Our Hot Take

Our Motoring Team Reviews The Grand Tour, Episode 4

December 10, 2016 Briefings By

Each week, our motoring team and social team get together to watch and live-tweet Amazon’s Top Gear The Grand Tour. This week, between illnesses and gear testing, they couldn’t all watch in the same room. So we used our handy office messenger, Slack, to make a live review happen anyway, followed by a video review once we gathered some of the troops. Read on for commentary and our Facebook Live video review.

Facebook Live Review

Gearspotting and Evaluations

Slack Review

A More In-Depth Look

Caitlyn Girardi, Social Media Team: First up: what are your first impressions/positives from this episode? Go!

Nick Caruso, Motoring Editor: I’m glad the episode began with good car porn – the Porsche GT3 RS is quite a looker, especially when it’s being hooned on a track.

(And though it offends something deep inside me, it’s satisfying to see Clarkson joking about hating all Porsches because they look like VW Beetles.)

Andrew Connor, Automotive Writer: I was happy to see the return of the cheap car/car building challenge format. I always thought those were a great catalyst for comedy, and it is genuinely enthralling to see what these guys cook up. Granted, this specific challenge left me feeling a little bit cold, but I’m glad to see it’ll still be a fixture in the series.

Also, the hedgehog in Richard Hammond’s flower box was a cute touch. Extra points for that.

NC: I wish I remembered the exact quote, but one of Clarkson’s voiceovers described the challenge vehicles as “my meat car, May’s peat car and Hammond’s tree-t car” or something like that.

AC: “Meat-Ti, Tree-Ti, and Peat-Ti”

NC: Connor FTW.

@bcampbell earlier you had a good point about the amount of screen time the BMW got versus the GT3 RS. Sort of weird to see one lap and not the other.

Bryan Campbell, Automotive Writer: Yea, they glossed over the GT3RS lap… and it was clearly the better car. They sort of rushed through that entire segment, but I’m sort of glad Clarkson knocked the M4GTS down a peg because everyone has been praising that car. It was good to see him point out that cars ridiculousness. “You have to fill up a water tank in the trunk every 3 gas fill-ups? Really, BMW?”

CG: Ok, gearspotting: what did y’all see this time around? Anything goes.

NC: @aconnor — you spotted a Barbour jacket?

AC: I don’t know what model, but yes, Hammond had a nice quilted one. They’ve worn a lot of Barbour jackets before Clarkson also had the same IWC Top Gun I noticed in the last episode. There was an article in The Guardian last week that suggested that was a paid product placement, though.

AC: Also, those Land Rover chassis were equipped with BF Goodrich Mud Terrain Tires

CG: What about watches? Anything cool?

AC: Aside from the aforementioned IWC, not that I saw. I caught some glimpses of Jame’s watch but can’t tell what it is.

CG: Let’s cover negatives.

BC: The GT3 RS- BMW M4 segment seemed rushed.

AC: Without turning my criticism into a whole thing, I’ll just say overall I’m a little disheartened to see a reduced focus on the cars. Yes, I understand this is a global show and Grand Tour needs to find an audience outside of the car enthusiast community, but Old New (New Old?) Top Gear at its best managed to be funny, goofy, chaotic and, yes, factual (to a degree). I learned things on Top Gear. Overall this new show just sort of seems like an excuse to fool around in cars, which is fine and all, but for that to work as the main focus of the show it needs to be funnier than it is right now. I’ll continue watching but I’m not going to hold out hope that it gets much better than it is now. It just isn’t that good. That’s my $0.02.

BC: This episode in particular was pretty good, I thought. The arching complaints of Celebrity Brain Crash and The American are still there. But as far as the rest of the episode it was business as usual and I like that. Yea, the M4 GTS and GT3RS segment seemed to be more of a segue than a segment, but I think the team is still finding their footing with Amazon. Will they ever blow our minds with an episode so spectacular it makes us forget episode two? Probably. But we need the crap episodes to appreciate the great ones. This was somewhere in between. Still good, though.

AC: If Grand Tour gives us another episode like the old “Vietnam Special” I’d say it would all be worth it.

NC: The American – TGT’s new test driver – is, unfortunately, not funny. If they’re going to use him, I’d want a new format – maybe a quick in-person recap with him for earnest impressions after his drive. Just not the badly-delivered and equally terrible jokes during the lap.

CG: Final hot takes @here!

NC: Bottom line: TGT is more of a pure entertainment show than its “predecessor,” Top Gear, and that’s okay. Not awesome. But okay. Because it’s entertaining.