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Archive for the ‘Car TV Shows’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Amazon’s Cheeky Ad Posting Is On The Hunt For A Replacement For Jeremy Clarkson

Amazon rarely gets to show off its sense of humor, but it was on full display in a recent job posting on its website. Turns out, Amazon Prime Video is in a mad search for a new TV host to fill in temporarily and cover what it describes as “an absence due to pneumonia.” You don’t need to be super sleuths to figure out that this listing is nothing more than a tongue-in-cheek jab at The Grand Tour’s own Jeremy Clarkson, but we’ll go along with it because the ad is actually pretty funny.

If you think you have what it takes to join a “long-established team of variously sized co-hosts,” then, by all means, throw your name in the hat. Just remember that before you do, you’re going to have to pass certain qualifications, including, but presumably not limited to a “strong knowledge of cars, metaphors, and progressive rock music.” Likewise, you’ll need to possess unlimited amounts of patience, particularly when you’re dealing with annoying colleagues, and be willing enough at least to “pause before delivering the final word or words of some sentence.” Oh, and if you happen to be tall, have curly hair, and a predisposition to wear an inordinate amount of pre-washed denim clothes, you’ll have the inside track to landing the job of your dreams. Just be sure that you also have a valid driver’s license, a good grasp of British English, including advanced qualifications in “exaggeration and braggadocio,” and most of all, a social media platform with at least 6.5 million followers. Think you’re up for it?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Jeremy Clarkson Hospitalized With Pneumonia, Continues To Make Fun Of Co-Hosts

Former Top Gear host, current Grand Tour host, and habitual line stepper Jeremy Clarkson is reportedly out of commission for an undermined amount of time following his hospitalization for a severe case of pneumonia. According to a representative from Amazon, Clarkson was on a family vacation in Spain when he came down with the lung infection.

Despite the severity of his sickness, Clarkson still had the good spirits to make fun of James May, posting a less-than-flattering picture of his co-host on Instagram with the caption “The only functioning member of the Grand Tour team right now. God help us.” This is the second time in just a handful of months that a Grand Tour host has required hospitalization, with Richard Hammond requiring an airlift following a massive crash in a Rimac Concept_One while filming in Switzerland back in June. Hammond managed to exit the smoldering all-electric super car on his own, and miraculously did not suffer any serious injuries. Clarkson also posted to the Grand Tour social media hub, DriveTribe, saying “Thanks for all the good wishes. And to keep you up to date, I’ll be out of the action for quite some time apparently. It’s really really annoying because I’ve never had one day off work since I started in 1978.”

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon The Grand Tour Season 2 Promises More Monkey Business

The first trailer of The Grand Tour’s second season has officially arrived, and as expected, Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond are up to their old shenanigans. As promised, we also see a what’s what of cars being driven around, including a Bugatti Chiron, a Mercedes-AMG GT R, a Lancia rally car, and since this is The Grand Tour, a military tank of some sorts.

There’s enough good material in this 35-second clip to really get excited about what’s to come. Of particular note though are the clips of Hammond in his Rimac Concept One, the same car he crashed in Switzerland that led to him fracturing his knee. We didn’t get to see clips of the actual accident, but we do get the sight of seeing Hammond start his run up the Hemberg Bergrennen hill climb event back on June 14, 2017. We all know what’s going to happen next, but it would be really interesting to see how the whole accident was captured from the eyes of the show’s production team. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice it, there’s also a monkey in the video. Kind of made we wish they’d use an orangutan instead since Hammond does affectionally refer to Clarkson as one.
The second season of The Grand Tour debuts later in the year on Amazon Prime.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon The Grand Tour’s Season Two Trailer Drops On Amazon Prime On July 11

There are days that are worth circling in the calendar, and if you happen to be fans of The Grand Tour, July 11 counts as one of those days. Ok, so the third annual Amazon Prime Day falls on that day too and that’s a big deal in it of itself. One of the treats included in the festivities though is the first trailer of motoring show’s second season, and according to Amazon, we’re going to get our fill of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond as they embark on trips in “Mozambique, Switzerland, and the UK.”

