Top Gear’s Back On Our Screens, But Is It Worth A Watch?

Top Gear is on our screens again tonight after the first episode featuring the brand new line-up landed last week. But how was it? Was it any good? Was it worth watching? As it’s a motoring show, although that seems to have been barged out the way by entertainment, here’s a review from the perspective of car lovers…

Overall the verdict on new Top Gear was no kinder from petrolheads. However, they did cling on to to a few promising elements that could yet see the BBC franchise pull out from the shadow of the Jeremy Clarkson era.

On Top Gear’s Facebook page there was some respect given to the Chris Evans-fronted show for confirming the news story that Ferrari will make an even more exclusive open-topped Spider version of the LaFerrari – announced by guest Gordon Ramsay, who’s ordered one.

Matt LeBlanc Top Gear
Top Gear’s Matt LeBlanc generally proved popular with fans of the show CREDIT: BBC WORLD WIDE

That led to cries among some car websites that Ferrari had stage-managed the process, with US-based car-gossip site Jalopnik going so far as to query the show’s impartiality: “it seemed to imply that Top Gear is now an active and willing participant in the advertising strategy of Ferrari,” a story on the site ran.

However, that was balanced by a later aside from German racer Sabine Schmitz, who compared the Corvette Stingray supercar’s “awful” suspension as being “like a Ferrari”. That got a positive reaction from those who caught it.

“Pure gold!,” ran one comment on Facebook, gleefully. It reminded viewers that the straight-talking Schmitz is more than qualified to rate cars and held out hope that her brief appearance in the opener would be expanded in future episodes.

LeBlanc on Ariel Nomad: “the most fun you can have with your clothes on”Play!00:19

We did see a lot more of the “the Queen of the Nurburgring” on Extra Gear, the follow-up show on iPlayer fronted by Chris Harris and Rory Reid.

Reid was given a tour around Schmitz’s slightly bonkers wooden house she had built next to the German track, and commentators on the PistonHeads enthusiasts’ forum salivated over the racer’s Porsche 911 GT3 track car.

Some wondered why this wasn’t elevated to the main show: “How is Sabine’s GT3 and the Nurburgring less Top Gear-worthy than a Reliant on the back of a flat bed?” asked one commentator.

Extra Gear itself was received far more enthusiastically than its parent show, with many commentators praising the more natural chemistry between Reid and Harris (the latter very much the petrolhead’s petrolhead) as they read out the car news and interviewed comedian Chris Ramsey.

“Top Gear should be presented by Rory Reid, Chris Harris and Matt LeBlanc,” said one PistonHeads commentator, echoing praise elsewhere for the performance from the former Friends actor.

However, another thought Harris “looked a bit embarrassed to be taking part in this experiment”.

The avalanche of negative comments overall inspired a spoof story from former Top Gear script-writer and the man behind the satirical Sniff Petrol website, Richard Porter.

“Fans complain that new TV show not like old TV show they used to complain about,” he wrote, in an obvious dig at the perennially negative PistonHeads. commentators.

The story went on: “‘I don’t know where to begin with complaining about the new show,’ said online commenter friendlessITconsultant86. ‘It made me long for the return of Clarkson, Hammond and May so I can go back to complaining about them instead.'”

However, perhaps the most apt petrolhead verdict came from a commentator PistonHeads: “At least it was better than last week.”

Which is a succinct way of saying, it might have its faults but if you’re a petrolhead then a clunky and over-scripted car show is far better than no car show at all.

Tempted? Might be worth giving it another chance! If you want the real nitty gritty details of engines and cars, then you really need to take a look through our Motor Vehicle courses. Our tutors could probably do a better job than Chris Evans, anyway! Click here for more info.

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