings for the cars of audience members.

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Jeremy has little to talk to Neil Morrissey about, as they were on the same Parkinson episode. Morrisey gets 1:49 —1 second faster than Jeremy.

Review: Jeremy reviews the Hummer H1, saying its too big and clumsy for English villages. He then looks at the H2 and says its "immensely good". Though based on a Chevrolet Tahoe platform, it has a manly, chunky interior and tons of space, exciting Jeremy in a way similar to the Range Rover. Neither of the other presenters are impressed.

Review: Richard drives a Talon riot control vehicle. He uses a water cannon to put out a fire and then runs over a Portakabin at full speed.
18 8 Series 2, Episode 8 Nissan 350ZAlfa Romeo 147 GTACitroën C3 PlurielMercedes-Benz CLK500 ConvertibleAudi A4 CabrioletDaihatsu Copen The Race for the Universe Jodie Kidd 6 July 2003 (2003-07-06) 3.76

Review: Jeremy Clarkson drives a Nissan 350Z over city and country roads. He gives it a grade of C minus, 3 out of 10, and "could do better." After a day's drive, he declares it to be one of the most exhausting cars he has ever come across. He also criticises its build quality and engine tone. In series 3, it is announced that the Nissan did a 1:31.8 lap on the track, the same as rival coupe Mazda RX-8.

Review: Alfa Romeo 147 GTA. Jeremy drives it in a drag race against the Volkswagen Golf R32 and the Ford Focus RS. The Alfa wins easily with its superior power. However, the Alfa doesn't have 4WD or a differential, and Clarkson says the chassis is "very, very wobbly and loose." He calls the Alfa "insane" and says "you'd have to be insane to buy one." He recommends one of the other two, probably the Golf, for the real world, but admits he still preferred the Alfa. The Stig then drives the Alfa to a lap time of 1:35.6, which puts it slower than both the Focus and R32.

Challenge: A "race for the universe" in a Honda Civic Type R, the results were as follows;

6: Daleks (from Doctor Who) - DNF

5: Ming the Merciless (from Flash Gordon) - 1:49

4: The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) - 1:43

3: Klingon (from Star Trek) - 1:42

2: Darth Vader - 1:37

1: Cyberman (from Doctor Who) (Time not announced)

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Jodie Kidd who talked about her love of horses and the Gumball 3000 rally, she came in at 1:48, 0.3 of a second faster than board leader Jay Kay.[2]

Review: James and Richard went on a camping holiday in the Lake District and reviewed new cabriolets such as the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz CLK500 convertible, Audi A4 cabriolet, Citroën C3 Pluriel, and Daihatsu Copen. The Beetle is sloppy to drive, and increasingly unstylish, so none of the presenters like it. James and Richard unite in disapproval with the CLK, The Pluriel is a nice idea poorly executed but in the end they find the Audi to be the best, with only James taking the Copen seriously.
19 9 Series 2, Episode 9 Vandenbrink CarverVolvo S60 RGM HyWire Drive Vauxhall Signum from the rear seat Patrick Stewart 13 July 2003 (2003-07-13) 2.91

Review: Vandenbrink Carver (a three-wheeled bike with tilting tandem cockpit), Hammond and Clarkson try to fit in it at the same time with humorous results. It is not fast or cheap, but the gimmick of a tilting cockpit on a stationary rear subframe is entertaining for both of them.

Review: Jeremy reviews the new Volvo S60 R, and says its like "a cheaper version of a Rolls-Royce Phantom" rather than a serious competitor to a BMW M3. It achieved a lap time of 1:35 and is also available as an estate car. Jeremy then concludes by saying he would rather buy a Audi S4.

Review: James reviews the revolutionary GM Hywire, which runs on a mixture of hydrogen from the tank and oxygen from the air.

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Patrick Stewart who talks about his love of Jaguars and what it is like living in Los Angeles, did 1:50 in the Liana.

Review: Vauxhall Signum. Jeremy despises its Vectra-ness and finds it poor to drive, but admits that the rear seating is very clever and comfortable. As a result, he tries to drive it a la Mr. Bean, using string tied to the steering wheel and poles to reach the pedals.
20 10 Series 2, Episode 10 TVR 350COverfinch Range RoverCadillac SixteenVolkswagen Phaeton Land Rover reliability challenge Alan Davies 20 July 2003 (2003-07-20) N/A

Review: Richard reviews TVR T350C and races it against a Harrier Jump Jet. He finds that while it can be as mad as past TVRs, it is the most refined and drivable TVR ever. The Stig did a lap of 1:27 in it. It was compared to the Noble M12, which did a lap of 1:25.

