Top Gear (series 20)

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Top Gear (series 20)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 6
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 30 June 2013 (2013-06-30) – 4 August 2013 (2013-08-04)
Series chronology
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List of Top Gear episodes

The twentieth series of British motoring programme Top Gear started airing on BBC Two on 30 June 2013 with the usual presenting team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig.[1][2]

Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Review Features/Challenges Guest Original air date UK viewers
(million)[3]
155 1 Series 20, Episode 1 Renaultsport Clio 200Peugeot 208 GTiFord Fiesta STVauxhall Astra Tech Line AC45 Racing Yacht vs Toyota Auris • Introduction of the new Reasonably Priced Car: Vauxhall Astra Charles DanceWarwick DavisRachel RileyJoss StoneDavid HayeJimmy CarrMike RutherfordBrian Johnson 30 June 2013 (2013-06-30) 5.55

Review: Richard reviews the Peugeot 208 GTi, Renaultsport Clio 200, and Ford Fiesta ST. The Stig drove each car around the Top Gear test track, with the Clio 200 posting the quickest time at 1:32.0. The Fiesta ST was second at 1:32.7 and the 208 GTi was the slowest at 1:33.2. Richard and Jeremy agree that the Fiesta ST is the best to drive.

News: The presenters discuss items available for purchase at motorway service stations and plans to introduce pubs in them. James comes up with a solutions for repairing potholes on roads. They also look at the new BMW 4 Series coupé and Richard complains about the M4 motorway and the M version of the car being called the BMW M4.

Challenge, part 1: Jeremy and James travel to New Zealand to conduct a race between Oracle Team USA's America's Cup-winning AC45 sailing boat and a Toyota Auris, from the northern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula to the northern tip of the North Island. James had to cover 220 miles (350 km) in the AC45, whilst Jeremy had a much longer 410 miles (660 km). The AC45's crew was made up of James, Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie and a number of the crew that had won and would later retain the America's Cup. As the Auris was a rental, Jeremy calls it "the fastest car in the world", meaning he could drive it fast without having to worry about damaging it. He scrapes the side of the car on a narrow bridge to allow an oncoming vehicle to pass. Meanwhile, James complains about how uncomfortable the boat is.

  • Throughout the episode the car is called a Corolla because in Australia and New Zealand, the Auris is renamed Corolla.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: A Vauxhall Astra Tech Line is introduced as the new reasonably priced car, replacing the Kia Cee'd. The Astra has a 1.6 litre engine and comes with "lifetime warranty". A new lap time board is also introduced and Jeremy and Richard host a party for celebrities to get some times on it.

The times posted (in order of appearance) are:

  1. Brian Johnson – 1:45.1
  2. Charles Dance – 1:48.8
  3. Warwick Davis – 1:46.8
  4. Joss Stone – 1:48.9
  5. David Haye – 1:46.7
  6. Mike Rutherford – 1:51.5
  7. Jimmy Carr – 1:45.6 (Jeremy named "Jimmy Crash" on the lap board)
  8. Rachel Riley – 1:48.5
Challenge, part 2: Jeremy had to drive south around the Firth of Thames before turning north and driving through Auckland to head in the right direction. On the sailing boat, James loses his satellite phone to a strong wave. Jeremy decides to take a shortcut on gravel roads; the track ends, landing him completely off-road. When he finds a gravel road once again, he encounters a tractor and in the process of giving way to it, damages his car on a boundary wall to the side. He swaps his originally blue Auris for a red one at a hire car centre, hoping James would be too tired to notice the difference. To make up for lost time, Jeremy drives along Ninety Mile Beach. The Auris gets stuck in the sand on a beach, which was the finishing point. As the boat could not go all the way to the beach, James had to swim the last leg of the race. He reaches the checkpoint before Jeremy but is exhausted from sailing, and does manage to notice the colour change of the Auris.
156 2 Series 20, Episode 2 Ferrari F12 BerlinettaBAC Mono Best taxi • Tribute to BBC Television Centre Ron Howard 7 July 2013 (2013-07-07) 5.31

Review: Jeremy reviews the BAC Mono, a single seater track-day car that can be driven on public roads. With extensive use of lightweight materials, a Cosworth tuned engine and racing gearbox, the car is capable of immense performance and cornering grip, but Jeremy is startled by fact that it can destroy the driver's face at high speed, and the price tag of ₤102,000. The Stig lapped around the Top Gear test track in 1:14.3, the second fastest time and just slower than the Pagani Huayra.

