Top Gear is one of the finest shows to be ever produced by the BBC. There are many factors for its success, but mainly the trio of presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, and The Stig. So, we are going to rank the best Top Gear episodes today.
Top Gear is a fan-favorite comedy show for many people. Even after so many years, it is as relevant as ever. The best aspect about this show is that if you like cars, you will enjoy it, but even if you don’t, it works as a comedy.
Top Gear has been on the air for many years, so naturally, it has a lot of episodes. However, if you’re looking for a quick rewatch of the show, don’t worry. We have picked the top 30 best Top Gear episodes for you.
The premise of Top Gear is quite simple. The presenters in the show (or as they like to call themselves, “the boys”) compare vehicle manufacturers’ claims against reality. The boys go to different parts of the world and test all sorts of vehicles.
Moreover, the quirky remarks provided by the presenters add to the whole episode, and it becomes one of the most entertaining shows.
Even though there are not many dull episodes of the show, there are some fan-favorite choices. We have made this ranking of the best Top Gear episodes based on fans’ reception towards certain episodes.
So without any further ado, let’s begin our list of best Top Gear episodes.
We are kicking off our list of best Top Gear episodes with the 5th episode of season 22. This episode aired on February 23, 2015. It is titled “May And Clarkson Look At The Weird And Wonderful History Of Peugeot.”
The title is pretty self-explanatory. James and Jeremy delve into French company Peugeot’s history in this episode. On the other hand, Richard compares the new Porsche Cayman GTS to the new Corvette.
Moreover, this episode features famous singer Olly Murs as a guest star. He takes the “reasonably priced” Vauxhall Astra for a drive on the tracks.
The 4th episode of season 12 aired on November 23, 2008. This episode is titled Economy Race From Basel To Blackpool Illuminations.
In this episode, Jeremy was out of action due to his little accident during this season’s premiere. So, James May had to road test the Pagani Zonda F Roadster. He compares it to the Bugatti Veyron.
The most interesting bit from this episode is when the boys compete in a fuel economy race from Switzerland to Blackpool, England. Each of their automobiles must complete the journey with only one fuel tank.
Next up is the 3rd episode of season 8. This episode is titled Amphibious Car Challenge, and it aired on May 21, 2006.
We see the boys attempt to build amphibious cars in this episode. These cars must run on both land and water. Moreover, Jeremy puts the new Lotus Exige S through its paces. He races it against a powerful Mustang.
Overall, this episode is fascinating and hilarious. It is quite entertaining to see the boys trying to push the boundaries of physics and mechanics. Each one of them creates a unique vehicle. May manages to come on top since his car barely manages to cross the reservoir.
The 13th episode of season 2 makes its way on our list of best Top Gear episodes. In this episode, the boys answer the age-old question; what is the perfect car for a 17-year-old?
This episode aired on June 28, 2009.
This episode follows the boys as they pretend to be 12-year-olds and attempt to buy a car. However, there’s a catch. They all have a budget of £2,500. As a result, they must choose cars that can be purchased and insured for less than £2500.
Moreover, Richard travels to Abu Dhabi to test the fastest Lamborghini ever built, the Murcielago LP670-4 SV. Also, we get to see a race between Bugatti Veyron and the McLaren F1. Oh, and this episode also features Stephen Fry as the guest star.
This entire episode is full of interesting moments and entertainment. It is hard to believe that they managed to pack so much in this episode.
Season 16’s 3rd episode makes its way on this list. This episode aired on February 21, 2011. It is titled “Albania Road Trip.”
In this episode, The boys travel to Albania to test some new automobiles, including a few Rolls-Royces, before returning home to try out more economical options, such as a Ford Focus. It also features Jonathan Ross driving a reasonably priced car.
This whole episode is exciting. Especially the boys’ time in Albania makes this episode a must-see. If you want to see the best Top Gear episodes, then make sure to put this episode on your list.
The 5th episode of season 20 aired on August 5, 2013. It was titled “Best Crossovers For Caravanners.”
