Fifth Gear Top Gear

Ben Collins joins Fifth Gear

Ben Collins

Ben Collins has joined former Top Gear presenters Vicki-Butler Henderson and Tiff Needell at rival television program Fifth Gear.

Collins has been at a bit of a loose end since he outed himself and his Stig gig went belly up. He is now welcoming a new chance to perform “Stig-like” duties saying, “I’m delighted to be joining the Fifth Gear team.”

“I am looking forward to a new set of exciting challenges, apparently with and without the helmet,” he continued.

Series 18 of Fifth Gear will go to air later this year (later this week if twitter is to be believed) and The Artist Formerly Known As The Stig is expected to feature in at least five episodes.

Channel 5 exec, Steve Gowans, is excited too, “We’re delighted to have the Ben on board – it will be fascinating to see how he does in a head-to-head with Tiff and Jason [Plato] – the best drivers on TV.”

[Source: The Guardian | Pic: Tim Ireland/PA | Thanks to Richard for the tip]

Fifth Gear Saab

Fifth Gear on the new Saab 9-5

Saab 9-5

It’s been almost six months since the Saab 9-5 began production under its new owners Spyker. The car is now on sale and reviewers are stating to file their reports. Can the new 9-5 usher in a new era of stability for Saab? Can the 9-5 shed its humble GM origins? More importantly, and more simply, is the new 9-5 any good?

Take the jump and see what VBH from Fifth Gear has to say.

Fifth Gear Mercedes-Benz

Tiff Needell on the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Fifth Gear - Mercedes Benz SLS AMG

In a recent episode of the revised Fifth Gear television program former F1 racer Tiff Needell got some one on one time with the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG ‘Gullwing’. The location for his drive? The Isle of Man. As it is the Isle of Man presents some kind of motoring nirvana; the roads there have no speed limit. However, for Tiff’s drive the roads were closed. With no oncoming traffic to worry about how do you reckon he went? Take the jump to find out.

Fifth Gear Porsche

VBH reviews Porsche Boxster Spyder

Porsche Boxster Spyder

Vicki-Butler Henderson has got her hands on the Porsche Boxster Spyder for the benefit of her Fifth Gear Web TV audience. Even better she took it to the track and gave a jolly good spanking. She reckons the car has a fantastic chassis, but is it worth the extra cash over the regular Boxster S?

Check out the video after the jump to find out.

[Thanks to Wayne for the tip]

Fifth Gear Ford

Fifth Gear drives 2009 Ford Focus RS

Jason Plato from Fifth Gear has been handed a set of keys to the new Focus RS. It’s a pretty wild looking thing, and with 300bhp (225kW) powering the front wheels it sounds like a recipe for disaster. However, thanks to its tricky RevoKnuckle suspension system, which maximises grip, Ford seems to think everything will be okay.

So, it loses marks for lime green paint. It loses marks for hamfisted naming of its technology. But does the Focus RS lose any marks for the driving experience? Not on Jason Plato’s shift, it doesn’t.

Find out more about the Focus RS by downloading this PDF (724kb) or by checking our the website.

BMW Fifth Gear

Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road – the best in the world?

Is the tight, twisty and ultra smooth Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road in Abu Dhabi the best in the world? In Series 15, Episode 7, Fifth Gear sent Tiff Needell to the middle east and gave him the keys to a BMW M3 to find out.

You can see the 11km stretch of tarmac on Google Maps, or read more about Jebel Hafeet on Wikipedia.

Fifth Gear Renault

Fifth Gear dogfight: Renault Megane R26.R v Caterham CDX

Renault makes some might fine hot hatchery, and the Megane R26.R has to be up there as one of their best. But surely Renault’s latest balls out track special is no match for a raw, lithe and uncompromising Caterham?

Join Fifth Gear’s Tiff Needell to find out. Be prepared from some froggy cornering goodness.

