In a cobbled courtyard in Stuttgart, Germany, the fabled Grand Tour tent has been pitched. It’s a beautiful, clear day, and there’s been a smog advisory. Jeremy is exasperated by this but also goes on to speak admirably about the country, surprising since he’s so stringently reminded viewers they lost the war. It’s home to Mercedes and Porsche and BMW and the autobahn.
Indeed, the car was invented here. It’s a land of automotive milk and honey. Even so, the trio doesn’t take advantage of this. They spend their time at home in England creating four wheel drive and cabriolet cross-breeds and then blowing up armored vehicles with tanks and, as if that wasn’t expensive enough, air craft carrier missiles.
This isn’t the first time Clarkson, Hammond and May have gone and played with tanks. Twice in Top Gear’s run we saw Jeremy try to outrun armored military vehicles, once in a Range Rover and once in a Mitsubishi Evo. Neither run turned out well, as was expected, but the explosions made for high entertainment value. So the same would seem to be for this episode. When in doubt, blow it up.
The first noticeable talking point, however was Jeremy’s love for the fatherland.
“After last week’s epic two-part trek across Namibia, this was a relatively understated hour – and good humoured too, with Clarkson all but sinking to his knees and kissing the hallowed Teutonic turf. Visiting the home of Porsche and Mercedes was a sacred pilgrimage and golly did he gush about it.” Ed Power, Telegraph UK
Jeremy even remarked that the Queen of England is herself German, so everything about this place has to be good, right? My family is actually from Mainz, so you might think me a little biased when I say, yes, definitely, everything about this place is amazing. I’ve been to the Black Forest, I’ve been on the autobahn, I’ve seen the cities and the cathedrals. Trust me when I say, of course Jeremy loves it. What’s not to love? Other than green-minded politicians, I can’t think of a thing you wouldn’t.
This episode, however, does exhibit true Top Gear form.
“All ‘ambitious, but rubbish’ exploits, as you’d expect. It sees things being blown up, encounters with the police and pretty much everything in between.” Ally Heath, British GQ
There’s a lot of creation in this episode, but none of it comes out right, or, when it does, is immediately destroyed. We can’t have nice things. Heath calls the bits rightly as seen; the piece on the Honda NSX is something we also agree about. It’s hard to argue that the car isn’t a beautiful piece of modern engineering, but throwing it around the wet Eboladome was completely pointless.
“Next, they go for a lap-time around a wet track, which doesn’t teach us much about how fast it really is.” Ally Heath, British GQ
This car is a fraction of the price of the hypercars from episode 1, to which it is a direct competitor, so waiting for a dry track would have given it a competitive time. A wet lap tells us nothing. It’s a vague answer to a serious question: Is the NSX faster than the Porsche 918?
In the end, it was an episode that felt more like Top Gear than the others have, with more antics than you could shake a bratwurst at. But a lack of actual information leaves this viewer wanting more.
I give this episode four out of five weinerschnitzels, most likely will watch again.