Synopsis: This time it is a trio of new Caterhams and a six-wheel Mercedes G-Wagon that are put on the testing block by the boys – Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond – but it’s May who takes the Caterhams and Hammond who takes the six-wheeler for their respective spins.
Details: The fourth episode in Series 21 doesn’t take long to kick into “top gear” with a feature on a trio of new Caterhams with James May – aka Captain Slow – performing the testing duties. First up is the powerful – 310 horsepower – Caterham 620R which does 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and costs $84,000 without a windshield while the significantly less powerful Caterham 160 only costs a mere $29,000 but has a windshield. James, naturally, prefers the slower Caterham and having a windshield. James also takes a cursory look at the Caterham concept car – the AeroSeven – which is set to go into production next year but dismisses it as it also does not possess a windshield. The Stig takes the first two Caterhams around the Top Gear test track and, not surprisingly, the 620R records a much faster lap time, which Jeremy and Richard point out while mocking James’ love affair with the slower Caterham.
The News: Jeremy finds delight in replaying the video of the Corvettes swallowed by a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Tennessee last month, then delights even more in showing the new owner of a Porsche GT3 – Hammond – video of the small problems encountered by the GT3’s [they tend to catch fire] before announcing that he has been contacted by wax museum aficionados Madame Tussaud to be a wax model in one of their museums – an idea which both James and Richard roundly chastise before Jeremy aims to protect Hammond from burning up in his new Porsche with a suggestion to use a pair of small frozen pizzas to cover up his “man vegetables” and tests the coverage area by applying a blowtorch to said pizzas whilst they are strapped on Hammond.
With May’s Caterham tests done, Jeremy trots out a version of the Alfa Romeo 8C buikt by Italian coachbuilders Touring and nicknamed the Disco Volante [“flying saucer” in Italian]. Touring has an exquisite reputation in coachbuilding with the Aston Martin DB5 and very first Lamborghini as some of their early clients and have outfitted the Disco Volante with a 444 horsepower V8 power plant from Maserati to go along with their exterior styling. Jeremy takes the car out for a test drive and it performs admirably, as expected, but the price remains a mystery with $2.5 million being mentioned as a possibility.
Back in the studio, before British television star/comedian Jack Whitehall [“Fresh Meat”] can take the wheel of the Reasonably Priced Car, Jeremy informs the audience that Whitehall has never learned to drive a car. So, first Whitehall must receive a driving tutorial from The Stig and then take the automatic version of the Reasonably Priced Car around the track and, predictably, records the slowest lap time of the season so far – 1:54.5.
Finally, Hammond introduces us to the six-wheeled Mercedes G-Wagon monstrosity that was designed to be used by the Australian military, does 0-60 in six seconds, has a 5.5 liter twin turbo V8 and would cost you $617,000 if you could purchase one. Hammond first drives it through the streets of Abu Dhabi where he is pulled over by the Abu Dhabi police in their Lamborghinia Aventador and Ferrari FF police cars solely for the opportunity to look at the six-wheeler, since they had never seen such a vehicle before. After being released by the Abu Dhabi rozzers, Hammond takes the G-Wagon out to the Empty Quarter desert where he rockets around the massive dunes for what appear to be hours on end without ever getting the monstrosity stuck.
The Poop and Skinny: Top thing to remember from this episode…
As Jeremy pointed out, the name of James Bond villain, Largo’s boat in “Thunderball” was also Disco Volante.
The coveted ASN Best Line of the Episode Award, for once, does not go to Richard, but instead goes to James as he is testing the unwieldy Caterham 620R – “It’s like a teenager left alone with the internet!”
Courtesy of the BBC, here is Top Gear Series 21, Episode 4.