No details were spared on how long the new teaser trailer is going to be, but it did say that it’ll include footage from Switzerland, the country where Hammond injured his knee after crashing the Rimac Concept One he was driving at the Hemberg Bergrennen hill climb. Maybe we’ll get to see a quick look at the crash from a behind-the-scenes angle. Or maybe there’s footage of the Hamster crashing his motor bike in Mozambique as well. Whatever this trailer contains, we can at least be certain of one thing. The Grand Tour is itching closer and closer to returning, even with the projected production delays brought about by Hammond’s injury. So circle the date, boys and girls. The Grand Tour’s first trailer for season number two drops on July 11.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Top Gear America’s New Trailer Hints At Some Wonky Adventures To Come

Top Gear USA, the show that somehow ran for six seasons without enough people caring about it, is gone. Not a lot of people noticed, though, because the show really wasn’t all that good. But give credit where it’s due, because if for nothing else, the BBC has shown itself yet again to be one that doesn’t give up too quickly. And so, here we are, a full month away from the debut of Top Gear America, and from the looks of things, it’s already promising loads of potential.

Gone are Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara, and Rutledge Wood. In their place comes actor and gear head William Fichtner, champion drag racer Antron Brown, and Top Gear Magazine contributing editor Tom “Wookie” Ford. A case can be made that the new hosting trio fits more into the core vibe of Top Gear, but to be fair, it’s a little too early to start riding on their coattails. That said, the new 30-second trailer of the show looks intriguing, to say the least. We get to see plenty of supercars in action. We get to see Fichtner in a BAC Mono ordering some fast food, Ford taking the Acura NSX for a run, and Brown going face-to-face with The Stig, who we presume is the nephew of Top Gear USA’s Stig. The show debuts on Sunday, July 30 at 8 P.M. on BBC America. Circle the date, folks. Top Gear America is coming, and it looks mighty promising.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Top Gear America’s New Trailer Hints At Some Wonky Adventures To Come

Top Gear USA, the show that somehow ran for six seasons without enough people caring about it, is gone. Not a lot of people noticed, though, because the show really wasn’t all that good. But give credit where it’s due, because if for nothing else, the BBC has shown itself yet again to be one that doesn’t give up too quickly. And so, here we are, a full month away from the debut of Top Gear America, and from the looks of things, it’s already promising loads of potential.

Gone are Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara, and Rutledge Wood. In their place comes actor and gear head William Fichtner, champion drag racer Antron Brown, and Top Gear Magazine contributing editor Tom “Wookie” Ford. A case can be made that the new hosting trio fits more into the core vibe of Top Gear, but to be fair, it’s a little too early to start riding on their coattails. That said, the new 30-second trailer of the show looks intriguing, to say the least. We get to see plenty of supercars in action. We get to see Fichtner in a BAC Mono ordering some fast food, Ford taking the Acura NSX for a run, and Brown going face-to-face with The Stig, who we presume is the nephew of Top Gear USA’s Stig. The show debuts on Sunday, July 30 at 8 P.M. on BBC America. Circle the date, folks. Top Gear America is coming, and it looks mighty promising.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Top Gear Is Back To Its Old Ways Of Getting In Trouble

Just because the names and faces have changed doesn’t mean Top Gear has changed with the times. It’s still a magnet for controversy, and just as sure as summer months bring unbearable heat, the show’s latest dive into hot water has found itself on the naughty list of the Norwegian government. According to The Drive, representatives of Norway’s Public Roads Administration revoked the show’s permit to go past speed limits in the country after magnetic loop speed sensors embedded in the road captured instances of cars used by Top Gear doing speed runs well beyond what was allowed in the permit. The show’s permit required it to not go past 87 mph on public roads, but these same speed sensors caught separate instances of cars from Top Gear going as fast as 151 mph. Oops.

