Right off the bat, we have to admit that this week’s episode of Top Gear USA was a lot funnier than any other episode this season. The majority of the episode was spent trying to figure out which of the three hosts chose a better luxury car. However, instead of being the long and drawn out segment as found in previous episodes, this challenge made us laugh out loud a few times. The guys were driving around the Hamptons in a 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, a 1982 Jaguar XJS, and a 1988 Pontiac Fiero turned Ferrari 308. Oh yeah, the Hamptonites just loved that.
In between the search for the best luxury car for $5,000, Tanner Foust got to take a spin in "the Beast," the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Torchwood star, Arlene Tur took a speedy trip around the Top Gear test track in the Suzuki SX4.
Hit the jump for full details on Top Gear USA: Season 2 Episode 5.
This week’s challenge was a lot like the previous ones performed by the trio of Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Ruttledge Wood, except this one was actually funny. The challenge was to find the most luxurious vehicle possible for $5,000. Adam was the first to arrive with a 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, Tanner then pulled up in a 1982 Jaguar XJS, and Ruttledge, displaying the redneck flare in full fashion, drive up in what looked to be a Ferrari from far away. Up close, the car ended up looking like what it really is, a makeshift Ferrari. Ruttledge chose to go with a kit car that took a 1982 Pontiac Fiero Fiero and turned it into a Ferrari 308. One look inside the vehicle and one quick listen of the car’s engine, and anybody would be able to tell this was no Prancing Horse, but rather a kicking mule. Adam put it best when he called Rutt’s car a "vehicular transvestite."
The first challenge was a speed test. The guys had to see if they could climb up to the top speed achieved by the vehicles during their prime. There was no way Adam would ever get up to 112 mph with his Rolls Royce, but he said it wasn’t about speed, but about looking good while getting to where you are going. The whole idea for the challenge disagreed with him. Tanner was next and he had to get the car up to 142 mph. Considering his speedometer was broken, there was no way Tanner could tell how fast he was going. Of course, that didn’t stop him from lying to the other two and saying he got up to 148 mph. Ruttledge was last and with his foot to the floor, couldn’t get his car past 55 mph. A long ways off of the 123 mph top speed of the Fiero and even further from the 144 mph top speed of an actual Ferrari 308.
The second part of the challenge took the guys over to the Hamptons to play taxi to the Hamptonites. The object of the challenge was to take as many Hampton women from a beauty salon to the ultra-exclusive Bridge Golf Club for an event. The first two passengers Adam had were complaining from the heat (there was no A/C) and Adam had the bright idea of telling them that air conditioning carried germs. They got out halfway to "use the bathroom" and ditched him. He ended up with only two passengers from point A to point B. Rutt had a bit better luck with his first passenger, but she wanted nothing to do with him and had her hand over her mouth and nose almost the entire time she was in the car. Tanner was the last vehicle chosen by the ladies and he only transported one woman from the beauty salon to the Club. That being said, he chatted her up the whole way discussing everything from her astrological sign to her family, including her sister’s upcoming wedding. Tanner even got a hug from his girl at the end of the trip, after letting her drive the last bit of the way. That was his only passenger, but we’re sure he thought it was worth it.
Ruttledge ended up winning this challenge although we only saw him transport two women.
The third and final part of the challenge took the trio to a junkyard where their cars had to survive an electromagnet. The magnet was there to see which of these top dollar models had the best engineering, or serious money for serious engineering as they put it. Both Adam and Tanner’s vehicles lost the tops of their trunks, while Tanner also lost his windshield wipers. Of course, their vehicles were mostly made of steel. Rutt’s ride, however, was mostly plastic so that electromagnet had nothing on him. He won the last challenge, giving the makeshift monster the title for best luxury car. We would have to argue with that.
Big Star Small Car
This week, it was Torchwood star, Arlene Tur’s turn in the Suzuki SX4. She blasted around the Top Gear test track like a bat out of hell, cursing in Spanish along the way. Yelling "I’m race car driver, I’m a race car driver, Tur ran over two cones, broke a camera, scared a cameraman, and ran over and broke the flag across the finish line. This self-proclaimed "extremely composed" driver clocked the best time so far in Top Gear USA history - 1:42.4 - claiming the top spot on the board.
Car Review: Porsche 911 GT2 RS
We’ve saved the best for last because Tanner’s review of the Porsche 911 GT2 RS was phenomenal. How can it not be when he was driving a 620 HP monster that Porsche engineers codenamed "The Beast?" This car is 400 lbs lighter than the Porsche 911 Turbo thanks to a number of modifications including the elimination of the back seats and the deletion of all wheel drive. What was left was a car that is about 3,000 lbs and can hit a top speed of 205 mph and a 0-60mph time of under 3.4 seconds.
With these incredible performance figures, Tanner even thought that the GT2 RS was practical, having plenty of storage space at the front and second to none visibility. You can kill on the track and then take the Porsche out for a little shopping because it is still comfortable sitting in traffic. That being said, Tanner started to feel as if the practicality of the vehicle somehow got in the way of the performance. He had thought the car would have much more drama and even said that maybe Porsche had grabbed the beast and cut off its horns. Not good for a vehicle that is limited to 500 units - all of which have been sold out - and retails for $245,000.
After a quick call to Porsche, it was determined that the Porsche’s turbochargers couldn’t handle the 161 degree surface temperature the hot California sun had dealt them. Extreme heat is bad for turbocharged engines and this extreme heat could cause a loss of 70-80 HP, so the Top Gear USA crew called it a day and parked the Porsche. Don’t worry though, at about midnight that night, the Beast was awakened from his slumber in 60 degree weather.
Since Top Gear USA is keen on their PSAs, Tanner made it clear that police officers had closed off the roads for the test, a clear don’t-try-this-at-home message. Yeah, because a lot of us have a $245K Porsche ready and willing to tear up the freeways.
Once Tanner laid on the gas, the GT2 RS erupted into a surge of power. It was an absolutely beautiful thing to watch. Tanner flew down the streets, saying that driving this car was like a dream come true. Then, in what was no doubt an organized race, a 500 HP Classic - 1969 Chevy Nova - and an American legend - 2009 Dodge Viper SRT10 - showed up right as Tanner stopped at a red light. It was go time and the Porsche was well-prepared, blasting past the other two in a clear cut race.
Tanner’s closing thoughts on the car were that the Porsche 911 GT2 RS was the Ultimate 911, a perfect balance of livable supercar and ultimate driving utensil.
Wrapping It Up
We’re glad Top Gear USA has gotten back on track. This episode was funny, edgy, and included one the fastest, most powerful Porsche to date, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
Make sure you check in with us next week as we move on to Season 2 Episode 6 of Top Gear USA. In the meantime, let us know what you think of this episode in the comments section below.