We’ve just had a look at the latest episode of Top Gear broadcast on the BBC last night, and it’s another good one that – most importantly – unveils the new Stig, fresh from his being born in a manger at Bethlehem just over a month ago.

More on that later… There may be some confusion as to whether this is the first, second or third episode of what is essentially the sixteenth series of the show, with various sites counting the recently USA and Middle East specials as not being part of this series.

The show kicks off with James May giving the new V8 Ariel Atom a run. With this open-wheeled monster pulling some 900BHP per ton, this is a seriously quick car, and his review is capped off with a one-lap race on the Top Gear test track against BMW’s new 1000cc superbike. You can watch the entire segment here – ex-F1 driver and Fifth Gear host Tiff Needell makes an appearance too!

Next up, Jeremy Clarkson takes Skoda’s latest all-purpose vehicle – rather uninspiringly called the Yeti – on a serious test to determine if it’s the most practical car in the world. Examining everyday concerns like outright speed, ride comfort, interior cabin comfort and general practicality, this is an impressive segment that ends with an incredible stunt you just have to see!

Comedian John Bishop is the episode’s Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car, and despite his lack of a car background, he proves particularly quick behind the wheel with the new Stig as his teacher.

But the episode falls down when Richard Hammond is given yet another opportunity to pontificate about his favourite car: the Porsche 911. The segment is apparently designed to look at the evolution of the 911 from its ancestral VW Beetle, although I would argue that every new generation of 911 (of which there seems to be about one every six minutes) simply copies the design of its predecessor with a piece of tracing paper and it’s barely evolved at all.

Quite what the actual point of this segment is, is not entirely clear – although it is beautifully shot – and it leaves the episode feeling rather flat.

But there are generally more good points in this particular episode than bad, and you would be unwise not to give it a look.

[Original video via theMotorweb]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.