Before we even begin to go into the second episode of Top Gear USA, we have to admit that we had to set an alarm to remind ourselves to watch it. That doesn’t exactly say much about the show’s first episode, but we actually did see some sort of improvement with this one.
This episode was a little different than the first one as Adam Ferrara kind of took a back seat to Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust. That wasn’t exactly a bad thing considering that the actor/comedian was bland and uninspiring during the first episode. The chemistry was better between the three, but the music still sucked.
Enough about all that, let’s move on to the actual meat and potatoes of the show. In this episode we got to see Wood take on the Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Tanner Foust put two skiers to the test while driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and all three men learn a little something about drifting in a Nissan 370Z. Yes, Tanner Foust is a drift champion, but that may or may not help him during this challenge. Oh yeah, and some British guy takes on the Suzuki SX4.
Hit the jump to check out the details of Top Gear USA, Episode Two.
The Stig was back this week to take a couple of vehicles around the Top Gear test track. He started off with the Aston Martin V12 Vantage and was able to get a time of 1:28.2. After that came the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution which was able to get around the track in a respectable 1:29.2. This was an unbelievable time considering the Evo comes in with a price tag of $34K while the Vantage burns a $180K hole in your bank account.
This week, the vehicle under the Top Gear USA microscope is the new Aston Martin Vantage and the man in the flannel shirt, Rutledge Wood, is the one putting it through the paces.
Wood starts off riding along in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage which has been criticized for not being as fast as it looks. Priced at $120,000, the V8 Vantage weighs in at 3,600lbs - 500lbs more than a Porsche 911 - and produces 420hp. Its top speed is reported at 180mph, but Wood quickly points out that the speedometer actually goes up to 220mph. He even adds that lying must be a British thing. Hmmm....
Moving forward, Wood gets in a V12 Vantage. This vehicle comes in at a price tag that is $60K higher than the V8, but it also boasts 510hp with a 0-60mph time that is 0.6seconds faster than the V8.
To see just how much better then V12 is than the V8, Wood takes them to the Mojave Desert where he and another driver take the Vantage models down El Mirage, a six mile long road with no speed limit. This is the point that Wood takes another stab at the British by calling them all liars, based solely on the fact that even the V12’s speedometer is incorrect. The V12 claims to have a top speed of 190mph, but its speedometer goes up to 200mph. Obviously, the V12 kicks the V8’s ass proving that shoving a big engine in a small car is the way to go.
Big Star Small Car
So after taking a couple of hits on the British, Rutledge Wood brings in Dominic Monaghan to take Top Gear’s Suzuki SX4 on the test track. Monaghan is a British actor who is mostly known for his gigs playing Merry in Lord of the Rings and Charlie Pace in Lost. Monaghan takes the Suzuki around the track beating Buzz Aldrin’s time by almost ten seconds, with a time of 1:45.3.
Wood seems to have a better grasp at the whole interview thing, as this interview was a lot less painful than Ferrara’s chat with Buzz Aldrin last week. Of course, Monaghan isn’t 80-years-old, so it was probably much easier to engage him than it was Aldrin.
The First Challenge
Okay, so it’s only the second episode and already the guys are at odds with each other, albeit in a playful way. In this episode, Adam Ferrara and Rutledge Wood take on Tanner Foust in a drifting competition. Now, Foust being an avid drifter - he was the 2007 and 2008 Formula Drift Pro Drift Champion - isn’t exactly easy to beat, so Ferrara and Wood try to take the easy way out by cheating. Their version of cheating translates into Foust being an instructor as opposed to the driver. His student? A blind comedian by the name of Brian Fischler who has never driven a manual before.
The three men get into a Nissan 370Z and begin the competition. The first round consist of burnouts with Ferrara completely sucking with a length of 11 inches, while Wood gets down 98ft. The "blind guy" comes out of nowhere with a length of 105ft.
The second part of the competition is performing donuts. In this round, Ferrara and Fischler complete zero donuts while Wood gets out about three. Completely unimpressive, but it’s almost over.
The final leg of the competition has the three men doing a little handbrake parking. Wood sucks and Ferrara makes it, but the real hero is Brian Fischler who parks the Nissan like the drift champ that Foust is, leaving him with the Top Gear Drift Champion title.
The Second Challenge
Tanner Foust also takes on two skiers during this episode of Top Gear USA by battling down Mammoth Mountain in California in an Evo. The whole competition is set up so that Foust can test the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s All Wheel Control system. This system allows the driver to switch the power to wherever the Evo needs it, albeit on tarmac, gravel, or snow. During this competition, Foust gets to experience all three terrains while flying down seven miles of the mountain, The two skiers come into play as they have to ski down three miles of mountain after taking a 14 minute gondola ride up to the top of the mountain. Conveniently, in the last mile of the race, the skiers meet up with the Evo after Tanner gets stuck behind a slow bus and an even slower propane truck. The two skiers even complete a majestic jump over the Evo as they fly by on the last leg of the race. To make a long story short, Foust and the Evo beat the two skiers on their own turf, and Foust becomes completely enamored with the Mitsubishi, calling it a world class sports car dressed as a family car.
Wrapping it Up
Okay, so this episode didn’t drag on as much as the first episode did, but we think that Top Gear USA still has a little ways to go on making sure that people will tune in on Sunday nights. We can go on about how the chemistry between the three hosts improved and how the script didn’t feel as forced as it did during the first episode, but all that would be negated by the fact that Brian Fischler’s seeing eye dog decided to pee on the Top Gear logo during the final segment of the show. That can’t be a good sign.
Check in with us next week as we move on to Episode Three of Top Gear USA, and remember to leave some of your thoughts on this episode in the comments section below.