It's time for more automotive mayhem! The season premiere of Top Gear begins in Detroit, which Adam tells us is the home of the trusty Ford Crown Victoria, the preferred vehicle of law enforcement agencies everywhere. The Crown Vic's been discontinued by Ford for a little while now, so our guys are out to retire it properly and find the best successor. It takes maybe five minutes for the shenanigans to start.
Testing a trio of Crown Vics, Adam calls the episode the first time he's ever sat in the front of a cop car, which is not that hard to believe. This is seconds before The Stig leads our guys on a high-speed chase...in a minivan. "We are getting beaten by someone on their way to soccer practice!" Adam exclaims in frustration as Stig gets away. Ticked off about losing the chase, Tanner executes a perfect PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) on Rutledge, and then the guys do a great job banging up each other's old cop cars before unveiling their new ones.
Rutledge brings a 2012 Chevy Caprice PPV. Adam chooses a 2012 Dodge Charger Pursuit, which he describes as being "here for your soul," and Tanner settles on a 2012 Ford Police Interceptor. I'm biased since I've had a soft spot for Dodge Chargers since The Fast and the Furious, but I'm pulling for Adam with this one.
The guys visit Ford's automotive proving ground, and immediately put the test track to use, with the first challenge requiring them to decelerate from 100 MPH. Tanner's Interceptor stops in the shortest distance by a big margin, so of course, he promptly gloats, because this is Tanner Foust we're talking about.
The next stop is a "tactical training facility," which just sounds awesome. On the way there, when Adam asks Rutledge if everything's secure at the mall, Rutledge pwns him with a Paul Blart: Mall Cop reference. Really, Adam walked right into that. Upon arrival, Tanner then informs the others they're going to have to contend with tear gas. How long can they last before the gas gets into their cars and makes them nauseous? Uh, probably not long, but they're going to try anyway. This has "bad idea" written all over it, especially for Rutledge, whose weak stomach is well known to Top Gear fans.
Adam makes it the full five minutes, but looks far worse after doing so. Tanner complains a lot, but makes it the entire time as well. Rutledge talks about throwing up before the tear gas is even deployed, and unsurprisingly, has to tap out before the first minute. The fact that Tanner opened his car's back door probably has something to do with it.
Challenge three involves going through a complicated obstacle course that includes not only driving, but target practice (thankfully not for our hosts but for a police sharpshooter in the passenger seat!), wearing a bulletproof vest and eating donuts while doing doughnuts. It's a sequence that my old Criminal Justice instructors would have laughed hysterically through, which is what makes it so awesome. Rutledge completes the entire circus in 2:53. Adam takes a donut penalty, and that pushes his final time over 3 minutes. Yet he doesn't need to feel too bad: Tanner gets his own donut penalty and comes in at 3:33, which is dead last. Seriously, people, donuts decided this thing.
Moving past the baked goods, Tanner (who is declared the winner by virtue of having won the first challenge and passed the second for a better overall score) takes out a Corvette Z06, which is great for pursuits but horribly impractical. Thankfully, all he has to do with it is beat a guy named Ernie on a Triumph motorcycle. What follows is several minutes of awesome footage that turns the docks into a playground. Tanner is finally able to slide by the bike thanks to the car's superior cornering, but then loses the lead with just two miles left in the race. It comes down to mere moments, as Tanner overtakes Ernie on the bridge but still has him in his rear view mirror all the way to the finish line. "I don't know why I'm so excited. I barely got him," he admits.
So what did we learn from this episode of Top Gear? Not much you didn't already know, unless you somehow missed that Adam was in Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Adam still drives true to his New York roots, Rutledge's stomach got the better of him again (with Tanner's help), and you still shouldn't turn your back on Tanner during any sort of competition. This is typical Top Gear, which proves that this show is going to be as fearless and reckless as it always was. And if that doesn't prove it to you, the fact that next week they're going off-roading with cars that have no business being there should clue you in.
Adam Ferrara Destruction Counter: 1 episode / 0 cars destroyed or rendered inoperable
If you're looking for more Top Gear, check out my wish list for season three, and don't forget to join us each Tuesday for live tweets of each episode!
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.