The Top Gear Thread - Vol 6 - eMBe {P}

**** Thread closed. Discussion continues in Vol 7 ****

Have any of you used the BBC Top Gear facility below to "have your say"?:

If not, then at least copy your comments there - who knows, they may actually take some notice if enough of you bother.
Top Gear - Mark (RLBS)
I enjoyed it. Not every minute to be sure, but basically I enjoyed it.

For those who didn't; is this some new kind of penance thing - forcing yourself to watch something you don't like as punishment for previous sins ? I've always turned off things I don't want to watch.
Top Gear - Roger Jones
If I don't watch it occasionally, how would I know what a waste of BBC resources it is? Apart from the fact that its concentration on the exotic and extreme is mind-numbingly persistent, and that the rubber burning (now mostly gone, thank goodness) was such a bad example to set to youngsters, my complaint is not so much that it exists but that its existence seems to preclude what to me and a good many others would be better alternatives. 27 million motorists, huge issues involved, a major sector of the economy, a major part of many people's lives . . . and the best -- no, the only thing -- the public broadcasting system can come up with is Top Gear? Harrumph!

[How do you post a response that appears directly underneath the directly related message, rather than appearing at the end of the list? I've done that successfully sometimes, but the system doesn't seem to behave consistently.]
Top Gear - Mark (RLBS)
The system does behave consistently. The effect is caused since if someone replies to a note before you do, then your reply will be after theirs - which is as one would expect.


Person A starts thread 1
Person B replies to Person A and therefore creates reply 1.1
Person C replies to Person A and creates reply 1.2
Person D replies to Person B and creates reply 1.1.1
Person E replies to Person B and creates 1.1.2

Clearer ?
Top Gear - Steve S
"Person A starts thread 1
Person B replies to Person A and therefore creates reply 1.1
Person C replies to Person A and creates reply 1.2
Person D replies to Person B and creates reply 1.1.1
Person E replies to Person B and creates 1.1.2

Clearer ?"

Doesn't always work Mark.
Top Gear - Altea Ego
Steve S

click at the top of this thread on the "veiw threaded" hotspot

It will all be revealed if you do
Top Gear - Steve S
"It will all be revealed if you do"

Thanks RF but my earlier post in direct reply to 3500S (ie clicking on reply to his post) ended up well below it - even though the other posts in between were already there.

The one to Mark - worked OK.

It's this inconsistency that I can't figure out.
Top Gear - Altea Ego
Quick straw poll from the Renault family, Papa, Nicolle and young jaques sit down on Sunday night and watch it. Its entertaining, it makes an otherwise dull Sunday evening viewing interesting. Nicolle has no interest in cars, but watches this for the interaction of the parties involved. The guys involved obviously have fun making this program and it shows.

What would you prefer watching? Heartbeat? Where the heart is?

No contest.

Top Gear - Phoenicks
Totally agree Renault. Its light hearted entertainment thats is relaxingly enjoyable. Grab a cup of tea, switch of your brain and enjoy.

JC is very enjoyable to watch. At least he says what he thinks. Always been the same, and you know what to expect.

Regards Rogers comments about rubber burning, well thats a petrol heads want. Kids at 17/18 will 'burn rubber' anyway. They won't be influenced by top gear. They'll just wish they had a Porsche GT3 to burn rubber in.

Do you not realise that its an entertainment show, with satirical motoring comments and general appeal. Its not a scientific and balanced view of motoring. Thats what killed off the William Woollard Top Gear series - it was so boring.

It sounds like you want a Question Time/ Panorama/Open University program on day to day motoring, but i'm afraid if we got that then the viewing figures would drop from millions to thousands. Then we wouldnt have a programme. How are you going to make speed cameras, car insurance, repairs, cost of fuel and other generic motoring points interesting? it would be very difficult.

I'd rather my License fee went on this than on boring the hell out of me with another cookery/house design program.

With regards to the need to have story's on everyday cars and buying affordable motors dont we already have:

Deals on Wheels
Right Car Wrong Car
Auto Mondial
Thunder Races
Dream Machines
That restoration program on M&M

How many more do you want?!!!
Top Gear - Obsolete
I found last weeks program dragged on a bit. I don't think the humour worked as well as earlier ones. And without the humour it is empty.

I do agree that there is too much burning rubber. Even when it is the sort of car I am willing to buy - not expensive - I ask myself what relevance screaming around on a race track has to day to day driving. Surely on a day to day basis tedious things such as storage space and the amount of cabin noise are more relevant. Oddly Clarkson is often quite perceptive in his written articles and focusses on the mundane.
Top Gear - 3500S
I don't have a problem with a one marque programme but last week it was the new 5-series as well, neither is aspirational motoring a problem either. However, not everyone's aspirations a fast car and racing it on a track day which seems to encapsulate 1 hour of Top Gear lately.

As for S2000 etc, etc there are other marques. In terms of everyday sports cars, why not a Alfa, SLK, Audi TT?

We can't all go off to the IoM to drive these cars beyond 70mph either. I reckon that most of us have to get from A to B via some horrendous traffic sometimes with gear in the boot and/or kids on board and avoid accidents, speed tickets and girdlock.

So pardon me if bombing around in a Honda S2000 isn't really my cup of tea or a GT3 going sideways for the 1000th time.

Some of the history bit they did last series were better, balanced, more informative and more varied. They seem to be missing typified by the BMW M1 article last night. The car was a disaster and no amount of rewriting history from last nights programme can redress that.
Top Gear - Steve S
It's a good programme to record, rather than watch live. I reckon you get about a 50/50 split good stuff to indifferent.

Ideal for getting rid of the Clarkson ego bits and the "sucking up to a tedious celeb" slot.

It does get a bit BMW boring but that is what a lot of people aspire to so you pays your money........
Top Gear - Phoenicks
You might find that it was BMW this week and last but thats because they both have launched major new cars recently. I'm sure they'll be back when the X3 launches. So if VW, Ford, Toyota or anyone else launch a major new model then they'll also get a look in.

Regards the Alfa,SLK and TT i think they were trying to find the best. Seeing as those arent whats the point in including them? 3 presenters - 3 cars. When did Top Gear ever do a 6 car battle?

