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Top Gear and Model S

Quite possibly my two favorite things. Just want to get that out of the way.

What I like about Top Gear and what I like about Model S have nearly no overlap. This is the same Venn diagram of cars Jeremy likes and V4's. But, I want neither to change or compromise for what they believe in for they are both great and wonderful things.

With that being said I do hope the Model S review goes better than the Roadster review. I hope they pit it against the 4 door Panamera, BMW whatever, Merc whatever, Audi whatever and let the chips fall where they may.

How will it all go? My prediction: Jeremy will fall in love with the Model S when he sees it, sits in it, drives it through Gambon and Hammerhead and speeds off the line with the other 4 doors in it's wake. He'll most certainly mention distance to empty and be pleased. But charging will still be an issue he'll note. He'll mention the cargo space and rear leg room, while chuckling at the rear facing seats. And there will be a joke about the door handles, the big dash screen and sum it all up with another "I'm too dumb to email" joke. Stig will push it through it's paces and it will fall ahead of all other 4 doors including the Karma; If Fisker sends them one. Maybe James will get a word in about the environment? Maybe Richard will race it against an electric superbike? Whatever they do I hope it's creative, funny and entertaining without being too negatively pre-scripted, shortsighted and naive. See below...

My recap of the infamous Roadster review...

When I saw the Roadster get shat on by Jeremy it was much like the Prius review in that there was a feel of pre-scripting negativity. Sure they were positives and it rang true to most of their reviews where the anticipation seemed to wane throughout. Yes, viewers notice when there are quotes "It's positively Electric" and end with "...too quiet". Many of my gearhead friends noted that most likely they put their foot to the floor and kept it there until it ran out of juice (AKA 55 miles). I thought, sure, fine, ok, be that as it may, how many miles did the Elise go under the same conditions? 10.6 gallons and I'm guessing it's going to be less than half of it's city rating so let's say 80 Miles maybe? Regardless it's going to be way less just like the Roadster. And the Roadster beats the Elise of the line...so I'm saying this is a win for the Roadster even if it's 100Miles.

For the brakes issue. I'm sure every car they test have zero issues and they never break them while testing. Isn't all TV production and Auto-racing perfect on the first try? So why did they stoop so low here? It seemed rather ridiculous to me that it was mentioned. Almost like they believed they had found a huge flaw in the design of EV's that the whole world must know about as it might happen to you! To answer my own question of why did they even bother to bring this up? Simple, they've set a higher standard for this car *because* it's an EV. Jeremy has had issues with every car he's ever owned, he's mentioned this several times on air. But why not mention how other test cars have broken then? This so rarely happens I'm guessing they just find bigger flaws with the cars that play better on air.

For the cost issue. The car goes around the track for less than the cars below it on the lap times, so there's no argument here. Notice Jeremy doesn't say where the Elise ranks on the board. Surprise! It's way down at the bottom!

For the charging issues. This was the icing for me where I knew they had set a higher standard. Showing a nuclear plant, showing a tiny wind turbine and a standard charging port. Actually most of the UK's electric comes from the burning of natural gas (73%), it's 30% cleaner than burning petrol (Surprise!) and the recommended charging port gets you from empty to full while you sleep. You can't do that while on a trip to another country like Jeremy points out; but I doubt I'm doing that trip in a sportscar anyway.

What was missing from their review was how long the battery is supposed to last, maintenance and TCO. Which I could argue all favor the Roadster.

Well balanced review,Jeramy need a copy of it as well as Top Gear.

I'm with you Discoducky. I really hope Top Gear gets their hands on a model S. (mostly so I know how fast it goes around their track) lol

would love to see it pitted against the fisker karma, audi a7 etc.

I hope TG DOESN'T get their hands on the model s.

They made such a balls up mess of their BBC biased Roadster review that, if I were Tesla, I'd never let them near ANY other car I made.

Especially now that they lost the EV-positive Stig.

I don't think it's possible for Tesla to prevent TG from testing the Model S if TG really want that. When the car is for sale, they can simply buy or rent it.

