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Top Gear Magazine in 2003

Clarkson in 2003: “The Ferrari 360 is uncool. Have you ever seen one being driven by someone you’d have round for dinner? In London, they all look like Albanian Mafia and up north they all look like they own carpet shops in Dewsbury.”

TopGear Car of the Year: Ford Focus RS

“Choosing our champ is always a long, hard slog involving much deliberation and heated debate. This year was no different… until, that is, we drove the Focus RS. We jumped out of it, grinning broadly and knew we’d found a winner. With the Focus RS, Ford has delivered a cracking little package at a cracking price. Ok, so there are one or two taste issues going on in the general direction of the steering wheel, but hey, we’ve seen inside your wardrobe and it’s not as if you’re a style guru or anything, is it?”

Three cars from 2003

BMW Z4

“The Z4 is impressive. It’s without doubt a major improvement over the Z3. It’s got a good engine, it handles well, it’s better value than a Porsche Boxster and it looks good from many angles. But I still can’t warm to that front end. Plus, the Boxster’s cabin feels the more fun place to be and the handling is that much sharper and the engine that much sweeter to listen to. It’s also the more fun car to drive. Round one, then, to the Boxster.” March 2003

Lamborhini Gallardo

“You don’t have to think about driving this Lamborghini all the time. On anything resembling a half-decent road you can just get on with it and drive, which really wasn’t the case with the Diablo and isn’t really the case with the Murcielago either. On the right, wide roads, you sure can press on in the big Lambo, but on ordinary everyday roads, you’ll struggle at times. But not if you are in the Gallardo.” August 2003

Porsche Carrera GT

“This will go down in history as one of the all-time great cars. An object lesson in engineering to rival the Brooklyn Bridge. A really fabulous achievement. It’s not styled with the verve of a Ferrari, but with those mesh covers over the engine bay, and the big air intakes slicing into the doors, it looks even more purposeful. ‘Beautiful isn’t it?’, I said to one of the engineers. But this didn’t compute. He knew how much it weighed, and each of the 435lb ft of torque by name. But something subjective like beauty; it was beyond him.” November 2003

The best-selling car of 2003: Ford Focus

The best-selling song of 2003: Where Is The Love? - The Black Eyed Peas

And elsewhere in the world in 2003: Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas during re-entry, killing all seven astronauts on board; the World Health Organisation issues a global health alert over the SARS virus; and the US and its allies invade Iraq.

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