MEDIA: TOP GEAR - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Top Gear stays top with revamp but seems to be over-reliant on Clarkson, Colin Gottlieb thinks

Sex sells magazines. Just take a look at the coverlines of most women's titles. In the case of lads mags why waste a coverline when a gorgeous bit of tanned totty in a silver bikini will do?

Car magazines are no different, although the totty is just a little bigger, a lot more powerful and costs more than your average dinner for two at Nobu.

So, how does Top Gear herald its re-vamp? Not one but seven stunners plastered on its front cover. The main coverline screams "Million Quid Mega-Test". You can keep the tanned totty when you've the promise of the new Murcielago, Zonda, Vanquish, 575 Maranello, Cerbera and SL55 AMG to keep you company instead. Blimey - it's enough to make you go blind. The front cover also promises to reveal the new nutcase MG XPower SV, Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG, James Bond's Aston Martin and the new BMW Z4 if you're just a mere mortal.

Three hundred and twenty-two pages, all for £3.50. Quite a package. But how does it "drive"?

A new 20-page front-end section greets you. It offers a combination of "news, sport and humour". The layout is clear and gives the impression of pace. The new Bentley Continental GT looks unbelievably elegant. We also learn that the new 200mph MG is for "slightly stroppy bastards" and that Bond's Lotus had ground-to-air missiles hidden under the rear hatch.

A Bentley, stroppy bastards and ground-to-air missiles - a little too eclectic for my tastes. Still, there is the humour. Well, almost. "On The Pull" gives us the thoughts of a VW Motorshow model. The poor girl seemed thoroughly unimpressed. Me too.

But then there is God. Or, in Top Gear's case, the re-introduction of Mr Clarkson. Frankly, they should have just renamed the magazine Top Jezza.

"Clarkson is back," the editor gushes. Jeremy gets his own spread, pride of place, in "Front End". I'm not saying Jeremy isn't entertaining - he is. But Top Gear seems plain overawed at having him back. He is a great asset but requires only a few exposures before you reach for the earplugs.

Take a look at Top Gear's website. Yes, you guessed it - the first thing you see is Jezza's face. Not to mention his appearance on the TV show.

Top Gear is great value at £3.50 and remains comfortably the daddy.

The revamp isn't perfect and in places it is trying way too hard. Bet you didn't know, for example, that 54 per cent of Aussies have had sex on a car and 17 per cent of all sex on buses occurs in the Ivory Coast.

Well, you do now care of the revamped Top Gear. Sex sells - sometimes.

Me, I'll ask Santa for a Murcielago in Grigio Antares and a copy of Evo instead.

Colin Gottlieb, OMD Europe's chief executive, drives a Ferrari 550 Maranello

Publisher: BBC Magazines

Frequency: Monthly

Cover price: £3.50

Circulation: 150,747

Full-page ad rate: £10,752

Advertisers include: BMW, Mazda, Alfa Romeo, Clarks, Sony, Skoda,



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