News: The Dacia Duster is named budget 4x4 tow car of the year and Jeremy got himself a bicycle. The presenters then discuss the tyre job that Pirelli had done at the 2013 British Grand Prix. Volvo launches a function on their cars that can automatically find a parking space and park itself, but it was immediately ridiculed by the presenters that their car would be lost, not knowing where it would be parked. Ferrari and McLaren are launching their new cars respectively, the LaFerrari having KERS installed (with the engine and the motors both drive the rear wheels) and the McLaren P1 having DRS equipped. The Pagani Zonda is being upgraded, with a price tag of ₤2.3 million and a base car to start with. The trio then suggest a road trip between the three cars.

Challenge: Attempting to find out the best taxi in the world, Richard pits several taxis from the world at the Lydden Hill Race Circuit. The British taxi is represented by the Hackney carriage, a Volkswagen Beetle representing the Mexican counterpart, a Ford Crown Victoria representing the American yellow cab, a Hindustan Ambassador representing the Indian Taxi, a Mercedes-Benz E-Class from Germany, a South African Toyota Hiace and a stretch limousine Lincoln Town Car from Russia completes the round-up. Like previous challenges, a group of touring car racing drivers and Hammond himself are employed to race the vehicles. During the race, the limo spun out and the Ford t-boned it, destroying both cars in the process; The Mercedes had crashed into a tyre barrier and flipped, leaving only the Ambassador, Beetle, Hiace and Hackney carriage to cross the finish line. The Ambassador barely managed to finish first, thus it being named "The best taxi in the world". Back in the studio, Jeremy explains that the Hindustan Ambassador began its life as a Morris Oxford, a car that all of the presenters hate.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: The director of Rush, Ron Howard, talks about the background of his upcoming film and the heated struggle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, then the hot favourites of winning the 1976 Championship. He clocked a lap in the reasonably priced car at 1:49.9.

Feature: Paying tribute to the closed down BBC Television Centre in White City, London, James staged a race between a duo of parkour runners and motorcycle champion Dougie Lampkin inside the building. Lampkin won the closely fought race.

Review: Jeremy goes to Hertfordshire to test the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, assessing its practicality as an everyday car (Except Jeremy wasn't in Hertfordshire. He was 430 miles away in Pitlochry, which is in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.) While impressed by the Ferrari's abilities, he finds that it is too frantic for him, and concludes that it would be better if it had slower steering and slightly less power.
157 3 Series 20, Episode 3 None Spanish road trip in "budget" convertibles: McLaren MP4-12C SpiderAudi R8 V10 SpyderFerrari 458 Spider Benedict Cumberbatch 14 July 2013 (2013-07-14) 4.83

Challenge, part 1: The trio plan to drive across Spain to test three new "budget convertibles". Clarkson selects a bright yellow ₤195,000 McLaren MP4-12C Spider, Hammond takes a red ₤198,000 Ferrari 458 Spider, and May chooses a gray ₤121,000 Audi R8 V10 Spyder. Their first competition is to see who can drive through the marina area of Puerto Banus with the fewest number of pictures taken: May's R8 is snapped 22 times, Hammond's 458 47 times, and Clarkson's MP4 a whopping 438 times. The next day, they come across an immense area of abandoned, newly built flats and decide to conduct a noise test. Hammond believes that he has won when his 458 generates 107 dB of engine noise at full tilt (to 105 dB from the other two), but is declared the loser when Clarkson and May declare the object to be to generate the least amount of noise. They then set off on a curving road in the Sierra Nevada mountain range to test the limits of their cars, but their reverie is cut short - literally - when the road suddenly stops, unfinished due to lack of funds. When action switches back to the studio, they note that the R8 was also first in an (not shown) economy test.