On the M1 front they stated exactly that the car was developmental disaster so i dont see what you're disagreeing with? They never said it was the quickest, or the best, just the most civil at the time. I hate to confirm this, they were doing a bit on M cars. Hence using the very first. A round of applause for them doing so.

If they had the new Rover MGZT 260 V8 i bet you wouldnt argue against seeing the car sideways or using the Isle of Man.

Perhaps overall you dont like BMW coz you're very pro-rover and so anything containing BMW's is rubbish....
Top Gear - No Do$h
Careful now, lets not make this personal.
Top Gear - 3500S
I have nothing against the cars at all, they are well-engineered and I can see they are widely aspired to cars. I don't like the attitude of BMW as a company and the cars aren't my cup of tea; it's personal taste. M-cars are tweaked BMWs much like AMG, Brabus and Carlsson. They go fast, and?

There are many questions about cars at the moment and Top Gear has these features clearly recorded a few months ago but Top Gear in the hangar is filmed only a few weeks before transmission.

However, there are some 'interesting' petrol related things happening right now.

Why isn't the Phanteon selling? Is it one car too far for VW?
What really is a reliable car these days? Is it really true the TT is the most unreliable car on the market?
Exactly how practical is an 4x4 on the school run?
What can £10,000 get you for a luxury car and could you afford to run it?
How do you 'prep' up a car for a track day? What happens if you don't?
How does a 17 year old get insurance and get their insurance down? More appropriate to their target audience perhaps.
What is an ideal second car to own?
What the difference between a petrol, diesel and rotary engine?

And that's just off the top of my head.

Sure seeing them drive a ZT V8 would be good to see and yep I am pro-Rover, what does that have to do with it? Whether they get one or not is a different matter. Seeing as Fifth Gear got a go in the MG SV and TG didn't probably speaks volumes.

There are other programmes but in this one you have two serious petrolhead heavyweights on the programme.
Top Gear - pd
I'm sure Top Gear will do a feature on the MG V8 just as soon as MGR get around to actually making one. No journalists have driven a ZT V8 as yet. The same applies to the SV - Fifth Gear drove an early prototype (when, incidentally, the quoted price was nearly £20k less than it turned out to be).

BMW is an important company to cover. They probably sell as many cars to private buyers as Ford do and the new 5-series and X3 will be big volume sellers in the UK. I'm pretty sure they did do a feature on used exec barges last year too (the Jag XJR was certainly featured).

They do spend a lot of time on more exotic stuff but people like viewing this. Why does the Ferrari stand at a motorshow always have larger queues than the Daewoo one? Same reason.

To be honest, I find aspects of TG quite boring but I think what they are trying to do is produce an entertainment show which happens to have cars at its centre rather than an informative car programme. The fact that its not in a typical time slot for this sort of show is a giveaway.

I don't necessarily agree with some of TG's topics but I can see why they do them.
Top Gear - BaseRSXmanual
Yeah I dont know about you guys but I don't watch Top Gear to learn about cars I could actually afford. If I wanted to know about them I would just go test drive the dame car myself at the dealer. I watch Top Gear to see the Ferraris, Lambos, Koenigseggs, Zondas, etc. How boring would Top Gear be if they had Clarkson drive around in a Mazda 3 for an hour?!? A lot of people seem to like to complain about Top Gear, I don't live in the UK but I think it's the best car show anywhere!
Top Gear - Phoenicks
Probably the best point made today!

British people like to whinge. Its a national pastime.
Top Gear - CM
Not wanting to say which car programme is better than the other, as when I get to watch them I usually enjoy them all.

But I cannot usually remember what I have seen on TG (which is good as no doubt they will soon be on UK Living or some such Sky channel) while 5th Gear has left me with a lasting picture of their crash tests (both the one when 2 cars hit each other at 60mph head on and also the one when the MB ploughing in to the back of a "queue").

Top Gear - nick
Not whingeing, just passing comment that although it is mildly entertaining it does get a bit sameish after a while, IMHO. Having said that, I'll continue to watch it in the absence of any better. But surely they could stretch to 5 minutes of something serious or technical? Why does it always have to be the lowest common denominator? Or must I apologise for having a brain?
Top Gear - Pugugly {P}
OK, "Positive Mode on". The filiming on Mona was stunning, something the BBC are very good at and porbably stand head and shoulders above the competition, in fact the camera shots and the editing were first class and summed up a feeling for how the "Island" is at its best, INMO they could have spent the whole hour on the Isle of Man.
BMW CSL - I want one - I wonder whether if they'll bring out a diesel version. Read Car's test on this and it'll prove to you that you don't need a television at all, classic Car type prose, read three times before filing. Brilliant. If I had the cash I would buy one tomorrow.
Top Gear - bradgate
What happened to the fat Cornish bloke?

Jason, was it?
Top Gear - No Do$h
What happened to the fat Cornish bloke?
Jason, was it?

Ooh, it was messy. I heard he ate one pasty too many and boom, that was it.

I can see I may have to moderate myself and transport this to the silly thread if I'm not careful.

No Dosh, aka
Top Gear - Honestjohn
I subscribe to Phoenick's argument.

Top Gear - looking4car
For those who didn't; is this some new kind of penance
thing - forcing yourself to watch something you don't like
as punishment for previous sins ? I've always turned off
things I don't want to watch.

The TV schedule is packed with rubish I wouldn't watch but I think a number of us are saying that we used to really enjoy TG but think it's gone downhill and we're a little dissapointed. Maybe we're just grumpy old men 'better in my day' , 'not as good as their first album' types. ;-)
Top Gear - Obsolete
I think you've made a good point. We have high expectations of TG and expect it to be much better than the average run of the mill prog.
Top Gear - Welliesorter
Did anyone see Fifth Gear tonight? It was an eighties special including an appearance by William Woollard and a defence of the C5 (Sinclair, not Citroën).

I'll get me coat...
Top Gear - BaseRSXmanual
What cannel is 5th Gear on in the UK?
Top Gear - Welliesorter
What cannel is 5th Gear on in the UK?

