The newest instalment of Top Gear hit the BBC airwaves on Sunday night, and the show continues to pull out all stops with another excellent one-hour’s worth of entertainment.

This episode focuses on another £2,000 challenge, where in this episode the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are tasked with buying a four-seater convertible below that price cap.

Unfortunately, it turns out that all land up buying a late-1980s BMW 325i: with Richard buying a 1987 model, Jeremy buying a 1988 model, and James buys 1989 version. Rather than opt for the conventional challenges usually trotted out for these themed episodes, the hosts decide to use this as an opportunity to see how much the same model of used cars differ, devising a series of new tests to evaluate their reliability, quality and condition.

The first test was a zero-to-100mph-back-to-zero dash, which only Clarkson and May contested because Hammond’s car wouldn’t start, and which May won because Clarkson’s brakes wouldn’t work!

Next up, a forensic team is brought in to check over the cars, highlighting to the audience that it’s sometimes the microscopic details – like, did the previous owner commit a murder in the car? -  that you don’t consider when buying a second-hand car…

Other tests include determining whose car is easiest to steal, whose roof was prone to leaking (a great test with helium gas!), and the obligatory fastest around the Top Gear test track, which results in fatal consequences for Jeremy’s car, in particular.

But the episode is not all complete about the BMW 325i road test. Shaun of the Dead duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the Stars in a Reasonably Priced Car – Frost shows considerable pace in the KIA Cee’d despite his impressive bulk.

Watch the Zonda R lap the Nurburgring Norschleife

Clarkson also road tests Pagani’s latest model in the Zonda series: the Zonda R, an utterly bonkers car powered by Mercedes’ V12 AMG engine, which also posted an incredible lap time of 6m47s around the original Nurburgring circuit (showin right). The car is neither race legal nor road legal, rendering it little more than a rich man’s track toy.

But fortunately, Pagani have come out with a slimmed down version of the R, a road-ready version called the Tricolore, which equally impresses him.

Also, hats off to the show’s hosts for mentioning the injured Robert Kubica in their broadcast, and we show the nice shout-out they give to the injured Renault driver.

[Original videos via akaEmzi and PaganiAutomobili]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.