“Let’s get this straight. I’m wearing a wet, white shirt, and I’m in a lake – I’m Mr Darcy,” roared Clarkson, as the Bond music played and he hung a right, spray shooting out all over the place.
No, Mr Clarkson, you’re not.
But it was thoroughly entertaining watching Clarkson, on a 140bp quad ski, race Richard Hammond in a shiny red Alpha 4C along the length of Lake Como.
The Alpha was wider than a Range Rover. You can’t open the bonnet. And the shonky handbrake feels a bit like it came out of a cracker. No matter, they loved it.
James May talked us through Kia’s new gesture control system. With predictably obscene gestures.
Clarkson bemoaned the lack of a half-naked Scarlett Johannson on the side of the motorway as a distraction to driver.
Hammond wanted pub quiz questions on the gantry signs – and the answer on the next one along.
Then came Corvette’s new supercar. A yellow peril with 600-odd bhp under the bonnet. The audience oohed.
Clarkson ventured driving an American car in Britain was as inappropriate as talking in lifts.
“Look, you can’t drive a Corvette in Tewkesbury,” said Clarkson.
“The next thing you’d do is paint the Confederate Flag on your car.”
“I painted the Confederate Flag on the roof of my Toyota when I was 17,” replied Hammond.
Clarkson described a British supercar as Double Gloucester on a water biscuit, adding: “The Corvette is 600 tons of Monterey Jack on a taco.”
Then May went to Camp Bastion, the British base in Afghanistan. It’s the size of Reading.
Ahead of the British withdrawal, he looked at the vehicles, maintained by 150 mechanics. There’s £60 million of Land Rover spares at Camp Bastion alone, and armoured vehicles have aggressive names like Ridgeback. Fox Hound. Husky. And Warthog.
May was behind the wheel of the Fox Hound – made from actual armour, but as light and as agile as driving a domestic 4x4, he said. Then he jumped into the Mastiff, with its night vision technology to showcase the work our troops are doing out there in the fight against terror.
Jaguar driver Tom Hiddlestone, of War Horse fame, was the Star in the Reasonably Priced Car.
It was wet. He stalled. He did it in 1.49.9 seconds – just faster than Lord Grantham, or Hugh Bonneville.
And then Clarkson finished with a few hair-raising laps in a 700bhp McLaren, whose body is made from stuff designed by various space programmes with tyres by Pirelli making it very, very sticky indeed. Even if he did look like a ghost when he’d finished.