Can You Name Six of These Top Gear Picks?



By: Zoe Samuel

7 Min Quiz

Image: BBC Two / BBC HD / BBC Knowledge

About This Quiz

"'New' Top Gear" has been with us for nearly twenty years. In that time it has evolved as has its subject: cars. Petrolheads aren't the entirety of the "Top Gear" audience, as "Top Gear" is a show first and foremost about fun, but the unique form that fun always takes is fun in automobiles, be they cars, lorries, or even sometimes the occasional motorcycle. The brilliance of "Top Gear" is how they managed to make cars interesting, even to an audience that isn't already fascinated by them. The casual viewer of "Top Gear" will, through osmosis, learn about cars in-depth in ways the average person can't imagine.

How well do you know cars? More importantly, how well do you remember old episodes of "Top Gear"? The show has featured dozens of cars over the years, more than one leader board for lap times, several cars for interviewees to drive, and quite a few very cheap cars the hosts put through hell. Knowledge of these machines can involve the technical, as in what sort of differential the car has. It may involve the artistic, as in which design studio styled the car, or it may involve the plot of the show itself, and what became of the car in question. Do you think you'll be able to name even six of them?

The Goodwood Festival of Speed sees some of the most interesting modified classics around. What Goodwood classic did Chris Harris race, that could be referred to as 'Swift'?

Nick Swift is a builder and driver of fast classic Minis, and when Chris Harris went to Goodwood to sample his work and have a go, he was not disappointed. Swiftune doubled the power of the engine and added a limited-slip differential and modern brake pads, making the Mini Cooper S a potent little machine.


Some cars are a bargain, and some cars are just overpriced. What American car did "Top Gear" is said to be like a McLaren 720S but for half the price?

Considering what a performance bargain the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is, it should be called the "ZR1!". Jack Rix described the car as possibly "the angriest car ever," praising its manual gearbox (an option) and grinning as he mashed the accelerator.


Some car companies get everything right, except for one or two details. About what car did Jeremy criticize its electronics?

Jeremy really did not like the BMW M5s of the "flame styling era" because of the way BMW set up the electronics. From the infotainment system that would switch modes without being asked, to the indicators that had to be switched off in a strange way, Jeremy hated the M5.


What super-luxury pseudo military car did Richard Hammond drive through a swimming pool to prove it could go through a meter of water?

The Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6 is based on the G-Wagon, which is Mercedes Benz's storied military truck. With a lockable mechanical differential, the G-Wagon is one of the greatest off-roaders. The G63 and G65 versions are actually worse off-road due to their different exhaust setup, but the 6x6 is different, taller, and better equipped. Just don't try to find parking in London.


Some cars are publicity stunts, and some cars get reviewed as stunts. What car did Clarkson drive into a lift in the BBC's London offices?

The Peel P50 is a small car from the Isle of Man that, despite being built in the 1960s, gets 100 mpg. It has no real storage to speak of, and just barely fit Jeremy inside of it. It's also the smallest car in the world. It's so tiny that Jeremy took it for a drive through the BBC offices, sharing a lift with Fiona Bruce.


Sometimes, even Jeremy will admit he is wrong. What car did Jeremy reluctantly embrace in lieu of a Ferrari?

While the Porsche 911 is a very practical sports car in some ways, it gets a lot of hate from Jeremy and many other car enthusiasts because of its looks, history and lack of change over time. What Jeremy finally saw was that the 911 Turbo had just the right combination of handling and power and practicality to make driving it a dream ... one he was loath to admit.


When under attack, even Captain Slow was fast. What car was James driving as he raced through Alabama?

One can be forgiven for forgetting which car James May was driving as he ran from brick-throwing locals in the Alabama leg of the "Top Gear" US special. This is mostly because the memorable bit wasn't May's choice of the wallowing ancient "luxury" car.


"Top Gear" has had some great instructors on. What make of rally car did Mika Hakkinen use to teach James May how to do a Scandinavian Flick?

James May's very dangerous instruction in drifting via the Scandinavian Flick came via Mika Hakkinen's Mercedes 190E rally car, which, from all appearances, really looked like it wanted to spin out. Lightweight and made for racing, this learner's car would prepare James for how things should feel when he's in the right car for rally racing.