Um... Channel 5.
Top Gear - BaseRSXmanual
What network? I know its not on BBC...
Top Gear - Welliesorter
What network? I know its not on BBC...

I already said Channel 5!

Maybe we have a difference of terminology. There are five main analogue terrestrial networks in the UK: BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5.

Channel 5 is the newest of these, launched in 1997. It was known for low budget programmes and late night sleaze followed by imported sport, notably baseball, but it has improved lately. If curious, see the link in my earlier post. I can't find anything about Fifth Gear on the site though.
Top Gear - BaseRSXmanual
No I did not understand how the networks worked in the UK. Im glade to know more. I was in the UK in 2000 but I didnt have any time to watch TV. I would just like to be able to watch Top Gear here on our BBC America channel. I found the link to where you request for a show to be added to their program list and posted it on two other (usa) car message boards. I think over 500 people have requested in the past 5 hours! Lol

If you guys want to help us out, go to this link -
and ask them to add Top Gear.


Top Gear - Dynamic Dave
The 5th Gear website is here:-

It\'s also broadcast on the Astra Digital Satellite, channel 105.
Top Gear - Brill {P}
"I already said Channel 5!"

LOL! Nearly lost that mouthful of tea.
Top Gear - Hawesy1982
Tonights installment looks a bit more promising, from the intro at least.....
Top Gear - Pugugly {P}
It was ok tonight. The hour flew.
Top Gear - Chris M
Have I been driving round for the last 25+ years in the mistaken belief that the hatched area in the middle of the road is there to keep the traffic to it's side of the road? When JC was demonstrating just how quickly the Bently could overtake a caravan, he crossed a hatched area. Should he have?

Chris M
Top Gear - LongDriver {P}
Broken-line border to hatched area - yes if it is safe to do so.

Solid border to hatched area - Do not pass go, collect 3 points and £60 fine.
Top Gear - Chris M
You live and learn.

Chris M
Top Gear - BaseRSXmanual
What cars were on TG tonight?
Top Gear - Sooty Tailpipes
"Have I been driving round for the last 25+ years in the mistaken belief that the hatched area in the middle of the road is there to keep the traffic to it's side of the road?"

Oh no, you're aren't one of those who when following at 60mph starts to signal right and slows down to 20mph before violently swerving over at oncoming traffic just before the junction before stopping on the arrow, because they think you must not drive on the hatches of the protected right turn at any price?

They are to separate the flows of traffic in each direction so that right turners aren't so likely to be hit from behind, unfortunatly far too many people seem to want to be!
Top Gear - frostbite
I couldn't get my head around the string theory on Ch4, so I watched TG tonight.

What a 99% mindless, childish load of garbage it's turned into!

It really needs to be on at tea-time during the week - it would fit in with the kids programmes perfectly.
Top Gear - Chris M
In answer to your question - no.

The hatched area as seen on TG was little wider than a solid double white line - it wasn't protecting anyone turning right!

The A303 is a diabolical road in places where it is a single carriageway and I assume the hatching is there for a good reason.

Chris M
Top Gear - LongDriver {P}
A Bentley, an F-reg Vauxhall Carlton, a Sharan, a Saab 9-5, a jump-jet Harrier, some Jag concept cars and...errr that was it I think?
Top Gear - BobbyG
A few weeks back there were loads of articles in the press about JC taking the Bentley onto a beach and getting it stuck and then throwing a strop with the camera crew.
That bit never featured tonight??
Top Gear - PhilW
Must admit that I found it entertaining tonight. (Please ignore my last week's post about never watching it again!) There was a bit of variety and I thought that Rob Comedian was good. But (while topping up the wine glass) missed some of the stuff on 2 million cars being recalled - can't have been Japanese can they? Surely they must be French? And if so does it include mine and my wife's cars????!!
Top Gear - Dynamic Dave
missed some of the stuff on 2 million cars being recalled -
can't have been Japanese can they?

Nissans - loads of them. Also previously mentioned here:-

Top Gear - PhilW
Thanks DD - Must be because Nissan is now owned by Renault!!!
Top Gear - Kuang
I think that's the issue that everybody is getting hung up over with the new Top Gear - the entertainment factor. TG used to be a practical motoring show, and now it's an entertaining hour of silliness based around cars. If you take it for what it is rather than lamenting the loss of what it was, it's a lot of fun :)
Top Gear - Rob the Bus {P}
I honestly cannot bring myself to watch the new Top Gear - I'm worried in case William Woollard and Chris Goffey turn up at my house and put my windows through or something ;-)

Maybe they should have called it something different....


Top Gear - No Do$h
Maybe they should have called it something different....

Like "Top Gear 2".... Oh, this thread got there first.

As with all good sequels it would have to have a tag line.

"TG2 - this time it's entertaining".
Top Gear - Obsolete
It was entertaining except at the end where I turned the box off. I guess it is mental popcorn with no pretention to any serious commentary. Mind you, I wouldn't have watched it if the first episode of the relativity series on the other channel last week had been any good.
Top Gear - Dipstick
The relativity series wound me up. Talk about Ladybird science for numpties, with the same three points repeated over and over and OVER again.

TV doesn\'t really do science any more at all; how I pine for old Horizons of the seventies that made you think.

I preferred \"How\" and \"Magpie\" but then I was under the age of 10 in the 70\'s. Now back to motoring....... ND
Top Gear - Altea Ego

there is no danger of William and Chris turning up at your place

Woollards Allegro broke down, and Goffeys Solara has failed the MOT.
Top Gear - Altea Ego

No there was no mention of getting the car stuck. However the last scene of the Bentley article was JC sitting on the bonnet, the car up to its door sils in shingle and stones, two very deep ruts where it had been driven on, and JC with a wry smile.
Top Gear - CM
Am I in a minority when i say that this new bentley is one of the most hideous looking cars around?
Top Gear - Altea Ego

want to borrow my labrador to get around? supply your own white stick
Top Gear - Phoenicks
Once again it seems to have got slated for no real reason by a few people other than thats what they are used to now.

Personally still really enjoy it. First time i've seen the Bentley moving - looks fantastic. Saw one at the motorshow last year and it is truly gorgeous.