The News: The Beetle will cease production, much to James’ delight. The Vauxhall Astra fails to live up to the concept car’s brilliant styling. John Prescott, who is always recommending that people spend less on cars, last year spent £320,000 on taxi fares. Jay Kay turned up at Goodwood Festival Of Speed with his new Ferrari Enzo only to have someone write "Jodi was faster" in the dust on the bonnet (a reference to the Top Gear Power Lap Board and specifically episode 8 in this series). Jeremy was also there and was thrilled that Elle Macpherson (who was also there) waved at him. The Mercedes Mclaren SLR was also there and Clarkson got to ride in it, but was too drunk to enjoy it.

Review: Jeremy drives the Volkswagen Phaeton W12; he says it is immensely comfortable, nice to drive and its windows do not steam up when you try to make a cup of tea in it. With the electronic limiter off, it can crack 200 mph (320 km/h). He is not verbose in praising it, but reveals that he prefers it to the Jaguar XJ, the BMW 7 Series, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Preview: The trio preview the Bentley Continental GT in the studio. The Bentley (part of the VW motor group), draws heavily from the Phaeton. The car in the studio is a concept car and not ready to be driven, but all three are anxious to do the test of it for the next series.

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Alan Davies talks about what it is like driving with Steve Coogan and an experience he had speeding with Steve Coogan, did a lap of 1:54 in "mildly damp" weather, despite puncturing a tyre during a practice lap.

Review: James is the only one interested in the fate of Cadillac, so he sets out to see what they've done to reverse their market woes. He finds the astonishing 1,000 bhp (750 kW), naturally aspirated 13.6 litre V16 Cadillac Sixteen concept car. It shuts down cylinders to preserve fuel economy and has a badge carved from crystal in the center of the steering wheel. The interior is too cushy and the clock is too posh, but James loves it. Jeremy and James agree that this is the best Cadillac since 1966.

Challenge: Britain’s fastest disabled driver. Richard has a group of six wheelchair-bound car enthusiasts take turns around the Top Gear Test Track in a 911. The slowest does it in a time of 2:20. The fastest turns in a time of 1:47.

2003 Top Gear Motoring Survey: James invites viewers to participate in the survey so the results can be shared on the next survey.

Reviews: The original theme of this episode was to be "tuned cars". However, as Clarkson illustrates, circumstances dictated a deviation from that format. His review of the Overfinch 580S is all that remains from that concept. He races it off-road against a Mercedes-Benz SLK320 on road (and wins). While it has been tuned, the suspension and handling remains unchanged. It is fast in a straight line, but in the corners it leans over alarmingly. Despite The Stig cutting a corner rather severely, it achieved the slowest lap to date with a time of 1:44. The Stig says it was the first time he has ever been scared in a car.

The Broken Biscuit Section: A compendium of ideas that were intended for the series that they didn’t quite get to. Earlier in the series Clarkson issued a challenge to the CEO of Land Rover: he was to drive a Range Rover for six months without breakdowns, threatening to kill the CEO's dog upon any kind of failure. Jeremy shows how the Range Rover has fared with numerous tests: it worked as an off-road car, a pace car and a car for taking children to school in (although it was a mess). However, the lever adjusting the vertical position of the steering wheel broke towards the end of the test. Richard and Jeremy agreed the failure was not big enough to warrant a death of a dog, so Jeremy stole the CEO's bonsai tree from his desk and unceremoniously proceeded to cut it in half. Also, Hammond obtains a racing license, participates in a 24-hour race, and makes a lot of excuses for placing second to last. And Jodie Kidd is presented with the fastest celebrity award.

Best-of episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Guest Original air date
SP The Best Of Top Gear 2002-2003 Bowler Wildcat Vinnie Jones & Rick Parfitt 27 July 2003 (2003-07-27)

Challenge: Grannies Doing Doughnuts (From Series 1, Episode 3)

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Vinnie Jones (From Series 2, Episode 1)

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Rick Parfitt (From Series 1, Episode 7)

Feature: The Love/Hate Board (From Series 2, Episode 1)

Challenge: Race For The Universe (From Series 2, Episode 8)

Review: Bowler Wildcat (From Series 2, Episode 1)

Challenge: The Fastest Faith (From Series 1, Episodes 7 & 10)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.barb.co.uk/viewing/weekly-top-10?
  2. ^ "Series 2, Episode 8". Top Gear. Series 2. Episode 8. 6 July 2003. Event occurs at 29:34. BBC Two. "Jeremy Clarkson to Jodie Kidd: "We don't have points on this, but actually you were point three of a second faster than Jay Kay.""