@ Kallisman...true, but TM can refuse to lend or sell a car to TG...which given TG's current buffoonish practice of scripting episodes prior to actually reviewing the vehicle, is a stance that I hope TM adopts.

It's a shame that more auto manufacturers dont take an agressive posture with TG...withhold their cars and force it to evolve from a clown show in the guise of a credible product reviewer to a useful consumer guide aiding in the purchase of automobiles.

@ Vawlkus...agreed, I'd like to see all mid and high-end auto manufactures grow a pair & boycott TG until they either change formats or go off the air...how entertaining would TG be if they could not review any BMW / MB / Lexus / Infinity /et al or any exotic cars?

How much fun can one have with a Ford Fiesta?

@ Jaffray TG is meant for entertainment and never will be a "useful consumer guide aiding in the purchase of automobiles."

If it were it would be boring an no one would watch.

Besides you can do all kinds of fun things with a Fiesta. Like drive it off a cliff, play a game of "car football" or see how quickly they could break it on their track etc.

As long as ppl keep watching TG they will have the budget to do pretty much whatever they want in the name of entertainment.

@Jaffray If TM or any car manufacturer want to prevent TG from testing their car, they would have to have a clause in a contract everyone buying a car need to sign, stating that the buyer under no circumstances are allowed to sell, rent, lend or in other way make the car available to TG, anyone associated with TG or anyone that might in any way make the car available to TG in any forseeable future under penalty of a very hefty fine.

I'm not sure I would want to sign such a contract to buy any car, since it would make me responsible for what any later owner will do.

TG would probably find a way anyway

To be honest, I think if TG got a hold of the S i see them testing out how long the battery lasts. Will it actually last 300 miles in economode. I see a long road trip taken by Jeremy probably but possibly James.

I see it surpassing the 300 mile marker and them coming out of it in a comfortable well rested fashion, but them complaining that they now they have to figure out a way to get home since the battery is dead.

Now that is probably the most honest review they can give. It goes 300 miles on a road trip, but you need to find a way to get home or charge it overnight to make it home. And I see them complaining about that a bit but otherwise it being quite a good test....

Maybe "Top Gear" needs to change name of show to "Stripped Gear".

Now I know I have been reading too much BrianH. I'm still laughing over the "moose" joke he made on some thread.

@msiano
people pick on the fact that the TG script was written prior to driving the roadster. Now you write a TG script prior to driving Model S? c'mon :-)

@ VulkerP

Sorry I did not mean write a script for them, but I do see the best way to test the car is to take it on a road trip. And what I stated would be my expectations of how the test would go.

no offense meant.
Road trip would be OK. But after that, TG will take model S to the track. And the Stig will crash into a pile of tires because he's fiddling with the 17" touch screen, downloading tetris app or something. Big whoa for the crowd in the studio. All scripted in advance, of course.
Or not, because I will sue them for violation of intellectual property rights.
Any other ideas how TG could screw up a review of Model S?
If we post it all here, they can't do it any longer!

Very funny indeed.

Like I said, I really just hope for an honest opinion from those gents.

I think the TM-reviewer Stig left the show because of the screwing around, didn't he? And I gather the new one isn't having much to say.

Weird show.

Not sure if anyone else heard about this, apparently Tesla is filing a suit against the BBC and Top Gear for their slander against the Tesla Roadster and its "55 mile range" only.

http://www.teslamotors.com/teslavstopgear

I don't understand postmsiano17. I looked at your link and I looked at the actually suit and they have:
Specifically, Top Gear misrepresented that:

The Roadster ran out of charge and had to be pushed into the Top Gear hangar by 4 men.
The Roadster’s true range is only 55 miles per charge (not 211).
One Roadster’s motor overheated and was completely immobilized as a result.
The other Roadster’s brakes were broken, rendering the car undriveable.
That neither of the two Roadsters provided to Top Gear was available for test driving due to these problems.

so what do you mean by "....against the Tesla Roadster and its "55 mile range" only. "?

My source is the actual filing.
http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/tesla_-_claim_form_claima...

