Top Gear and Diesel

Since I started watching. Besides, you were the one who said “the three of them”. Not only that, but the suggestion that speed is all that counts to even Clarkson is not accurate. It matters (it matters a lot) but there are any number of cars that they praise for outright speed but ultimately slam for being uncool/ill handling/too boring etc.

Only the small ones. 10,320 cubic inch, two stroke GM diesels sound awesome, with or without a turbo. From a safe distance, at least. Good in a railway locomotive, perhaps not in a car.


I saw an episode where Clarkson drove a large diesel Audi (A8 maybe?) to Scotland and back on one tank of diesel (the challenge being to see where it could really do this). He got back to the starting point after driving for some miles with the gauge on empty, so he was actually quite impressed in the end. (although realistically, he did this with very careful fuel consumption observation, no a/c, car empty except for him etc.)

I rented a diesel Mercedes in Germany a few years ago. I went from Nuremberg to Nurburg, a few laps of the 'Ring, stayed in a 400-year-old inn, and saw a couple science museums on the drive back. I have a fond memory of doing 120 on the Autobahn with I Get Around blasting from the stereo.

Best. Roadtrip. Ever. The Top Gear guys must not be doing it right.

Dad has a Saab 93 1.9 TDi (the one with a little red letter, it shows its the 150bhp model, he’s very pleased with that) and I can’t really hear much diesel clatter at all at speed. Faint whine, probably the turbo, nothing else really. Lovely car, 49.9 mpg (getting that couple of points to hit the magic 50mpg mark drives Dad mad).

As for Top Gear, they’re interested in cars that go fast, especially round corners. To them diesels are heavy, don’t handle as well and sound a bit off. For those of us lucky enough to own a car in the real world, pelting around a race track may not be as much of an issue.

They have their own editorial standards, like the economy themed start to the last series, where a series of supercars were given a gallon of fuel and thrashed around a race track, the last car running being the economy car of choice :stuck_out_tongue:

Once in a while a petrol/gasoline engine will ‘diesel’, and that’s a very bad thing. Just speaks to the stigma diesel has.

The Audi R10 LeMans diesel racecar sounds nothing like you’d expect a sports car prototype machine to sound. And it certainly sounds nothing like a semi or a tractor.

The Peugeot 908 diesel has got a bit more of a rumble to it.

Don’t know where you’re from Sage Rat, but diesels have a different reputation in Europe than in America. And for this discussion, I think it’s okay to lump “UK” into Europe because they share similar attitudes towards diesel cars.

Diesels are primarily known as engines for very practical cars and practical people. Top Gear is about bucking convention and doing irresponsible things. When you have an engine type that is low-performance and is also the embodiment of practical cars, then of course they’ll be hated.

My car (I don’t have it here in NY) is a VW diesel btw.

To give Top Gear some credit they do like a practical cheap car if it ticks all the right boxes (for a practical cheap car). Jerremy drove a Diesel Jag S-type round the nurburgring a while back and he seemed to like the car. It’s not practical or cheap, but it is Diesel.