A week after a forgettable fourth episode, Top Gear bounces back with a pretty entertaining penultimate episode that featured a review on the new Jensen Interceptor, a track day for Jeremy Clarkson with the Lotus Exos Type 125 race car, Bob Geldof as the guest celebrity, and a military house destruction challenge.
Comparing it to the previous show, the content for this week was a lot better, but in a weird twist, the show only had 59 minutes on it - the regular slot usually lasts for 62 to 63 minutes - because, apparently, BBC wanted to show the MotoGP race exactly on time.
That became a running gag during the whole episode as Hammond and May kept speeding up Clarkson in order to fill out the entire episode in the 59 minutes they were given.
In the end, the military destruction challenge proved to be the most entertaining segment of the episode - we’d argue that it’s the best one all year, too - filled with child-like shenanigans from the three hosts that make us love the work they’re doing.
Some people might slam them for wasting their precious time on something so inane, but if you were walking in their shoes, you’d be having a ball of time using military vehicles in trying to put down a cement house.
Details on Top Gear Season 17: Episode 5 after the jump
Clarkson Goes Back In Time With The Jensen Interceptor R
The first segment of episode 5 saw Jeremy Clarkson take a drive around the new Jensen Interceptor. We don’t know if you’re old enough to remember this, but back in the 70’s, the Interceptor was considered one of the most popular British sports cars in the road. Ironically, as Clarkson pointed out, for all of its popularity, the original Interceptor never made it on one of the many detective shows that were prevalent at that time.
But never mind that because it’s 2011, and the new Interceptor R figures to bring back the iconic lineage of its ancestor, or so it should. In his test drive, Clarkson was very impressed with the powertrain of the car - it comes with an 8.3-liter V10 engine with an output of 510 horsepower and 535 lb/ft of torque - while also finding a soft spot with the car’s retro look. However, knowing Jeremy Clarkson, praise often comes with a few nitpicks, and the Interceptor R has its fair share of it. For one, the car’s A/C unit can be either set up as a sauna hot box or an Albanian prison. Way to be witty, Clarkson. Of course, the Interceptor, being a modern-take of an old classic, comes with a price tag of certain doom and gloom for the average working man. For the privilege of owning one, you need to fork over around $180,000. Ouch.
Finally, the last part of the segment saw the three hosts trying to recreate their own 70’s detective show, complete with faux ’staches, Hammond karate chops, and bikini-clad women with blank expressions on their faces. It was good for a few laughs, but not much more.
The Lotus Exos Type 125 Makes Jeremy Fear For His Life
The second segment featured a Formula One race car that actually can’t be used for racing purposes. It’s the Lotus Exos Type 125 and ,under the tutelage of former Formula One driver Jean Alesi, Clarkson tried to get a decent fast lap around the Top Gear test track. Unfortunately, it proved to be easier said than done as the normally thrill-seeking host was thrust into the unfamiliar predicament of genuinely fearing for his life while trying to corral the Lotus racer.
Fortunately, a little perseverance - okay, it was a lot - did the trick as after multiple tries and a sore neck thereafter, Clarkson was able to beat the Stig’s lap time around the track with an Ariel Atom V8 - 36.2 seconds - with a lap time of 35.8 seconds on-board the Type 125.
Just in case you’re wondering, this car is actually for sale for a whopping $650,000 and it comes with its own Lotus crew, a chef, and Jean Alesi teaching you on how to drive the car without killing yourself.
Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car
Bob Geldolf, a Nobel-prize nominated knight of the British Order, was this week’s guest and as such, he took out the Kia Cee’d for a lap around the Top Gear track. This got him a pretty uninspiring lap that netted him a pedestrian time of 1:48.1, making him the 14th fastest celebrity on the leaderboard. We’ll be honest; we don’t know who Sir Bob is other than the fact that he’s a crossover celebrity from across the pond.
Military Destruction Challenge
Arguably the most entertaining segment of the entire season saw the three hosts partake in something we all would love to do if we had the time and resources to do so: destroy some houses. After a number of futile attempts with some commercial equipment, the three decide to use military-issued machines to get the job done. Feeling as if they had the tools for home destruction in hand, the three hosts even challenged a group of professional workers to see who could bring down six houses first.
Predictably, Team Top Gear proved how easily they could get distracted with their new toys, allowing the pros to finish well ahead of them to win the challenge. But despite their lolly-gagging, they managed to give some good entertainment value with their optimistic yet ultimately misguided attempts in destroying those houses.
This episode was a lot better than the last one so on that alone, we’ll give them props. But it does strike us as kind of odd how May and Hammond were left out on the first two segments. Then again, that’s not our problem. Despite this episode being better than episode four, it’s still didn’t quite live up to our expectations, save for the final segment. So now that we’re down to one remaining episode, we’re really hoping that Top Gear pulls out all the stops to make sure that we remember season 17 for anything other than ho-hum segments.