On a side note William Woollard came to look round my parents house in Lymington when it was for sale. This was in 1990 i think. He didnt buy it. But he drove a 1979 Mercedes 450 SEL. Bronze/Gold colour. tatty and old looking. Oh how i chuckled....
Top Gear - Paul Robinson
Interesting... I remember a motor trader client saying he'd sold an old Merc to Chris Goffey. I wonder what that says about old Merc's ?
Top Gear - Phoenicks
From my own experience most mercs pre-2000 (or so) were rock solid and reliable.

Judging by the TG results and the press about the Merc E - Class in germany it does seem that they have lost their ability to be reliable....
Top Gear - Clanger
I enjoyed it too. Will get to the taped "Theory of Everything" later.

Since I pulled the rug out from under my future IT employment prospects I have been assisting the local lifesaving club of a Friday evening. One of the topics I have taught from a book (having no direct experience) is how to escape from a submerged car. The RLSS (Royal Life Saving Society) insist that you should wait until the car settles on the bottom of the river bed, harbour, canal or wherever, wait for the pressure to equalise by opening a window, exit through the window or open door and then calmly swim to the surface. Hmmmm. Not according to what I saw last night. One would have to be absolutely sure that the water wouldn't wreck the central locking and that the window electrics would still work before committing to that course of action. Now, whatever the book says, I'm all for bailing out as soon as possible.

Anyone out there taken their car for a swim?

Stranger in a strange land
Top Gear - Altea Ego
TG was very misleading on this. They seemed to say either wait for the car to bottom out or get out as soon as possible.

You never EVER wait for the car to settle on the bottom. You have no idea if it will settle on its bottom, it may settle on the side and you will never open the doors.

Get those doors open as soon as you can, as soon as it hits the water if possible.
Top Gear - Phoenicks
What was misleading? They firstly tried to open the door on the way down, and they couldnt until the pressure had equalised. Then they tried before it had fully entered the water and it opened.

I think they were saying either a) open when able, or b)wait till it had settled at the bottom if able - if you cant do A) and B) doesnt arrive, then C)= dead.

They proved it would be nigh on impossible to open the door whilst it was sinking.

Frustration!! - Citroënian {P}
This is really annoying - taped it all, and watched it but the recording missed the end bit about why Saabs keep a smug grin on their owners faces - can anyone tell me what the theory was?!

MINI adventure in progress
Frustration!! - Hawesy1982
The rapid acceleration from 40-70 in ??second?? gear, apparently.

I'd rather have a big diesel that could do the same thing, personally, although the camera showing the speedo needle's movement did make pretty impressive viewing
Frustration!! - Mattster
Does anyone own a car that can do 70 in second gear without screaming its final revs? What do you drive?

I have a Civic Type-R which will only go to 80 in 3rd, though it does have a 6th gear.

Boycott shoddy build and reliability.
Frustration!! - Epic 80
My Golf VR6 did 70 in second, funny ratios, really tall first, then tiny gaps to fifth which was too low (23mph/1000rpm.) Needed a 6th gear for cruising really
Frustration!! - midlifecrisis
I get the impression that manufacturers have stopped supplying TG with vehicles to test. Hence it now being an occasionally entertaining JC hour, as opposed to a serious motoring programme. I say bring back Driven in its old form, before it was subjected to the 'Yuff' makeover.
Frustration!! - 3500S
Yeah, I laughed at the 40-70mph acceleration of the Saab, big deal.

I know a few cars that cost less than three grand, look the dogs bits and turn heads, dead cheap to run and insure and can do 50 in 1st, 88 in 2nd and 117 in 3rd!

And that acceleration is what makes Saab drivers smug? Hmm, ok then.

It was a better programme than last week only for dispelling a few myths about certain car manufacturers. The water tank item was very useful to show what to do, I couldn't believe how many people drown in their own cars each year.

And I do think that a lot of car manufacturers will not let TG test its cars. This week TG high point for me was seeing the 'Emperor's new clothes' 5-series go into the seriously uncool section.
Frustration!! - Garethj
The Saab acceleration looked quite impressive (not the fastest thing in the world, but not bad) but I would imagine it would be quite different on the road: you want to overtake a car on a NSL A road and it's a bit wet. You floor the throttle, the car accelerates, you cross the painted (and rained on) white line and the steering wheel would leap out of your hands! You would certainly back off the throttle, making your acceleration time no better than any other car.


Frustration!! - Phoenicks
I dont think it was the acceleration that gives the smug grin. I think it was the comfy environment, the 'inability to crash it', and the fact it is (nearly) manufactured by a jet manufacturer.

There a lot of Saabs without that turn of speed so i dont think its that.
Frustration!! - Phoenicks
i'd be interested in whats car you are referring to above (50 in 1st, 88 in 2nd and 117 in 3rd)?
Frustration!! - Obsolete
Blimey Top Gear this Sunday was a bit boring. Lots of journos racing round a track at high speed in performance cars. I am sure they were having great fun but it was dull viewing. Seems like lazy journalism to me. The Rich Hall bit was good though. And there were some funny comments from Clarkson et al.

Fifth Gear seems to have them beat. They seem more down to earth. I like the regular safety related feature. This weeks on lorries side swiping cars was interesting. I have had two lorries try to side swipe me in 5 years - which was terryfying - seen one near miss, and seen another that was not a near miss. I always wondered how a car could end up being pushed sideways at 50mph by a juggernaut. Fortunately the occupants seemed to come to a safe stop on the hard shoulder.
Frustration!! - teabelly
Did we see the same program???? I enjoyed the lambo stuff thoroughly and particularly liked the novel way of parking countach parking. I would dig my granny up and strap her to the front of jumbo if I thought it meant I could have a miura of my own :-) The only week of top gear I thought was a bit off form was the first one in the series. I even enjoyed the bmw filled show even though I don't really like beemers much.

