Tonight, on Top Gear
: some people show up for what Jeremy calls "proper motor racing," which means you know it's not.
It's that time again: time to say goodbye to the petrol-fueled, adrenaline-injected, epicness that is Top Gear
. Season 18 leaves us with a rallycross challenge, a little Formula 1 and Slash playing the Allman Brothers. That's not a sentence I ever thought I'd use.
And oh look! There's an Audi badge in the opening shot. (If you don't get that, you clearly missed this episode
Richard starts us off with a test drive of the new BMW M5. It weighs more than the old one and he wonders if the M5's best days are behind it. So, it's time to cue the obligatory drag race between the new model and the old one.
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While the new M5 smokes the old one in mid-race, Richard tells us how quick it is. He then goes on to tell us how they've simplified the gear settings from double to single digits, and how well the car corners. So perhaps there's some hope for the M5 after all.
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Richard goes so far as to call it "the best car in the world right now." Well, that's a rousing endorsement if I've ever heard one.
"We don't have time to cut you in half this week to see how old you really are," Jeremy tells Richard before moving into the news segment, with embarrassing photos of him driving cars at high speeds with ridiculous facial expressions.
Richard wisely moves on to tell the story of someone whose satnav drove him into the sea and how there's a government summit to discuss this little problem. James correctly points out it can't be the satnav's fault if you can't realize you're driving into the sea. (Not unlike this episode
of The Simpsons
Jeremy tells us Bentley has made a new 4x4 that Richard exclaims is "hideous." When one audience member unwisely pipes up that they like it, Jeremy retorts that it's because they're behind the TV monitor and can't see the picture. He then adds that he believes he lives in a police siren testing area. Wouldn't that be unfortunate?
This week there's not just one but two guests on the show. The first is Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen. The interview is just a bit awkward, with Jeremy asking about the various sponsors on his race car. When he realizes it's sponsored by an anti-dandruff company, he decides to inspect Raikkonen's hair to see if the product actually works. "Is it a Finnish thing to be economical with words?" Jeremy wonders, before whipping out a list of the man's best quotes and asking him about taking naps before races. This is not the show's best interview. Raikkonen's lap time is 1:46.1.
James tells us that Radio 2's Chris Evans bought an incredibly rare Ferrari 250 GT California, as someone pushes an Audi in front of him. James has always wanted to drive said Ferrari, so he goes to Evans' garage to see if he can borrow the car. This being James, his test drive starts out pretty pedestrian (with the caption "quite a long time later" before he even leaves the driveway), and he doesn't seem too thrilled as he ends up first in a traffic jam and then in a mob of excited schoolkids.
Yet once he gets onto open road, he changes his tune, calling the drive "fantastic" and "a realization of a childhood dream. I've met my hero and I'm not disappointed." Sadly, all good things must come to an end.
Next on the guest list is rock legend Slash of Guns N' Roses fame, whose presence Jeremy so excited that his voice gets all squeaky. The last time I saw Jeremy that excited was when Kristin Scott Thomas turned up. The conversation involves sex, snakes and drugs before it finally comes around to cars. Eventually, Slash does a 1:49.8 on the track. (And we're reminded that's not
Angelina Jolie on the lap board.)
Now here's a question I know we've all asked ourselves: can you go rallycross racing for less than a game of golf? The boys call golf "extremely boring" and "ruinously expensive" (sentiments that I can't argue with, to be honest), and decide to bring some purchased racers for challenges. Jeremy has a BMW 328i, Richard a Citroen Saxo, and James a Toyota MR2.
They've all put their blood types on their cars, except they don't know what their blood types are, so they've made them up (Hammond's says "red"). The drivers' briefing has some shaky math that confuses everyone except James and a few blokes named Gary. Can the presenters survive two heats and at least one final?
James tries to drift in his first heat and damages his car. The super-competitive Richard comes in third in his first attempt. This leaves Jeremy, who tries to chicken out while James tells the other drivers to antagonize him. He's eventually forced off the track and tears up the lawn, leaving him a dismal last.
Later on, Richard's second race earns him another third place, Jeremy slightly improves to be second to last, and James gets the pole position which he promptly loses. Only Richard qualifies for any sort of reputable final, whereas the other two end up in a "final for losers." In the latter, James claims third place and Jeremy somehow wins...getting him into Richard's final, much to Richard's bewilderment.
Predictably, Jeremy finds a way to screw up Richard's perfectly good race - so understandably, Richard decides to put him in his place, unafraid of a little contact racing. In the end, Richard comes in second with Jeremy right on his heels (or back tires, as it were). Back in the studio, Jeremy likens the situation to "attempted murder," but everyone doesn't seem to mind much as they've had a great time with the Garys.
And with Slash playing the Allman Brothers' "Jessica," that's the end of the season.
But you can soon relive your favorite moments from this go-around: if you've enjoyed season 18, it's available for pre-order on DVD
and arrives in stores on June 12.For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my BuddyTV writer page, and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.
Image courtesy of BBC America