The ninth episode of “The Grand Tour” – entitled Berks to the Future – went to Stuttgart, Germany, although unfortunately, despite the title reference, did not include the appearance of a DMC DeLorean.
With the show originating in Germany, the beginning monologue from Jeremy Clarkson, who seems to have assumed this role for every show so far, focused on the famed Autobahn and a local German politician’s attempt to prevent “The Grand Tour” from appearing in Stuttgart. One is successful and the other was not.
This transitioned into a segment from James May profiling the new $170,000 Acura NSX which featured the car’s exquisite handling abilities due to its 4WD system but, alas, slow 0-60 and lap times around the test track. Regrettably, The American was brought out to test the NSX and again produced an aural assault of cringeworthy remarks that we can only hope will be his last until the show hires Nico Rosberg to replace him for Season Two.
Meanwhile, with The American in the rear view mirror, we move on to the next segment where Jeremy drives a naked Land Rover [i.e. a Land Rover with its outer shell and most of its interior removed], then plops a 1978 MG shell on top only to discover its crap before moving on to a 1980s Mercedes Benz SL shell and renaming it The Excellent [complete with custom badging and all].
The celebrity killed in this week’s episode is one-hit musical wonder Nena [“99 Luftballoons”] who is never really seen but a dummy being carried away by a bunch of red balloons is seen in the distance through the “smog” of Stuttgart.
The next segment is essentially an energy charging challenge where the boys migrate through various preposterous energy charging scenarios ranging from harnessing schoolkids for power to an office door roundabout to a dog and a gym before moving on to the final segment where Richard Hammond profiles zombie apocalypse vehicles which are repeatedly destroyed by Clarkson and May, with Hammond getting killed in the final vehicle’s destruction.
This episode was hit-and-miss. The inclusion of The American is an automatic 10-point deduction and the celebrity killing was particularly lame this time around and the trio really did not make the best use of their German location – mentioning the Autobahn but never including it in the show! The lone bright segment was Clarkson’s Land Rover disembowelment and subsequent rebirth as The Excellent – which just has to be considered as one of the better car names of all time.
Unfortunately, with the existence of The American bogging the show down until they sign Rosberg, it’s an automatic demotion and with not many of this week’s segments strong enough to carry it past that demotion, ASN awards this week’s episode a paltry score of 80.