Some cars are fast and cheap. What American supercar with a top speed of only 177 mph did Chris Harris call a bargain?

645 hp forced into the ground with a rear wing producing so much downforce that the car doesn't break at 180 mph seems odd, but while the ACR shreds tires, it also goes faster than nearly anything, and indeed anything for $140,000. Of course, being a Viper, it does rather want to spin off the track if a driver oversteps their skill.


British Leyland made some terrible cars that petrolheads still love. How much money did Richard pay for his British Leyland car, when challenged by the producers, and which car did he buy?

Richard was proud of his Dolomite Sprint, as it was considered "sporty" for its time by ... someone, presumably. It included a wooden trim that would provide passengers with splinters and design by the famous sports car stylist Giovanni Michelotti. Sadly, it had little else to recommend it.


Few races are as exciting as a drag race. What car did Matt LeBlanc use to outrun a Lamborghini Aventador on a drag strip?

If anyone wants to take on the Aventador, one needs a lot of power. The Dodge Demon is nothing if not powerful. It can't corner particularly well, and it's not luxurious on the inside, but it is powerful. Specifically, it produces 840 hp on racing fuel. It even has an automatic gearbox, so anyone can drive it. Anyone crazy, that is.


Not all cars are made equal. Which Aston Martin had the fastest lap time on the Top Gear Dunsford Aerodrome leaderboard?

The One-77, one of the most expensive cars of all time, did an unofficial lap of 1:21.67, which is very fast, but the humble, entry-level hatchback V8 Vantage had a lap time of 1:19.7. Sometimes money isn't enough to make something fast.


Some sports cars are fast but aren't meant for speed. What unique sports car did Jeremy describe as a car whose horn one would use to signal other people who live in their tax haven?

The Dutch car company Spyker was a revived marque with a new car when Jeremy reviewed the C8, which was a gorgeous sports car with a quilted interior and an engine supplied by Audi but lacked the control and poise of its Italian competition. Still, it remains one of the most gorgeous cars in the world.


Some cars manage to be great and terrible all at once. What SUV did "Top Gear" call both "the quietest SUV ever built" and so "terrible" looking, an adjective had to be censored?

With every car maker in the world going the way of the SUV, it's no surprise that Rolls-Royce, makers of the most luxurious, most prestigious, most desirable cars in the world, would get into the game. Technically, the Cullinan is an amazing machine, but when it comes to looks, the Rolls-Royce design language didn't seem to translate well to the SUV, making the inside a nice place to be, but the outside a hard place to keep one's eyes open.


Some cars are fast and rare but hardly a classic. What car did the hosts hope would unseat the Ferrari Enzo, and did, but isn't really a looker?

The oddly named and very quickly forgotten, fantastically ugly but incredibly fast Maserati MC12 unseated the Ferarri Enzo as the fastest car on the "Top Gear" test track. While everyone was excited to see that, the car's visibility was miserable, and aside from racing it on a track, it had little to recommend it. At the end of the day, most people would prefer to own a Ferrari, not Ferrari's corporate sibling.


Some "Top Gear" challenges are just silly. What car did "Top Gear" pit against a jet-powered car?

This 'challenge' wasn't exactly a standard "Top Gear" challenge in that no one was racing the Nissan Sunny across Australia against the jet-powered car. Instead, the jet-powered car was used to incinerate the Sunny, which was described by Richard as the epitome of the blandest cheap car ever designed.


Speed can come from power or lightness. What fast car that Richard loved was lighter than a Ford Fiesta?

Not a production car per se, the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento was a test bed for new technology now in use by both Lamborghini and Boeing, but its party piece is its body and chassis and ... most of its parts, in fact. Carbon fiber is the name of the game, with so much of the car made of it that it had to be named for carbon: the sixth element.


There's nothing like a race! What car did "Top Gear" race across Europe against a light aircraft?

"Top Gear" is famous for its races, and one of the most memorable was when Jeremy raced a Bugatti Veyron across Europe against James and Richard in a small airplane piloted by James. By all rights, the plane should have won, but when night fell, James had to land, and Team Slow had to switch to public transportation.


