Top Gear’s first episode in America since the announcement of Clarkson’s new three year television deal was definitely not among the elite, but it was still a lot of fun.
The hosts spent almost the entirety of the episode testing, driving to a farm in the Outback, and herding cattle in GT cars. Clarkson chose a BMW M6 Gran Coupe, May chose a Nissan GTR, and Hammond chose a Bentley Continental GT for the excursion.
One of the more amusing parts of the show, was upon arrival in the Outback, they did choose to poke fun at the idea of the license plates on the front of the cars. They all had rather random number plates except for Clarkson whose said “BMW 001.” They decided to choose ways to make the number plates perhaps offensive to the Australian people. It was short and sweet but provided a laugh as well.
Testing consisted of drag racing and braking in the cars to which the BMW won easily and then a race through a mine in with the three cars competing against the Australian Stig (flip flops included) to see who could rally up the mine the fastest. The Stig set a good time in the Aussie El Camino designed by Holden. Clarkson was crushed in his BMW as it did not have the 4 wheel drive needed to be effective on that test and Hammond came close in the Continental with a very respectable time. However, May in his new found lack of moral scruples cheated by letting the English Stig race and the GT-R annihilated the time of the Holden. All in all quite the entertaining bit.
The show ended with the trio finally arriving onto the farm to round up 4000 cattle and herd them to a designated area of the farm ten kilometers. With the aid of shepherd helicopters (yeah, I said shepherd helicopters) they were able to pretty easily put the cattle in their place.
The star in the reasonably priced car was Kiefer Sutherland (of 24 fame) who put up a pretty decent wet lap time. His part of the show was rather uneventful, but this segment tends to be that way.
Even without the news segment (I do thoroughly enjoy that part) and putting the Stig in a car for a fast lap, the show was very entertaining. Not in the top cavalcade of episodes from the show, but still quite entertaining.
Note: I have been critical of Clarkson in the past even to say that I was unsure whether I would continue to watch the show. However, I have come to the conclusion that there are many in Hollywood with statements and arguments that I do not agree with. When it comes to Top Gear, this is a lowbrow show that I can shut my mind off and enjoy one day a week. It provides some laughs even through the idiocy of the presenter.