News: Clarkson admits that he was not in Hertfordshire with the Ferrari F12 in the last episode; rather, he claims that he was in Buckinghamshire. The three then take turns complaining about electronic gimmicks in new cars, singling out voice-activated controls and power-operated boot lids for special condemnation. In comparing the effects of "sport" modes in new cars, Clarkson notes that the Stig was able to lap a Volkswagen Golf GTI faster in Comfort mode than in either Normal or Sport modes. A new supercar, the Icona Vulcano,is profiled, with the presenters finding substantial humour in the name of the car's chief design director, Samuel Chuffart.

Challenge, part 2: The trio use a near-deserted motorway to head further north into Spain. Searching for a place to test the top speeds of their cars, they chance across the disused Ciudad Real Central Airport. After amusing themselves with the still-active facilities in the abandoned terminal, they give themselves permission to use the main runway to test their cars. First is a top-speed test: Clarkson's MP4 reaches 198 mph (319 km/h), besting the 458's 193 mph (311 km/h) and the R8's 186 mph (299 km/h). The next test, campaigned over a half-mile length of runway, is a race in which the presenters must start with the tops down, and finish with the tops up; the MP4 wins again, followed by the R8 and the 458. After the race, Hammond discovers that the gravel on the runway had severely damaged the underside of his Ferrari. Instead of renting hotel rooms, the presenters find another series of abandoned housing projects and squat in an unoccupied house for the night, and mutually decide that the R8 is the best budget convertible, the 458 is the best supercar and the MP4-12C is the best car.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Benedict Cumberbatch talks about the latest episode from his hit TV show Sherlock and practices a fake punch against Jeremy. He sets a 1:47.8 lap time in the Vauxhall Astra.

Challenge, part 3: The trio enter Madrid and find yet another huge abandoned housing project. Commenting on the size of the project, Clarkson opines that the development would be an ideal location for a street-racing circuit, which they create and christen the "Circuito de Sir Francis Drake". Calling their event the "Madrid Grand Prix", they import the Stig to set a benchmark lap in a Jaguar XKR-S convertible. None of the presenters best the Stig's 0:57.5; Hammond runs a 0:58.5, followed by Clarkson's 0:59.1 and May's 1:00.8. Back at the studio, Clarkson claims to have won and beaten the Stig when they raced again without the cameras rolling, and then May claims to have won when it started raining due to the R8's 4WD. Clarkson claims that the MP4 has won, whilst May produces a chart demonstrating how the R8 has won pretty much all the tests on the chart. In the end, though, all three presenters decide that they would rather have the Ferrari.
158 4 Series 20, Episode 4 Mercedes SLS AMG Black SeriesMercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive Ford Transit hovervan Hugh Jackman 21 July 2013 (2013-07-21) 5.36

Review: Jeremy compare the Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series to the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive. The Black Series is now faster and has better handing than the normal one due to its lighter weight, more horsepower, a rear wing and electronic differentials. He sums the Black Series up by saying that it was built to make a lap fast, whilst the normal one was built to make a lap fun. The Electric Drive however, comes with a more powerful engine and its own "high-visibility jacket" (a reference to the light green paint job), although it is very quiet. But, against the petrol-powered Black Series, it is dominant in a drag race because of its four independent motors powering each wheel, despite it being heavier by half a ton, due to having 864 batteries in the spine of the chassis. Jeremy sums it up as a brilliant car, but the drawbacks are quite significant, as the range is not very good, and it costs £360,000 but it does show that when the oil runs out, cars can still develop. The Stig sets a time of 1:21;7 in the Electric Drive, but sets a faster time of 1:19:0 in the Black Series, showing the difference between the petrol and the electric versions of a car.

News: Jeremy talks about the government's attitude to speed limits, saying that the new Secretary of State for Transport said that the new proposed speed limit of 80 mph (130 km/h) will not take action, as people currently drive at 95 mph (153 km/h) , 15 more than that speed limit. He then thanks the Minister and ends the news to make sure that the producer doesn't edit it out, as they have previously done, otherwise there would be no news.