Some cars make reviewers pour their hearts out. What "Top Gear" review car turned Jeremy's face inside out?

Described at the time as the perfect track car with handling everyone should use as a benchmark, the Atom demonstrated how it could outrun a powerful motorcycle, fill Jeremy's mouth with insects, and, as he accelerated sans helmet, force so much air unto his mouth that it looked like his face was turning inside out.


Some cars, developed in secret, manage to have exactly the same track times, despite wildly different specs. Which two cars made track times of 1:22.3?

Testing two of the world's mightiest track day cars, "Top Gear" showed that both great sports car makers could make fast cars, and if you like, you can pay extra for an expensive car that comes without carpets, a radio, or really any creature comforts. The result? Both cars, despite different performance metrics, scored the same lap times on the track.


Which British sports car did the "Top Gear" producers pit against an Apache helicopter gunship?

Jeremy reviewed this dream machine because it was Lotus's new car for the American market. With a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 147, it can out-accelerate and outrun even an Apache.


For the stars who visited "Top Gear," what was the "reasonably priced car" in 2004?

The original "star in a reasonably priced car" vehicle was the Suzuki Liana, a car that not only saw more famous drivers than nearly any other vehicle in history but more accidents than any other car in its price range. Truth be told, it is likely more money was spent fixing it than buying it.


What 720 hp exotic did Chris Harris decry for costing so much that were one to take it to a track, one would be worried they would damage it?

The Ferrari 488 Pista is the 'hardcore' track version of the 488, which is, of course, a very slow car. Oh, no. It isn't that the 488 is already fast and expensive, but the 488 Pista is even faster, angrier, and more powerful, with tires that aren't quite as grippy as one would expect. Still, £250,000 is a lot of car to ruin by hitting a patch of gravel on a track.


What insane but demure-looking sports car styled by a Belgian who worked on the Audi A2 was tested on "Top Gear"?

Jeremy tested the Lamborghini Murcielago, which has a lot in common with the Audi R8 in part because Audi makes both, and they share similar underpinnings. Part of the car's revolutionary change (as a Lamborghini) was that the Murcielago was quiet and handled well, making it less crazy than past models.


Every once in a while, engineers turn into mad scientists. What car did "Top Gear" tout as the most powerful convertible ever built?

Clarkson called the Brabus S Biturbo Roadster a monster, and it is one. Its V12 generates 730 bhp and almost 1,000 ft./lbs. of torque without a computer to rein it in. Brabus, he said, has limited it to only 811 ft./lbs. of torque.


What car did "Top Gear" test that was named after a race track that is named after a race car driver and, seemingly, a slow military aircraft?

The Ascari A10 was the last gasp of Ascari, a small car company making gloriously insane track day cars. The A10 was a stripped-down hardcore machine with the engine from a BMW M5 and the name derived from the Ascari track, and apparently the A-10 Warthog.


Richard Hammond loves a metaphor. What car did he describe as designed by "men with pencils behind their ears"?

When the 21st century Marcos TSO GT came out, Richard took it for a spin, saying he loved its strange, almost retro design with modern technology and materials. The car made 420 bhp and weighed very little, meaning it was fast, but it also could corner well.


Some exotic cars are made from whatever parts the designers can find lying around. What strange British car with a stainless steel body was powered by the XC 90's engine?

Jeremy said that £200,000 was a lot to pay for a heavy car with a borrowed engine, no ABS, no fancy name to speak of and competition that is better for the same price. Still, he pointed out, the Noble was much faster than all other supercars of the time, going from 40 mph to 60mph in one second.


Sometimes you have to compare two cars to understand what makes them special. What car did "Top Gear" test against the TVR Tuscan?

With the engine, gearbox and running gear of an M3 of the same vintage, the Wiesmann MF 3 looked like a traditional British sports car but handled like a surgical instrument. Its fantastic handling is down to low profile tires, short springs, and apparently, magic. Somehow it did all this without being uncomfortable.


Globalization means some cars are truly international. What Italian-made car with a German engine did "Top Gear" test, concluding that it was amazing but useless?

