Season 17 of Top Gear has finally arrived and as expected, there’s been a lot of buzz as to what the troika of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May have in store for us. Now we’ve already seen the previews of Season 17, but now that the first episode has finally aired, we can take a look back at what transpired in those 60 minutes.
Certainly, there were plenty of things talked about on the first episode, not the least of which include a hulking piece of four-wheeled monstrosity from South Africa, a review of BMW’s latest pride and joy, a race between a new rally car and a smoking hot Olympic gold medalist, and a certain American rock legend trading in his shock-rock world for the driver seat of a Kia Cee’d hatchback.
Highly entertaining as always, the 17th season of Top Gear is now here.
Check out a review of the first episode after the jump.
The Menacing Marauder
The first segment of the first episode of the new season of Top Gear got off to quite an enormous and explosive start, both literally and figuratively, when Richard Hammond trooped to South Africa to meet the Marauder. Now, you’ve probably seen big and tough cars before, but compared to this one, those things are soft baked cookies.
We find a tad bit of irony and hilarity in the fact that the small fry of the group - Hammond - was the one who took out the 15-ton South African all-utility powerhouse for some crackpot testing. Not that Hammond didn’t seem to enjoy himself because he managed to run through a brick wall, run over a couple of cars, blow up a Hummer H3, and order a cheeseburger and fries at McDonalds while on board the Marauder.
Something tells us that this won’t be the last time we’re going to see this £300,000 - $475,000 - behemoth in our lifetime.
Clarkson Drools Over the BMW 1M Coupe
The head of the Top Gear snake, Jeremy Clarkson, is not an easy man to please, having put down one too many cars in his time as Top Gear host. But somehow, the 2012 BMW 1M Coupe left even the impetuous and outspoken host at a loss for words. After spending some time with the latest Beamer baby at the Top Gear test track, Clarkson was just about head-over-heels smitten over the 1M Coupe, even going as far as to say that he hasn’t driven a car that’s as balanced all around since the first Volkswagen GTI, which he claims was the most important car of the 20th century.
To prove that the 1M Coupe was all that and more, Clarkson even pitted it against its more dashing competitors, the Porsche Cayman R and the Lotus Evora S.
Not one to have his credibility undermined by a pair of schnops looking to knock the 1M Coupe off of its lofty perch, the three cars participated in a good old fashion race with the cheapest option of them all - the 1M Coupe - smoking the lot off of the Porsche and the Lotus.
The worst criticism Clarkson can give the 1M Coupe? It’s sat-nav screen is a little too far from the driver. If you leave even the all-knowing Jeremy Clarkson grasping at straws on put-downs, then give yourselves a pat on the back, BMW. You just scored big with the 1M Coupe.
Seeing as the show seemingly revolved around Clarkson’s lovefest for the 1M Coupe, it only seemed fair to have their resident test driver - and a man who apparently doesn’t know "what dogs are for" - the Stig, take the 1M Coupe around the Top Gear test track. Never mind the fact that he did it on a damp track and had one too many excursions on grass, but somehow, the Stig was able to take the 1M Coupe around the track in just 1:25, which is three-tenths faster than what the M3 did in the same track, and a dry one at that.
Star In A Reasonably Priced Car
American rock legend, Alice Cooper, was the first star to get a crack at the Top Gear track on board the show’s Reasonably Priced Car, the Kia Cee’d. Cooper might have cheated by using an automatic transmission for his Cee’d, but the damp track leveled the playing field, leaving the rock legend to post a rather mediocre time of 1:56.3, which if you’re looking at it glass-half-full, is still four-tenths faster than British politician, John Prescott.
The MINI Countryman WRC versus Olympic Skelton Gold Medal Winner, Amy Williams
We would’ve loved it if Captain Slow himself, James May, took on the supremely hot Amy Williams in this Top Gear-esque ’race’, but the producers probably figured that wouldn’t be much of a fair fight so in the place of May, they tapped WRC champ Kris Meeke to race against Williams while driving the all-new MINI WRC Countryman.
It was a highly entertaining segment, mostly because we couldn’t take our eyes off of Williams, but it did provide a first glimpse at what the WRC Countryman is capable of.
Top Gear Celebrates The Jaguar E-Type’s 50th Anniversary
As the car that made even the great Enzo Ferrari gush, the iconic Jaguar E-Type holds a place in the pantheon of the greatest four-wheeled machines ever built. Now that it’s celebrating it’s golden anniversary, Top Gear went out of its way to celebrate with their beloved compatriot with Clarkson spending some quality time with the first E-Type convertible ever built and its modern-day iteration, the Eagle Speedster.
Overall, the first episode was entertaining and a little snickery funny here and there, but it’s not something that we’re going to be talking about for a long time. Between Alice Cooper giving a pretty awesome interview to the mere sight of the Marauder on the streets of South Africa to a Hummer H3 getting blown up and the 1M Coupe getting hugs and kisses from Clarkson, the episode had its share of laughs, entertainment, and plenty of Amy Williams.