Hi there readers! Sorry for the tremendous delay for this review as I do not have much time completing Top Gear reviews and you should know how much time and effort is required for a single review. Well, better late than never. Now let’s begin the review!
This episodes begins with a letter which says: Dear Top Gear, I am a leading light in the Albanian mafia. I am thinking of buying the new baby Rolls-Royce, the Ghost. But how does it compare to say, a Bently or a Mercedes? Jeremy who just read the letter then told us that the producers wanted them to test the three cars in Albania, but Jeremy said the three of them said no as they do not want to seem to be helping the mafia. In the end they did.
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We can now see the three boys on a small ship with their cars heading towards Albania. The cars? Well, first would be the Rolls-Royce Ghost of course. Second is the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG which Hammond claimed that it is the most powerful saloon car in the world (which is true). And then Jeremy was seen standing next to nothing as the Bentley Mulsanne which was supposed to be on the ship was cancelled by Bentley. Bentley decided last minute to not participate in the film.
No worries, as Jeremy told his mates that a replacement is waiting for them at the shore and he guarantees that it would be exactly identical to the Bentley in many critical ways. The replacement was an old and rusty Yugo. Where was the part where Jeremy said that it would be identical to the Bentley in many critical ways? Well, his definition of identical was that the Yugo has the engine located at the front just like the Mulsanne, closes it’s doors similarly, has four-doors and so on. Yeah, exactly identical.
Jeremy also warned James and Hammond not to use the word “car” and “peach” in Albania as they meant the human’s private parts. After Jeremy’s grateful advice, the three boys are set to go! With James in the Ghost, Hammond in the S65 AMG, and Jeremy in the “Bentley”.
The journey begins with a rainy day through rural and broken streets of Albania. James told us that under the Ghost is actually a BMW 7-Series, but besides that, everything else is a Rolls-Royce. From the bold looking exterior to the luxurious interior, James was having a good time in his limo. Hammond was also loving his super-powerful limo and at 160,000 pounds, it is also 40,000 pounds cheaper than the Ghost. Hammond was also impressed by the ammount of gadgets available in the car, one of them was a speed limit reader which tells Hammond the speed limit on the road he was driving.
Soon the road turned from rough to intolerable. The Mercedes and the Rolls coped with the road nicely with their comfortable suspensions. Jeremy’s Bentley soon crashed into a huge rock in the middle of the road. After some pushing and bumper ripping, the Bentley is free from the rock.
The three boys soon have to cross a river. And to do so, they will have to use a huge wooden raft which is pulled by an automated thick metal wire. Regularly used by the locals to cross the river, rarely the raft have been used for transporting cars. And these cars weighs almost two tons each. Surprisingly, the 2.8 tons “Bentley” hardly tested the raft at all. Soon they were driving off the next side of the river.
Three of them soon realized that Hammond’s Mercedes would blend the best among the Albanian traffic. That is because a whooping 80% of all cars registered in Albania are Mercedes-Benz. All are old Mercedes mind you, but still Mercedes nonetheless. The boys then stop by for a short tea break.
After a short visit to an abandoned submarine base, the boys moved on to the very first mafia test: Can you fit a dead body in the boot? Well, the mafia would most likely done a lot of killing and therefore this is a great test. The person the boys “murdered” was a huge and overweight man.
As non of them was able to lift the body up, the supposedly dead man was asked to go in to the Rolls-Royce’s boot first. The man just fit in that boot but the boot lid cannot close with him in it. Mercedes is up next. To make matters worse, the Mercedes has a fridge and it takes up much space in the boot and the man could only fit with two of his legs out. Surprisingly, the man easily fitted into the rear of the Bentley but there was a huge flaw, there is a window at the back of the boot. Destroying the purpose of hiding a body in a car. This test therefore was a failure.
Now is time for the news, and Jeremy found out that a woman among the audience is from Albania and she confirmed with them that Jeremy was right about the meaning of the word “car” and “peach” in Albania. The boys then continued with news on the newly launched Ferrari FF and later talked about the new 2-cylinder engined Fiat 500 TwinAir and how fun it was driving it. The news then soon ended after talking about British cyclist installing small cameras on their helmets to record drivers who overtook them dangerously.
That’s the end of the news and now to the featured car of the episode. Jeremy presented the Ford Sierra Cosworth and a Forst Escort Cosworth and said that he loves these two cars. Cosworth is a famous tuning company and after 15 years later, the Cosworth badge is back on a new car. I present you the Cosworth Impreza STI CS400!
Jeremy said that in theory, the Cosworth and the Impreza name is a “marriage made in heaven” because both names are famous for their great machines. However, there is a problem when you start reading the spec sheet, as Jeremy says: ” They took a dreary STI, and threw almost everything away.”
Jeremy said so because the car’s 2.5 liter flat-four Boxer engine is fitted with new pistons, bearings, conrods, gaskets, headnuts, a totally reworked oil pump, turbocharger, intercooler, intake system, exhaust, new wheels, tires, springs, dampers, bushings, and brakes. I think you would have figured out what Jeremy is trying to say here. “Is not really a Subaru anymore is it?”
