The Best Episodes of Top Gear

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2018

This fast-paced and stunt-filled motor show tests whether cars, both mundane and extraordinary, live up to their manufacturers' claims. The long-running show travels to locations around the world, performing extreme stunts and challenges to see what the featured cars are capable of doing. Celebrity guests appear on some episodes to help test the vehicles. Things don't always go as planned, though, with broken bones and mechanical mishaps sometimes part of the experiments. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May hosted the show for more than a decade before giving way to a new crew in 2016, including actor Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, and Rory Reid.

Vietnam Special

#1 - Vietnam Special

Season 12 - Episode 8

Arriving in Vietnam, James, Richard and James have to travel the entire length of the country in just eight days. But first they have to buy some suitable transport for the trip, and despite having several million Dong in their pockets, this proves to be rather more difficult than they expected, especially in one of the most expensive car markets in the world.

star 8.65
385 votes
Writers:
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Africa Special (2)

#2 - Africa Special (2)

Season 19 - Episode 7

In the second part of the Top Gear special, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May continue their epic African odyssey. Having survived insane traffic, lethal mudslides and some distinctly dubious map reading, the trio and their ailing estate cars reach the climax of their quest to find the definitive source of the Nile.

star 8.58
589 votes
Directors: Nigel Simpkiss
Writers: Richard Porter
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Winter Olympics Special

#3 - Winter Olympics Special

Season 7 - Episode 7

The lads are in Lillehammer for their version of the Winter Olympics. So expect amongst other things: car ice-hockey - with Suzuki Swifts - Jeremy trying to drive the new Jaguar XK around the rink faster than a speed skater and Stig riding a snowmobile down the ski-jump. James and Jeremy compete against each other in a biathlon using an Audi Q7 and a Volvo XC90, with the loser having to eat yellow snow. There's also a spectacular attempt to send a rocket-powered Mini down the ski-jump.

star 8.55
154 votes
Directors: Nigel Simpkiss
Writers:
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Burma Special (2)

#4 - Burma Special (2)

Season 21 - Episode 7

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May continue their journey in three ancient and barely functioning trucks, heading toward their final challenge - building a bridge over River Kwai in Thailand. Having climbed mountains and endured a Burmese trucker stop, they must now venture into the Shan state, an area rife with civil war and normally closed to Western TV crews.

star 8.53
938 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Motor Racing for Less than it Costs to Play Golf

#5 - Motor Racing for Less than it Costs to Play Golf

Season 18 - Episode 7

The team sees if you can go motor racing for less than it costs to play golf. Richard takes the new BMW M5 on the Top Gear test track. Rock legend Slash and Lotus F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen are let loose in the reasonably priced cars.

star 8.53
430 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Bolivia Special

#6 - Bolivia Special

Season 14 - Episode 6

Jeremy, Richard and James are dropped deep in the Bolivian rainforest armed only with three shabby 4x4s which they bought untested over the internet from local small ads for a maximum of 3500 pounds each. They attempt to drive them from the heart of Bolivia to the coast of Chile, encountering local drug lords, the debilitating effects of high altitude and the terrifying sheer drops of the infamous Death Road along the way.

star 8.52
480 votes
Directors: Nigel Simpkiss
Writers:
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Hovervan

#7 - Hovervan

Season 20 - Episode 4

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May bring relief to flood-stricken areas of Britain by building a car that can turn into a hovercraft. After a bumpy start, the presenters demonstrate the brilliance of their creation with an eventful journey down the River Avon. Also in this show, Jeremy is on the track in the insane Mercedes SLS Black and the 739 horsepower SLS Electric, while Hollywood star Hugh Jackman is the star in the Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.51
758 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Botswana Special

#8 - Botswana Special

Season 10 - Episode 4

The boys travel to Africa with a mission: they must each buy a car – but not a 4x4 – for no more than £1,500. They must then drive the cars they buy across fairly unforgiving terrain in Botswana. Also, Stig’s African cousin makes an appearance.

star 8.49
341 votes
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Africa Special (1)

#9 - Africa Special (1)

