Top Gear season 17 episode 1 review!


Is a brand new season! Top Gear is now at it’s 17th great season and more and more automotive mayhem and epic journeys for weeks to come, So here it is at the very first episode. The full review! 


It all began with General Motors, which is a major car company in America. The Hummer brand was killed off last year and many thought that it was because the Hummer was too big and too silly. However Hammond said that the reason it gone “West” is because it wasn’t big or silly enough.


Welcome to Africa! Hammond presented us with a typical silver Hummer H3 and it really does looked oversized compared to most SUVs on the street. However, wait till you see what Hammond got to show us next. Behold the Marauder!

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Built in South Africa, the Marauder at 21 feet long and 9 feet high is at least double the size of a Hummer and twice as high and wide. The only part of the Marauder which is not twice as much as the Hummer would be the Marauder’s weight, a whooping 10 tons!


Hammond is right now driving the Marauder in the city of Johansburg, attracting quite some attention. Hammond then explains that the Marauder, just like the Hummer, is a military spec vehicle in which normal civilians can buy. Unlike the Hummer however, buying a Marauder would require a background check, just in case you are a terrorist leader or from the mafia or something.


The Marauder is not what you call cheap as well, despite looking like a huge ugly metal box and with an interior that is just slightly more comfortable than sitting in a tank, the Marauder will cost you around 300,000 pounds. Yes, you can seat eight people/soldiers in the Marauder and comes with two AK-47 but that is also Roll-Royce Phantom money. Don’t go buying the Rolls yet though, as Hammond would later demostrate why the Marauder is a bargain at this price.


To compensate with the fact that it is not very comfortable to sit in, the Marauder can do something very useful especially in a busy traffic a luxury limo can’t. Driving offroad.


Hammond turned away from the street and into a contruction site, driving over extremely high hills and rough terrain. Oh that brick wall too narrow? Just drive through it! Hammond did exactly so and barely scratch the car.


The Marauder is a very good city car as well. Hammond stopped by for a coffe an accidentally parked on a No Parking Zone. With such huge wheels, the Marauder can’t be clamped. The officers in charge then decided to just tow it away. Hammond quickly went into his Marauder to sort things out.


The Marauder has only 290bhp to move it’s 10 ton mass and only has a top speed of 70mph. Not very fast, but it does have huge amounts of torque, 1100 newton meters of them to be exact. Now that’s quite a lot of pulling power, and before the officer could tow it away, Hammond drove off with the tow truck dragging behind. The officer tried braking the tow truck but it was useless.


Now, another benefit of owning a Marauder. Let’s say you parked at the parking lot to go do your groceries and when you get back to you car, you realized that a few cars had parked very close in front of you and you are blocked. Just like what happened to Hammond right now. You don’t want to wait for the owners to come drive it away so what else can you do? Drive over the cars of course! The result of Hammond’s action was two completely flattened cars. 


You are now getting a bit hungry and you decided to grab a quick bite at McDonalds through it’s Drive Through. With the Marauder, that would be a problem. That’s because you could not roll your windows down. At 90mm thick, these windows could protect you against a RPG fire and therefore the windows are fixed. Just a small cover for you to open when you want to grab your order.


Thankfully, the Marauder comes with an intercom system where you speak through a microphone in the car and speakers located on the outside of the car plays your voice. That was how Hammond order his burger and fries. The big size of the Marauder also meant that turning around to collect your order would cause you car to make contact on the kerb as well as sign post. It’s huge turning radius doesn’t help either.


Anymore weakneses? Well, a trip to the Safari in the armoured Marauder is ver safe but the windscreen wipers are still vulnerable. Expect those to be ripped off by lions. Hammond then showed us that very same silver Hummer H3 parked in the middle of the Safari, and in seconds, everything goes bang and the Hummer is now in pieces.


What just happened was the Hummer got blown up after 7 pounds of plastic explosive were planted underneath the car. So what happends if you do the same to the Marauder? Well, with underside protection, no components were damaged and you would just end up with a blown tire. The Marauder is best. The end.


That was the end of the Marauder film and is time for the news. Jeremy explained about the new MINI Cooper Coupe, followed by the arrival of the MG brand in the UK. After some jokes on how “un-British” the MG6 is as it is assembled in China despite being a British car company, Jeremy introduced us to this website called The website allows us to check how many cars of a particular model are still on the UK roads today. It was a short news and that’s the end of it. Now back to the featured car of the episode!


