Episode 2 of Top Gear US involves Tanner Faust racing in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X down a icy mountain against two snow skiers, Rutledge Wood testing the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and V12 Vantage, Dominic Monaghan tests his driving skills, and Rutledge Wood and Adam Ferrara try to best a blind man in three drifting challanges.
Warning: Spoilers are in the review
Segment 1: Lancer Evo X versus Snow Skiers
|Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution|
The segment kicks of with Tanner asking a question, “What do you want in a car?” Adam answers “Horsepower.” Rutledge answers “Seating for five.” Tanner wants something cheap, practical, and fast. The program cuts to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Mitsubishi Lance Evolution appears. The Lancer Evo has modes for pavement, gravel, and snow. Tanner tests these modes by racing two extreme snow skiers down a mountain. Tanner has to drive on pavement, gravel, and snow. Even with the handicap of not being allow to go off the trail and being slowed by a bus and a propane-carrying truck, Tanner still wins. Returning to the studio, Tanner says he as never had as much fun in a car as in the Lancer, and says he is impressed with a car that costs $34,000. Rutledge questions the car’s look. Tanner then questions Rutledge’s sense of fashion since Rutledge wears flannel shirts.
Segment 2: Rutledge and the Vantage
|Aston Martin Vantage|
Power. Beauty. Soul. Three words that describe Aston Martin. Rutledge starts the segment by introducing the Aston Martin company. We then see the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, a $120,000 beautiful sports car. I have to mention that the cinematography is just incredible, something that Top Gear UK is known for. Rutledge says the car is beautiful, but it is lacking in power. He criticizes the Aston for not delivering power until the engine reaches higher rpms. He calls the Brits liars for putting a speedometer that reaches 220 mph in a car that reaches 180 mph. He then introduces the $180,000 Aston Martin V12 Vantage. The 6.0 V12 engine is from the Aston Martin DB9 and produces 510 hp, versus the 420 hp in the 4.7L V8. The V12 Vantage is slightly heavier than the V8 Vantage. He tests the V12 Vantage at El Mirage Lake to see if the car has beauty, soul, and power. The V8 Vantage had no power. He does a drag race between the two Vantages and the V12 Vantage smoked the V8 Vantage. Rutledge got the V12 Vantage up to 175 mph. He comments that the speedometer of the V12 Vantage only goes up to 200 mph and calls the Brits liars again. The show returns to the studio as Adam and Tanner question the $180,000 price tag of the V12 Vantage, which Rutledge defends nicely. The Stig drives the Aston Martin V12 Vantage in 1:28.2.Â The Lancer is also given to the Stig. Although the lap is not shown, the Lancer Evo’s time is 1:29.2.
Segment 3: Dominic Monaghan does not get Lost on Top Gear
|Dominic Monaghan on Top Gear US|
For the Big Star Small Car segment, Rutledge interviews Lost and Lord of the Rings star Dominic Monaghan. The best part of the interview is Dominic’s description of his ideal car. Dominic takes 1:45.3 to get the Suzuki SX4 around the test track.
Segment 4: Blind Man’s Drift
The final segment starts with Adam and Rutledge telling the audience how Tanner describes Drifting and what they personally think about Drifting. Next we see all three hosts at a test track with two Nissan 370Zs. There will be three challenges, a burnout challenge, a donut challenge, and a handbreaking parking challenge. Since Tanner is a two-time drifting champion, he will not be driving. Instead, he would be tutoring Brian Fischler, a blind comedian, on the art of drifting. Brian has never driven a manual car before in addition to being blind. Brian picks up the drifting skill fast. He actually scares Adam and Rutledge. The first competition, the burnout challenge starts. The goal is to lay down rubber as far as you can. Rutledge kicks of the challenge and lays down 98 feet of rubber. Brian is up next and lays down 105 feet of rubber. Adam goes and lays 11 inches of rubber. Brian wins the first challenge. The next challenge is the donut challenge, where the goal is to do as many donuts as possible without hitting any of the cones. Hitting any cones on the inside or outside is a disqualification. Adam goes first and immediately hits two cones, earning a DQ. Brian is up next and he also hits the outer cones. Rutledge is up and does a few donuts without hitting any cones. Rutledge wins the donut challenge. The last challenge is the handbreaking challenge, where the guys must do a 180 degree turn into a parking spot and have all four tires in the spot. Rutledge goes first and gets the car in perpendicular to the parking spot. Adam goes next and gets all four tires in the spot after a helpful roll. Brian goes last and does the challenge perfectly, winning the final challenge. Adam and Rutledge lose the overall drifting challenge to the blind comedian. The show returns to the studio and Brian and his seeing-eye dog Nash are asked to come up to the stage. The show ends with Nash pissing on the stage.
Overall this was a great episode. It featured skill driving, humor, fast cars, and a blind man overcoming the odds and drifting to victory. There was a car beating two skiers down an icy mountain. Two Aston Martin Vantages compete in a drag race. A blind man outperforms two guys that can see in a Drifting competition. The jokes were good, except for Rutledge doing a pun about a star gets lost on the test track. That was a lame pun. The chemistry among the hosts was greatly improved over the chemistry from the first episode. This is a must watch episode of Top Gear US. Episode 2 is my favorite episode from Top Gear US. The episode is nearly perfect.
Final Verdict: 9 Stigs out of 10. This episode is available at www.history.com.
Originally written on July 19, 2011