Sudre, I don't think it is so hard to see what msiano17 means. He refers to Top Gear's assertion that the Tesla Roadster has "only 55 mile range". So the "only" went into a slightly misleading place, but still... It is exactly the second claim of the claims you quote in your post, which is a representative for all claims mentioned on the suit.

msiano17, yes, everybody else has heard about this. ;-)

There is an entire thread dedicated to the law suit:
http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/how-we-see-it-top-gear-lawsuit

fair enough, least everyone is informed...

it is also probably a part of why their stocks have taken some beating in the past couple days...

if the Model S doesn't appear on Top Gear, perhaps it could appear on Top Gear USA?

Some people take Top Gear way to seriously. Top Gear is a COMEDY show. It's neither scientific nor unbiased. The presenters are personalities whose job it is to create entertaining content, primarily about cars and things related to them. The hosts are not skilled drivers. They make a big, impressive show by power sliding powerful cars around their track, usually while screaming. Driving sideways and making lots of smoke is not a good way to go fast or evaluate the merits of an automobile. If you are looking to them for objective information about cars, you've missed the point. Don't get me wrong, I love the show. I'm also a reservation holder for a Tesla Model S. I wouldn't expect to get anywhere near the advertised range of a Tesla if I drove it they way they did on Top Gear. I wouldn't expect to get the range any car touts the way those guys thrash them. I have never met a person who treats a car they way they do. I would also not be surprised if they broke the car. They break a lot of cars during their demonstrations (I would not call them tests or evaluations). It is a shame that they did such a disservice to such a magnificent, forward thinking car. It hardly matters when they pick apart a $500,000 supercar (except perhaps to the manufacturer). Those things are just plain decadent. But if they turned viewers off to the Tesla, they did potential harm. Sad, but a consequence of living in a free society. We just have to suck it up. In the final analysis, the effect Top Gear will have on Tesla sales is probably nil.

Unfortunately that effect is nowhere near nil. People take their car reviews at least semi-seriously as in point of view of someone not professional car driver. They do not expect that review made in serious way is in fact total BS with fabricated events that never actually occurred.

Roadster review was/is like (imaginary scenario from TG):

Clarkson drives new Ferrari, and car suddenly starts to shake violently (without any indication of joke). He gets out of the car, notices that one of the rear tires has blown up (fabricated) (cue dramatic scene of Ferrari sitting in track tire blown up). Then he explains very seriously (still no joke visible) that this particular Ferrari has a flaw in the design so that it eats up tires so fast that you can't use it in normal life. After that he compares it to some other similar looking vehicle (with half of the performance, but that is not mentioned) and adds up that this is so expensive anyway that you are better off not buying it when you can get that (half the performance, but not mentioned) car.

(actually Roadster trashing was worse than that).

Could you tell from that review that it was fabricated and a joke?

If you are telling a joke, then tell a joke. Put Captain Slow putting soft top on the car when it is "raining". Make a comment about electric motor huge torque and then show a scene where you put Roadster in pulling contest with a big-ass AWD tractor (no, huge torque wont help there). Do something like that.

@Lush1, are just another shill in the conga-line, working the "TG is just a comedy show" aspect? How come a new one shows up as soon as an old one fades away?

The truth is 90% of the viewers are taking them seriously. Just last week somebody told me about the Panamera: "TG didn't like it, they thought it's boxy." And TG wants that, to be respected as car experts, but stirring controversy to increase viewership.

Would TG admit they are a comedy show? Would they admit that they misrepresented/lied abut the Roadster just for a comedy effect? Isn't it close to what is Tesla demanding?

@Lush1, If you have got it figured out in a very insightful manner. I submit that vast majority of others have not so finitely broken it down, thus damage has been done.

