Top Gear USA is finally back for its Season 4 premiere this Tuesday, September 3rd at 8pm on History Channel. The season looks outstanding, starting off with a bang via a top speed run through the Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado in a McLaren , Lamborghini and SRT Viper .
The show is, of course, the American version of the legendary BBC TopGear formula, which finally took the dull and nap-inducing American car show equivalents (like MotorWeek), and sent them to the crusher.
This high-budget thrill-ride of a television show maintains the production values, incredible locations/filming methods, and finally the creativity to successfully re-launch the series with American tastes in mind. This season: out goes the boring Big Star Small Car and studio shoots - and in goes even more awesome driving action.
Central to this humorous and personality-oriented approach to cars, part of what makes Top Gear USA such a must-watch television show is the manly camaraderie and mischief of these three car guys.
Rutledge, Tanner and Adam almost could not be more different, but over the first three seasons, a real bond is forming among them that is funny and entertaining to enjoy. Watching the show makes you feel like one of the gang, and the guys are all very social in reality on Twitter and in the blogs.
Each Top Gear USA host brings a special verve and energy to the show’s sometimes-difficult driving challenges, which is pretty easy considering these gents are a cool 20 years younger than Clarkson, Hammond and May.
The adventures are many, and Top Gear USA should be on the DVR of all car guys in America and abroad. This series really gets the magic formula right, with enough laughs and stunning cars to make every hour event television.
Click past the jump for the Top Gear USA Season 4 Sneak Peek, ahead of the season’s estimated 8-episode run starting Tuesday September 3rd on History Channel.
Top Gear America - Video Preview
Season 4 is all about going big, with challenges that take months of careful planning and coordination with law enforcement. In the preview above, the boys each have a supercar and a challenge: hit the maximum speed your nerves and the car can achieve before a Highway Patrol radar trap just at the sunny exit.
Tunnels are a great place for high-speed runs because environmental variables like wind and bumps are much less of a problem. The stakes are also much higher as well, with bathroom tiles covering thousands of feet of pure granite on either side of the tunnel.
Tunnels are also a fantastic place to hear a car’s true engine harmonics. Tunnels are not usually as fun as they could be, however. Heavily monitored with CC cameras and low, low speed limits for safety all over the world, Top Gear USA getting to try for top speed while the cops block traffic is simply awesome.
Can’t wait to see how all the action unfolds!
Why the Show Is Awesome
Top Gear USA’s access to supercars and long runways is just as good as the producers’ often-evil challenges involving each host picking a certain type of used car. Once a central part of the BBC version, TopGear is so high profile in the UK that it only rarely uses this junker formula. That’s too bad, because using old cars is the absolute best way to make all-star car guy TV shows.
New cars are typically very nice, and even if they are not, the manufacturers are very sensitive to critiques around launch time. Buy a used Range Rover Sport from a few years ago, and it is open season.
As water started to pour in on Tanner from the closed Land Rover’s dome light in the Mammoth Mountain episode, Rutledge proudly crowed…
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case! That Car.. Is A Piece of Crap," in his brutally honest Southern drawl.
Worth noting is that many Chrysler LLC products also leave the factory gates with leaks. The fun part is watching the cars and hosts endure such harsh punishments. Each man and machine all show weaknesses and strengths by the end.
Top Gear America - When To Watch Season 4
Season 4 of Top Gear USA starts this Tuesday at 8:00pm on History Channel. Be sure to give the guys some love (or comments) on Facebook or Twitter to ensure more seasons after this one!
How fast is this season going to be? The BBC Worldwide Productions team has been using a few Panamera Turbo chase cars for high-speed camera work.
Full Streaming Of Past Episodes Available
Despite being very protective with their content, History Channel has a great web player to stream old episodes. Streaming in up to HD quality, almost the entire back catalog of three seasons are available to watch online (with a participating cable TV company subscription). Some favorite streaming episode links below.
There are also many fan sites devoted to this type of content, including FinalGear.com
Watch Full Episode
Which is the best SUV in the country? Our hosts find out as they each choose their favorite and meet up on California’s Pismo Beach. They then set out on an epic journey inland through vineyards and desert before climbing high into the Sierras above the snow line, putting their choices through a series of SUV themed challenges along the way.
The guys attempt to build the perfect car for the apocalypse–affordable, fun to drive, and still zombie-proof. After testing its performance, weaponry, and defenses, they have to race across a ghost town with the Post-Apocalypse Stig in hot pursuit.
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We find out what goes on in Adam’s head as he takes control of the show and gets to do whatever he wants. First he tries to teach Tanner and Rut how to play football–with an automotive twist. Then he reveals his own concept car designed to protect you against the worst things on the road–other drivers. Finally, he gets behind the wheel of the legendary Ford GT40 and puts a bizarre twist on the classic Le Mans race where Ford beat Ferrari, with an unsuspecting Rutledge at the wheel of the Ferrari.
150 MPH Challenge
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Getting to 150 mph used to be the preserve of supercars. These days you can reach that speed in a new 30,000 dollar car, but what’s the least you can spend and still reach this epic speed? The guys find out as they spend as little as possible on three used cars, put them through their paces and then head out to the famous El Mirage dry lakebed to attempt to reach 150. The winner gets to review the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse–the fastest and most expensive production car in the world.
Watch Full Episode
The hosts head to Iceland–home of some of the toughest winter off-roading on the planet–to try and prove to the locals that American trucks still have what it takes to conquer the world. Their challenge is to drive their trucks over mountains, across frozen rivers and through 30 foot deep snowdrifts to the virgin land at the top of an active volcano. What could possibly go wrong?
Minnesota Ice Driving
Getting your car ready for winter can cost a lot of cash and the brutal weather can cause serious wear and tear. So the Top Gear hosts set out to solve this issue by finding three cars that cost less than it costs to prepare your car for the snow and ice and put them through a series of tough challenges to find out which is the best winter car.
On Season 4 of Top Gear on HISTORY®, it’s all about going big. Hosts Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara and Rutledge Wood embark on a new set of adventures as they test cars in extreme stunts, intense challenges and first-person reviews using their unique perspectives.
The guys race coast-to-coast in high-end luxury cars, determine which “land barge” from America’s past is the best, set out to discover who can create the ultimate amphibious vehicle and much more. They’ll also test a range of new cars, from a McLaren to the Corvette Stingray. Each episode follows the guys as they venture down the country’s open roads to bare the past, present and future of everything in American car culture.