Fifth gear was scary. The view Tiff had from inside the truck which showed him looking around and not seeing a 14 foot long, 5 foot high car was really worrying. I always assume trouble when seeing a large truck. I give lhd trucks more room as I have always wondered whether they can see down their right hand side very well. Now I know they can't see much from mid trailer until around 8 feet in front of them. It certainly explains a sudden increase in accidents near slip roads involving lorries. I bet a lot of them are lhd and pull across onto the motorway without seeing a car already on there.
Frustration!! - Obsolete
I guess a more value judgement free assessment is that Top Gear was heavily slanted towards testing performance cars on a race track and this does seem to be a feature of the series. I just can't really relate to that, or at least not in such heavy doses. One cream cake is nice. The second is okay. The third comes back up. I know from past threads that a lot of people on this site disagree.
Frustration!! - looking4car
I've had enough, will be seeking alternative entertainment next week.

Has a Porsche 911 been on every week ?

Going around a track very quickly in supercars has become boring.

Stig playing 'amusing' music has become very boring.

Stand up comic routine with members of audiance 'two tone beard', 'vauxhall driver' has become predictable.

I watched 5th gear tonight. They mentioned things like cost, tax issues, classics, insurance costs. I think I'll be tuning in again next week.
Top Gear in Brum - teabelly
If anyone is interested TG are supposed to be filming around Millenium Point in Birmingham tomorrow, between 11.30 & 2.30. James May is doing something about Jaguar I think. I am not sure whether they want spectators but they might want the odd extra to jump out of the way of the car in true Sweeny style..... along with some strategically place card board boxes :-)
Patrick Stewart - BaseRSXmanual
I was watching this past Sunday?s Top Gear and in the celebrity driver part where that Simon guy drives, when they put his time up on the board they show the times of the other celebrities. There is a ?P. Stewart? on this list, was that Patrick Stewart (a.k.a) ?Jean-Luc Picard???!? If so can someone tell me the date of the episode he drive in. I would LOVE to see that show!
Patrick Stewart - Dynamic Dave
Yes, it was Jean Luc Picard. Don't know the date of airing though. It was in the last series, if that's any help. Bound to be shown / already has been shown on the satellite channel, UK Horizons. (ch.564 on Sky)
Stig II - Honestjohn
Seems like there's a new Stig, who isn't Perry or the guy who sometimes stood in for him.

Stig II - Stuartli
There IS a new Stig - the original easy listening lover "died" after failing to stop in time on an aircraft carrier in a 0-750mph shootout with a jet fighter.....

But I'm sure Perry McCarthy is chuckling away to himself somewhere (at the bottom of some deep ocean).

As for the show I think it's great entertainment and also appeals to a far wider audience than the original programme, which really only appealed to car nuts such as myself.
Stig II - tunacat
Thing is, a new Stig renders all the track lap times from this time on at least a BIT incomparable.

Speaking of which, they still always show the Koenigsegg or somesuch at the top of the laptime tower, but I remember the episode where the Radical SR3 did it in 1m 19.something seconds.

Maybe the Radical is too far removed from a 'production' car to bear comparison? But then the Lambos and Pagani Zonda are hardly mainstream are they...
Stig II - madf
Maybe it's just my old age but I'm afraid it seems increasingly childish to me..and most of it is irrelevant to me.. I used and still am keen on cars but something I could aspire to. Now I can buy a secondhand Roller but a Lambo?

And it's very amusing to see how long a Nissan pickup will last but.

Now it's not motoring but just gratuitous sex and violence for mindless yobs but with the sex excluded:-)

Stig II - Chicken Madras
Exactly Tunacat - surely the new Stig should take the Suzuki round the track to see how close to the original Stig's time he is.

SWMBO and I were discussing Top Gear last night especially the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" thing. We still smell rats that Simon Cowell beat Jodie Kidd's already suspicious time. He was all over the place! That got us thinking. Is JK on tour or recording somewhere, or could he be the new Stig...?

Whatever the outcome, I'm sure JK will be back soon to have another go and what was Clarkson going on about getting Damon Hill on this week at the end of the closing titles?

Stig II - BaseRSXmanual
Does anyone remember the Top Gear where they race one of the AWD Lambos against a RWD car of some kind and Clarkson talks about how the Lambo is a little slower off the line than the RWD car because of its AWD? What car was that against? And what AWD Lambo was it?

Stig II - Shaz {p}
It was a Lamborghini Murcielago vs a Pagoni Zonda c12s.

Pagani - Italys newest supercar made in Modena.
The reason why the Lambo was slower was that they had to get the car rolling gently before flooring it - to save the clutch from melting.

The Zonda is also considerably lighter - about 400kg! - Which is the reaon why it is quicker.
Top Gear - Survey 2003 - LongDriver {P}
[For those of you who frequent the Ford Galaxy website, apologies for my posting this topic here as well - yes it is me who published it there too..]

OK, this year\'s TG survey puts the Sharan/Galaxy/Alhambra in the following positions (out of 137):

Alhambra: 99th
Galaxy: 129th
Sharan: 137th !!

In my opinion, it just goes to show that it\'s all down to EXPECTATION.

VW owners expect their car to be 100% reliable FOR EVER and for it to be bulletproof. Something about their Sharan fails to meet their critieria of perfection, so it gets a very low score.

Ford owners expect their Galaxy to be as predictable as the Fiesta/Escort/Sierra/Mondeo/Granny or whatever they grew up with. The Galaxy fails to meet their criteria of predictability, so it ges a lower score than all of the other \"Fords\".

Seat owners consider their vehicles to be \"Spanish\" in origins and because they share the marque with the old Ibiza, the Panda-type-thingy and the Cordoba etc, their expectations might be that their Alhambra will have the same pedigree. The Alhambra impresses them, although it squeeks and breaks down sometimes, so it ends up with a higher score...

That\'s my opininon - most of the \"clan\" are identical in almost every way (well the diesels are), so has anyone else got any better explanations of the considerable different positions of the three vehicles???
Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - Chris M

Chris M
Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - LongDriver {P}
Ahhh....forgot about the dealers!

My Galaxy went in for 10,000 mile service on Saturday (new on 1st September 2003) and the service department couldn't even find the head for the locking wheel nuts!!!

Where was it?

On the special clip on the wheelbrace of course, where it is supposed to be!!! (as per handbook and TIS CD).

God help us all....

Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - Aprilia
I think dealers are part of the problem.