The issue is currently under investigation by police authorities in the country, so said Møre og Romsdal police inspector, Anne Berit Lian, who told local news outlet TV2 that it’s natural for law enforcement officials to “investigate whether these speed overruns have been committed in the period when the road has been closed and has been used for filming.” For its part, the BBC has also come out with a statement of its own, telling The Drive that the network and the show are “fully cooperating with the police investigation into the matter.” It is worth noting, too, that neither Matt LeBlanc nor Chris Harris were in the area where the alleged speed infractions occurred.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Jeremy Clarkson Finally Found An SUV He Likes

For as long as he’s been in the public spotlight, Jeremy Clarkson’s long-standing disdain for the letters S, U, and V is a matter of public record. This is a man, after all, who has managed to describe SUVs as “idiotic,” “boring,” and a “complete waste of money” on separate occasions. But just like the time snow actually fell on the Sahara, Clarkson is not above turning some heads with his opinionated commentary. Lo and behold, then, because the SUV Scrooge finally admitted to liking one. Stand up and take the applause then, Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Jezza actually likes you.

The startling revelation on Clarkson’s column in the Driving section of The Sunday Times. Although true to form, Clarkson wasted little time adding another SUV to his “no-thank-you” list by throwing the Audi Q5 under the bus. Clarkson then pivots to the real subject of his column, the Stelvio, and to the shock of everyone, he actually had positive things to say about the Alfa Romeo SUV.
He liked the design. He liked the interior. And, most shocking of all, he liked how it performed on the road, even while acknowledging that he was behind the wheel of a diesel version of the SUV.
Ultimately, he even went so far as describing the Stelvio as “the only SUV that’s quite tempting,” and adding that the high-poweredStelvio Quadrofoglio “might even be irresistible.” Yup. Hell has frozen over.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Do We Really Need Another Incarnation Of Top Gear USA?

In a move that comes as a surprise to a lot of people, BBC America has announced the return of Top Gear USA. I have an idea what the reaction is to this news. “Top Gear USA is gone?” To that I say “yes,” Top Gear USA – the same one that was hosted by Tanner Foust, Andrew Ferrara, and Rutledge Wood – ended its run on the History Channel in 2016 after finishing its contract with the network. The fact that the show wasn’t renewed speaks to how unfavorably it was received so it is a little surprising even to those who followed the show that BBC America is bringing the show back, rechristening it as Top Gear America.

But it’s true. Top Gear America is coming and it’s bringing with it a fresh cast of hosts headlined by William Finchter, the same guy who has starred in movies like Black Hawk Down, The Dark Knight, and Armaggedon and the TV show Prison Break. Joining Finchter will be three-time NHRA Top Fuel Division world champion and Tom “Wookie” Ford, the current Associate Editor of Top Gear Magazine and the former Road Test Editor of CAR Magazine. And, before his Chinese cousin starts beating us up, it’s best to mention that The Stig will also be part of the revamped show.

As far as the format goes, the show is expected to follow the traditional template of Top Gear, right down to the cars, the celebrities, and the all-too predictable mishaps that have become a staple of the show’s ethos. No timetable has been set for when the Top Gear America will make its debut, but we do know that it will now be shown on BBC America and not The History Channel.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Top Gear's Official Trailer For Season 24 Already Looks Better Than Most of Season 23

The 24th season of Top Gear is scheduled to premiere on March 5 in the U.K. and March 12 here in the U.S. We already know the details to that. What we still don’t know, or have little knowledge about at this point, is whether or not this new iteration of the show is going to better than the disaster that was last season. It is pretty funny that our expectations have dramatically dropped in a season’s time, but that just points to how bad season 23 was for the show and the BBC. But things are now looking up for Top Gear, and if this new trailer is any indication, the hit motoring show could be rounding into form at just the right time.

It’s safe to say that Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, and Rory Reid will never have the same kind of chemistry that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May had. Last year’s host, Chris Evans, tried to dip his hands into that barrel, only for the barrel to blow up in his face. But after watching this new trailer, it appears that the BBC should have gone with the trio of LeBlanc, Harris, and Reid to replace their iconic predecessors in the first place.

Sure, the dialogue may have been kept at a minimum in the 60-second ad, but all three appear to finally be in their element. That’s especially true for LeBlanc, who’s Hollywood background made him an odd choice for some people last year. But give credit to Joey Tribbiani for coming into his own. He seems more relaxed now and his commentaries, limited as they were in the trailer, now come from a place of confidence. The same can be said for Harris and Reid, who themselves look to have come into their own given how happy they seem to be in the trailers.