There was a poll recently to find the most important car from the 20th century. Jeremy chose the Volkswagen Golf GTI because from the very first generation model to the current one, Golf GTIs are fast, practical and in a class of its own. However, none of the model had ever managed to capture the magic of the original GTI…..until now. The all new BMW 1 M Coupe.


Yup, this is not a Volkswagen but a BMW 1 Series and there is good reasons for that. Yes this may be the base BMW model but it is the top-of-the-line model of it’s base model, the M tuned version. As Jeremy describes:”What BMW has done to create this is to take a standard 1-Series and pump it up a bit.”  Yes pumped up a bit, Jeremy said so because the car is a bit wider, lower, slightly more sporty looking, and the interior is pretty much the same except for some orange stiching. The 1 M is not showey at all.


“Apart from it’s orange paint, you’ed simply wouldn’t guess that it can do this.” Jeremy floored the throttle and did some powerslides across the track. Tire smoke everywhere. He praised that the car that it is so beautifully balanced. Jeremy later explained that all BMW M cars just always feels better than Mercedes AMGs and Audi RSs’. And when you think the car couldn’t get any better, wait till you press the M button on the steering wheel. Pressing that special button makes the whole car better and makes you feel very excited. Is like “ the feeling you get when someone suddenly gave you permission to set fire to Piers Morgan Ohh yees.” I can see what Jeremy is on about.


Jeremy said that he had never driven anything else this perfect since the first Golf GTI and that was surprising. The reason was because the 1 M is like a “Turkey curry on Boxing Day. Is made of leftovers.” The engine is from the Z4, rear axle from the old M3, and the wing mirrors from the current one. “ Is a recipe that should never work. But it does, as we shall now see.” The BMW 1M is now going to have a drag race aginst two other performance oriented sports cars. The faster and lighter Porsche Cayman R, and the new supercharged Lotus Evora S.


The BMW is going up against some serious rivals and we shall now see who is fastest. When the starting flag was waved, all three of them seemed to be equally fast off the line. Seconds later however, the 1 M is starting to gain a lead against the other two. In the end, the 40,000 pounds BMW 1 M won, with the 50,000 pounds Cayman R second and the 60,000 pounds Evora S last place.


Besides that, both the Porsche and the Lotus are true sports cars with only two seats and a tiny boot. The 1 M is still based on the 1-Series after all and it has rear seats for the kids and a decent boot at the back. “Is a family saloon” Jeremy describes. “It renders the other two cars pointless” Drawbavks? Well, Jeremy thinks that maybe the sat-nav screen is a bit too far away and perhaps the ride is a bit too firm. Thats it. “ This is a brilliant, brilliant car. And thats really all I’ve got to say. The end.” The end.


Now it’s time to see how fast the BMW 1 M Coupe goes around the Top Gear test track. The track is a bit damp as the weather was drizzling. The Stig drove around the track with quite a few sliding turns while listening to French version of Lady Gaga’s song. The BMW 1 M did it in 1.25.0min on the damp track. Despite this, the car is still 0.03 seconds faster than it’s M3 brother on a dry track. Imppresive.


Now it’s time for “A Star In A Reasonably Priced Car” and the guest for this episode was famous American rock star Alice Cooper. After some chatting on his concert shows and how he was “killed” many times on stage, it was finally time to see how fast he was on the track. Unfortunately for Cooper, it was pouring with heavy rain on his lap. He was not really familiar with the wide track and the rain just made it worse. Alice Cooper in the end did it in second last place at 1.56.3 on a very wet lap.


Now onto the next film! Hammond said :”As you know, here on Top Gear it’s our job to keep you up to date with the all the new and cutting edge in the ever changing world of modern motoring.” James is now driving the rally version of the original MINI Cooper S. The MINI had always been the most iconic road car in the world. The rally version of the MINI had won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964,1965, and 1967. The MINI is not powerful at all but it’s small size meant that it handled like a go-kart.


