Top Gear

By Sean Carroll | August 31, 2007 8:41 pm

I would like to embed a video!

No particular reason, really.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Entertainment, Gadgets, Personal
  • Jack

    Ah Sean, under that PC exterior there beats the heart of a true CO2 fiend! Yay!! There is nothing, absolutely nothing like putting your foot down and being compressed into the driver’s seat by 300 hp. Right Sean?

  • manifold

    BMW: businessman’s car
    Porsche: overcompensating stockbroker’s car
    Aston, Ferrari, Maserati: ultra-masculine sports cars
    Jaguar: ultra-feminine sports car

    sorry, dude, those are just the standard brand associations there…
    Jaguar has always been the one that focused on the comfy ride rather than raw power or handling, for the past 50 years. It’s fair enough. Women are half the world.

  • Geoff Arnold

    Coincidentally, I just finished watching the latest Top Gear episodes on BBC America, in which that particular Jaguar was reviled as “not cool” because it was large enough to fit a bag of golf clubs.

    Now THIS is a car:

    The car about which they said, “If you crash backwards through the Pearly Gates in a fireball, that’s a cool way to die!”

  • Geoff Arnold

    This video is better….

  • Mark

    Ah, so you did it! I saw this episode also. Enjoy!

  • Jennifer Ouellette

    I’m a newly converted fan of Jeremy’s, and TOP GEAR… just because I’m such a sucker for cheeky Brit irreverance. :)

  • Regular visitor

    Why is there something in this article rather than nothing?

  • Stefan

    Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe Sean wants to tease Peter Woit, who has just commented that More and more blogs have postings that largely consist of youtube or other sources of video. The few times I’ve clicked on the things I’ve always regretted it, cursing the blog owner for not just putting in words the point they thought people would be interested in. – here is a case in point: why should I watch a video that seems to be an advertisements for cars? Is there anything special about it? Some hint may be helpful, I don’t get it…

  • Elliot


    I’m with you. Not being a “car guy” I just don’t get it. I’m perfectly happy with my 4 cyl 1998 suzuki sidekick that can barely hit 75.


  • Mark Srednicki

    I don’t get it either. With fossil fuel depletion presenting a tremendous looming challenge to our civilization over the coming decades, Cosmic Variance gives us a paean to the gratuitous waste of those fuels. For “no particular reason”.

    Extremely inapproriate. In that regard (to put it in terms Sean will understand) it reminded me of this post.

    If you must put in a car video, why not this one?

  • Dimitri Terryn

    I was equally surprised that this was now a standard future on wordpress. One of these days I’m going to make a post with a lot of LaTeX in it. Just because I can :-)

  • B

    … well, I only looked the first minute or so. sorry, the video quality hurts my eyes, and without any good reason why I’m not patient enough to watch all of it. In cases somebody makes it through and figures out whether maybe Sean makes an appearance in that clip let me know. Otoh, maybe the the question is not “If you must put in a car video, why not this one?” but “If you must come up with a blog post, why not put in a video?” (Okay, I know I am guilty of that as well, see the Honda ad in this post)

  • Lee Kottner

    I am sick with jealousy, Sean. Glad you got this instead of the BMW, which I’ve always thought of as sheer Yuppie porn. A Jag, however, has class. I turned up the sound just to hear it purr.

  • Arun

    Jaguar 2008 XK Convertible starting from $81,500 (300 HP)
    EPA fuel economy 16 city/25 highway
    0-60 in 6 seconds
    Curb weight 3759 lbs
    12.5 lbs/HP
    Jaguar 2008 XKR Convertible starting from $92,700 (420 HP)
    EPA fuel economy 15 city/23 highway
    0-60 in 5 seconds
    Curb weight 3814 lbs
    9.1 lbs/HP

  • Jennifer Ouellette

    Our other car’s a Prius:

  • lt.milo

    Im going to go with Geoff Arnold, that is the best Top Gear ever.

  • Mark Srednicki

    Oh, now I get it: you bought one! My intention wasn’t to criticize a personal buying decision, which we all make all the time, and usually without fossil-fuel use as an important criterion. But future circumstances may change that for us whether we like it or not …

  • Sean

    Yes, we are now the happy owners of a 2004 XK8 convertible (not precisely the new XKR shown in the video). But also, the clip from Top Gear was intrinsically entertaining. And I can’t yet afford a Tesla.

    Those who are unmoved by the car and/or the video are, as always where aesthetics are concerned, entitled to their own judgments, however misguided they may be.

  • Thomas Larsson

    our other car’s a Prius…

    A Prius and a Jaguar together will emit more CO2 than a Jaguar alone…

    Besides, a hybrid car only reduces CO2 emission in the city. On the highway, where there is no braking and the ICE operates under optimal conditions, the electrical engine is just dead weight.

  • MPG
    2004 Jaguar XK8 convertible: 16 (city) and 24 (highway) miles per gallon.

    For comparison, a random normal car:
    2005 Volkswagen Jetta: 28 (city) and 39 (highway) miles per gallon

    About 1.6 times more efficient.

  • Arun

    Its OK, it is a beautiful car, and you can cut back on heating/cooling the house or on flying to make up for the CO^2 πŸ˜‰

  • skeptic23

    Obviously Thomas Larsson has never driven on the highways in LA.

  • Cynthia

    Sean, hate to break it to you, but once you’re blessed with a little Sean or Seanette, you’re gotta have to trade in that XK8 of yours for a more family-oriented vehicle.

  • Lee Kottner


    That’s a big assumption on more than one count.

  • Sean

    Plenty of room in the boot for the little squealers.

  • music

    I really liked the background music in the video. Does anyone know who the artist are

  • oxo

    Who cares about the CO2 output? It’s not the cause of Global Warming..

    Depletion of fossil fuel is an issue, but as it’ll all be gone someday, what does it matter if that’s 50 or 250 years away?

  • Allyson

    Wait. Sean’s having kids?

    I’ll feed your cat, but I’m drawing the line at kids.

  • Stefan

    OK, now I’ve also got it … and Top Gear is a BBC television series, I should have known …

    Have fun with the Jaguar, even though it might not be a totally politically correct car πŸ˜‰

  • Arun

    From the point of view of Buddhist or Hindu philosophy, the danger of a possession is if it becomes part of your self-definition; i.e., if your self-image is tied in any way to the car you drive, then you are in trouble.


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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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