We’re not going to pass judgment of Top Gear ahead of season 24. That’ll happen at some point in the next few months. But as far as promising trailers are concerned, this new one hits a lot of our sweet spots.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Top Gear Is Finally Getting A Proper Reasonably-Priced Car

It seems that the BBC is serious about wiping the slate clean with Top Gear, isn’t it? It feels that way after last year’s tumultuous season, and now, a new report indicates that even the car used in the “Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car” segment will also be new to the show. Yep, say goodbye to that ill-fated Mini rallycross car used in last year’s segment.

For the 24th season of the motoring show, British tabloid The Sun is reporting that the show will revert to the reasonably-priced car segment, doing away with the rally format that was reportedly the brainchild of departed host Chris Evans. Just as important, the segment will also have a new reasonably-priced car in the form of the Toyota GT86.

To be fair, Evans’ “Star in a Rallycross Car” segment had its share of laughs, but it steered so far from the spirit of the original segment that it felt a little too gimmicky, a word that could also be used to describe the whole Evans era of the show, short-lived as it was.

So now, we have the Toyota GT86 that’s reportedly going to be the new reasonably-priced car that the show’s guests will take turns driving. It’s a good choice on paper and an even better one when you consider that its predecessors included the likes of the Kia Cee’d, Vauxhall Astra, and the immortal Suzuki Liana, which to this day is still being used when the guests are Formula One race car drivers.

The Toyota GT86 is clearly a better representation of Top Gear and it can also be described as a reasonably-priced car. Even better, upcoming guests will not only have the Stig as their instructor, but also Chris Harris, who himself is considered a pretty good driver, even by motor racing standards.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon BBC Announces Top Gear's Season Premier On March 5

There’s no denying that Top Gear and the BBC are under a lot of pressure to make sure that the long-standing motoring show gets back on the right foot after the disastrous and short-lived Chris Evans era. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong with Evans behind the wheel and the man that was tapped to succeed Jeremy Clarkson as the face of the show soon found himself on the outs after just one season.

But now that the show is on the precipice of premiering its latest season, there’s no reason to believe that the ills of last season will rear its ugly head once again. Or will it?

Well, we won’t have to wait too long to find out after the BBC announced the premier of Top Gear’s 24th season on March 5 in the U.K. and March 13 in the U.S.

For the third season in a row, Top Gear is going to have a different starting lineup of hosts with Matt LeBlanc taking the reins from Evans as the show’s main host. LeBlanc will then be joined by Chris Harris and Rory Reid, both of whom mostly spent the last season on the spin-off show Extra Gear. Harris and Reid have since been promoted to serve as co-hosts next to LeBlanc and altogether, the trio is under the toughest of pressures to jolt some life back into the beleaguered show.

It’s too early to tell if LeBlanc, Harris, and Reid can carve their own identity as a three-man hosting unit, but based on early returns – one of which was the trailer that was released last week – the trio have the potential to make it work. At the very least, they’ve already exhibited more chemistry in that 22-second clip compared to what Evans and LeBlanc had in all of last season.

That’s a promising start for the show and the BBC, although only time will tell if the show can recapture the magic it once had when Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May were at the helm.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Jay Leno Gets Under The Hood Of A 1,000-Horsepower '65 Mustang: Video

You gotta love old Mustangs. The look, the smell, the tire-squealing torque – it’s all classic muscle car stimuli that’s sure to evoke something if you’re even the least bit interested in cars. As such, it’s a platform that’s seen a ton of reimagining over the years, from light modification to complete overhauls. This particular restomod falls towards the more extreme side of that spectrum, boasting an incredible 1,000 horsepower at the rear wheels. Responsible for the build is Timeless Kustoms, a speed shop based out of southern California, which took its outrageous pony car down the road a little ways to Jay Leno’s Garage in order to give the former Tonight Show host and lifelong car guy a looksee.