Challenge, part 1: At the Top Gear Penistone Engineering Workshop the boys try to turn a Ford Transit van into a makeshift hovercraft for getting around in towns like Penistone that are flooded regularly. Hammond explains that two 90hp engines are more than enough, whilst Clarkson protests saying that it isn't enough. The finished product works on the road, though not discretely, as well as there not being any space in the back. They gear up in wetsuits in order to tick all the boxes for health and safety for testing on a reservoir, however, the "Hovervan" immediately sinks. Back in the studio, Clarkson blames Hammond for not having powerful enough engines, Hammond blames May's skirt being too short, and May blames Clarkson for going in too fast.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Hugh Jackman talks about his upcoming film, The Wolverine, and his embarrassing experience in the onsen in Japan, while both admit the size of their penises. He sets a time of 1:46:1, becoming the third fastest.

Challenge, part 2: The Mark II of the Hovervan comes with bigger skirts, inflatable rubber tubes around the side so that should the engines cut out it will still float in the water, and the lift engine is from a Yamaha R1 superbike and the thrust engine is a lightweight 2.4 litre V8 from a Radical track car, adding up to 600 horsepower. To test this one out, the boys are on the River Avon and not geared up in wetsuits, as they are so confident that this time it will work. However, after just embarking on the river, they immediately crack the windscreen on a nearby branch, and run out of fuel due to the large engines and small petrol tank, which can only hold 2 gallons. While refuelling, they receive a challenge saying that they must drive to Tewkesbury from Stratford-upon-Avon, a journey of approximately 50 miles. After the refuel, they set off, the Hovervan proving to be quite effective, besides the spray and the loud noise. In Stratford-upon-Avon, the noise proves to be quite distressing. While trying to escape, they scrape two grade 1 listed bridges, they knock a man into the water, and hit some moored boats. While attempting to park in order to have some lunch, the thrust from the Hovervan blows away some dining tables. While trying to escape again, the skirt at the front of the Hovervan collapses due to the high speed. They refuelled, having only done 4 miles, and enter a lock, which proves to be disastrous, including Clarkson leaving it to run amok, soaking Hammond in the process. After leaving the lock and, due to May's sense of direction and navigating, they come to a weir, and after unsuccessfully trying to turn around, they manage to go down it. However, Clarkson attempts to go back up it, and because it hit the rev limiter, the engine cut out. Back in the studio, they come to the conclusion that it is brilliant despite the noise, the spray, the impracticality, terrible danger, rubbish fuel consumption, unreliability and uncontrollability.
159 5 Series 20, Episode 5 Porsche 911Lamborghini Aventador RoadsterLamborghini Sesto ElementoMazda CX-5Volkswagen Tiguan Best crossovers for caravanners Steven Tyler 28 July 2013 (2013-07-28) 5.29

Review: May tests the new Porsche 911 Carrera, and aside from a few key body styles, suspension tweaks, and engine upgrades, it hasn't changed much since the birth of the Porsche 911 in 1963. However, the new 911 doesn't satisfy the more "older purists" of the 911 nameplate. The solution: a 911 tribute car built by Singer, a Californian Tuner that combines the classic 911 with subtle modern touches, including a more modern body made out of carbon fibre. He concludes the segment by claiming the Singer 911 is, like the Eagle E-Type Jeremy drove in Series 17, a love letter to a car.

News: Hammond talks about the new Porsche 911 GT3 until Jeremy tells him to shut up about his 'glorified Beetle.' Then May talks about the new Porsche 911 Turbo which disappoints Jeremy as he labels Porsche as 'liars' and 'crap engineers' given Porsche claimed they would never built another turbo car. Jeremy then announces that David Cameron is banning internet pornography, which means that they can't look at the new Lamborghini Egoista or anything orange. Ford releases pictures of the new EcoSport, which they claim addresses the fact that modern cars don't have enough radiator grills. This segues into voice activated systems on cars, which are rubbish and how certain words could prompt the wrong actions (e.g. looking for a song by The Police might inexplicably call the real Police). Dacia releases a new Duster Black edition, which is said to be nothing more than a Duster with a vinyl wrap. Jeremy talks about a man in a BMW going through a flood, wishing he had the 'Hovervan' from the previous episode.

