Top Gear’s celebrity-driven ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ sells at charity auction

2013 Vauxhall Astra
One lucky bidder now has the ultimate Top Gear souvenir, and a functional one to boot.

The BBC program’s most recent “Reasonably Priced Car” — a 2013 Vauxhall Astra Tech Line GT — has been sold on eBay for £17,800 ($26,364). The auction benefits the BEN Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund, a U.K.-based automotive charity.

“Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” was always a popular segment on Top Gear, as it featured celebrities from the car world and beyond lapping the famous Dunsfold track in a lighthearted competition. Personalities like Will Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, and Ron Howard all took the Astra for a spin, and English singer-songwriter Olly Murs holds the lap record with a time of 1:44.6. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul and actor Nicholas Hoult are tied for second at 1:44.7, and AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson comes in third with a time of 1:45.1.

The Astra began its Top Gear tenure on Season 20, and since then, it has accumulated 2,908 tough miles. The show’s fourth Reasonably Priced Car after the Kia Cee’d, Chevrolet Lacetti, and Suzuki Liana, the car sold for more than double its estimated current value at auction. Experts estimate that, without the star-studded imprints in the front seat, an Astra of this vintage would sell for £7,775-£8,325 ($11,518-$12,333) today. Because of the roll cage, though, all the Vauxhall’s airbags have been disabled.

As Top Gear prepares for a resurgence next year, the value of memorabilia from the 2002 series is only going to increase. It is not known if the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment will continue with new host Chris Evans at the helm, but the program’s launch in May 2016 will be telling. As for the original trio? Clarkson, Hammond, and May’s new show on Amazon Prime is expected to debut later in the year.

Product Review

The new iPad Mini certainly isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here are our impressions of Apple’s new 7.9-inch…
Wearables

Fossil made a smartwatch in 2004, and it’s part of a new brand retrospective

Fossil has been making watches for 35 years, and to celebrate the anniversary, it has a new retrospective exhibit complete with the first smartwatch it made — the Wrist Net watch from 2004.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 trailer goes full ’80s with a monstrous finale

The first trailer for Stranger Things season 3 has been released by Netflix, and it offers a peek at what the kids -- and adults -- of Hawkins, Indiana, have been up to since the otherworldly events of the second season.
Movies & TV

Apple bet big on TV and movie projects. Here’s what we know about them so far

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing in recent years, so will the March 25 event finally reveal when — and where — we will be able to see some of these TV shows and movies?
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Cars

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Cars

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.