“Today’s featured vehicle,” Jay begins, “1965 Ford Mustang Fastback, so far from stock that it’s hilarious. This is exactly the kind of car that just gets the comments section going.”

What started as an unblemished six-cylinder coupe was transformed into what it is now through 10,000 hours of exhaustive tweaks, tuning, and modifications. Timeless Kustoms did a complete teardown before hitting it full force with the upgrades, and clearly, pulled no punches in executing the build.

But let’s get to the party piece under the hood. Providing motivation is a 5.1-liter Coyote V-8, which gets a supercharger and two turbos to stuff an insane amount of air into the cylinders.

At over 23 minutes, the video is a bit on the long side, but there’s plenty of footage of the build and a healthy amount of tech specs to get you excited for your own wrenching adventures.


PostHeaderIcon Top Gear Drops First Teaser Of Next Season: Video

With all the attention being thrown in the direction of The Grand Tour, it would be easy – even understandable – for a lot of us to forget about Top Gear. That’s especially true with The Grand Tour being everything it’s hyped up to, stumbles and all. But the BBC isn’t going down without a fight. The long-running show is coming back for another season and it even has a new teaser to get us all excited for what’s to come.

The teaser itself isn’t that long – it runs for just 21 seconds – but it does reveal something crucially important. We see the three people that are expected to be the show’s three main hosts. There’s Matt LeBlanc, who officially takes the reigns from the departed Chris Evans as the show’s main presenter. Then there’s Chris Harris and Rory Reid, two auto journalists who, together with LeBlanc, were considered as the best presenters from the last season.

All together, the three are apparently involved in a race of some sort with three beat-up vehicles with LeBlanc instructing Harris and Reid to keep their hands off of the steering wheel of their cars. Hilarity then ensues as all three drivers participate in hands-free racing on a snow-covered desert. Could they have been at the Sahara when snow fell on the desert for the first time in 37 years back in the days before Christmas?

That’s a question that only Top Gear can answer, but for now, let’s keep that on the back-burner. What’s important is that the new season is crashing into our TVs soon and basing it from the disaster that was last season, our expectations for the new season are set lower than it should. That should give LeBlanc, Harris, and Reid a chance to show that they’re the hosts Top Gear should’ve had in the first place.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon It Took Only Four Episodes For The Grand Tour To Come Under Fire

Fast cars, witty banter, and a never-ending barrage of controversy. If there are three things that came to define the Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond era of Top Gear, it’s those three things. But now that the trio have moved on from the BBC to Amazon and The Grand Tour, that three-pronged formula is still apparently in full effect. We’ve already seen the fast cars and the witty banter among the three hosts. All we were waiting for was the first slice of controversy to strike the record-breaking show, and as if on cue, it has arrived. The Grand Tour has officially come under fire, taking only four episodes to do it.

To no one’s surprise, Clarkson finds himself at the heart of the controversy for showing how to smuggle migrants into the United Kingdom. The whole schtick revolved around successfully hiding Hammond behind the rear bumper of an Audi TT, an audacious, yet surprisingly possible revelation that caught the crowd in Whitby, England in a state of genuine surprise and confusion.

Clarkson navigated around the segment by adding some colorful commentary. “When immigrants try to get into the country they always come in the back of a container lorry and that is the world’s worst game of hide and seek,” he said. “If you work for Border Force you open the doors and go, ’well there you are.’ Surely, there must be a better way of getting into Britain. And I think I’ve worked it out.”

Needless to say, Clarkson’s comments were picked up various media outlets and it didn’t take long for people to call out Jezza for the supposedly insensitive comments. Speaking to the Daily Star, Barbara Drozdowicz from the East European Resource Center to blast the entire segment, saying that the organization was “appalled by the portrayal of migrants as an illegal cargo.”It didn’t take long before others joined in on the chorus of criticism, including a spokeswoman for the U.K.’s Road Haulage Association, who said that “how-to” segment of smuggling immigrants into the country was “irresponsible.”

For their part, neither Amazon nor the producers of The Grand Tour have yet to comment on controversy. If anything, it wouldn’t be surprising if they brush off the incident, knowing full well that controversies like this one, whether they’re legitimate or not, is part of the reason why the old era of Top Gear was so successful.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Did The Grand Tour Really Beat Game Of Thrones As the Most Illegally Downloaded TV Show In History?