Review: Richard tests the new Lamborghini Aventador Roadster in Italy, then he moves onto the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento. Hammond drives it around the Imola racetrack, noting how powerful and basic the car is. The Stig then takes the Sesto Elemento around the track; he spins off the track at one point, but manages to finish a lap in 1:14.0. The car was then removed from the board, due to it not being road legal.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler is the final celebrity in series twenty to drive the Vauxhall Astra. He manages a 1:51.0, the second slowest at the time.

Challenge: Clarkson and May are forced to do a review on different crossover utility vehicles to see which one is best for a caravanner and not mock caravanners. Despite having reservations about reviewing a fleet of CUV's, May picks a key from a bowl held by Clarkson to start with one car; he picks a key and it's for the Toyota RAV4. However, when James reviews it, Jeremy points out that the car he's reviewing is actually a Mitsubishi Outlander. Testing out all of the CUV's, a common theme arises; they are all bland, dreary, and are too similar to each other. Clarkson goes on a rant on how a CUV like a Honda CR-V is almost similar to a Honda Civic except the fact that the CUV is priced higher and has a different suspension setup. May decides to chart out qualities in a CUV that carvanners want, noting such factors as towing capacity and insurance.

After some discussion, both Clarkson and May whittle down the field to two cars; the Mazda CX-5 and the Volkswagen Tiguan. The duo then did tests on the cars, but are later forced by the producers to do proper tests as J-Turns and The Stig doing laps around the test track whilst towing a caravan weren't relevant. Starting at a specified point, the duo had to travel to a caravan park several miles away, where the loser was booked to spend the night. Both hosts' strategy to go off-road to get to the park and avoid regular roads ends up thrashing the caravans. Clarkson arrives first, but May claims a moral victory since his caravan was more or less intact versus Clarkson's destroyed caravan. Back in the studio, Clarkson says he will rather buy a Volkswagen Golf (which is £4000 cheaper than the Tiguan) and use the money saved on a two-week hotel stay in France. May also states that they have successfully completed the episode without a single mention of the Royal Baby .
160 6 Series 20, Episode 6 Jaguar F-TypeNew Bus for LondonRange Rover Sport Tribute to British automobile manufacturing Mark Webber 4 August 2013 (2013-08-04) 5.49

Review: With the discontinuation of the First Generation Range Rover Sport, Hammond tests out the Second Generation Range Rover Sport. Unlike the first generation, which lacked off-roading credibility and had an ownership consisting primarily of footballers and their wives, Hammond is able to take the new Range Rover Sport off-roading, which it handles well thanks to various gadgets on the SUV (including sonar to traverse water obstacles). At Donington Park, it minimally beats a John Cooper Works Mini Cooper driven by The Stig. However, Clarkson complains that the new Sport does not have the trademark split tailgate like its predecessor.

News: May complains about Highways Agency Traffic Officers blocking roads for minor accidents where their primary role is supposed to be opening roads quickly due to disruptions. The group proposes to reclassify the HATO's into Wombles. Royal Mail releases a set of stamps featuring British classic cars, but the group criticises some of the choices, including a Ford Anglia police car and a Morris Minor Van. Mazda and Alfa Romeo have teamed up to build a car similar to the Mazda MX-5 and the Alfa Romeo Spider, but Clarkson points out the last time Alfa Romeo attempted a joint venture, they teamed up with Nissan, and they produced the Alfa Romeo Arna, which Clarkson states was "terrible". An idea proposed on a previous episode of Top Gear to relax parking standards in town centres catches the ear of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, which prompts the trio to ask him to come out and do a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment.

