Tesla has come a very long way since Clarkson's controversial review of the original Roadster on Top Gear back in 2008.
The relationship between Jeremy Clarkson and Tesla is strained to say the least. Back in 2008, Top Gear aired a controversial review of the original Tesla Roadster. Clarkson praised its lightning-fast performance when pitted in a drag race against the Lotus Elise it was based on. But was less than impressed with the EV's heavy handling, expensive asking price and poor range and recharge time. In the review, both test cars were shown breaking down or running out of charge prematurely.
This sparked a lawsuit from Tesla claiming that Top Gear had rigged the review to show the cars constantly breaking down for comedic effect, thus damaging its reputation. Suffice to say, Tesla lost the lawsuit. So Elon Musk re-appealed but lost again, despite having proof that neither car dropped below 20 percent battery and that one car’s alleged brake failure was actually a blown fuse.
After a three-year long legal battle, Tesla unsurprisingly didn’t feature on Top Gear again during the Clarkson, Hammond and May era of the show. The fully electric SUV will however feature in The Grand Tour season two premiering this month, so it will be interesting to see if Clarkson’s views on Tesla have changed over time. Rory Reid also reviewed the Model X in last year's series of Top Gear in a more positive light. Nearly ten years have passed since Clarkson’s infamous review of the original Roadster. Tesla and EV technology has come a tremendously long way since then, culminating with the reveal of the new next-generation Roadster that will launch in 2020 as the fastest production car in the world.
“It was a hard-hitting review, but it was a fair one” Clarkson told Mashable in a recent interview looking back at his Tesla Roadster review. “That original Tesla, I didn’t think it was very good then and I still don’t now.” But Clarkson now seems to have a newfound respect for Tesla and its more recent models. “A lot of it is very impressive,” Clarkson said when talking about the Model X that features in the new season of The Grand Tour, although he admitted that “some of it is a bit dodgy.” Presumably he’s referring to its shoddy build quality. “It’s a really interesting new way of looking at what a car is. There’s a lot of silly stuff in that car that appeals to the inner nine-year-old. I liked it.“