Top Gear Season 14 Debut Recap

May Owned a Dacia Sandero for all of about 20 minutes.
James May owned a Dacia Sandero for all of about 20 minutes.

Last night brought the return of a weekly injection of nirvana to hoon-hungry car nuts world-wide. Top Gear season 14 arrived not with a whimper, but the roar of 30-cylinder’s worth of exotic touring machinery blasting across Romania- home of James May’s beloved Dacia Sandero.

If you are unfortunate enough not to have access to the show, we’ve got a short recap so you won’t appear the out-of-touch dweeb around the water cooler today during breaks at work. Alternatively, Ray over at Jalopnik has posted some YouTube clips so you can catch up during those breaks instead of hanging by the cooler.
People's Palace Tunnel Blast
People's Palace Tunnel Blast

The show’s center ring bit was a tour of Romania in three exotic GTs, in search of what they claimed was rumored to be (cue Clarkson voice) the best driver’s road . . . in the world. The Transfagarasan Highway, nicknamed Ceausescu’s Folly, was eventually reached, but not before the boys traveled half the nation’s length in, respectively: an Aston Martin DBS Volante (Clarkson), a Ferrari California (Hammond) and a Lamborghini Gallardo spider (Captain Slow).
Their trek included a game of whose GPS is the most inscrutable, with a destination point of the People’s Palace- Ceausescu’s former home, which now houses the Parliament, and supposedly the heaviest building in the world. Underneath that building is a labyrinth of tunnels that the boys were allowed to race through in a major dust up.
Smoking Saloons
Smoking Saloons

The other segments of the show included May track testing, both behind the wheel, and in the back while being driven by the Stig-ffeur, the BMW 760i and Mercedes S63 AMG. As you can imagine, with the Stig behind the wheel and against another car, hilarity ensues.
May Flys
May Flies

During the news, there was the expected berating of the former colonists across the pond, and unexpectedly, Jezza sitting on a cardboard crapper.
"I'd rather just crap myself."
"I'd rather just crap myself."

Aussie Eric Bana provided the Star for the reasonably priced car, as well as more fodder for Clarkson to lord Britain’s superiority over another breakaway colony. Bana – as his film Love the Beast, about his love affair with his first car demonstrates – may have been a ringer here.
Muscle Car Plus Curve Equals Tree
Muscle Car Plus Curve Equals Tree

Back in Romania, Jeremy demonstrates his trenchant wit when he presents May with the keys to a car he has bought for his wildly-coiffed co-host (cue Clarkson again). . .  a Dacia Sandero. May loves the car for its simplicity and honesty, but… um, you know it’s not going to end well.
The show does end well when the trio reach their holy grail- the Transfagarasan Highway, and it’s everything you could imagine. . . and more.
Transfagarasan Highway- more curves than the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition
Transfagarasan Highway- more curves than the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

Clarkson describes it as “having taken every great corner from every great track in the world, and putting it all in one road.” After all the effort to get there, they spend surprisingly little time actually driving it, a minor disappointment to an otherwise decent opening to another spate of Sunday nights well spent in front of the tube.
Top Gear appears on BBC2 at 9PM Sundays. Check your local listings.

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  1. _Tomsk_ Avatar

    Since when did Ferrari source their in dash infotainment systems from Lucas?

    1. jewfro47 Avatar

      It was tough to tell whether all that was staged or whether Fezzaletrics are really that bad.

      1. om_nom_de_plume Avatar

        Given the triple feature nature of the piece… I don't think they'd pick on a car with no other cons mentioned, for no reason, and not choose something in the others to bash on as well…
        That's just what I think given the rest of the TG I've watched.
        Yes they briefly touched on the Volvo sourced GPS in the Aston and the suspension in the Lambo… but not as glaringly as the phone problem.

        1. blueplate Avatar

          What is the point of complaining about the GPS? As low as Aston's volumes are, wouldn't the owners be greatful for a ready source of spare parts? I mean, just try finding the NASA-Mission-Control screens to replace the damaged ones in your 1980s Lagonda. This is one case where a reliable part that fits, is better than a custom-made one for no reason.

  2. Merry Luebbers Avatar

    Great web site