Four episodes into its first season on Amazon, The Grand Tour is already breaking records and making history. That’s what you come to expect from a show that has a budget north of $160 million, but at least one of these records is something the show wants no part of.

Move over, Game of Thrones, because The Grand Tour has just become the most illegally downloaded TV program in history. Or has it?

The auspicious figures were brought to light by MUSO, a leading data analyst of the piracy market, which disclosed that the show’s first episode was downloaded illegally an incredible 7.9 million times. Episode’s 2 and 3 didn’t approach those numbers, but they were still ripped off 6.4 million and 4.6 million times, respectively. Not surprisingly, the British market made up the largest percentage of culprits, accounting for 13.7 percent of the overall total.

It’s a staggering total that a lot of media outlets are running with, and it certainly speaks to the kind of cult-like following that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May have fostered over their years on Top Gear.

But did it really beat out Game of Thrones as the most illegally downloaded TV program ever? The short and somewhat vague answer is, “it depends on your criteria.”

On a per-episode total, it appears that Jon Snow and company still have the edge over Clarkson and the boys. According to Independent, the first four episodes of GOT’s fifth season were illegally downloaded 32 million times, with the first episode alone contributing 13 million illegal downloads of that total. That number was soon upended by the season finale of the same season – the one where Jon Snow “dies” – with an insane 14.4 million illegal downloads, as per TorrentFreak.

It’s worth noting that none of the analysts that have made these estimates about the illegal downloads of Game of Thrones episodes cited the methodologies they used to track and arrive at those numbers. By contrast, MUSO says that it uses a software that trawls the internet for keywords to identify piracy sites and then analyzes what certain people have watched using those sites.

That’s how they arrived at The Grand Tour’s illegal download figures, something that MUSO chief commercial officer Chris Elkins described as “absolutely incredible,” before adding that it has “overtaken every big show, including Game of Thrones, for the totals across different platforms.”

Regardless of the total and who holds the record over the other, there’s a good chance that neither HBO nor Amazon are inclined to take ownership of it, preferring instead for the other to hold the title.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Jay Leno Takes A Spin In A Ferrari F40: Video

Jay Leno is certainly no stranger to supercars. Diagnosed as an incurable car fanatic, the former Tonight Show host has taken the wheel of some of the fastest machinery on the planet. But few cars in the world can match the pure, unbridled electricity of this – the Ferrari F40.

Constructed from carbon fiber and aluminum, the F40 is powered by a rear/mid-engine V-8 boosted by two turbos. Output is rated at 470 horsepower, all of which is sent to the rear wheels by way of a five-speed manual transmission and topped by a classic gated shifter.

Top speed is capped at 200 mph, making the F40 the first road-legal production car capable of breaking that magic supercar benchmark.

Jay starts this 27-minute video with an appropriate introduction.

“This was the last car blessed by Enzo Ferrari,” he says. “Enzo got a little, uh, testy during the ‘80s. Customers complained that Ferrari’s are getting kinda soft and too comfortable, and he wanted to build a machine that was just an out-and-out racing car for the street.”

After the usual examination in the garage, Leno and the car’s owner hit the road to feel the boost firsthand, even taking the F40 out on some twisty two-lanes.

Seeing this legendary car making the rounds is a real delight, and the video is jam-packed with interesting info for the uninitiated. It’s a bit on the long side, but if you bleed Ferrari red, it’s worth a watch.


PostHeaderIcon The Grand Tour Generates "Millions" Of Subscriber Views, Earns Glowing Reviews

So remember that show that premiered on Amazon Prime last week? It was called The Grand Tour and apparently, a lot of people watched it. And by a lot, Amazon says that it generated “millions” of subscribers who watched the episode all over the world, including the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria, and Japan. The web streaming service didn’t say the exact figures, but a nine-figure viewership in the pilot episode is as good a start as the new motoring show could have. Not that we embrace the practice, but you can bet that more people also tuned in to watch the return of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond in some form or fashion, legally or illegally.