Jeremy Clarkson and James May inspect a ‘crossover,’ a tall hatchback. Because these vehicles are intended for caravanners, the duo selects examples from Mazda and Volkswagen and spends a couple of days living in them.
On the other hand, Richard takes a ride in two of the iconic luxury carmaker’s automobiles, including the famous Aventador Roadster.
One more episode from season 20 is on our list of best Top Gear episodes. The 4th episode of season 20 aired on July 29, 2013.
Another season, another amphibious car. The boys attempt to design a vehicle that can transform into a hovercraft for a good cause: to assist people of a flood-affected region of the United Kingdom.
Jeremy gets his hands on the beautiful yet insane Mercedes SLS Black and the 739 horsepower SLS Electric. In addition, this episode features High Jackman driving a reasonably priced car as the guest star.
The second episode of the 19th season of Top Gear aired on February 3, 2013. It was the 150th episode of the series.
This episode features a road trip across the western side of the United States in three supercars. The boys start their journey from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and then to Palm Springs.
Moreover, the friendly banter between them is the main highlight of this episode. You will feel like you’re also on the road trip with these witty men. Overall, it is a very entertaining episode.
Next up on our list of best Top Gear episodes is the 2nd episode of season 22. This episode aired on February 1, 2015.
In this episode, the road trip proceeds to Australia, specifically the Northern Territory. Three different GTs are chosen for the boys to compete against each other on their adventure across the Australian countryside.
This episode also features a guest appearance from the star of 24, Kiefer Sutherland. He drives the “reasonably priced” Vauxhall Astra.
The 9th episode of season 10 of Top Gear is titled “Britcar 24 Hour Endurance Race.” This episode aired on December 9, 2007.
This episode features James taking the new Fiat 500 for a spin around the streets of Budapest, a congested European city that proves to be quite a challenge.
Furthermore, the boys buy an ancient BMW 330D, get it modified into a race vehicle, and use it to compete in the Britcar Silverstone 24 Hour race, with The Stig filling in as a fourth driver to compensate for their lack of racing expertise.
The third amphibious car episode is taking the 20th spot on this list. Season 10’s second episode aired on October 14, 2007. It is conveniently titled “Amphibious Car Challenge II.”
In this episode, the boys try to create another amphibious vehicle to cross the English Channel. This time, Jeremy discards the “Toyboata” in favor of a Nissan pickup dubbed the “Nissank” James restores his Triumph Herald sailboat, and Richard modifies another Volkswagen Vanagon. He calls it the “Dampervan.”
They drive these vehicles from Sidcup to Dover before trying to cross the English Channel to France. All in all, this episode was really fun to watch and is definitely one of the best Top Gear episodes.
The 3rd episode of season 20 aired on July 14, 2013. It is titled Spanish Road Trip In Budget Convertibles.
This episode takes place in the beautiful land of Spain. The presenters travel to Spain in three “budget” convertible sports cars to symbolize the country’s bleak economic state. These “budget cars” include McLaren MP4-12C, Ferrari 458, and an Audi R8 V10.
The presenters realized how terrible the global financial crisis had been in Spain as they traveled. Furthermore, we get to see Benedict Cumberbatch in this episode. He also takes the Vauxhall Astra for a ride.
The next entry on this list comes from the 6th episode of season 22. In this episode, Richard Hammond heads to a mountain in Canada to check whether a particular watch works or not. The watch can be used to send a distress signal.
However, Jeremy Clarkson and James May will be on the receiving end of that signal. They will attempt to “save” Richard using two pickup trucks. These vehicles are a Ford Raptor and a Chevy Silverado 2500HD.
In the SIARPC, we see Gillian Anderson, who is very well-known for her work on the hit TV series X-Files. Her time on Top Gear is really hilarious and charming. Overall, this entire episode is full of surprises.
Next up on our list of Top Gear episodes is the third episode of season 22. This episode is titled Homemade Ambulance Challenge. It aired on February 9, 2015.
The Top Gear trio decides that modern ambulances are inadequate for their needs, and they are tasked to design their own. After completing their projects, the boys gather for a series of challenges to determine who is the best candidate for the job.