Jeremy said that the result was “Quite” good as the car does capture the essence of the older Subaru Imprezas. He also praised the car for still being comfortable despite it’s new springs and it is a very fast car! 0-60mph time takes only 3.5 seconds but the downside? Huge amount of turbo lag. He drove at quite some speed and the turbo still haven’t kicked in, resulting in poor low end power. And it cost a whooping 50,000 pounds.
So let’s bring in the next competitor, the Ford Focus RS500. And Jeremy said that it was great. It has a similar 2.5 liter turbocharged engine but a little less powerful than the Impreza. However 345bhp is still plenty of power for a family hatch.
All these power are transferred to the front wheels only, that may sound like a big mistake as it will just cause the front wheels to spin in smoke with so little grip. However, thanks to a clever front differential, the car manages to get alot of grip. This car and also reach a max speed of a crazy 165mph. And at a price of 35,000 pounds, it does seem like a great deal compared to the Impreza.
So you think the Ford is the obvious winner. Yes you would be right if there is no more competitor but there is one more left to beat. The Volvo C30 Polestar! Using the same engine as the Focus RS500 just now, this car can produce an almost unbelievable 400 horsepower!. In a short drag race, the Volvo easily beat the Impreza and the Focus was left last place.
Jeremy was truly impressed by the Volvo but there was one huge problem. Volvo does not plan to put it into production, so the one Jeremy drove will be the only one in the world. “Pity” he says. So now is time to see how fast the Ford and the Subaru goes around the To Gear Test Track. The Volvo can’t be tested as it is not a production car. Ironically, the Focus RS500 is limited to only 500 units and the Cosworth Impreza is limited to just 75, and they both are all sold out.
The Stig managed to set a time of 1.30.8 minutes on a wet lap which is 1 second faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo on a wet lap as well. The Cosworth did it in a faster time of 1.27.7 minutes. Now is finally the time for Star In A Reasonably Priced Car, and the guest for the day was famous British TV and radio presenter Jonathan Ross. Johnathan must be one of the more entertaining guest as he challenged Jeremy to a fitness test where they both hold on to a push up position as long as they can. Johnathan eventually ended it very soon after interrupting Jeremy. Johnathan’s lap time was 1.49.0 minutes.
Now back to the Mafia limo test! The three boys went to an abandoned Cold War era air field and decided that straight line speed is quite important for Mafias and went ahead to do a drag race. And with intense Inception movie soundtrack playing at the background, Jeremy’s “Bentley” could not be started and needed a push from Hammond and James. The push brought Jeremy’s car back to life but he continued driving and therefore cheating in the drag race. Hammond and James hurried back into their cars.
Despite the advantage of a head start, Jeremy was quickly overtaken by the two other super limos with almost 600bhp each. The Mercedes easily won the race with it’s 604hp compared to the Rolls’ 563hp. Now the race has ended, Jeremy and James decided to stop by a huge collection of old MIG fighter planes left just on the side of a narrow road. Huge collection I say because there is at least a hundred of them parking on this quite road. Albania is like a museum Jeremy says.
While the two were fascinated by these old and rusty jets, Hammond was in his luxury Mercedes explaining all of the unique functions the car has to offer. By using the COMMAND system in his car, he can control his massage chair, adjust his seat in almost every way, and even get to set how high the boot lid opens. James began talking about boring war histories and they all eventually decided to leave.
The three boys still could not decide which car is best for the Albanian Mafia and planned another final test while they were at a bar. The test was of course to do something you expect a Mafia to do regularly. Rob a bank. Yes, you heard it right! They will each rob the same bank and escape with their cars, whoever who manages to escape to the ferry first without getting caught by the police shall be the winner.
The nest morning, a local bank set off the alarm and Jeremy was seen leaving the bank first with a bag of money on one of his hand and a pistol on another. Being the first to escape, Jeremy obviously chose the fastest car which was the Mercedes. While Jeremy left the scene, Hammond came out from the bank next and chose the obvious choice, the Rolls-Royce. Jmaes, who happened to be the last to come out from the bank, have no choice but to use the “Bentley”.
It was rush hour in Albania when they were escaping and the traffic was really congested. Very soon, the Albanian police began chasing them with two Chevrolet Aveo hatchback and a police officer on a motorbike. The police manages to keep up with the powerful limos thanks to the traffic. However, the Mercedes and the Rolls soon reached a scenic route with zero traffic and they just floored it. The police cars was left behind while the faster motorbike chases them.
James in his “Bentley” took a different route and with the more quicker police cars on his tail, James is really struggling to create a distance between them. The police cars then took a shortcut and created a road block in front of James’ route. While Jeremy and Hammond finally reached the ferry and the ferry had left the jetty, James have no choice but to end this. He drove away from the roadblock and off towards the cliff. The car went crashing down, spinning many times before landing on the surface with a totally wrecked car. James is dead.
So that was a tragic ending for this episode of Top Gear. Hopefully James would be alive in the next episode! Sorry for posting this review extremely late and I understand that the next season had already started and I still have 3 more episodes left to review. I know I can never catch up anymore and so I decided to just jump to the Season 17 episode 1 review. Hope my fellow readers won’t mind, and thanks again for your undying support of this site!