Episode 9 of The Grand Tour’s inaugural season is now available. This one comes to you from Stuttgart, Germany, so you can expect the Boys to tell German inside jokes and innuendos. But is the rest of the “Berks To The Future” episode any good? Read through our review, and experience the downforce as we’ve put some SPOILERS in it.
May Reviews The Best Cars
I really enjoy it when James May review cars. He has the only soothing impartial voice out of the three, that would-be buyers and consumers can look to, when making a sane automotive purchase. So it was completely appropriate that Mr. Reassembler himself review the technologically advanced, “budget” supercar, the Honda NSX.
Just like the first NSX that graced us in the 90s, This one represents the technologies found in the current supercar market. Hybrid technology? Check! All Wheel Drive? Check! Electric Motors? How about three?! The Grand Tour crew must have looked at this car and its complexities, and thought there was no way an orangutan or a hamster have the mental capacity to explain it.
James May reviewed the complicated car well, providing an overview of the technical details like brake-by-wire, regenerative braking, its odd all-wheel drive arrangement, and the resulting driving dynamics. Watching him describe the features felt like getting a physics lecture from a race car driver. That’s right, he’s not Captain Slow anymore.
Clarkson The Mad Scientist
Moving on to Clarkson‘s bit, he went on a crusade against the Sport Utility Vehicle segment that plagues the automotive industry. Cars like the Audi RSQ3, the BMW X4, and the Mercedes GLE Coupe are examples that tried to both be sporty and utilitarian at the same time, and failing at both, according to Clarkson. So his solution was quite Clarksonian: Merging a Land Rover Discovery Chassis with the body of a MGB sports car.
This segment was easily the most hilarious of the episode. Seeing Clarkson ride on a bare Land Rover Discovery Chassis reminds you of an older Top Gear episode, where an open wheeled Ariel Atom easily shredded Clarkson’s face.
The newly formed “MG-D” looked beastly standing next to the tall Jezza. But what’s more impressive was Clarkson’s inability to accept the rubbish nature of the car. The sloppy steering, faulty knobs, misfiring engine, and dismantling body work, this MG-D had it all. Regretfully, Clarkson had these things to say:
“Oww, you Bastard!… I mean you wonderful thing!..
The mistake I made of course is that I’ve introduced you to this car before I really tested it. That’s not what carmakers do, they test the car and THEN they introduce it to the public. I’m doing that the other way around. I’m introducing this thing to you, BEFORE I’ve done the testing.”
You little Beauty..”
Recognizing the finality of it all, Clarkson went back to the drawing board to try again. Crafting a monstrosity that is “The Excellent”, a Mercedes SL body married to the same Land Rover Discovery platform. We have seen this car before as this segment was one of the first films put together.
Seeing the three blokes sit in a completely rubbish car is quintessential Top Gear. Sure they have access to the highest end cars and the fanciest race tracks. But when they sit in a fabricated hunk of junk, driving around local roads, that’s when the Boys really shine. We can’t help but think the glue that holds these cars together is the three’s chemistry.
It was reported once before that The Grand Tour will have an auction segment, as seen in our post back in April of 2016. We weren’t sure what they were trying to buy, as Clarkson weakly raised his number placard. It turned out this whole segment was them trying to sell “The Excellent” at Coys at Ascot, an auction establishment of fine classic cars. Expecting an unreasonable return on Clarkson’s “investment”, the car ended up sold at a £10,000 loss.
The Boys Solve The Energy Problem
At this point in the episode we’ve only gone through two-thirds of the way. This one hour and two minute episode feels like an eternity. That’s a good thing because all of it is entertaining. The next bit was a big departure from the rest of the episode, and they tried to tackle the energy deficit problem. Where people are using more and more electricity for their devices, but there isn’t enough power plants to generate electricity.
The three came up with their own unique, genius, and questionable ways to generate electricity. Starting with May, he explored capturing energy from revolving doors and exercise equipment. Hammond decided to attach a cart, equipped with a generator, to a dog. Finally, Clarkson decided to harvest electrical energy by manipulating school children.
We’d like to see more of these segments as they are somewhat educational and, dare we say it, encourage children to become scientists and solve the world’s problems. We’ve always wondered how fitness equipment can be retrofitted so it’s useful for the community, other than selfish reasons. Now we discovered that it is totally possible to power a G-Wiz around town.
Hammond The Prepper
The last portion of the episode Hammond explores the mindset of Preppers, people who prepare for the extinction of the world civilization by stashing away weapons and other goods, while up-armoring their cars in the event of a zombie apocalypse. The unbelievable film allowed Hammond to drink his own recycled urine, while Clarkson and May shoot at the Hamster with various projectiles.
Starting with the first “Bugout” van, the sweater shredding monstrosity was not bulletproof enough against May’s bolt-action sniper rifle, Clarkson’s machine gun, and May’s rocket launcher. This produced a cold war-like game where Hammond kept returning with an increasingly larger and heavier vehicle, while Clarkson and May end up destroying it with larger and larger artillery. Ending the segment, Clarkson fired the Mark 8, which is a 4.5 inch (4.5 inch diameter projectile) naval gun, out of the Type 23 Frigate HMS Richmond.
One Long Episode
Starting off with the Honda NSX and finally ending up with Richard Hammond killed inside of his own vehicular coffin, this was one long enjoyable episode. There’s only three episodes left before The Grand Tour is done with its first season. We’ve yet to see when James May breaks his arm, or the episode where it doesn’t talk much about cars. We can’t wait to see what the Boys has in store for the next three weeks, and we’ll be sure to cover it all right here.