This is also one of the funniest Top Gear episodes. All the interactions between the boys are really delightful.
The 4th episode of season 17 aired on July 17, 2011. This episode follows the boys reimagining the mechanics of train travel. They ask themselves; can train travel be improved?
By replacing traditional carriages and locomotives with a series of caravans tied to a specially modified automobile, the boys try to make train travel cheaper, faster, and more exciting.
When their first idea fails, James and Richard operate a normal train service, while Jeremy creates a new type of “Sports Train,” giving rise to the TGV12. Furthermore, this episode features Rowan Atkinson in the SIARPC segment and he becomes the lapboard leader.
The 22nd Season of the show seems to be a fan favorite. Another episode from that season is making its way on our list of best Top Gear episodes. The premiere of season 22 aired on January 26, 2015.
In this episode, the presenters head to Saint Petersburg to reenact their London race from season ten. James raced in a futuristic Renault Twizy, Richard on a race bike, Jeremy in a custom-built hovercraft, and the Stig used Russia’s public transportation system.
In addition, this episode features Ed Sheeran as the guest. He was the first celebrity in Series 22 to take on the Vauxhall Astra at the Top Gear test track.
Season 13’s premiere aired on January 25, 2010. The boys attempt to go back in time in this episode (not literally).
In this episode, the boys attempt to rewind back the clock. They’re curious about what it would have been like to race from London to Edinburgh 60 years ago, so they try to recreate those conditions.
They use a steam train, a motorcycle, and a Jaguar to see who would be the first to cross the finish line. Moreover, this episode featured 7-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher in the SIARPC segment.
The 5th episode of season 15 aired on July 25, 2010. This is probably the only episode which isn’t famous due to the presenters but the guest.
In this episode of Top Gear, Richard travels to Sweden to race against snowmobilers in a new Volkswagen. Moreover, two very famous guests from Hollywood appear in the SIARPC segment. These guests are none other than Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.
Overall, this is one of the most-watched Top Gear episodes. Moreover, it is probably the only episode to feature two A-list celebrities at once. These are the reasons why this episode is on our list of best Top Gear episodes.
Coming in next is the 3rd episode of season 9. This episode is titled “U.S. Special,” and it aired on February 11, 2007.
In this episode, the trio travels to the United States to see if they can find cars for around $1,000. When they successfully find some good deals, they complete various tasks which take them through different States.
This whole episode is genuinely hilarious. Moreover, it is full of pure Top Gear action and entertainment. Overall, it is very fun to watch the episode.
The 4th episode of season 15 makes its way on our list of best Top Gear episodes. It is titled “Building MotorHomes,” and it aired on October 18, 2010.
This episode revolves around the boys trying to create the perfect motorhome. They try to modify Land Rover 110, a Citroën CX, and a Lotus Excel in an attempt to build the most versatile motorhome.
Such episodes where the boys are trying to create something are always hilarious to watch and this is no different. In addition, the Godfather actor Andy Garcia makes an appearance for the SIARPC segment.
Middle East Special was the premiere of season 16. This episode aired on December 26, 2010, which makes it a Christmas special episode.
This entire episode is very interesting. The boys were given a £3,500 budget and advised to buy a used two-door convertible sports car. Their automobiles, as well as themselves, were transported to the starting point on a Russian cargo plane with no knowledge of their exact location.
The boys then follow the path of the Three Wise Men. Moreover, this episode is particularly famous for its beautiful visual sense. The boys travel across the Middle East from Iraq to Palestine. It is a very entertaining as well as informative episode.
9. Season 9, Episode 8
“Polar Special” is the name of the 8th episode of season 9. This episode aired on July 25, 2007. In this episode, the boys accept the challenge of racing from northern Canada to the North Pole.
However, since it’s Top Gear, the challenge needs to be taken to the next level. Richard travels in a sled pulled by a team of 10 Canadian Inuit dogs, while Jeremy and James drive a specially modified pickup truck.
This is the only Top Gear Special where instead of the boys using second-hand cars, a race was the main feature. Moreover, this is the very first episode of Top Gear that was shot and aired in High Definition.