Back in 2000 a colleague of mine bought a Sharan. He had a variety of problems under warranty, including a sheared engine mounting bolt (happened at high speed on motorway), aircon fault and some electrical faults. He is a fairly careful driver and does a modest mileage (its just hit 40k).

Whilst still under warranty he had problems with some of the trim falling apart (the soft plastic 'skin' on some of the trim started to peel off the harder sub-structure) - similar problem with the steering wheel. VW refused it as a warranty claim.

Just out of warranty the aircon evaporator failed - £1k repair.

He just had it serviced at the VW dealer and in addition to 'fluids and filters' they fitted new brake pads - £700 for that lot.

He's not a happy owner and says he won't be buying VW again.
Top Gear Survey 2003 - PAJ
I\'ve just read the latest Top Gear Survey results. Being an Alfa 156 owner I\'m amazed to see this model come a lowly 131st out of 137 models.

I submitted my own entry to this survey, giving it on average 4 out of 5 stars for its various categories (with the exception of dealer sevice for which it deservedly got just 1 out of 5). How then does it score just 1 out of 5 in nearly every conceivable area? Maybe they sifted out all the positive responses to ensure Alfa stay bottom of the manufacturers pile.

Still, my car\'s better than yours. Ner ner na-ner ner.

[I have merged the two threads as are on same subject.] DD.
Top Gear Survey 2003 - Phoenicks
heres the full list:
1: Jaguar XJ Series - 90.9
2: Toyota Yaris - 90.5
3: Skoda Octavia - 90.4
4: Lexus IS200 - 90.2
5: Honda S2000 - 89.8
6: Mazda MX-5 - 88.9
7: Toyota Celica (new) - 88.4
8: BMW Z3 - 88.3
9: Mazda 323 - 88.1
10: Subaru Legacy - 88.1
11: Skoda Fabia - 88.1
12: Porsche 911 - 88.0
13: Rover MG ZT - 88.0
14: Honda HR-V - 88.0
15: Subaru Impreza (new) - 87.9
16: BMW X5 - 87.7
17: Subaru Forester - 87.3
18: Mazda 626 - 87.0
19: MCC Smart - 86.9
20: Porsche Boxster - 86.7
21: Toyota RAV4 (new) - 86.6
22: Toyota Corolla (pre-Dec 01) - 86.4
23: BMW 5-Series - 86.4
24: Honda CR-V - 86.3
25: Honda Accord - 86.3
26: Subaru Impreza (pre-Oct 00) - 86.2
27: Hyundai Coupe (pre-Jan 02) - 85.9
28: Honda Civic (new) - 85.7
29: Honda Civic (pre-Dec 00) - 85.5
30: Jaguar XK8/R - 85.5
31: BMW 3-Series - 85.5
32: BMW 3-Series (Compact) - 85.2
33: Toyota MR2 (new) - 85.0
34: Mini One/Cooper - 84.7
35: Volvo S60 - 84.5
36: Saab 9-5 - 84.5
37: Audi A4 (pre-Jan 01) - 84.4
38: Audi A6 - 84.3
39: Skoda Felicia - 84.0
40: Toyota Avensis - 84.0
41: Ford Puma - 83.9
42: Jaguar S-Type - 83.8
43: Lotus Elise (pre-Dec 01) - 83.8
44: Audi A4 (new) - 83.8
45: Seat Toledo - 83.7
46: Nissan Micra - 83.3
47: Rover MG ZS - 82.4
48: Rover 75 - 82.2
49: Ford Cougar - 82.1
50: Nissan Primera (pre-Feb 02) - 82.0
51: Ford Focus - 82.0
52: Audi A3 - 80.2
53: Seat Leon - 81.8
54: Volvo V70 - 81.7
55: Citroen Berlingo - 81.7
56: Audi TT - 81.6
57: Mercedes E-Class - 81.6
58: Hyundai Accent (new) - 81.5
59: Saab 9-3 - 81.4
60: Volvo V40 - 81.4
61: Volvo S80 - 81.0
62: Chrysler PT Cruiser - 80.9
63: Seat Arosa - 80.9
64: Nissan Almera - 80.7
65: Vauxhall Corsa (new) - 80.5
66: Daewoo Lanos - 80.4
67: Daewoo Matiz - 80.3
68: Chrysler Neon (new) - 80.3
69: Mitsubishi Galant - 80.3
70: Mercedes SLK - 80.2
71: Audi A2 - 80.1
72: Rover 400 - 80.1
73: Suzuki Grand Vitara - 80.0
74: Vauxhall Omega - 79.9
75: Lotus Elise (new) - 79.8
76: Vauxhall Zafira - 79.8
77: Merc C-Class (pre-Sept 00) - 79.7
78: Volkswagen Passat - 79.6
79: Volkswagen Bora - 79.5
80: Rover 45 - 79.4
81: Ford Ka - 79.3
82: Kia Sedona - 79.1
83: Volvo C70 - 79.1
84: Rover 200 - 79.0
85: Alfa Romeo 166 - 78.9
86: Mercedes CLK - 78.9
87: Seat Ibiza - 78.7
88: Vauxhall Astra - 78.7
89: Volvo S40 - 78.7
90: Citroen Xsara - 78.4
91: Ford Mondeo (new) - 78.3
92: Ford Fiesta (pre-April 02) - 78.2
93: Fiat Multipla - 77.9
94: Volkswagen Lupo - 77.7
95: Vauxhall Corsa (pre-Oct 00) - 77.3
96: Volkswagen Polo (pre-Jan 02) - 77.3
97: Volkswagen Beetle - 77.0
98: Land Rover Discovery - 77.0
99: Seat Alhambra - 76.7
100: Renault Laguna (pre-Dec 00) - 76.6
101: Rover 25 - 76.6
102: Fiat Marea - 76.6
103: Rover MG ZR - 76.6
104: Jaguar X-Type - 76.4
105: Ford Mondeo (pre-Oct 00) - 76.3
106: Volkswagen Golf - 76.3
107: Renault Megane - 76.2
108: Renault Scenic - 76.0
109: Fiat Seicento - 76.0
110: Vauxhall Vectra - 75.9
111: Renault Clio - 75.8
112: Alfa Romeo GTV - 75.8
113: Peugeot 306 - 75.7
114: Ford Escort - 75.6
115: Jeep Grand Cherokee - 75.4
116: Alfa Romeo 147 - 75.1
117: Fiat Brava - 75.0
118: Peugeot 406 - 74.8
119: Mitsubishi Carisma - 74.7
120: Land Rover Defender - 74.5
121: Peugeot 206 - 74.3
122: Citroen C5 - 74.1
123: Rover MGF - 74.0
124: Peugeot 106 - 73.8
125: Fiat Bravo - 73.8
126: Mercedes A-Class - 73.7
127: Mercedes C-Class (new) - 73.6
128: Citroen Saxo - 73.2
129: Ford Galaxy - 73.1
130: Land Rover Freelander - 73.1
131: Alfa Romeo 156 - 72.9
132: Fiat Punto (new) - 72.5
133: Mercedes M-Class - 69.6
134: Renault Laguna (new) - 68.9
135: Peugeot 307 - 68.7
136: Renault Espace - 68.2
137: Volkswagen Sharan - 67.1
Top Gear Survey 2003 - Altea Ego
At least mine wasnt bottom! (134) so yah suck boo to all you (short list this) 307, Espace and Sharan owners!
Top Gear Survey 2003 - RickyBoy
Only third?!...
Top Gear Survey 2003 - mab23
3 Mercs in the bottom 12 (including the A Class, well deserved really) and the top Merc (E-Class) only 57th, and the next (SLK) 70th. Not very good at all for what is supposed to be a premium/luxury/quality brand.

