This week the trio head to China to test three luxury saloons. Clarkson first shows us the Hongqi L5. It’s a luxury car made by China, and it costs £880,000. It’s the pinnacle of quality, and Clarkson has the chance to drive it.
Turning Petrol To Silence
While it’s silent and beautiful, it’s not fast. It has the same power to weight ratio as a Peugeot 308 diesel. And it’s not overly comfortable either. And it has no cup holders…
But Jeremy doesn’t care about this, because he loves it because it looks evil.
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James May turns up with a Mercedes S Class imported from Britain. Despite it being the 6-litre V12, it cost him only £8,800. Hammond then arrives in a Cadillac STS and immediately tells James to shut up. It has 300hp V8, but is front-wheel drive, which Hammond doesn’t mind.
Clarkson arrives later in a BMW 7-Series which has a 5.4-litre V12 and a tiny price tag of £8,400. Hammond argues that that’s expensive, with his Cadillac only costing him £3,000. But Jeremy says only a moron would buy that.
They have a closer look at Jeremy’s car though, only to find that the double glazed windows are shot, and it’s oxidising before their eyes.
But, the reason they’re in China with these cars is to show the Chinese people why they should buy their cars from Europe.
They drive their cars through a drive-through door factory because… why not. They exit the factory, and realise the heat is incredibly high. James however, hasn’t got any air-con unlike the other two’s cars. James therefore adorns an ‘ice-towel’.
The cars pass under gantries which are equipped with cameras. These cameras take a photo of every car that goes underneath it, checking things like if the driver is wearing a seatbelt or talking on a mobile phone.
A Hot Handling Test
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They use a flamethrower on a drone to test the agility of their cars. How you ask? Well, the cars have been strapped with firecrackers. They’ll score a point for each target that doesn’t go off.It turns out that this isn’t such a good test because they all scored 0 and ruined their paint work.
They stay with China, more specifically their driving tests. They show some footage that Clarkson took of Hammond’s test where he has to move his hands around a bit and stand on some weighing scales. That’s it.
They then talk about how James loves brown cars and is very interested in the Hongqi, and they discuss the Chinese motoring market further.
The NIO Ep9 Review
Hammond takes on this all-electric car and compares it to the Rimac. It’s faster, has a better power to weight ratio, and accelerates at an alarming rate. Hammond relates it to driving a jet engine – something else he has bad memories about.
It’s not just a straight line car, either. It held the Nurburgring lap record until only recently, and has active suspension and aerodynamics to keep it planted. It’s a serious bit of kit, and Hammond loves it.
Back To China
We return to the action with the boys at a gift shop. But, back on the road, they further discuss their cars and how James has most definitely lost his air-con. He’s also running out of fuel so they search for a fuel station.
They pull in to countless service stations but the fuel stations are all unfinished, but finally they get lucky and find one that’s actually built. But, being in China, they can’t understand how to get the fuel. And when they finally do fuel their cars, Hammond Cadillac won’t start. It’s the battery, which they jump using the BMW.
Later on the road, the Cadillac seems to develop more problems, and with it now raining and the roads not having any water drainage, things just got worse. And as it got darker, the flashing cameras over the roads blinded them. So with this in mind, they stopped for food.
Becoming More Chinese
The next morning they regroup in suits. Clarkson and Hammond buy normal suits… James doesn’t. He’s wearing a bright green suit after using a translation app (badly).
They go about testing their cars from the rear seats with chauffeurs. Clarkson goes about building the Eiffel Tower out of match sticks, Hammond teaches himself how to cook and practices on the back seat, and May starts painting.
Of course, it all goes wrong.
Next, they test out the modifications that they’ve done to their cars. Clarkson has fitted a bed inside his car, Hammond fitted a rowing machine, and May built a sauna into his car.
The Final Challenge
The next day, they’re back in the drivers’ seats. But before long, Hammond’s car breaks down. Clarkson and May leave him to deal with his car and drive on. Without Hammond, they arrive at a winding road. But before they can drive up it, Hammond arrives in a 3-wheel car.
Against the clock, they drive up the road, trying to keep their cars in one piece.
Clarkson and May finish the course, but Hammond rolls his car and falls off the side. He does however survive.
Back at the tent, they realise that the entire episode was useless as The Grand Tour isn’t shown in China.