Yes! And Top Gear’s back on the air with its 17th series. In this episode, Richard Hammond buys a cup of coffee, James May slips on some snow and they show a picture of Steve McQueen. Semi-spoiler alert ahead!
Richard Hammond kicks things off with a retrospect featuring the Hummer’s swan song – the H3 – to preview the Marauder. And yes, it’s all about size. The African-built Marauder weighs 10 tons, 21 feet long, and 9 feet high and in contrast, the H3 simply looks puny standing next to it. Hammond drives the tank around the city plowing it around Johannesburg. Gags include beating a tow truck in a tug of war, running over cars in a parking lot, wrecking a drive-through and blasting it with 7 lbs of plastic explosives.
In the news, they discuss the Mini Coupe and how the roof is styled as if it’s a baseball cap worn backwards, a woman who sent her ultrasound with what looks like a picture of a baby Stig, MG being back with the Chinese-made MG6, and How Many Left?.
BMW 1 M
They preview the car as the successor to the old Volkswagen Golf GTI which had the best combination of sportiness, price and practicality. The 1 M is a pumped-up front-engine, rear-wheel drive manual 1-Series driven around the Top Gear track and handled by Jezza’s ham fists. And that’s basically the recipe for a powerslide montage. Jezza’s pretty happy about how balanced the car is and how it’s made from bits and pieces from BMW parts bins. In a drag race between the Lotus Evora S and the Porsche Cayman R, the 1 M pips them both. And it laps the damp track in 1:25.00.
Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car: Alice Cooper
Pretty interesting how Top Gear just brings in all the rock legends. They discuss on-stage death stunts, the chicken throwing incident, Keith Moon, throwing up blood, Motown, and Detroit muscle cars. He laps the very wet track in 1:56.3. Pretty pretty slow there. Got lost in portions of the track there.
Mini Cooper WRC
James May starts the segment by driving a rally version of the Mini Cooper S. Part history lesson, the Mini won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. And it serves a prelude to the Mini WRC which is a basically a souped-up Countryman. The WRC has 300 hp and goes 0-100kph in 3.5 seconds. James simply gets bonkers with it before introducing the challenge – a race down the Lillehammer Olympic track in Norway (pretty much like the Evo vs. bobsled race they did a while back). The race is between the Mini WRC driven by Kris Meeke and Skeleton Olympic medalist Amy Williams. Williams ran a 59.03 while Meekes and May 59.03. So the car won this time.
Wrapping the show up is a segment on preserving the heritage of Britain. Jezza takes a trip to a village in Kent and observes how the council makes sure that the houses are maintained the way they are from way back but the cars aren’t. So his case is that in a village such as that, only the Jaguar E-Type should be the car displayed. The E-Type is celebrating its 50th year so this bit’s a historical tribute and features the modernized E-Type-based Eagle Speedster. Mind you that Jezza placed the E-Type as his number 1 car of the century in a DVD but gives the Speedster props for making the E-Type modern and better. To wrap up a tribute, Jezza lines up a slew of E-Types on a field with an Royal Navy airshow and a marching band playing.