Have DC started to pull their fingers out in the past couple of years or are they heading to Fiat-ville?!

Top Gear Survey 2003 - No Do$h
I've a couple of niggles with my 2000 "X" 156 (brakes are inconsistent and a rear bush is starting to knock), but nothing that warrants this score. That said, I belong to an Alfa website and there is a common theme to 156 problems (suspension, suspension and suspension spring to mind) so can only assume that PAJ and I are fortunate to date.
Top Gear Survey 2003 - Phoenicks
I think when you pluralise the word 'Problem' it probably tells us all why they score badly....

i heard that they have engines liable to failure and also Selespeed problems. Is this true?
Top Gear Survey 2003 - No Do$h
I think when you pluralise the word 'Problem' it probably tells
us all why they score badly....
i heard that they have engines liable to failure and also
Selespeed problems. Is this true?

Anecdotal evidence would suggest this is the case for petrol and selespeed models. I drive a JTD Manual so can't offer personal experience.

Certainly there have been more cambelt failures than is good for a car (petrol), but now partially addressed with earlier replacement schedule. As for transmission, I wouldn't touch a Sillyspeed 156 with a long pole belonging to somebody else.

There is a growing market in Alfa-enthusiast garages offering well engineered suspension component upgrades and an increasing number of after-market software changes for Selespeed. I think the 156 is one of those cars where some are prepared to accept the failings in exchange for the rest of the package. Not everyone is that brave!

I certainly enjoy my car and will be looking at some of the suspension tweaks available when the front bushes fail (inevitable) rather than giving up on what is on the whole a very pleasing driving experience.
Top Gear Survey 2003 - Phoenicks
I wasnt sure if it was anecdotal or not. EVO magazine ran a 156 in the early days and it had engine and gearbox failure.

It is a bit worrying that you say the suspension is a problem as well.

That would be the 3 main components of the car that have problems then!!
Top Gear Survey 2003 - Phoenicks
p.s and in addition they had the 147 (2.0) and the 156 GTA on general and car of they year editions previously and they both broke down and could not continue for the rest of the car of the year editions. Also I have a friend who has an Alfa GTV 3.0V6 that has a knackered rear axle, 10+ niggly electric failures and in his words 'fantastic engine, but i'd never have an alfa again'...

I love Alfa's and would love to own one but i just think it would become an unreliable nightmare and i will just wish i'd not bought one.

Some cars are great to own and some cars are just great to drive...
Top Gear Survey 2003 - No Do$h
Suspension problems seem to stem from early failure of bushes. The 156 is seen (rightly) as a well balanced fwd car with exceptional handling. Unfortunately this means that any deterioration of suspension components is known about a lot sooner than with a more forgiving setup.

Surprisingly I have been unable to find an aftermarket bush replacements. Superflex seem to make uprated bushes for most makes, but have not put anything together for the 156 to date.

Haven\'t heard of any manual transmission failures so far, but I\'m sure it has happened, just as it has happened with any other car.

The reputation helps when it comes to getting a secondhand deal. I picked up my 156 Veloce JTD SW with 7,000 on the clock at 23 months old for about £11k, a substantial saving on new! Likewise, an early 156TS saloon will be peanuts compared with other cars offering a comparable driving experience.

If you thought of paying x for brand a, but could have a similar spec 156 for x less £2500 it makes sense to consider the Alfa. The good news? You can get that kind of deal and then some. Problems occur when x less £2500 is your total budget and you haven\'t an allowance for repairs/replacement.

No Dosh, self-confessed member of Alfaholics anonymous.
Top Gear Survey 2003 - bartycrouch
Could I just add on the Selespeed models that some people have found they have had to wait ages for parts.

Lovely car No Dosh, and as a child of the 70s I would love one, but it would have to be a weekend car....
Top Gear Survey 2003 - Aprilia
If you have a reliable and trouble-free 156 you are quite lucky, they don't have a very good reputation in the trade, lots of niggles (MAF, ECU, airbag problems etc.). I rather like Alfas and owned one at one time, but there was always some problem with it. I decided life was too short and sold it.
Top Gear Survey 2003 - Humpy
My girlfriend runs a Xreg 156 1.8lTS saloon with a sportpack as a work car. She's a vet and this poor car runs over all sorts of terrain loaded to the gunnells (sp?). This car has now done a totally reliable worry free 50000 miles. Now where is that enormous piece of wood....

It has been imported so has no a/c but perhaps this is simply more to go wrong, she claims to enjoy natural a/c more anyhow. Oh and it doesn't use any oil at all between services.