Season 19 - Episode 6

The lads are in Africa to find the definitive source of the Nile by traveling further and faster than any exploration team in history using only grit, ingenuity, and three ageing estate cars.

star 8.46
659 votes
Directors: Nigel Simpkiss
Writers: Richard Porter
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Burma Special (1)

#10 - Burma Special (1)

Season 21 - Episode 6

In the first of the all-new two-part special, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May are on a mission to build a bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. However, in order to do so, they must first drive across a country that has been largely closed to Westerners for over 40 years: Burma. The trio must make this trip in three trucks that have been bought for a limited budget. Unsurprisingly, they are not quite as the presenters might have hoped or expected…What follows is an epic journey of beautiful scenery, regular adversity, ongoing malfunction, and the constant bickering between the three hosts.

star 8.44
992 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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USA Special

#11 - USA Special

Season 9 - Episode 3

In this American special, Jeremy, James and Richard are on a fly-drive holiday with a difference. Instead of hiring a car, each has to buy a car for no more than $1000. Starting in Miami, they travel through Mississippi and Alabama and end their journey in New Orleans.

star 8.42
276 votes
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Lamborghinis and Caravaning

#12 - Lamborghinis and Caravaning

Season 20 - Episode 5

Jeremy Clarkson and James May investigate an increasingly popular type of tall hatchback often referred to as a 'crossover'. After deducing that these cars are designed entirely to appeal to caravanners, the pair pick examples from Mazda and Volkswagen then use them to spend a couple of days living like the kind of person who would buy one. Meanwhile, Richard Hammond is in Italy driving a pair of Lamborghinis, the sensational Aventador Roadster and a 2 million pound, 570 horsepower riot of carbon fibre and space age styling called the Sesto Elemento. Plus, James May is at the test track to drive a modern recreation of the classic Porsche 911 and Aerosmith legend Steven Tyler is the rock star in the Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.41
742 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Italian Supercar Shootout

#13 - Italian Supercar Shootout

Season 18 - Episode 1

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May head to Italy for a supercar shootout featuring the Lamborghini Aventador, the McLaren MP4-12C and the Noble M600. Their trip starts at the incredible Nardo test track, a facility so massive it is visible from space, before heading north for a nerve wracking drive around the centre of Rome. The journey concludes at the legendary Imola circuit, a track challenging enough to have embarrassed many an F1 driver, with a timed challenge against the incredible skills of the Stig. Back in the studio, the presenters look forward to some car highlights of 2012 and another top celebrity guest takes the wheel of the Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.40
476 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Why Ayrton Senna Was The Best

#14 - Why Ayrton Senna Was The Best

Season 15 - Episode 5

Richard takes the Volkswagen Touareg 4x4 to Sweden for a race against some snowmobilers. James travels to Germany where he attempts to break his personal speed record in a brand-new version of the Bugatti Veyron. Jeremy Clarkson looks at the reasons why Ayrton Senna is considered the best driver of his generation.

star 8.40
278 votes
Writers:
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The 24-Hour Race

#15 - The 24-Hour Race

Season 10 - Episode 9

Jeremy, James and Richard take part in Britcar 24, a 24-endurance race at Silverstone. James travels to Budapest to race the new Fiat 500 against boys on BMXs and Stig takes the Ascari A10 around the Top Gear track for a Power Lap. Keith Allen is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.38
183 votes
Directors: Brian Klein
Writers:
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Budget Supercar Convertibles

#16 - Budget Supercar Convertibles

Season 20 - Episode 3

The three motoring enthusiasts head to Spain on a mission to help its struggling economy - but the convertible supercars they take are very expensive and anything but discreet. With Jeremy Clarkson in a McLaren MP4-12C, Richard Hammond driving a Ferrari 458 and James May behind the wheel of an Audi R8 V10, the trio encounter mountain passes, empty towns and an abandoned airport before creating their own street circuit in a deserted Madrid development. Plus, Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness star Benedict Cumberbatch sets a lap time in the Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.38
819 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Sumo