“Everybody should drive a MINI. Everybody should own a MINI at some point or you are incomplete as a human being.” James pointed out. Now there is a new MINI to compete in the World Rally Championship (WRC). The original MINI rally car was small and petite but now this new rally car is based on the humongous MINI Countryman. Not as MINI as you think. However, the original MINI rally car has only 70hp and this new one has over 300hp. Good enough for a 0-60mph time of under 3.5 seconds. James was also in love with it’s quick shifting sequential gearbox.


James said that by the time we watched this film, the Countryman rally car would had already competed in it’s very first WRC. But during the time James was driving it in the film, it was just fresh out of the factory and had never even seen dirt yet. Time to get the car dirty. It’s time for a good old Top Gear race! Just like in the old seasons of Top Gear, where Hammond raced against a rally car in a bobsleigh and won.


James will now try to settle the score for the car and handed the car to proffesional rally driver and intercontinental rally champion, Kris Meeke. As for the skeleton team(yes that’s actually the real name of this sport), they shall sent an Olympic gold medalist, Amy Williams. Is anybody’s race now.


The rally car will race across a 2km ice track while Amy will race in an equally long sledge track. James described those two routes as “twisting, turning icy terror” Thanks for the encouragement James. As the race began, James said that for Amy, the start was the most important part of the race. Just a tenth of a second too slow at the start and she could lose over two seconds over the course of the race. Here is one bad news for James, she had a great start.


James is siting on the passenger seat right next to Kris. Halfway into the race, both the car and Amy were losing precious time. All because of the mushy road and the rough ice respectively. Kris however could “rise” over the problem, he made a few very high leap over some low hills. The race ended very soon and is now time to see who won. Amy did it in 61.04 seconds while James’s time was 59.73 seconds! The car won this time!


Both Amy and Kris was at the studio and Jeremy asked Amy a few stupid flirty question on why her hair is curly and what songs she like. James eventually stopped him and started asking Kris some serious questions. However, before Kris could speak a single word, Jeremy interrupted and went on with the final film.


In Britain, when you want to change or renovate your house, you are required to get permission so that you don’t ruin the heritage of the country. So all houses in the country are still with their original traditional look and very lovely. Jeremy supported the rule but he believed the people in charged had forgotten something important. The car.


A person may not be allowed to change the appearance of the house, but he is allowed to ruin it by owning an ugly car and parking it beside his/her house. Jeremy said that there is only one car the people are allowed to own in a beautiful village like that. The gorgeous Jaguar E-Type.


After some history lessons on the background of the E-Type, Jeremy drove the very first E-Type roadster ever produced in the beautiful countryside. No car had ever caused such a stir in this world. Until now.


The car above is the Eagle Speedster. Made by a small company in Sussex, the Speedster was based on an E-Type and even looked almost identical. Just think of it as a modern incarnation of the original Jaguar E-Type. “It might actually been the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen.” Jeremy praised it looks. Under the hood of the Speedster is a 4.7 liter straight six engine and it is rear wheel driven. 0-60mph time is 5 seconds and a top speed of 160mph. However, it was the noise that made this car so special.


This to me, is absolute perfection” Jeremy adores the Speedster completely and wanted the car so badly. The downside was the price. This car was completely hand-made and that obviously would affect it’s price dramatically. 500,000 pounds is the price you have to pay for the Eagle Speedster. “That’s a lot for a toy” “But this is not just a toy, but a modern take on the E-Type Jag.” He even praised that beside the Concord jet plane, the E-Type was the last truly great thing Britain has ever made.’


The E-Type 50th birthday was marked in a small section in page 16 of the Daily Telegraph newspaper and Jeremy said that it deserves even more. Therefore, he had organized something more substantial. A huge band playing patriotic music, a huge Union Jack hot air baloon, a huge gathering of E-Types arraged in the form of the letter “E”, British army spreading out a huge Union Jack flag over a cliff, World War 2 fighter planes and stunt planes flew overhead with stunt woman standing on it, paratroopers jumping down with Union Jack parachutes.


“ Every country has an icon. The great nation of France has a big brown pylon in the middle of Paris. Australia has a rock. The Belgian has a urinating infant. This is (pointing at the E-Type), I put it to you, is ours, our Jerusalem, our chariot of fire….” Many many  more patriotic words later, the camera zooms out, showing the sheer scale of this whole celebration. I you are a British, you should feel very proud indeed, but as someone who is not, I can’t help but to feel very happy for them. The End.