More importantly than the viewership, the episode hummed along smoothly save for a few bumps here and there. The trio proved that they were already in mid-season form with their banter and wise cracks. They also also spent a good time setting the table for future episodes, all while having enough time to highlight today’s holy trinity of hypercars, the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari, and McLaren P1.

All told, it was a good episode in my book. Turns out though, I’m being conservative with praise compared to other media outlets who also tuned in to catch the show. The Guardian, for one, described the show as a “brilliant, beautiful spectacle.” The London Evening Standard didn’t hold back on its praise too, calling the show “stunningly beautiful” and episode one as a “confident opener that leaves the BBC’s attempted Top Gear revival in the dust.” Likewise, online reviews for the The Grand Tour have been effusive with praise, getting a 9.6 rating from over 10,000 votes on IMDb to go with a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Even Amazon’s own vote rankings system gave the show a 4.9 out of 5 rating.

To be fair, not everyone was on board the The Grand Tour’s praise train with The Spectator remarking that the three hosts are “a bit on edge and over-eager to impress.” And somewhat predictably, the BBC wasn’t throwing flowers at the show either, even calling the lack of a comedic payoff from the massive opening sequence as “uncomfortably hubristic.”

Then again, this is the BBC we’re talking about so it’s not surprising that it would throw as much shade on The Grand Tour as it possibly can. It still has to protect Top Gear, which, by the way, is now under more pressure to put its lost season behind it.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon The Grand Tour: What We Found Out From The Pilot Episode

Finally, the day arrived. The Grand Tour finally aired its pilot episode and it was definitely good to get Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond back into our lives. That’s the short version of it. The longer version is a little bit more complex since we’re not just going to talk about the return of the trio, but how they returned and most importantly, how they fared in their comeback.

The first episode of The Grand Tour had it all, and by all, I mean it had all of the elements from their old show Top Gear, right down to set pieces, the irreverent humor, the test driver, and the celebrity guests. Most of all, there were the cars and the first show devoted a significant part of its time showcasing the most exotic of exotics, specifically the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1, and Ferrari LaFerrari.

For a car that’s billed as a motoring show – even though it’s a variety show more than anything else – The Grand Tour got off on the right foot by shining the spotlight on what they called “the holy trinity.” The three hypercars dominated the show, but they were also far from the only highlights, or in some cases, lowlights of The Grand Tour’s S01E01.

We’ll dive through most of them after the jump, but let’s get started with how Clarkson, May, and Hammond navigated around the new show, alternating between introducing new segments, taking shots at one other like they always do, and even getting into a faux riot, all for the love of the British Royal Air Force.

The first episode of The Grand Tour lived up to its billing in some respects, but it also felt like we were still watching Top Gear, minus that tame racing driver.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon The Grand Tour Isn't Too Fond Of The Toyota Prius

Yes, those are three Toyota Priuses, or at least they were Priuses before they became the unwitting victims of The Grand Tour’s latest promotional stunt. It’s widely known that Jeremy Clarkson isn’t a big fan of the Toyota hybrid and, apparently, his disdain for the car has been turned into a marketing and branding ploy to raise even more awareness of The Grand Tour’s impending debut, as if it needed any more hype to begin it.

One of the three Prius models can be found in London while the other one, or what’s left of it, is in Berlin, Germany. A third one popped up much later and guess where it’s located? America! The one in London just in front of King’s Cross station looks to have survived its crash far better than its counterpart, but the front section of the second-guess Prius is in pretty bad shape as the hood has been crumpled up and the bumper and fenders have been completely dislodged. Still, it fared much better than the third-generation Prius found in Berlin’s Hackescher market and Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, just beside some of stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The one in Berlin, for one reason or another, appears to have burst from the floor before getting stuck halfway through its apparent escape. Then there’s the one in LA, which looks to have made a beeline straight through the floor, before getting stuck in its own right as well.

Obviously, these three setups are nothing more than gratuitous branding for The Grand Tour. It’s the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. If for nothing else, these setups were excellently executed because we’re talking about them today, just as we’ll do when the show premieres on November 18.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


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