She wants to upgrade to a sportwagon but I have to day that my opinion is that she's obviously got a good one, she should be happy with that.
Top Gear Survey 2003 - No Do$h
Humpy, to minimise the risk of problems, perhaps consider the 1.9 or 2.4JTD. Very few problems with the mechanicals on these.

Mine too is an import, relatively trouble free (one rear bush showing signs of wear at 30,000. Mediocre brakes come as standard). Perhaps Alfa UK sit at the dockside and unscrew bits on the official imports to guarantee a thriving parts and labour indusrty?
Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - runboy
I agree on the dealer front-my local SEAT is the best I've ever dealt with. I've had an Audi and they were the worst dealer ever, closely followed by my present car's dealer, Toyota.

Wish I had gone back to SEAT now.

Interesting too that out of the current Golf platform cars (Leon, Toledo, Octavia, Beetle, A3 et all) the Golf comes last.
Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - peterb
Look at that C class score!

This must be worrying for MB. Typically 4WDs and MPVs do badly in these surveys, but not "executive" type cars.

Of course, none of these findings will impact on what the magazines recommend.
Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - Steve S
"none of these findings will impact on what the magazines recommend."

Nope. Nor will any of these findings impact on what people buy anyway. The only time reliability comes into the prospective purchaser's mind is when they have suffered before! "I'd never have another Alfa, Land Rover or whatever..."

If you have set your heart on a car - no amount of bad reports will deflect you. You always kid yourself that you'll be OK (I do anyway) :-) It's an emotion isn't it?
Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - runboy
"It's an emotion isn't it?"

If we were all honest, there probably isn't a new car that you could say has some fault-a minor rattle from somewhere-that some owners just put up with.

Some cars have a lot more problems, and thats where the dealers come into the picture. I had awful trouble with two brand new Audi's. I loved the model of Audi, but not the actual cars I had troubles with. I really wanted to keep with it, but because the dealer was a complete failure at customer care I had to get rid or suffer years of problems. If the dealer had treated me better it would have helped no end.

If you love a car enough you will put up with a certain amount of problems-but there does come a point where you say no.
Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - peterb
"Nor will any of these findings impact on what people buy anyway. "

Essentially this is true, but if things are *really* bad people will eventually stop buying (this is the reason you can't buy a Lancia here anymore).
Top Gear - Sharan, Alhambra and Galaxy - Marcos{P}
I'm sorry to say it but these surveys are just utter tripe.

Go into the real world and the results will differ dramatically.
In principle it is great but in reality it is just a load of old pony.
I know 6 people with Jaguar XJ cars and so far two of them have had new engines, one has had 3 steering racks and has now sold the car after only a year and my dads freinds one's brakes failed whilst slowing on a slip road coming off the M6 so you can imagine the mess that caused.
How come it came top?
The other thing is all these people carriers that did so badly are mostly used by cab firms etc. so get a rough old life. They will do higher mileage and will get slapped around a bit so bits will break a little more often than in your average Civic used to pootle down to the shops in a few times a week.
Dealers etc - Woody
I have had a multitude of cars, both privately and company owned, keeping them 2.5 years on average and from my experience the Top Gear survey results are uncannily accurate.

Peugot dealers take my wooden spoon for being consistently disinterested, dishonest and patronising when faced with numerous faults on their desperately flimsy offerings.

A Citroen dealer managed to crash both of my cars (ZX and Xantia) whilst in their "care". Likeable cars, but things going wrong or falling off is part of the deal.

Our Land Rover Freelander experience was a fiasco with fault after fault. The dealer was simply resigned to the fact the product was crap. "Sigh, they all do that sir" (water leaking through the back window, again). Didn't stop them charging outrageous sums for routine servicing though.

Fords were average cars with, again, disinterested dealers.

Vauxhall ditto.

Hondas (Accord and CRV) 100% reliable and dealers courteous and dependable.

BMW make great cars and the dealer we used was magnificent. The car was always on time, cleaned inside and out and the service reasonably priced.

Latest car for me an Audi A4 which I like, but it has been back to the dealers twice in the first three months and they fail to impress.

TG findings look about right to me.

Dealers etc - Tony Bee
This discussion and those survey results explain why I have had my Xantia for 8 and a half years - - -fear.

I find changing cars one of the most stressful things I ever do. From "will the dealer rip me off" to "I hope I've not bought a pile of carp".
The Xantia has needed a new driver's window lifter and 9 suspension spheres- - which are consumable items anyway.
The two Accords prior to the Citroen were not good - -a throttle box plus other bits on one (which took the smile off the dealers face) and the second a major gearbox failure which cost 600 quid - -luckily insured.
Only shows you have to speak as you find.
I'm no nearer knowing what to buy next and very disappointed about the Peugeot 307 - -fancied one of those.
Dealers etc - daryld
I can agree with the C-Class score: my neighbour has got a C200K saloon. The front door does not shut properly-poor alignment I think, and the engine whines all the time (this is not the supercharger, but some fault as other C200s do not do it!). Plus the dark blue paintwork is not too good (in my view) behind the passenger door, though it has never been repaired.

So I am buying the C-Class estate--they are Made in Germany. Unlike the south african saloon. I hope to get a better qulaity product.

Oh, and my neighbour thinks her C-Class is brilliant, but I think the M-B brand image has given her beer goggles.
Dealers etc - Aprilia
As an MB enthusiast from birth I'm afraid I have to agree. I hope that they pull things back again soon. They used to be genuinely the finest cars in the world; they can only live for so long on past reputations.
TG Survey - Maz
These surveys definitely affect what I would buy.

7 of the top ten are Japanese, and this is pretty consistent in satisfaction surveys. My heart howls when I hear about the Alfa's problems, shoddy Mercs...and I ask why not just buy Japanese?

If you like engines, the s2000 will get you to work every day without a pounding fear of which jelly-like component is going to slither free of it's wilted housing.

TG Survey - Honestjohn
I record the results of most of these surveys in car by car breakdown, so you get a balanced picture of the results of all the surveys, not merely one or the other. For Top Gear 2003 I've recorded the top and bottom 30.

TG Survey - Phoenicks
Just to add - i've just seen the 2003 JD power survey as well and it is spookily similar to the TG Survey. And yes the Sharan was bottom of that too...

Ask Honest John

Value my car