We are only few hours away from the start of the new season of Top Gear, the legendary British show that has established itself as the most influential motoring magazine in the world. None of this would have happened without its quirky and brisk main presenter Jeremy Clarkson whose comments and thoughts have polarized opinions of the public since he first came on the show.
However, Top Gear wasn’t always so eccentric and unique. Back in the early 90s, Top Gear was basically a TV motoring magazine like any other, but several conflicts between the presenters have caused some of the original cast to leave the show.
Shortly after, the outcasts (including current presenters Tiff Nedeel and Vicki Butler-Henderson) started their own project, a show in similar fashion like Top Gear named Fifth Gear, as they moved from BBC to Channel 5. As both shows progressed, Top Gear developed a more offbeat style, focusing on humor and unusual reviews, while Fifth Gear remained a traditional motoring magazine.
Nowadays, both shows enjoy high ratings and have spawned several spin-offs, including Top Gear Russia and Top Gear Australia.
As mentioned, Top Gear rarely includes traditional road tests (and when they do, be sure that it is something utterly ridiculous) while Fifth Gear has popularized 1 on 1 track races, internally known as “dogfights”.
In one of these, BMW Z4 has won over a Porsche Boxster, which had started fierce rivalry between the two. When the second generation Boxster was released, Tiff Nedeel and Jason Plato raced both cars around the track, but have later concluded that the differences in speed and handling were so minuscule that it was impossible to decide which one is better.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe9tYS9qaK4&feature=related[/youtube] Later on, Richard Hammond from Top Gear did the same thing, only with more powered versions of each cars, the Z4M and Boxter S, respectively. This time around, the Z4M won with a clear advantage, while the Boxster was left behind.
And now, the Fifth Gear is trying to find out will the new generation of Z4 be able to conquer Boxter once and for all. Truth is that the new Z4 has became some 150 kgs heavier, but at the same time, the power has been increased. Some have also complained that the new version is softer and more forgiving than the old car, which has much to do with BMWs decision to release a smaller, more clinical roadster Z2 in 2010.
In the end, which one will be Germany’s fastest and sportiest roadster? For all these years, the battle was raging between the Boxster and Z4, while Audi TT and Mercedes-Benz SLK were never quick or tactile enough to compete in this category. However, with the release of TT RS and SLK 55 AMG, things might get interesting.[Photo Source: Car And Driver ]