Pagani's AMG-powered cars are amazing machines, but the Zonda R, the highest evolution of the Zonda, was a breed apart. Costing £1.46 million and not street legal, the made-for-the-track Zonda R was very cool and very rare, but also not legal on most British racetracks due to their noise restrictions.


Chris Harris gets to have a lot of fun with a lot of rare classics. What classic car did Chris Harris refer to as "this strange object"?

The Porsche Type 64 is the car Ferdinand Porsche built using a VW Beetle, the 'test bed' as Harris described it. Made from aerospace materials of the 1930s, the car is smooth and aerodynamic, small and lightweight, and one of the rarest classics of all time.


What car did Ken Block use for his "police chase"?

In his pursuit of the "Top Gear" hosts' muscle cars, Ken Block drove his modified Can-AM Maverick. The Maverick is not known as a supercar, but even in its unmodified form, it is very light, has little bodywork to hold it back, capable of going offroad at speed, and with Fox Racing supplying parts, it's very quick.


When the new hosts came aboard, some needed to be shown around. What car did new "Top Gear" host Matt LeBlanc climb into as a passenger for his tour of London?

Ken Block's drifting demonstration took the form of a tour of London, with doughnuts in industrial areas, racing under office blocks, and drifting around St. Paul's Cathedral to congratulate a couple on their marital vows. Shooting the film did not earn the "Top Gear" producers many friends, but it's considered one of the best short films in the show's history.


Some modern cars are so fiddly, setting off feels like a pre-flight check. What 694 BPH modern supercar put Richard in mind of the film "Top Gun"?

The production supercar based on the work Lamborghini did on the Sesto Elemento, the Aventador was Lamborghini's approach to a more "balanced" supercar. Yes, it is stupidly fast, but it also handles, and brakes and is safe, but its top speed is still 217 mph, which is faster than its production predecessors.


What car tested on "Top Gear" had an electric motor with about the same power as a Ford Focus?

The McLaren P1 was McLaren's first effort at a modern, hybrid supercar. Its monumental 903 hp came from a combination of a 727 hp V8 and a 177 electric motor, meaning the P1's electric motor, on its own, is more powerful than some compact cars. When combined with the 2.8 liter V8, however, the electric car made a monster.


What car won the drag races on the "Top Gear" SUV drag race challenge?

The Lamborghini Urus is Lamborghini's take on the family hauler. Possibly due to Audi's influence, it is refined, comfortable, capable on snow and ice, and can even go off-road as much as one can in a car costing £159,925. In a drag race against the Mercedes AMG GT 4 door and the Mercedes G63, it buried the G63 and managed to beat the AMG GT as well.


"Top Gear" magazine editor Jack Rix reviewed a car whose claim to fame is a single track record. What record-setting front-wheel-drive car did "Top Gear" review that made its name at the Nordschleife?

The £72,000 Renault Megane RS Trophy-R commands its handsome price because of the car's insane track times, but despite the car's many performance details, are temporary bragging rights worth the extra money when, at the end of the day, it's still no sports car? One can always buy a Porsche Cayman GT4 instead, for the same price.


What hybrid car did Chris Harris drive after a compulsory VR session with the car?

The Porsche 919 is an epic supercar, combining the hybrid technology that gives it monstrous torque and smoothness between the shifts, and it corners like a bat, with four-wheel steering. Before he was allowed to get into the real thing, Harris needed to have a go in a VR simulation of the car so he would respect the awesome power of the machine so the real thing wouldn't turn him into a scorched pancake.


Cars often come within specific price brackets, made for those with very specific means. What car did Richard recommend for about £235,000?

At the behest of alleged fan mail asking for a car that costs £235,000, Richard tested the strange, cool, rare, and blisteringly fast KZ1, comparing it to other vehicles of similar price. Would he buy it? No, because it's not eccentric enough to be a "true" supercar.


Not all cars that do a lap can remain on the leaderboard. Which of the following vehicles was not removed?

Some cars are removed from the leaderboard because they are not legal to drive anywhere, or because they will never go into production or any number of other reasons. Strangely, the Bentley powered by the engine from the WW2 Spitfire was allowed to remain on the board.


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