Fifth Gear MINI Volkswagen

Fifth Gear dogfight: Volkswagen Scirocco v MINI Cooper S

The fifteenth series of Fifth Gear is currently airing in Britain and in this week’s show they pitted Volkswagen’s stunning Scirocco against the cheeky MINI Cooper S. The cars were tested at the Castle Combe racetrack and Tiff Needell and Jason Plato were at the wheel. You can be sure nothing was left in the pits.

The result was very close, but if you want the winning car you’ll have to pester Volkswagen Australia very hard to get one.

(Thanks to Lee for the tip.)

Fifth Gear Lamborghini Video

Ice ice baby

If you had the keys to a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 and access to an ice track, what would you do? Thought so.

Here’s a clip from series 15 of Fifth Gear with Tiff Needell at the wheel showing us how it is done. Apart from all the fun and shenanigans that Tiff gets up to, the clip also gives a great example of how modern day traction control and ESP systems work. Amazing stuff!

Almost as much fun as taking a 911 around a snow-covered Nürburgring.

smart Toyota

smart fortwo mhd makes Prius green with envy

smart fortwo mhd

According to the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide, the smart fortwo cabrio mhd (micro hybrid drive) can lay claim to being Australia’s greenest car. This is on account of the mhd scoring the lowest greenhouse and air pollution emissions of any car currently on sale in Australia. Yes, even better than Toyota’s Prius, albeit by the barest of margins!

Despite the marketing trickey in its name, the smart fortwo mhd uses a conventional internal combustion engine, there’s no electric power hidden away. The smart fortwo mhd achieves its credentials, in part, by utilising start-stop engine technology. When driven in traffic the mhd system switches the engine off when stationary and restarts when the accelerator is next pressed. The mhd was featured on last week’s episode of Fifth Gear in the UK, and a YouTube clip of this segment can be seen after the jump.

The smart fortwo mhd only has a meagre 52kW of power, but with that comes impressive fuel consumption. Its combined cycle is 4.4l/100km (according to ADR 81/02) and carbon dioxide (CO2) output of the two-seater is a low 105g/km. Comparatively the Toyota Prius rates the same for fuel consumption, but a solitary extra gram for CO2 emissions at 106g/km.

However, the bar for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is set to be lowered even further when the MINI Cooper D goes on sale in Australia in the second half of this year.

Horst von Sanden, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Cars in Australia was delighted with the news and said, “The goal of sustainable mobility lies at the heart of the smart concept, and it’s this very car, along with new developments such as the electric smart ed, that have made some of the biggest steps towards the ultimate goal of emission-free motoring.”

Fifth Gear Volkswagen

Fifth Gear reviews Golf VI

Fifth Gear returned to UK screens last week with the premiere episode of Series 15. This makes them the first major UK car show to get their hands on the Mk6 Golf. Here’s Jonny Smith’s review.

For more on the new Golf, check out this previous AUSmotive post, including the Trackback links at the bottom of the article that will take you to a wide range of Golf VI related articles.

Fifth Gear

Fifth Gear – Series 14, Episode 8

Apologies for the lateness of this recap—Episode 8 was the last in Series 14 and the show starts with Vicki showing us the updated Honda Jazz. You can fit a push bike in the back, apparently. Vicki reckons the Jazz is not so bad. Shame it’s not available with an ESP system (in Australia at least). Tim Shaw finally changed his pants—thank the lord for that—shame he’s still a goat. He serviced his own car and saved a few hundred squids, good for him. Oops, spoke too soon, the clown and his pants make a return in the studio.

In keeping with let’s cram as much as we can in each show theme of this series, Tom was given about 11 seconds to speak about the four wheel steering system in the new Renault Laguna GT. There was a bit of banter about a new British sportscar, the Jetstream SC250, all fine and dandy, but c’mon producers give the show some air, why bother showing this car if all you’re going to give is what amounts to a 15 second advertisement.

The next segment saw Tiff and Plato take to the track … in go-karts (see above). Tiff annoying and whiney as ever was shown the way by Plato. Result!