Review: May tests the New Bus for London in Somerset, arguing that for the same price that can buy a supercar with two seats, you can get a vehicle that can seat more people. However, May soon finds out that unlike a supercar, a bus is hard to start, manoeuvre, has clearance issues, and is rubbish on track days, though he does point out that like a supercar, people will gawk, stare and take pictures. The bus also shares a similar engine and drive train layout like many supercars. Still, the new bus has features that are needed for bus service, including floors resilient to biological fluids, hints to the old Routemaster, and screens that advise people if the second level is full.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Mark Webber talks about England's win in the 2013 Ashes series, his and Jeremy's common interest in cycling, his flip at the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as his flip at the 2010 European Grand Prix, and explaining his departure from Formula 1 to join Porsche's LMP1 team, while stating that he won't miss teammate Sebastian Vettel. He sets a time of 1:43.1, beating his wet time of 1:47.1 in series 6 and Sebastian Vettel, thus placing him second. He misses board leader Lewis Hamilton's time by 0.2 seconds.

Review: Clarkson tests the Jaguar F-Type, but has many complaints about the car, from the price point, to the boot capacity, to the suspension. Despite the flaws, Clarkson says the fact that the car looks brilliant, goes fast, and has a pleasurable engine noise makes up for the faults.

Tribute: Despite Jaguar and Land Rover being owned by an Indian company, the cars are still being built in Britain, so the trio wonders if any other cars are still being made in Britain, despite the stereotype that the country is devoid of such manufacturing and was severely crippled by labour strikes. They go on to point out that major car makers like Honda, Toyota, and Nissan operate manufacturing plants in England producing cars. Ford has engine manufacturing plants in Wales and Essex, where one out of three Ford cars sold around the world has an engine that came from one of the two British plants. Car parts from engines to gearboxes to interior trim for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive, the BMW 3 Series and the Bugatti Veyron originated in England. Rolls-Royce, whilst sourcing parts from Germany, hand manufactures their cars in Sussex, especially interior pieces and pinstriping.

Motorsport involvement in the United Kingdom is wide and varied. Out of eleven Formula 1 teams, eight are based in England, with seven based near enough to each other to be "seen" from a hill in Oxford (Williams, Lotus, Caterham, Force India, Marussia, Red Bull Racing, and Mercedes-Benz). A gearbox used in cars from Indycar, the Dakar Rally, the 24 Hours of LeMans, and used in the production Pagani Huayra, are built in an industrial estate in Berkshire (Xtrac Limited). Various other components, from clutches to hybrid systems to ECU's used in motorsport originate in England as well.

Aston Martin was voted The Coolest Brand in the World for five of the last seven years whilst a montage of celebrity Range Rover owners is shown. Heavy equipment is featured next, with a map of the world showing countries using British made heavy equipment like Military Vehicles, Lorries, and JCB branded equipment. With the exception of France, the rest of the world enjoys automotive shows made in Britain.

With the track record researched, Clarkson invites the many manufacturers of motorised vehicles in Britain to London. The response is huge as a montage of motorised vehicles of all shapes and sizes start their journey to London. Vehicles from Rolls-Royce, Ariel Motor Company, Honda, Mini, Noble Automotive, Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, Briggs Automotive Company, Jaguar Cars, JCB, Land Rover, Morgan Motor Company, and the McLaren Group start their journey from across the country to London. Formula 1 teams Lotus F1, Mercedes-Benz, McLaren, and Red Bull Racing also embark from Milton Keynes.

In London, even more cars join the ranks, from Bentley to ice cream vans to ride-on lawn mowers making their way to the meeting point. The trio, driving Union Jack bedecked Jaguar F-Types, drive past Buckingham Palace to The Mall and are amazed at the number of vehicles that have shown up, which has filled The Mall. The diversity of what's parked surprises the trio, from heavy equipment to small specialised cars and equipment. Clarkson closes the tribute by questioning people who say Britain is nothing more than a bank or a boutique aren't right. The show closes as members of the Queen's Guard ride past the assembled cars and equipment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eames, Tom (2013-07-01). "'Top Gear' returns for new series with over 4.7m on BBC Two". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  2. ^ "Top Gear, BBC Two, review". Daily Telegraph. 30 June 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Top 10 Programmes". BARB. Archived from the original on 2013-01-13. Retrieved 2013-07-30.