The Grand Tour episode 4

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The Independent newspaper headline after release of EP3 read: “series literally gets back on track”, and for most of us who were rather critical of ep2, this was welcomed news. However the release of ep4 showed us, we have jumped the gun possibly too soon. The Guardian headline the day after set sombre tone: “The Grand Tour is everything that was wrong with Clarkson-era Top Gear”. The Telegraph headlines read: “the strangest outing yet from Amazon’s flagship series”.

So now that you know roughly what to expect from this article; let’s take a look under the bonnet and see what was right or even possibly wrong with the latest episode.

Headlines:

• The tent lands once again on the waterfront in Whitby-UK.

• Jeremy Clarkson drives the Porsche 911 GT3 RS to its limits.

• BMW M4 GTS is punished and gets a lashing from Clarkson.

• The sustainable cars concept of the future made from sustainable materials is revealed.

• Comedian Jimmy Carr is the celebrity guest. You know what happens in this section so will not waste my time or yours to explain further

Cars:

The Good: Porsche 911 GT3 RS – Do I really need to say much here? The Porsche fans have raved about this so much I actually feel saturated to the point of explosion. However Since I am reviewing a motoring show and I am supposed to be an inspiring motor journalist (if you have read my Bio on my site), then I better type more words here to delight you. Also at the end if you don’t believe me, let me assure that every other car magazine has given this little beast a 5* rating.

911 GT3 RS weights just under 1,420KG and that’s due to carbon fibre bonnet and wings, magnesium roof and polycarbonate rear windows and screen.  The 4.0-litre flat six engine Pumps out 495bhp and 460Nm of torque, which is about 25bhp and 20Nm up on the regular GT3, but the extra capacity means a slightly lower rev limit of 8,800rpm. With heaps of torque on offer it’s also extremely flexible. Keep your foot to the floor and with launch control the RS will officially sprint from 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds, dancing all the way to a top speed of 193mph.

The Bad: BMW M4 GTS – so Clarkson hated it, but is it really as bad as that? The M4 GTS is that fastest BMW on the road currently. It comes equipped with water injection technology in the boot of the car (I am not sure why it’s in the boot) but I do know that It does need to be topped up with distilled water about once every 3-4 tankfuls, so about every thousand miles or so, straight-six engine producing 493bhp, 442lb ft (up 37lb ft) of torque and lightweight carbon fibre body parts. Tipping the scales at 1,510kg the GTS can cover 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and hit 190mph flat out; the standard car claims 4.3 seconds and is electronically limited to 155mph.

The Ugly: Nissan Juke wins this hands down. I know it was not mentioned in the episode but I had to complete the three categories so here it is.

Eboladrome Lap Times

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1:20.4
BMW M4 GTS 1:22.4

 

Sustainable cars – So here the challenge was to create environmentally friendly vehicles and drive them just 11 miles to track for some good old fashion racing. James May arrived in truck caked in some dubious clay looking substance, and just to make this feature even more weird, was the arrival of Clarkson in “Sustainable car made out of wattle and daub” using Clarkson words, “only the daub has been replaced by cow poo…”

Let us not forget The Hamster’s creation, a garden on wheels comes complete with a semi-thatched roof and flower beds at each corner. James May creation is the centre piece of this entire segment gags which does inject some light comedy to this rather weird segment.

“The American” Skinner only makes one appearance, lapping the M4 GTS. His short fragment’s commentary is happily short, that said, I am rather okay with Skinner’s work if his in-car comments are this limited or his appearances on the show this infrequent.

Conclusion:

The series and specially the latest episode felt stale, Forced, Baggy and heavily scripted. The bread and butter of what made Top Gear a global success – that is three men arguing, driving around in cars most of us mere mortals dream about and being dreadfully rubbish in almost every way– is almost entirely absent. Why almost, I hear you ask. Well that is because there are fleeting moments where the old misers do shine. Sadly there is not many of these moments.  There is also another reason which might contribute to this, and this is to do with personals. If we ignore the presenting team and include Andy Wilman , the current show has carried across excessive baggage that made latter-day Top Gear rather boring and flat.

Scenes of forced scripted comedy, over-indulgent and unnecessary Hollywood visuals are few which I can name top of my head. All of these additional extravaganzas have simply destroyed the trio’s off-the-cuff banter, which they are so good at.

The Grand Tour is becoming rather frustrating to watch and I find myself every week getting more infuriated by the show because this is such an easy show to get right. Three men, talking about cars, mocking one another, and going on adventures. That’s it. Stop scripting everything, and stop throwing money at pointless explosions. It’s tiresome.

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