If you’re anxiously awaiting Jeremy Clarkson’s return in The Grand Tour, he recently published a list of his top 10 Star Cars.
If you’re a fan of Top Gear, you’re well aware that Clarkson does actually provide insight into cars and is more than just an entertainment personality. Like all car reviewers, you may not agree with his tastes and opinions, but Clarkson is one of the few individuals in this world that gets an opportunity to drive some of the world’s finest exotics.
He recently revealed his top 10 drives of the past year or so in The Sunday Times‘ Driving column and you can see the full list below. Surprisingly, they’re not all hypercars or expensive vehicles. He says driving these cars give him the “fizz,” which is a rare feeling of an intimate connection between the car and driver that makes a vehicle exciting and fun to drive.
Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Recaro
The new-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata has received praises all around the world, and in the U.K., there’s a range-topping Sport Recaro model. Engineers at Mazda should be pleased to hear that Clarkson found the new Miata “better than ever,” adding that it is “so organic and raw and simple, it feels how a sports car should.” Considering that has always been the mantra behind the MX-5 Miata, the Japanese automaker can pat themselves on a back on a job well done, regardless of what Clarkson has to think.
Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe
If you watched the episode of Top Gear where Richard Hammond, piloting an Alfa Romeo 4C, races Jeremy Clarkson who takes a more… unconventional approach, you will already know how much Clarkson adores the Alfa Romeo 4C. He does acknowledge that there are a few issues with the car, namely that there is almost no rear visibility and that it’s noisy. Well, he actually says it’s a terrible car, but he still adores it. That’s because the Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t like all those other high-tech cars out there that feel like machines, the 4C, even with all its flaws, feels human, according to Clarkson.
Mercedes-AMG GT S
The man has no shame when it comes to his love for Mercedes-AMG models, and the new Mercedes-AMG GT S is no different. “This is a modern-day muscle car,” he said about the Mercedes-AMG GT S. “It’s Merc’s Mustang. You see this when you drive it. It feels raw.” Not surprisingly, Clarkson goes on to say that of all the vehicles in that segment, the AMG GT S would almost certainly be his choice.
Ford Focus RS
There’s a reason why automotive enthusiasts around the world are so excited for the Ford Focus RS. Engineered from the ground up to be a real hot hatch that competes with the best of them, the Ford Focus RS receives high accolades from Clarkson. It might sound like a hyperbole, but he says the Focus RS feels like a Nissan GT-R, and for some, that’s as good as it gets. Helping it land on his list is the hatch’s four-wheel-drive system, that Clarkson says is one of the most advanced fitted to any car at any price.
Ford Mustang GT
You might think this is one of the most surprising cars on the list – but the most surprising one is still to come. The Ford Mustang is available in the U.K. for the first time ever, and Clarkson has very little reason to not to love it. He does admit that it’s too heavy to be considered a sports car in his mind, but it is a muscle car to the truest form and “is a machine that wants to turn its tyres into smoke and go round every corner sideways.” Yeah, if you have ever watched any of Clarkson’s segments on Top Gear, you would know he loves going sideways at every opportunity.
Volvo XC90 D5 AWD
This is probably the most surprising car on the list, considering Clarkson loves power. Oh, and it’s not a Land Rover! Despite finding the Volvo XC90 really big, Clarkson praises the SUV’s interior, technology and ride comfort. It also seems like he’s accepting the fact that self-driving cars are on their way: “If you let the driving aids do their thing, it becomes quite relaxing, because the 2.0-litre engine is far quieter than in the old model, and the ride is pretty good. It’s so soothing, you could nod off. And you’d be fine, because it’d wake you up if anything was wrong.”
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Tech Line
Clarkson’s review of the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a story in itself, in which he claims the car he reviewed was borrowed from Bono. “There’s no flowery way of putting this, so I’ll just come straight out with it,” he says in the review. “Bono drives a Vauxhall Zafira diesel.” And apparently for good reason, as it managed to land on Clarkson’s list of Star Cars. He even says it’s the most comfortable car in the world, even besting the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Move over BMW M3, M6 Grand Coupe or M5… Clarkson has a new favorite M car. There have been plenty of times when Clarkson turns to BMW’s M division when it comes to challenges on Top Gear and something tells us, if the need arises on The Grand Tour, the M2 will be in his bag of tricks. “It’s not just fast in a straight line,” he says. “It’s also fast through the corners. And not just fast, but a complete delight. It’s so good that in a few bends, I was actually dribbling with joy.”
Ferrari 488 GTB
And here comes the Italian exotics. Some may not agree with Ferrari’s route of using turbochargers with the new 488 GTB, but Clarkson has nothing but good things to say about forced induction. He says the 488 GTB is lovely to drive, further appreciating just how “not uncomfortable or difficult” it is in any way. He also admits that the 458 wasn’t as good as the McLaren 12C, but the 488 GTB puts the prancing horse back on top.
To close off the list is the Lamborghini Aventador and it’s not because it’s brilliant to drive… because well, it’s not in Clarkson’s eyes. “The Aventador is not the best supercar to drive. It feels big and heavy. And if you go for a hot lap of a racetrack, you’d better not think about doing another, because the brakes will fade and then fail.” But for all its faults, Clarkson loves the Aventador because it’s a true sports car unlike the new generation of hybrid supercars. He closes off by asking an interesting question when comparing the Aventador with the McLaren P1: “But which would you rather have as a pet: a clever and sophisticated robot? Or a bloody great brontosaurus?”
[Source: The Sunday Times: Driving]