Thank you searcher. It seems we share a minority view. To the rest I say; Top Gear IS a comedy show. I would think that would be obvious to all but the dullest viewers. It's not the kind of show that features monologists or tells one liners though. The whole presentation is over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek and done with such an obvious wink-and-a-nod that a person would have to be sans a sense of humor, or German, to take those buffoons seriously. Ferrari's erupting in flames! Pure shock value. Does anybody believe that happens? Did it hurt Ferrari sales. I don't have ratings, demographic or market penetration data but I work in the broadcasting business and I can't imagine that TG's reach is so vast in the world that they will kill, or even discernibly affect the Model S project. Hey, aren't they still selling those horrible Roadsters that Top Gear panned? Some people were undeterred and decided to buy a car with a 55 mile range a failure prone brakes "as seen on TG." I have faith that there are enough intelligent, perceptive, potential Tesla buyers in the world to buy up as many as Tesla can build. The fence sitters and the uninitiated will probably form their opinions from the legitimate motor press, the news and the swell of information that flows from the grassroots movement of us early adopters. Top Gear lemmings will miss a golden opportunity. The loss will be theirs. Tesla will succeed without them. If I didn't believe that, I sure wouldn't have a deposit on one. As much as I enjoy the show, I don't like what Top Gear did to Tesla either. I guess I just have enough faith in Tesla and in people not to go apoplectic over it. (P.S. No offense meant to the German's. It was meant to be humorous. The late actor/comic Steve Landesberg (of Barney Miller fame) used to do a great routine in his stand-up act about Germans and humor. I'm 1st generation American, born of German immigrants. There is some truth in the stereotype of our people having a muted sense of humor and a total inability to understand irony. It is only partially true. Germans are not humorless, I know this to be true from personal experience). Now haters, do your worst. I am unperturbed.

But wait, there's more. I must apologize to searcher. I initially misread his (or her) comment. It seems we do not share the same opinion but I bear him no ill will. I want to be clear that I erred so he won't be damned by association with my opinion. Please don't hate on him. To Tiebreaker who says "The truth is 90% of the viewers are taking them seriously. Just last week somebody told me about the Panamera: "TG didn't like it, they thought it's boxy." And TG wants that, to be respected as car experts, but stirring controversy to increase viewership." Where do you get your figures? Maybe 90% of the people YOU know take them seriously. How many people do you know that you can know how many people take Top Gear seriously? None of my friends do. One of your friends related to you an opinion of the Panamera they heard on Top Gear. So what? Did they decide to buy a different vehicle as a result? Will Porsche fold as a result? You know what they say opinions are like and that everybody has one? Top Gear a self professed entertainment show. Does anyone remember the episode in which them came to America with visas which only permitted them to film a documentary and were admonished by the State Department not to be too entertaining? Throughout the show they did their usual hijinks and then sheepishly became contrite when they remembered that they were not allowed to be entertaining. Entertainment is defined as "the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment." Please explain how Top Gear is not a comedy show. I submit that they consider themselves entertaining, but what do they know? By the way, their job is to increase viewership. That's not a bad thing, it's how TV works. Do people still believe everything they see on TV? Finally, can anybody name a serious automotive review TV show with the viewership of Top Gear?

Lush: There's no question that Top Gear is tongue-in-cheek and has some pretty over-the-top challenges and features. Still at the same time their reviews does carry significant weight. They are also clearly used by many british and other viewers as a car reviewing program. That doesn't mean you have to take everything at face value, but if TG says it's shit, then most viewers think it is at least bad.
As a reference look what award they won for the second time in the National Television Award 2011 in Britain. I'll give you a hint "Most Popular Factual Programme". Not the category they should have won instead Most Popular Comedy Programme.

Not to mention the episode in question then changed to a gushing review of the Honda Clarity which supposedly works in real life in spite of it's 200 miles total range. Total as in 200 miles takes you 200 miles away from the nearest H2 recharge station and gets you stranded....

Sindre

How much credibility can you give to a country that spells program, Programme? The honor of "Most Popular Factual Programme" is clearly undeserved. I love Top Gear for what they are; jocular, opinionated, sensationalistic, childish, TV car snobs. How seriously can you take a bunch of guys that drop pianos on cars and constantly sabotage, abandon and play practical jokes on each other? C'mon people, wake up and smell the petrol. Tesla will be just fine. Top Gear is not mighty enough to hurt them. I refuse to believe that people smart enough to want a Tesla are so stupid that a 6 minute package on Top Gear could change their minds. Perhaps I'm some exceptional genius (kidding) but I wouldn't base a car purchase on their obviously biased opinions. Anybody who would, raise your hand.


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