#17 - Sumo

Season 11 - Episode 6

It's an epic age-old rivalry: Britain versus Germany - but this time it's serious. Germany's equivalent of Top Gear - D Motor - is up against dear old Blighty's magnificent original in a series of challenges. Richard drives a new Mazda concept car and James chauffeurs two sumo wrestlers in a rather odd Japanese car.

star 8.37
164 votes
Directors: Brian Klein
Writers:
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Alfa 4C vs. Quadski

#18 - Alfa 4C vs. Quadski

Season 21 - Episode 2

Richard Hammond is on the shores of Lake Como testing the exciting new Alfa Romeo car against Jeremy Clarkson, who’ll be riding a quad bike. Meanwhile, James May is at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan looking at the incredible efforts behind the army's largest vehicle redeployment since the Second World War. Finally, Thor actor Tom Hiddleston is on the track as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.37
906 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Stretch Limos

#19 - Stretch Limos

Season 9 - Episode 6

A stretch limo, why hire one when you can make your own? Step forward the Top Gear boys who do just that. On the track, two Ford Mustangs. Have the Americans finally built a car that deserves more than pointing and giggling from smug Europeans? Billie Piper is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.34
168 votes
Directors: Brian Klein
Writers:
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Off-Road Mobility Scooters

#20 - Off-Road Mobility Scooters

Season 18 - Episode 4

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May embark on an ambitious project to build mobility scooters that can tackle the wilds of the British countryside. Meanwhile, the Ferrari FF and Bentley Continental V8 are put through their paces at a unique test track on the edge of the Arctic Circle, whilst James is in Florida where he tests the Fisker Karma and meets up with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson. Hollywood star Michael Fassbender is the star in the reasonably priced car.

star 8.33
397 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Jaguar F-Type

#21 - Jaguar F-Type

Season 20 - Episode 6

Jeremy Clarkson drives the new Jaguar F-type sports car on some of Britain's finest roads, James May takes the New Bus for London for a nice day out in the country, and Richard Hammond tests the new Range Rover Sport off-road, on track and in its most natural habitat, the lanes of Cheshire. Inspired by these machines, the presenters meet up for an epic celebration of all that is great about Britain's motor industry, culminating in a grand finale in front of Buckingham Palace. Mark Webber is the star in the Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.32
739 votes
Writers: Richard Porter
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Hot Hatchbacks In Italy

#22 - Hot Hatchbacks In Italy

Season 17 - Episode 2

The team travel to Italy to test high-performance hatchbacks. Jeremy Clarkson is in the Citroen DS3 Racing, Richard Hammond is in the Fiat 500C Abarth and James May is in the Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup as they navigate their way round baffling Italian towns and take part in a scavenger hunt.

star 8.32
339 votes
Writers:
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The Bugatti and the plane

#23 - The Bugatti and the plane

Season 7 - Episode 5

James and Richard are once again trying to beat Jeremy in another of their now famous races. This time, the race is on to see who will be the first to get from Alba in northern Italy, to the NatWest Tower in London. James and Richard are in a light aircraft piloted by James - Jeremy has to make-do with a Bugatti Veyron. Former F1 and Indycar World Champion Nigel Mansell gets the chance to set a fast lap in the Liana.

star 8.32
189 votes
Directors: Brian Klein
Writers:
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The Perfect Car for a 17 Year-old

#24 - The Perfect Car for a 17 Year-old

Season 13 - Episode 2

Jeremy, James and Richard attempt to find the perfect car for a 17 year-old. Normal service resumes in Abu Dhabi with Richard, a Lamborghini Murcielago SV and a race between a Bugatti Veyron and a McLaren F1. Stephen Fry is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.31
234 votes
Writers:
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Amphibious Cars

#25 - Amphibious Cars

Season 8 - Episode 3

Jeremy, James and Richard each design their own amphibious vehicle and test it on a Stafforshire reservoir. Jeremy has a Toyota Hilux, James a Triumph Herald with a sail and Richard has a Volkswagen camper van painted to resemble a canal boat. The new Lotus Exige S is given the freedom of the Top Gear track and Philip Glenister is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

star 8.30
215 votes
Directors: Brian Klein
Writers:
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