“Botswana Special” is the title of the 4th episode of season 10. This episode aired on November 4, 2007.
In this episode, Jeremy, James, and Richard each spend £1500 on an old two-wheel drive automobile and drive it 1,000 miles through Botswana from the Zimbabwe border to the Namibian border, passing through the Makgadikgadi salt flats and the Okavango Delta.
Botswana’s landscapes are one-of-a-kind, and the episode’s direction does an excellent job of demonstrating them. Then there are the cars. They’re a mix of strange, amusing, and eager. Overall, this is definitely one of the best Top Gear episodes.
The 4th episode of season 11 aired on July 13, 2008. In this episode, James and Richard traveling on the bullet train challenge Jeremy to a race. Jeremy is using a Nissan GT-R for this race.
This episode is crazy. First of all, the idea of racing against a bullet train is just bizarre and it is something only the Top Gear crew could come up with. However, this entire race is very entertaining and interesting.
Overall, this is really one of the best Top Gear episodes and it stands out from the rest due to its unique premise.
Another special episode makes its way on our list of best Top Gear episodes. “Burma Special: Part 1” aired on March 9, 2014. It is the 6th episode of season 21.
This special episode takes the boys to Myanmar, a country that has been closed to westerners for a very long time. The boys are on a mission to build a bridge in Thailand, however, they must cross Myanmar to reach their destination.
This entire episode is full of beautiful cinematography and some hilarious banter between the presenters. It will not be wrong to call this episode an iconic one. The second part of this episode is also worth watching.
“Africa Special” is a two-part special. It is part of season 19 of Top Gear. The first and second parts of this special aired on March 3, 2013, and March 10, 2013, respectively.
Clarkson, Hammond, and May return to Africa in this two-part special, this time in Uganda, with the mission of discovering the true source of the River Nile while driving three estate cars that cost £1500 each.
This special is one-of-a-kind and features a lot of great humor, scenery as well as action. Even if you haven’t watched the show in years, this episode will hit right at home. It is a very well-made episode.
The second part of the Burma Special episode aired on March 24, 2014. The boys continue their adventure across Burma and Myanmar.
The boys navigate through Burma’s Shan area in “Burma Special: Part 2.” They are later confronted with a new task at the River Kwai. Richard praises the country and calls it incredible. Moreover, this episode is one of Richard’s personal favorites.
It is a great follow-up to part 1 of the Burma Special and keeps the pace up. Overall, it is probably one of the most beloved Top Gear episodes.
In third place, we have the 6th episode of season 14. This episode is titled “Bolivia Special,” and it aired on April 19, 2010.
In this episode, the boys travel to the barren land of Bolivia. It has rough terrain, and they must only use local 4×4 vehicles to travel toward Chile. It is a thrilling adventure that pushes the cars and drivers to their limits.
You should definitely watch this episode even if you’re not a fan of the show.
This next entry on our list is particularly emotional for long-term fans of the show. The 8th episode of season 22 aired on July 13, 2015.
In this episode, the boys are challenged to buy a classic convertible that they feel will be ideal for the English summer. After making their picks, the group gets together and spends a few days striving to become true classic automobile owners.
So why did I call this episode emotional? Because this was the last episode hosted by all three of the original presenters. After this episode, Jeremy Clarkson was dismissed from the show which was a huge shock for many fans. So, this episode changed the future of Top Gear forever.
We are concluding this list with “Vietnam Special.” It is the finale of season 8 and aired on December 28, 2008.
In this episode, the boys ditch the tradition of using cars and opt for motorbikes to travel across Vietnam. They were each given 15 million dong (approximately $1,000) to spend on wheels and must go to the north of Vietnam.
The boys even attempt to develop amphibious versions of their bikes in order to cross Halong Bay. In short, this entire episode is great and full of entertainment. No wonder people call it the best Top Gear episode.
So this was our ranking of the 30 best Top Gear episodes. We hope you liked it and it might’ve struck a chord of nostalgia for some of you.